INSIDE Inside Sales – Ep 31: An Interview with a Legend

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It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to speak with a legend. Not just any legend either! This icon went from being a waitress at Ken’s Steakhouse to literally writing the most recommended book on sales development! Of course, we are speaking of the unmistakeable and incomparable Trish Bertuzzi!

On this can’t miss episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl speaks with Trish about her humble beginnings and how she worked longer, harder, and smarter to earn her meteoric rise, becoming one of the most respected voices in sales development today. Trish also shares some valuable tips on strategically using thematic touches to better communicate with your prospects, as well as ways to embrace self-development whenever you can. This is just a small portion of the tried and true advice Trish shares with us on this very special episode of INSIDE Inside Sales.


Not in the mood to listen? No problem, you can read the transcriptions below.


Host:  Darryl PraillVanillaSoft

Guest: Trish Bertuzzi, The Bridge Group

 

Darryl Praill: And we are back for another episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, the only podcast where we talk practical, pragmatic, tangible, actionable content that you can use immediately to improve your daily grind. That’s what it’s all about. How you doing, folks? My name is Darryl Praill. If this is your first time listening, I am so pleased that you took time out of your schedule to join us today. I have an interesting conundrum here, folks. What do you do when you have a chance to sit down and have a conversation with a legend? You sit back and you say, “Well, I could ask them about this,” or, “I could ask them about that,” but they have so much experience, and they’ve seen so many people succeed, and they’ve seen so many people not succeed that you start to say, “Why would I limit myself to just one item?” That’s the conundrum I have myself in today.

Darryl Praill: Now, the upside is, for you, you get to kind of walk this journey with me. Normally, I have three, four, five things that I want to cover up. This one, I’ve never done this, I am free-styling. I got nothing planned, other than an open-ended conversation. The whole purpose today is I want to interview this individual, and I want to extract kind of nuggets on what they’ve seen in their own personal experience, their own anecdotes, their trials, their tribulations of their own journey, so that you can learn from the wins they had. You can hopefully avoid some of the mistakes they made, and you can feed and build off of kind of where we see things going. That’s the sum total of the gig today.

Darryl Praill: Let’s walk this journey together. I am so pleased to welcome to the show, the one, the only, the very talented, my good friend, Trish Bertuzzi. Trish, how you doing today?

Trish Bertuzzi: I am great. That was a very impressive introduction. I am honored.

Darryl Praill: Well, thank you. My mom always taught me to say, “Thank you,” when people give me compliments, so thank you very much, but it’s true. That’s kind of what I want to talk about today. There’s a lot of people here who are in the sales game. They’re doing the sales development thing.

Trish Bertuzzi: Yep.

Darryl Praill: For some of them, it’s their first job. For others, they love it, and this is what they’ve been doing all their life, and they see nothing else and all roles in between. But for the ones who are still kind of early in their career or are trying to figure out, where do they go next, I just want to kind of pick your brain a little bit and say… Let’s start here. Let’s start with some good stuff. Tell us a little bit about your sales background. You talk so much about what’s good and what’s bad, and what works and what doesn’t. Tell us a little bit about your sales background.

Trish Bertuzzi: If you’ve heard the story before, feel free to take a nap for like the next three minutes because I’ve told it a number of times, but…

Trish Bertuzzi: I’m going to tell it better, all right. Okay. My sales background, I was a waitress at Ken’s Steakhouse, and this was back in the day of the three martini lunch. I used to wait on the CEO, the VP of sales, and the CFO for a tech company. They’d come in every day. They’d sit in my station. They’d have multiple martinis or whatever they were drinking, old-fashions. They’d get a little buzzy boo-boo, and off they’d go. Finally, one day, the CEO said to me, “You are rude, obnoxious, arrogant, and hungry, and you should be in sales.” I said, “Then give me a damn job,” and he did.

Finally, one day, the CEO said to me, 'You are rude, obnoxious, arrogant, and hungry, and you should be in sales.' I said, 'Then give me a damn job,' and he did. ~ @bridgegroupinc #SalesTips Click To Tweet

Trish Bertuzzi: So, I started selling, back then, something that was called the computer installation data file. We literally sold data on paper. I mean, we’re talking old-school, right? It was selling over the phone, and I fell in love. I fell in love with it. I fell in love with talking to people, understanding their problems, helping them solve those problems. I fell in love with people who said no to me. No was like, oh my God, did you just say no to me? Oh, I’m going to turn that into a yes. I fell in love with process. I fell in love with everything about it, so it launched my career in sales. Let me tell you. If you were in any of the hospitality industries and you’re in sales nowadays, you have all the skills you need to be successful, time management, upsell, cross-sell. You’re probably a little bit of an extrovert. You’re trainable. You’re a hard worker. There you go.

Darryl Praill: So, that’s what got you into it. Did you ever sit back and say, “I never saw this coming,” or once you were there, you’re like, “Oh, I’m home. This is where I belong?”

Trish Bertuzzi: There’s two kinds of people in the world. There’s planners, and there’s people who get up every day and live their life that day. That is the kind of person I am. I get up every day and I go to work. I don’t have a big strategy for what I’m hoping to accomplish that day. I might have an agenda and a calendar, but I ride the tide of being challenged and having interesting conversations with people. I’ve owned my own business for 21 years, and I have never written a business plan, nor will I. Just not my style. Works for some people, doesn’t work for me. So, yeah. I think I would have to say I fell into it, and I’ve enjoyed the journey, and I still am.

Darryl Praill: For those who are newly into it and they’re still feeling it out, what advice do you have for them?

Trish Bertuzzi: If you don’t love it, don’t do it. Seriously, if you go to work every day and you are bummed out that you have to go to work every day, you might want to think about looking to do something else because that’s going to come across to your co-workers, to your management team, worse yet, the people you’re actually trying to sell something to, whether it’s a meeting or a product. So, you got to be in love with what you do. If you don’t know if you’re in love with it, but want to find out, self-development. Don’t expect your management team or your company to make life simple for you. There’s few organizations that are that finely tuned that they’re going to make a major investment in your self-development. There are great books. There are webinars. There are associations. There are peer-to-peer networking events in every major metropolitan area. Get out there and educate yourself on how you can be better at what you do, and figure out if you love it sooner as opposed to later.

Darryl Praill: I just wrote a post on this, I think it was last week, where I told everybody that learning never ends and that you need to step up and spend your money on investing in yourself. If you’re thinking, or if you expect that your employer should cover all your costs, and if you don’t, you’re just not doing it because I’m worth it, then I think you should bail. This is not the career for you. I heard you say something similar. This is clearly unscripted. How much should somebody be prepared to spend in themselves on a recurring basis, or how much learning should they do? A book a week? A book a month? Or how many events should they go to? I know this is not formulaic and also different for everybody, but if you were to give advice to someone right now and say, “The minimum you should be doing is…” What would that be?

Trish Bertuzzi: I think the minimum you should be doing is attending two peer-to-peer networking events a year. Everybody learns differently. I like to read books, so that’s how I learn. Other people like videos, or webinars, or podcasts. It depends on how your brain works and how you learn. But, having said that, I think the peer-to-peer networking events… First of all, you expand your network, never a bad thing, right? Never a bad thing to expand your network. You meet people in similar situations that you can ask great questions from, who might’ve handled situations differently from you. It gives you ability to practice your skills, introducing to someone you don’t know, honing your elevator pitch, asking discovery questions so you get to know them. I think it’s a twofer when you go to a networking event.

I think the minimum you should be doing is attending two peer-to-peer networking events a year. ~ @bridgegroupinc #Networking #SalesTips Click To Tweet

Darryl Praill: When you went to your networking events and you read your books, how did you apply that knowledge? Did you have… For example, did you say, “Oh, there was a different way of opening up a phone call that I hadn’t tried before?” Do you say, “I want to do an AB test where for the next week, I’m doing A, and then I’m going to do B, and I’m going to compare the results?” How did you actually apply the lessons and refine your own abilities?

Trish Bertuzzi: I wish I could say I was more formulaic than I was or am so I continued down that path was or continued to be not formulaic. I’m very much a gut seller. I tend to understand when there’s a rhythm, or a story, or a pattern that people are reacting positively to and I expand upon it. The same holds true if I’m telling them a story that… it’s just not resonating. It’s interesting to me, but it’s not interesting to my buyers. That’s pretty quickly identifiable. So, I would think for me, it’s much more intuitive. Although, having said that, there are now technologies out there that enable you to A/B test strategically, scientifically with ease of use. I think taking advantage of that would’ve been something that escalated my success, and probably still could.

Darryl Praill: All right, so the workplace has changed since you and I began our careers. We had the advent of the millennial and the whole different working style. So, let me ask you this because you do see a lot of clients who seek you with your expertise. Is the way I should expect to be managed now by my manager, or management team, or employer different than how I should’ve expected to be managed 20 years ago?

Trish Bertuzzi: I think it’s more collaborative now because I think management teams are younger than they used to be and more diverse. When I first got into sales, I had no female role models at my first couple companies. The people were a couple generations older than I was at that point in time. I think now, management is a lot more collaborative, and there’s much more emphasis on soft skills than there used to be. It used to be strictly about results. Now it’s kind of still like everyone kind of gets a trophy all the time. I think that’s the difference. Before, I felt the need to perform because I wanted to rise above the noise. I wanted to be at the top of the list. I wanted to go to Presidents Club. Not everybody got to do all those things. I wanted that recognition, and I’m not sure that that’s still, in fact, most companies’ culture.

Darryl Praill: So, you wanted those accomplishments. You wanted that recognition. What did you do to achieve that, especially relative to your peers?

Trish Bertuzzi: I worked harder, longer, and smarter. That first job I was telling you about, it wasn’t unusual for me to go in on the weekends, which I don’t recommend, by the way, but it wasn’t unusual for me to be there on weekends just doing some of the things the needed to be done so that I could spend my time Monday through Friday actually trying to engage with buyers. Having said that, I despise anyone who talks about #hustleporn. I hate the fact that we’re telling people they have to work weekends, and I hate the fact we’re telling people they need to hustle, hustle, hustle, grind, grind, grind. I hate all that. I did it. I don’t recommend it.

Darryl Praill: That was one of the questions I had for you, which is I see non-stop on social media, especially on Sundays, “Are you planning your week? By the way, look at me. I’m here planning my week, and I’m posting on LinkedIn right now.” I mean, should you be doing that? Should you be planning your week on the weekend?

Trish Bertuzzi: Yeah. Well, not necessarily. I mean, I think Friday afternoons are a good time. Late Friday afternoons are a good time to plan your week. I do do a lot of social on Sundays. I have the bandwidth to do it then. I’m not interrupted. I have time to read what people are talking about and what they’re interested in, but I’m not saying that anyone else needs to do that. Do you know who Carlos Hidalgo is?

Darryl Praill: Yep.

Trish Bertuzzi: Okay. He’s come out with a new book, called The UnAmerican Dream.

Darryl Praill: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Trish Bertuzzi: I haven’t read it yet, but I’m going to guess from everything that the synopses I’ve seen and his posts, it’s talking about how Hustle Porn is breaking the backs of our industry and how we need to get back to understanding that we are not defined by our job, that our job should make us happy and allow us to accomplish our dreams, but it shouldn’t break us.

Darryl Praill: All right. That’s kind of the first half of the podcast where we talk about the big picture and your story.

Darryl Praill: When we come back, we’re going to get a lot more specific with her and ask her questions that hopefully you can apply and use immediately. So, this is the best part. The second half of the podcast, guys, always the best part. If you haven’t figured that out yet, surprise, there you go. So, don’t go anywhere. We shall be right back.

Darryl Praill: All right, we are back with the wonderful and talented, Trish Bertuzzi of The Bridge Group. Trish, if they want to check you out, what’s the best place to find you? I’m assuming it’s LinkedIn, but do you have a preference?

Trish Bertuzzi: LinkedIn, definitely. I think that’s where my voice can most often be heard. I do have a voice. I’m rather opinionated. I think LinkedIn is a pretty vibrant community. That, and to learn more about sales development as a career, we have a ton of resources on our blog, on our resources page. We do a ton of research. It’s all available for free at bridgegroupinc.com, the resources page.

Darryl Praill: All right, so bridgegroupinc.com. Check it all out, lots of good stuff there. All right. Now, one of the things you do, of course, you do an ongoing, recurring benchmark of all the best practices, which is interesting because that says not only are you getting all the survey responses that went up, but you’re talking to all these sales leaders. So, number one, what’s the top one, two, or three mistakes you see SDRs making today that if you could say, “Stop doing this or change how you do this,” what would they be?

Trish Bertuzzi: Thinking that your sales engagement platform is a Gatling gun and just loading it up and cranking out… Oh my God, I’m begging you all to not send emails that ask, “Why haven’t you responded to my last email?” You’re shooting yourself in the foot, and it’s not your fault because they’re telling you to do that, but just try to be more human in your interactions with your potential buyers. That’s all people want to do, is human-to-human.

Darryl Praill: So, number one…

Trish Bertuzzi: The number one mistake is Gatling gun.

Darryl Praill: Stop with the stupid templates, personalize them, and connect with the individual.

Trish Bertuzzi: Yeah. I mean, you don’t have to go crazy, but try to be a little more human.

Darryl Praill: Some of these things are really disingenuous. When you say, “Why haven’t you responded,” we know what you’re doing, just like when you used to send an email and it started off with the subject line, “RE,” as if we’ve already had a conversation going on. We know what you’re doing, all right? So, don’t think it’s helping your cause. Try to be human. That’s a big mistake. Stop using it as a Gatling gun. I love that, which is just like spray as many emails as you can at once, hoping something lands. Other mistakes you’re seeing happen over and over again?

Trish Bertuzzi: Okay. Voicemail is your friend. Look at voicemail as real estate, and the first 15 seconds of a voicemail is Rodeo Drive. Don’t waste Rodeo saying your name and company name. Just get to something interesting. Just figure out one thing to arouse curiosity. Paint them a picture, right? So, whatever it could be. Hi, Darryl. Sales floors have become silent, and it’s become the death of revenue. I would love to talk to about that. We have three things. Then address it, whatever the case may be. Capture their attention. Something visual paints a picture.

Darryl Praill: That was very descriptive, and you are doing that. You’re framing it. You’re giving me context. They become silent. I immediately thought of my old sales floor. I’m thinking to myself, it’s the silent. You’re connecting with them on something. It’s very personal.

Trish Bertuzzi: You do have to leave your name…

Darryl Praill: That’s important.

Trish Bertuzzi: … and phone number.

Darryl Praill: That’s important.

Trish Bertuzzi: But don’t do it at the beginning. Don’t waste Rodeo.

Darryl Praill: All right. Rodeo Drive should not be wasted. Other than that, you’re okay. So, no Gatling gun. Voicemails are crucial, and Rodeo Drive, the first, say, 15 seconds are the most expensive and the biggest ROI. A third? Is there a third mistake you’re seeing happen on a regular basis?

Trish Bertuzzi: Yes. I saw this big thing on LinkedIn the other day about how leaving a voicemail doesn’t get a callback. Well, no shit, Sherlock, right? Okay. It’s not necessarily about that action to drive that result. When you look at your sequence, cadence, whatever you want to call it, for how you’re going to go outbound or even follow-up on inbound with people, it’s a series of touches using many different channels. You’re using social. You’re using voicemail. You’re using email. Maybe you’re using video. Whatever you’re using, you should thematically create a story you’re looking to tell them.

Trish Bertuzzi: I’m going to talk to Darryl eight times. I’m going to reach out eight times. Thematically, this is the hot button I’m going to try to articulate in each of those eight touches, and so I’m going to create little, mini-stories around each of those. When I say story, it doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be a chapter out of a book, but how can I communicate to Darryl? The first thing I wanted him to picture was that his sales floor is silent. The second thing I want him to picture is that buyer engagement has changed, and I have some research. I can’t say it, but I have it…

Darryl Praill: I wasn’t going to go there.

Trish Bertuzzi: … to share on that, and then…

Darryl Praill: Let’s have another drink, and whatever it is you’re drinking, we’re all good.

Trish Bertuzzi: Yeah. Then the third thing I want to share with him is whatever the case may be. You’re not hammering home the same ridiculous… Sorry.

Darryl Praill: It’s okay.

Trish Bertuzzi: You’re not hammering home the same ridiculous statements time, after time, after time. You are telling a story. Something about that story is going to get them energized and engaged with you, and get them to react, whether it’s a callback, an email, signing up for an event, respond to content you sent them. It’s not just about the callback. It’s about arousing curiosity. It’s about establishing empathy and credibility. There you go.

You are telling a story. Something about that story is going to get them energized and engaged...It's about arousing curiosity. 🤔 ~ @bridgegroupinc #SalesEngagement Click To Tweet

Darryl Praill: Let’s talk about empathy and credibility. That’s something that not everybody is able to do. What mistakes are they making that is precluding them from establishing empathy and credibility with their buyer, and/or how can they go about establishing credibility and empathy with their buyer?

Trish Bertuzzi: Okay. If you’re a sales development rep, I don’t expect you to know how to do those two things out of the box. You need to be provided with the tools, and the stories, and the messages, and the process that allow you to do that. You can’t just sit down 60 days into your gig and go, “Oh my God, I’m selling to a CFO. I know everything there is to know about CFOs, and I’m just going to go talk to them.” No, that is not how it goes. You need your management team behind you. You need them to provide you with buyer personas, with the tools you can use to do pre-call planning and do research, with the information that you can use to actually have conversations like direct dial numbers, maybe mobile numbers, emails, you name it. You need your management team to back you up because it’s not easy and you can’t always go it alone.

Darryl Praill: All right, so let’s talk about that. I’m a sales development rep, and I think I’ve got the right stuff, and I think I’m going to be success, but I don’t think my management team is on the same page with me. Perhaps, they have not given me the right infrastructure, or the right tools, or the right data, or we’re locking personas. So, how do I approach my management team and say, “How can we work together to help me help you so we all succeed?”

Trish Bertuzzi: That’s a phenomenal question, Darryl, actually. You can’t just go, “I want, I want, I need, I need, I need. Why aren’t you on the phone? Why aren’t you booking more appointments? Why aren’t you doing this? Well, I don’t have this, and I don’t have that, and I need this, and I need that.” No. If you really want your management team to back you up, build a business case. Track little things, like track how many buyers you tried to call where you had to go through the company switchboard and you didn’t have a direct dial number. Track how many times emails bounced and your communication wasn’t effective with them. Track whatever it is. Build a little business case. I’m not talking PowerPoint, and spreadsheets, and Gantt charts. Just build a business case and say, “You know what? I feel like I could be 20% more productive if I had direct dial numbers, and I’ve done a little bit of research, and I think this particular company can provide us with those direct dial numbers. I understand it’s an investment, but let’s work out our ROI.”

Darryl Praill: There’s a good point there, right? Let’s say, using your example, I could be 20% more productive. If I increased the pipeline contribution, I’m already making by 20%, that’s the start of an additional ROI. It’s not just a spend. Your management might view that as a spend when, in fact, it’s an investment if there’s going to be a return on that investment, especially when you multiply it across the entire team. Okay. So now, if there was only one thing, one piece of advice you could give me to make me a better sales rep right now, and I know this is a generalization. What would that one piece… And it’s got to be actionable. What would it be?

Trish Bertuzzi: Oh, God.

Darryl Praill: She’s thinking. It’s good.

Trish Bertuzzi: Well, there’s a difference between if there’s one piece of advice and then one piece of advice that’s actionable. My one piece of advice for sales development reps is, if you don’t love it, don’t do it. Honest to God, if you don’t love it, don’t do it.

Darryl Praill: So, the action there is quit, just so we’re clear on that.

Trish Bertuzzi: No, not quit, but… If you love the company, but you don’t love the job, go look elsewhere in the company. Right? People quit, sometimes, for all the wrong reasons. “Oh, I love the company, but I hate my job.” Well, find a different job in that company, and maybe you’ll love it. So, there’s that. If you do love it, I really think you own the success of you. I mean, we kind of touched on that before, but if you’re sitting there waiting for your company, your management team to make you more successful, it’s going to be a long wait in many, many instances. You really do. You own the success of you. That’s the best piece of advice I can give someone.

Darryl Praill: On that front, if I am looking to jump ship because management isn’t doing what I think they need to do, or for whatever reason it might be, what’s the one thing you highly recommend sales professionals do to better package themselves up for that next opportunity?

Trish Bertuzzi: Be prepared. Be prepared. If you want something, you need to prepare for it. Right? If you want to win a race, you got to train. If you want to lose weight, you got to diet, whatever. Whatever it is that you want, you need to have a plan for how you’re going to get it, and you need to execute that plan. That includes… You don’t want to jump from the frying pan into the fire, right? You’ve learned something at your last job. Make sure you’re not doing that, and be prepared to ask the tough questions that are going to identify for you what the problems were you’re walking away from so you don’t go to them again.

Darryl Praill: All right. With that, we’re going to wrap things up. Check her out at LinkedIn.com/in/trishbertuzzi. You can find her there, of course, and of course, the website, bridgegroupinc, that’s I-N-C, .com, where there just a wealth of resources and the blog posts. Trish is blessed to have a wonderful collection of people who support her and make that company the rockstar that it is. Check her out if you don’t now follow her. She, I dare say, is the most influential sales professional on LinkedIn and in this sales space, and we are pleased and delighted, Trish, that you spent time with us today.

Darryl Praill: With that, folks, we’re done. We’re out of here. Another episode is in the books. I had a blast. I hope you did, too. We shall talk to you soon. Take care. Buh-bye.