“Asking for help entirely has been transformative for me because people will be very supportive of you if you ask for help.” – Neil Ashford in today’s Tip 326
Are you proactively asking for help?
Join the conversation below and learn more about Neil!
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Yesterday we released the latest interview episode on Sales Success Stories with Neil Ashford who is the #1 Strategic Account Executive in North America for Dun & Bradstreet. Here are just two short clips from that interview:
Neil Ashford: Proactively asking for help. I always want to ask, what don’t I know about a product, about a prospect, about everything that we’re working on. I have absolutely no shame about it. I want to ask this so internally talking to other reps on my team, other reps in, so I’m in Canada, other reps in the United States that may be facing similar challenges or similar markets to what I plan, talking to leaders at my company, talking to the product teams, talking to process and project post-sale, pre-sale and always asking that next question of like, “Hey, I kind of don’t understand. Can you walk me through it? Maybe one level deeper.” And I’ve so rarely been turned down from there. And even when it’s asking other reps who, you know, maybe competing with me for advice or for help. Have you seen this before? Have you, how did you approach it? What did you do that was successful and what wasn’t successful? And if you’re actually going, willing to learn open-mindedly with a growth mindset to say “You know, I’m not asking just to ask, I’m asking because I want to be better and I’m asking for help genuinely.” Everybody is willing to help and set some time aside and say, “Yeah, absolutely throw 30 minutes on my calendar, I’ll talk you through it.” It’s almost like at a party if you ask somebody what they do, people open up entirely and they’ll tell you everything. And so you can ask people for help and then from there, taking it back and doing the work on your own to say, “Okay, well now I’ve learned all these things. How should I integrate it into my approach?” So it takes that second step. But asking for help entirely has been transformative for me because people will be very supportive of you if you ask for help.
Scott Ingram: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And again, going back to your point of the willingness, if that weren’t true, this podcast would not exist. Right? People would, and my ask is extreme, right? Cause it’s like, can we schedule two hours for an interview? I mean that’s, that’s excessive. But it works. And again, people generally are, unless they’re just an Uber jerk, which I don’t meet very many of those. Right. I think everybody’s willing to, “Hey, if you want to hear about the way I’m doing stuff and it’ll help you and you’ll actually act on some of this stuff that’s awesome.”
Neil Ashford: Absolutely. And sometimes I’ve, I’ve approached it, you know, on larger deals or larger sales, like proactively building it into my process to say, “I need to find someone else who has encountered this before or someone who’s dealing with it regularly” and set time in their calendar to say “Hey, how does this work? How have you done it?” And it’s not, you know, it’s not a school thing where you’re cheating. It’s not anything like that. It’s a business and we’re here to create value for the business. And if you go in with that approach, there’s no shame or problem in doing it. You’re doing the right thing by asking for help.
Scott Ingram: I love this idea. It’s not cheating to steal the best ideas from the rest of your organization. Right?
Neil Ashford: No, absolutely not. It’s the right thing to do if anything if you’re doing the right thing for the business and you’re doing the right thing for yourself, you should be doing it all the time. I should probably do it more. It’s interesting in terms of the origin story of how I kind of decided to want to be number one because it was a conscious decision. In late 2016 my sales leader I wasn’t on every email chain yet. Every email distribution list for whatever reason. And one had come out about the presidents club that was happening in the next year and he sent it around to myself and a couple of other new hires said, “Hey, have you seen this?” And I absolutely didn’t even really know it was a thing, didn’t even know it was a concept. One of my colleagues in my office though said, “Hey, don’t get too excited. It’s very difficult to win out here. It’s, you know, we’re, there’s a lot more business in Canada, in Eastern Canada and Toronto and Montreal and that sort of thing. It’s, everyone has bigger territories, everyone has more targets out there. So, you know, it’s cool, but don’t get too excited.” And I kind of said, “Well, I get where you’re coming from, but there’s no reason I can’t do that.” You know I consider myself, I think very highly of myself in terms of my capabilities and my skills and my ability to develop into the kind of seller that I want it to be. And so in 2017 when we were doing our annual business plans, I put it right on there. I want to come number one, my plan is to come number one in aim high, and I’ve had it on there every year since. So that’s kind of the origin story of how I decided to take that approach and really put the work in to be number one from there. Once I started with Dun and Bradstreet,
Scott Ingram: Hopefully you’re already subscribed to this podcast and the Sales Success Stories podcast as well. If you’re not, that’s where you’ll find my full 103-minute long interview with Neil. Obviously a lot longer than these tips, but there’s a ton of great value in there. We’ll have links to that episode and to Neil Ashford’s LinkedIn profile at DailySales.Tips/326
Then be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip from Jeff Bajorek, that for the first time in months has nothing to do with the closing problem that you don’t have.