In between the regular interview episodes until the book is published you’ll find a sample story like this one. You can either listen to the episode and hear David read his story, or read the full text below.
The Year I Doubled my Income
By: David Weiss
Imagine for a second you are, at least in your mind, the best at something, and up to this point in your life, mostly, you have been proven correct. That was me, basking in my glorious ignorance. I had done some amazing things and had been living a sales career I was proud of. I had made consistent multiple six figure incomes, hit or exceeded plan every year at every company I had been part of, won multiple Presidents’ Clubs to some of the best destinations in the world. I’ve hired and trained people who have hit their goals, and taken on initiatives that have helped to shape the strategy and culture of multiple organizations. I thought I was elite. I thought I had this sales thing figured out. Boy was I wrong.
At this point in my career, it was rare for me to get pushed, and pushed hard, on my sales ability. After all, I was successful, and working in a senior level sales role at a Fortune 250 company. I’ve read many books on sales, and as I mentioned in my other story, been trained by some great people and companies. After Aramark, I went on to CareerBuilder, which has been consistently ranked as one of the best companies to sell for, with the best training, as has the Fortune 250 company I was working for at the time. However, along came a leader who flipped my world upside down. When Gregory Donovan was first assigned to my team, I took the approach of, “Who is this new guy and what can he do for me?” (As I get older, wiser and frankly realize how stupid I am, I have learned that it’s important to allow people to challenge me, and this person did like no other). He had been a successful enterprise salesperson for years, started his own company and sold it, and was well connected with heads of sales at some huge companies. He quickly showed me I had much more room to grow.
Let me be humbly honest; there are times in sales or in anything, where you experience much success and you get complacent. You expect that your success will keep going, because why wouldn’t it? You forget that to get where you have gotten, you had to earn it, DAILY. Not only did Gregory smack that reality back into me, but he also showed me how much more I could be doing, and in turn, how much more I could be making. He quickly, and in a rather stoic way, showed me he was the master and I was the student; he painted a new reality for me I had to achieve.
Ok, so how did he shake my foundation? Oddly enough, it was easier than I thought possible; he simply asked me during one of our goal setting meetings, “How much money do you want to make this fiscal?” I told him what I thought was a solid number. He laughed in a very encouraging way and said, “You’re better than that.” I challenged him because I thought the number I had given him was a good number. I remember this moment because a weird emotion hit me when he told me I could do more. It was part anger (“How dare you question me? I already do so much; what can doing more really achieve?” – law of diminishing returns). There was also some fear in there (around maybe I am not as good as I think I am). Honestly, I didn’t believe him. I didn’t know how to do more than I was or see how doing more would even translate into more. With a very simple question, he shined a light on a blind spot.
What followed was almost a discovery session, similar to what we all put our clients through. Again, we were new to our relationship together, so he sought to understand everything I was doing (he already had some idea) and to get me to explain my process. He learned everything about how I worked and what I did. At the end, as if he already knew the answer, he said, you are good, but you can do more. I simply said, “How?”
Let’s take a quick pause here.
I am going to leave you with some important things in this paragraph, and I will get into exactly how to make changes that will forever impact you. More important, you must be coachable. I am not the only person he asked this information from and gave this information to, but I am the one who took the coaching and ran with it. I have always believed that if you want to be the best, you need to be open to learning. You need to be humble, to seek people better than you and to be open to getting a punch of reality. I would argue that the most important thing a salesperson needs to be in their career is coachable.
Ok, let’s resume, “How would I double my income?” He told me some obvious stuff. It was clear I needed to prospect more, so he challenged me to figure it out. I needed to up my game by building better business cases, and push executives for data, alignment, validation, and change. This would lead to deeper discovery sessions–discovery that takes twice as long as the presentation to follow. However, most important, he would teach me a new methodology that changed my game forever.
This was called MEDDPICC.
So what do these 8 letters that will forever change your life in sales mean?
METRICS – What is the business case? Think of the hard dollars, real value, and improvements in KPIs that your solution brings that justify a change. This is an actual mathematical equation, not a guess.
ECONOMIC BUYER – Who can spend money, has budget, can CREATE budget, and can sign a contract?
DECISION CRITERIA – What is their wish list? What items will you be measured on and need to achieve to earn their business?
DECISION PROCESS – Who is involved? When do they want to make a decision? When do they want to go live?
PAPER PROCESS – What is the legal process a company will go through? Who are the people involved? How long does it take them to review, redline, and give approval for signature? This is critical to learning to make sure deals close on time.
IDENTIFY PAIN – What are the real issues, goals, and outcomes? This, along with metrics, helps solidify the “Why Change” message.
CHAMPIONS – Who will give you inside information and sell for you when you are not there?
COMPETITION – Who are they? What differentiates you from them? What landmines can you set?
The above criteria are color coded, red, yellow, or green. Your job during the sales process is to get them all to green as fast as possible. Red is information you don’t know. Yellow is information you know some of, but it may not be 100% validated. Green means you are 100% confident it is complete and validated by the client.
Now you may be saying to yourself, “David, this stuff is obvious.” Yes, yes it is. It was to me when I first saw it, too. However, I went back and applied it to the deals I was working, the ones I had lost, and the ones I had won. Let’s just say, my mind was blown. Out of over 50 opportunities across a 20 million dollar pipeline, I didn’t win a single deal that still had MEDDPICC criteria still in the red, and all the deals I won had all the criteria in green. Had I known this before, I would have won much more business. Now I challenge you, as I was challenged, pick a deal you are working. Write out the eight letters and be honest with filling in the information. I bet you anything that you have red and yellow all over it. How much is really green?
I will pause here.
Seriously, go do this….I’m waiting…
Now, go do it on the last deal you lost…
Now, go do it on the last deal you won…
Again, we are all at different stages of our sales development, but this here will change your life. It will show you your blind spots, help you prepare for meetings, and WILL help you win more. It is a race to get these into green faster than your competition. Whoever gets all this information the fastest, and in a complete fashion, will often win. Now, nothing is guaranteed in this world; you could do everything right and still lose. However, using this methodology will increase your chance of winning dramatically.
To wrap this up, seek people who can make you better. (Shout out to Gregory Donovan again here, thanks for everything, Greg! You forever changed my life.) Be coachable, don’t be lazy, AND use MEDDPICC.
Want more from David? He was the star of Episode 24. Also, if you join the mailing list you can request David’s video from the Sales Success Summit: Sales Process: Building Your Own Formula for Success where he goes even deeper into MEDDPICC and walks you through the details in the context of a sales opportunity.