A Discussion with Ian Moyse
Appy Pie has started a series called The Influence Makers where we connect you to industry leaders so you can discover the tools and secrets to world-class success. Topics such as leadership, communication, marketing, tech, sales, customer success & experience will be our focus for the series. We are ready to dig into areas where many small businesses struggle to get it right and hope to offer potential ideas to help you achieve success.
Recently, we had Mr. Ian Moyse as a special guest on our show. He is an experienced Keynote speaker on Cloud & Social Selling. In addition, he has an experience in providing sales & marketing consultancy to add key marginal gains in performance. He has been rated as #1 Social Influencer Cloud 2015-2017. Here is the conversation that occurred:
Scot: Today, we have a special guest on our show, Mr. Ian Moyse. I am so excited to have you here on the first edition of The Influence Masters Ian and thank you so much for taking the time to be with me today.
Scot: Before we jump into the interview – I would love to learn a little more about your story. You were a tech guy (a leader in that industry) who moved over to the sales side of things. Can you tell us how that transformation and journey took place because we don’t see that very often in the industry?
Ian: Sure, although I’ll try and keep the story as short as possible. I got involved and interested in computing when I was young. I had a neighbor who moved in with one of the old 1k computers and I was hooked. Ever since then, I have been passionate about computing and I eventually ended up as a programmer at IBM. Some salespeople who were there at the time had big old phones and all the work perks and benefits. I wanted to do well and succeed. Sales seemed like a shorter way of doing that. Everyone advised me against it, saying it has many challenges and differences in it. But I felt like I knew what I was talking about, I was and am passionate about technology, computing and I knew my subject. I asked myself, how hard could this be? Sales is about talking to people and using your knowledge to help solve problems. Shortly after, I fell into sales. I started in Inside Sales and worked for about 11 months with pure hard graft. The hint I’d give to anyone moving into sales from another field is that hard work is an essential part of sales. I made up for my lack of selling experience purely by heart. I worked so hard because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. What I did was that I put extra effort into it to make up for the deficit of knowledge and experience until it became easier. Unfortunately, I was never able to shake off the hard working habit and now I have it ingrained in me. I think sales is often presented as overcomplicated field. Honestly, it’s about helping someone to make the decision to spend money and that’s the crux of it. If you’re passionate and knowledgeable about the thing you’re selling, be it a service or products, you will have more success in this field.
Scot: That’s interesting, you know. I love the idea of keeping it simple. I agree with you that we tend to overcomplicate things, especially in the technology sector. Due to this overcomplication, we often tend to confuse ourselves as well as the customer. So, I love the idea of keeping it simple and finding a need and filling it. When you go to events, how do you ensure what you say has the most impact on people?
Ian: When I go to events, I always aspire to deliver knowledge that they can use in their relative industries. I always start with, ‘you’re not going to get some big magical idea but if I give you a few small ones, things I have done during my journey. It might not be fantastically clever but it might be something you haven’t come across yet. Out of all the ideas I mention, even if a few of them help you do something with and you can keep doing that, then you’re constantly getting better. We’ve always got room to improve and getting better is a part of it.
Scot: I agree. When I go to events, I always tell people to write one thing that they will immediately act upon. What excited me about talking to you Ian, is your expertise on both the tech & the sales fields, and the ability to communicate effectively. What tips or advice can you give us on how to navigate these two seemingly opposite skills sets and the benefits of becoming proficient in both, so that one can become a more effective tech professional or sales professional?
Ian: I often say to my team that if you had another month or year over your competition, would it make a difference, obviously yes. So if you work an extra hour a day, add it up, and it gives you an extra month a year for work. So start with the small things and make them big. Marginal gains are very important. If you want to transition from tech to sales, you will need to face your fears. When I came from a technical field, I wasn’t used to being in front of people, meeting people, presenting or any of that. It’s not something you get trained to, so what I do is, I just put myself out there, face up that fear, challenge myself, and put myself in positions where I am uncomfortable. Each time you do it, it gets a little bit better. If you’re from a technical side and want to move on to sales side, my advice is to do it. You can attend a training of course, you might get some tips but that’s not going to change your natural behavior and you need to face those challenges. If you want to get in this field, the transition is going to cause some pain and discomfort. Preparation ahead of time is another key aspect of it. You should anticipate what you think could go wrong and prepare for it. Once you overcome your fears, it gets a lot easier. Share your opinions and you will be able to do what I have ended up doing. If you know the technical side of what you’re selling, you will be able to answer any questions and the sale will be smoother. If you have the knowledge, you are halfway there.
Scot: Talking about marginal gains, I always ask my team what is our 1% growth this week because as you said a culmination of small gains can ultimately lead to greater results. I also remember when I first did a presentation, I was extremely nervous and presentation went poorly. But as you said, I kept doing it and doing it, and eventually I got better. Some people get better fast, some people get better slow, but you do get better. If you are willing, would you please share with us a few of your failures and what you learned from them. What you were thinking and feeling as you were going through it?
Ian: I believe that if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough. Everyone’s going to have something that goes wrong at some point in their professional career, especially in the world of sales. If you ask salespeople, when haven’t you hit your target, many people say they never had a failure. But that is simply not true and it can leave a bad impression on the customers too. One thing I have seen in myself and other people in sales is, when they lose a big deal, salespeople often think about what they did wrong. It’s not always about what went wrong, many a times, the deal doesn’t go to the opposition either, the business just defers. I think it’s always good to review what you could have done and the other things you missed, making it a great learning experience. The key for salespeople and sales leaders is not to attribute blame because the knock-on effect of losing one of these big deals can be losing the next or the ones after that. This can be mainly because, if negativity professes from the salesperson, potential customers are going to hear that and might turn away. The last thing you want in your salespeople is for them to lose confidence or be distracted. When you lose a big deal, ask the customer for the debrief as to why the customer backed out of the deal and to know what you could have done differently. It will give you a comfort of reality and you will learn something from it. Otherwise a debriefing based on your assumption as to why the deal failed could have a negative impact on the sales team. Customer debrief can also help you improve what you do in the next deal. There is always value in losing a deal. A reason for failure might be that during communication, you sent something that was interpreted not in the way you intended to be. Sometimes it’s better to talk on the phone rather than on email when it comes to sales. It’s not necessary that you reply to a message through the same medium that it came through.
Scot: Thinking about SMB’s what would be your top priorities for those owners at both the startup phase and the growth phase in both Cloud and Sales – and why?
Ian: I have worked in both small and big corporations and biggest tip I can give you, you need peole that can multitask, especially in smaller organizations. While a larger firm, will have people for everything, people in small firms can’t be niche. For startup, it’s all about hiring people who are multi-disciplinarian. You should hire people that fit the limits of where you are in the business. You shouldn’t hire people just because they’re experts but have no periphery. In startups, you need people that can get their hands dirty and will do anything, even if they know nothing about it. Owners should be hands-on and assist their staff wherever possible even if the task is menial. That’s what you should start from and as you start to scale, you need to look at the technological side. You need to make the process as frictionless as possible because when you start, you can make up the process and do what you like as you go, but, you need to make the process as standard as possible. When you have one customer, you can custom-cut the services or products you provide, but you have hundreds or thousands of customers, you shouldn’t do that. You need to figure out a way to make your solution work for each customer. You need to put up a platform that works for everyone. So at the start, it all needs to be about people, but when scaling, it needs to be about the process. It’s all about how you adjust as you go along and you need to be aware of that too. When you’re growing, you need to build repeatability and consistency in the solutions you provide. You should also build a fun place to work that births goodness and, not lose that goodness when the business grows. And when you grow, you need to bring, more people in that are used to working in a company that size.
Scot: What kind of trends do you see in the sales world of how we connect digitally to customers? How to best use that technology and what are you seeing out there?
Ian: I have actually done many webinars on this. The buyer has changed over the last few years. When I am talking to a sales audience, I always tell them to think of themselves as the buyer, and think how they have changed over the last 10 years. They should also think about the tools and technology they use on a buyer. Buyers have abandoned old way of doing things for new better ways. For ex, Netflix has completely taken over previous video shops such as Blockbuster. Buyers today are expecting on-demand, instantaneous services. It is important for a business to understand how the buyer is changing and how they want to deal with you. When it comes to communicating with the buyer, you need to keep a few things in mind such as what the problem is, what’s the value of the transaction and how urgent it is. Different channels and different forms of interactions with the customers are appropriate at different points of time. Social selling should really be called, using social media to better engage with customers and prospects. If you can get a phone conversation or a face to face conversation with prospects, you should take it instead of using social media. Social selling is about initially listening and looking up customers’ social activity to gain an insight into their behavior. In social selling, you should always look for an engagement that you can start a conversation with. The number one rule in social selling is that you have to listen and research. if you haven’t done that, you can’t be good at it. I’d also recommend reading ‘Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers’ by my friend Tim Hughes.
Scot: Personal Brand – how important is this in today’s world? What would be the number one action you would recommend to a professional running or working in an SMB’s?
Ian: Building a personal brand isn’t necessary in my opinion, it depends on your industry and your sector. Personal brand is more of you as an individual, it should be a reflection of what do you want to be known for. You should make sure that you accurately represent what it is that you do is. Even the smallest things can make a much bigger difference to social selling. Read a book called “Known” by Mark W. Schaefer, it is a handbook on how to build your own personal brand. Because I have built a great brand, I get invited to interviews, seminars, podcasts, etc.
Scot: I want to thank you for spending the time with us and I’ve enjoyed the conversation that I’ve had with you. I have got one or two things that I am going to apply too so I appreciate that. If people want to follow you or look you up or reach you, what are some channels they can resort to?
Ian: Thanks for that. If you want to reach me you can go to ianmoyse.co.uk, it will take you to my LinkedIn profile and ianmoyse.cloud will take you to my twitter profile.
Scot: Very well, Ian. Thank you and I appreciate it.
Switching from a technical field to sales field can be a daunting task. Marginal gains and multitasking are essential for success in sales. If you want to switch to the sales side, you need to face your fears, especially when it comes to public speaking. Social selling is the core to success of any SMB, but you shouldn’t bombard potential customers with a sales pitch. Instead you should follow the customers, learn about their behavior and then make a personalized speech that adheres to the needs of the customers.