Episode 36

Training for a Successful Career in Sales with Marvin Montgomery

Sales aren’t a goal to achieve but a skill to train and improve. Just like any sport, careful practice and preparation improve your chances for success. However, in sales, success is solving a customer’s problem with a custom solution perfectly tailored for their needs. Success is not the money you make or the record number of sales you achieve. The best way to provide this custom solution is by asking questions and listening to customers’ stories and experiences. An effective salesperson is a good listener first.

Our guest Marvin Montgomery has been a lifelong salesman ever since his time as a Junior Achievement member. His first job as Sales Training director for a national jewelry retailer prepared him for a career on his own. Now, with 30 years of experience as a motivational speaker, author, and sales trainer, he helps people across the country “Get Marvinized.” His novel approach to sales has positively impacted hundreds of businesses, emphasizing the value of practice and preparation for more effective sales efforts. These lessons and more are discussed in his two books, Preparation and Practice: The Professional’s Guide to Sales Success and Training Wheels.

 

To reach Marvin directly, email him at salesdoctor@marvinmontgomery.com, visit his website marvinmontgomery.com, or call him at 216-509-0281.

 

Episodes are sponsored and produced by Isaiah industries, a manufacturer of specialty metal roofing systems and other building materials. Learn more at isaiahindustries.com



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

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Transcript

Marvin Montgomery:

:

You just can't train, and then I'm done, okay. I did my pushups today. I did my situps, did my walk. I'm good for the next couple of years. No, there's got to be a routine. There's got to be a pattern. What's the ongoing plan that you have? Otherwise, you're making a bad investment.

Todd Miller:

:

Welcome to the Construction Disruption podcast, where we uncover the future of building and remodeling. I'm Todd Miller of Isaiah Industries, we're a manufacturer of specialty metal roofing and other building materials. And today my co-host is Seth Heckaman. How are you doing, Seth?

Seth Heckaman:

:

Good, how are you doing today?

Todd Miller:

:

I'm doing well. I'm looking forward to today's episode. This should be good.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Yeah, absolutely. So to kick us off, I thought I would ask you. You know, it's obvious to anyone who's watching, probably, that you've been in sales a very long time.

Todd Miller:

:

Painfully obvious, painfully obvious.

Seth Heckaman:

:

So before we get in with our guest today, what's one of the funniest stories you can remember over your long storied career?

Todd Miller:

:

It's a good question. Oh, my goodness. There have been a lot of them. So I do remember one. And this is probably something, frankly, that's funny mainly to me, but I'll be happy to share it. So this goes back probably to the late eighties, early nineties, and I was out at a show in Southern California and it was a show for contractors. So it had different manufacturers there showing their stuff. And we were sharing a booth with our distributor out there, which was a company called Alcan and Alcan's a huge company. Well, they used to be in the distribution end of things in Anaheim. And I'm working the show and we're showing our stuff. They're showing their stuff. And I'm there with Eric Hahn and Tommy Lomana, I think was his name. And so that was who was there with Alcan, and they were showing mainly vinyl siding. Now, it's interesting, back 30 some years ago, 35 years ago, vinyl siding was pretty new to the California market, especially Southern California, because it had been such a strong stucco influence there. So they were literally showing product that most contractors had really never seen. And so I remember they had a hand sample of this piece of vinyl siding and Tommy is showing it to some contractor in our booth. And Tommy is just touting, you know, this stuff is indestructible. It's so strong and so sturdy. And we had a some folding chairs in the booth that we were using to sit on. And Tommy takes this piece of vinyl siding and whacks it across the back of this folding chair. And this siding just crumpled over it. Just it bent 90 degrees and Tommy, he doesn't miss a beat. He he throws it over his shoulder and it goes over the back of the booth, and he just keeps on pitching. But anyway, that's one of my funnier stories that but it's definitely one of those you had to be there type stories to in order to see the visual of it. And knowing Tommy kind of made a difference as well. Anyway, so, interesting. Well, today we're actually are talking about sales and and one of the things that you and I talk a lot about is we work with contractors across the country, is the importance of being very sophisticated in your sales approach being very systematic, rather scientific, but having things planned out. And, you know, in that particular case, Tommy's plan was, well, this piece of vinyl siding collapses for me, I'll just throw it over my shoulder. He maybe could have had a different plan or not whacked it on the back of a chair. But anyway, we're going to be talking about sales today and the sales process. And I'm excited about our guests. Of course, our goal here at Construction Disruption, is always to provide timely and forward-looking information about construction. And as part of that, we always look at innovations and trends and practices, building materials. We talk a lot about the labor market, supply chain because those are big issues for our industry. We touch on leadership. But today, as I mentioned, we're delving into the world of sales. Everyone knows that if you're going to be in the construction industry, most people don't have projects that last forever. You always have to be in the process of seeking that next project or that next deal. So as we talk about sales today, our guest is Marvin Montgomery, also known as the sales doctor. Marvin has a long history in sales. He cut his teeth working for JB Robinson Jewelers for many years. He eventually became their director of sales training for nearly 100 retail jewelry stores. But for the last 30 years, which, you know, is also such a significant time of his career. For the last 30 years, Marvin has been an independent sales trainer, motivational speaker, and he's also authored several things working with all types of companies, helping to get them, as he calls it, get Marvinized with his own combination of motivation and substance. Marvin, welcome to Construction Disruption. Real pleasure to have you as our guest today.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Hey, Tod, thanks so much for having me. I really look forward to this day, had it marked on my calendar.

Todd Miller:

:

Awesome. Well, as did we. So looking forward to it very much. I had first become aware of you several weeks ago and saw a podcast or a little episode you did with a mutual friend, Randy Chaffee.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yeah.

Todd Miller:

:

And I said, I got to talk to this guy. I got to have him on the show. So thank you. So I kind of want to start out. There's always this argument as to whether good salespeople are made or born. And I think in reality, we'd probably both agree that it really comes down to behavior and also some skill. But I'm curious, did you know from a young age that sales would be your career, that this is where you would be?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yeah, and that's a great question. And I like that question that I probably gotten, I don't know how many times over the last 30 plus years. Are salespeople born or are they made? But your answer is spot on. I grew up in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, and I was also part of a group and you may have heard of them, Junior Achievement.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh, absolutely.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

And I was in Junior Achievement. And one of the things that that I was able to see right away is I did have a propensity towards sales. We made floor mats, and that was our project, making floormats. And I was picked as the the leader of our group and we ended up being the number one winner of not just the project that we made, but also we made the most sales. And we were going door to door with these floor mats in our town. You know, we first would come to your home and and you'd open the door and hey, my name is Mark from Junior Achievement. We have a customized floor mat that we'd like to make for you. All we need is your initials. Do you want one initial or two initials on it? And that was the start of my career. And we sold a ton of those floor mats. I actually went back home a while back and there is a woman who still has my floor mat on her front porch.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh, that's amazing.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

So you're talking about durable, that thing was durable.

Todd Miller:

:

Well I love how you you were assuming the sale back then, that's awesome.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

That's right. Did you want to do this or did you want to do that?

Todd Miller:

:

Man, it's been a long time since I've heard of Junior Achievement. I'm not even sure if it's still around, but that was quite an organization at encouraging entrepreneurism and and even manufacturing to some degree.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yeah, because we learned manufacturing. We learned actually, we learned all the ins and outs of how to run a business and Junior Achievement is still alive and well. I do volunteer.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh awesome.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

For Junior Achievement from time to time.

Todd Miller:

:

I'll have to check it out and see if it's still in our area. I know it used to be years ago. Very interesting. So I'm going to ask you kind of an unusual question. This may be the flip side of what people would normally ask, but what is the worst piece of advice you've ever been given in regards to selling?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

You know what I'd think, and that's an easy question to ask, because one of my training focuses is the complete opposite. I was told that you're only going to have a couple of seconds with every opportunity that comes to the door. So you better get your $0.02 in as quickly as possible. In other words, the old telling and selling mentality and I learned very quickly, that is not the correct approach. Yes, you learn very, what's that old adage Todd? People don't want to be sold, but they do like to buy, you know? So I learned very quickly that I better give this person an opportunity to buy. And you don't do that by talking and telling, you really do that by asking questions and listening. But that was a very bad piece of advice. Hey Marvin, when they walk in man, you you better jump on that real quick and and start telling them all the wonderful things that you can do for them with the merchandise we have. Well, you talk about turning somebody off real quick Todd, that'll do it.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh yeah.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

That'll do it.

Todd Miller:

:

I call that verbal diarrhea when someone starts doing that.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

I referred to it when I'm doing my traning sometimes as a show up and throw up. Yup.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh, my goodness. Yep, yep.

Seth Heckaman:

:

It's such the the natural first reaction for most folks when they start selling, though they're so anxious at the opportunity and, you know, stressed to try to maximize every opportunity that comes up. So I'm curious, you have this training built around the complete opposite approach. So what are the foundations of that that you try to coach people up on?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Well, the main, anybody that's heard me speak and I actually talked about this when I was down in the National Frame Builders Association meeting in Nashville. It's really a simplistic approach that I use, and I've already said it already. It's asking questions and actively listening and then actively listening and then asking questions. The problem is some people will ask questions, but then they won't actively listen to the response. Or they're actively listening, but then they won't follow up with a question. And in the builder's trade, which is what we're in right now, there is a phrase. What is the phrase? Measure twice, cut once. Well, that's the same thing with communication. It's measured twice and cut once. What's our measure twice? One, asking questions, two actively listening. And you're doing those two things in tandem because for a long time on my email signature I had, Selling is not what you do to people. True selling is what you do for people. In other words, that person needs to know I'm here to do something for you, not to you.

Todd Miller:

:

I often talk that a lot of times that real pivot in a salesperson's career is when they realize they are selling to benefit the customer, not selling to benefit themselves.

Speaker:

:

Yes.

Speaker:

:

And that can be a real pivot for a lot of folks.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yes.

Todd Miller:

:

So, you know, you've you've been around a while, as have I. But what things have you seen change and what things have you seen really stay the same in regards to selling over that time?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Well, I think one thing that one of the biggest changes over the last couple of years is how we now have to reach out to what I refer to as suspects, as well as your existing customer relationships. Suspects I refer to because I love detective movies. And if you ever see those two detectives sitting, one standing, one sitting, they go round up all the usual suspects and bring them in for questioning. So when you're reaching out to new opportunities, those suspects, you used to be able to go knock on the door. Now or make a phone call. Now, a lot of it can be handled through and has to be handled through technology. So one of the changes is I've noticed that people that would never, ever do anything virtual have learned to master that whole virtual outreach. And that's in all industries. Even with our church you know, we reach out to our members virtually. So I think one of the biggest changes is not just reaching out to people virtually, but making sure that you have all the things that's needed to be professional with that look, too. So you'll see training on how to do a virtual call, how to do a virtual meeting, you know, making sure you have a backdrop behind you. So they're not seeing some of the crazy stuff that may be going on around your room. You know, so but I would say technology has allowed us to to really reach out to people all over the world. I mean, I've taught these last two years, I've talked to people all over the world without having to leave the comfort of my home office or actually my office because I got a studio in both, you know, so that's one of the biggest changes. But I think it's been a great change to be able to reach out to customers and say, Hey, look, let's have an exploration meeting virtually first. That way we can determine whether or not I can benefit your organization. What's a good time for us to make that happen? Then I can send you a link. I can get on your calendar. I mean, it's it's a beautiful thing.

Todd Miller:

:

I agree. It's almost like the last couple of years have made that normal and accepted. So you don't look like, oh, they just don't want to actually spend the money to come see me. You don't look that way anymore. You know, it actually becomes the way we do things. And yeah, I agree. A big, big change. We get the basics of selling. Finding your customer needs. You know that that doesn't change over the years, do you find?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

That doesn't change. It really doesn't change, Todd. It's the same thing. I mean, you see books and tapes and all they do is take the same thing. It's like chicken, you know, you go to a wedding reception and you'll find 103 ways now to make chicken.

Todd Miller:

:

Absolutely.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

But guess what, it's still chicken.

Todd Miller:

:

It's still chicken.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

It's the same thing for selling. I don't care what you call it, you still have to ask questions, but you have to know what questions to ask. You have to know what to listen for. I talked to the, I did three workshops for the National Freight Builders Association in Nashville, and in one of the workshops we actually worked on. What do you need to know before you start talking? Because a lot of people don't. They don't know what they need to know. And I use the example of going into a doctor's office. A doctor's office, they know what they need to know from you before they even open up their mouth and recommend or diagnose or share some information with you. You walk in. The first question they ask is, do you have insurance? That's probably one of the few industries that they'll ask you for money right up front.

Todd Miller:

:

Yes. Yes.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

And they'll ask for your co-pay, right. Then they update information and then they sit you down.

Todd Miller:

:

Yep.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Then they get you back up finally. You're going to a hallway. They take your height, they take your weight, and the assessment continues. They take you into a room, they take your vitals. But they haven't told you anything yet. They haven't said a word about their practice, about their procedures, about the doctor. They haven't told you anything. It's all around that exam. It's all around that evaluation. Well, it's the same thing in this industry. And, you know, that's Todd. It's all about finding out what the need is. And then as I told the guys at the Buckeye Frame Building meeting yesterday, then what happens is you're providing not just the quote, you're providing a construction solution. You know, I don't want to provide, I don't want to use quote and hope. I want to provide a customized solution based on what you told me. It's like if I ask and listen, you give me the answers. You tell me your expectations. You let me know what area of investment you want to be. You talk about the decision making process. But you don't volunteer all that information until I ask you. You know, there's a statement that I've learned over the years. People seldom identify all their needs directly. They don't come out and say everything. You got to ask them. If you don't know what questions to ask, the questions you don't ask becomes something that bites you at the end when you try to bring closure for it.

Todd Miller:

:

You know, that's such good advice. And again, it doesn't change. And as I think about you, you know, of course, you started in the jewelry business, which to me that's a tough gig because it's pretty limited, it's pretty isolated. Construction has a little bit longer selling cycle, typically a little bit more opportunity to build relationship, to really dig into those things. And really, you've touched on it right there as far as specific advice for the guys in construction, that's finding out what those needs are and, you know, taking the time to do it.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yeah. I want to find out very quickly if this is a yes or not now. Not no.

Todd Miller:

:

Right.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Is that a yes? Then let's move forward. If it's not now? I'd still love to be able to revisit the situation again down the road. What do you think would be a good time to schedule that? So there's no such thing as a bad sales call. Because if I didn't do anything else, I should at least built that no I can trust to the point where you may never use me. And I've had that happen with me. They didn't use me, but they referred me. Or they didn't use me, but they used me next time. Because once you build that, no I can trust. Once you establish that relationships, there's three things. I call it the three R's that come from a relationship. First, R is and that's what's kept me in business for 30 years. Repeat business. I don't want one and done. I want to be invited back. Yesterday in Buckeye was the fourth time they invited me back to speak. But when people invites you back, they're sending you a message. And Todd and Seth, that's like if I invited you guys over to my house. Right. But I never had you come back again. But you heard I had the same party again. Someone says, Hey, are you going to Marvin's? No, he didn't. He didn't invite us.

Todd Miller:

:

There's a message there.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

So I'm sending you a loud message. You are not welcome the second time in, you know. So you want repeat business. The second thing you want, if you do a great job, that repeat opportunity, they refer people to you. I mean, referrals are great. You're going to have a higher closing rate on a referral than you will with a suspect. Okay. And the third is you get requested. Boy, I love to be requested. That's what Buckeye did for me. They said, you know, Marvin can you, they didn't say, can you send somebody. Marvin, can you come back out and do a presentation for us again and be our keynote speaker? So boy, referrals, repeat, requests. Boy, you got that trifecta working for you, man. You're going to be in business for a long time. Because I don't want one and done. You got to work too hard when you got one and done. You're always prospecting for new opportunities.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. And that, you know, still goes back to, you know, you're driving for either a yes or a not now. And I always say that not now also has to include a plan of what the future is going to look like. So not now, but here's what's going to happen going forward. Here's what we agreed to going forward. And, you know, part of that can be getting referrals and so forth to future business. So good stuff.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Absolutely.

Todd Miller:

:

So it's kind of interesting. You talked about the similarities and of course, it goes with your moniker, the sales doctor, but the similarities to what a doctor does and we have one, a great dealer for our products, a gentleman by the name of Frank Farmer out of Michigan who actually was trained almost all the way through medical school to be a doctor. And now he uses that training a lot in his sales approach and in his training to his own salespeople. And Frank's like you, a legend in this industry. But I'm kind of curious and you kind of opened the door earlier, said you're talking to clients all over the world now. But I'm kind of curious what your relationships with your clients looks like. I mean, are you a doctor who makes house calls or do you make them come and wait in your lobby for a couple hours? What does that look like?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

I ask for their money right up-front.

Todd Miller:

:

There you go, none of this co-pay stuff either.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

It's funny. My co-pays a little different. I did have a company that said, you know, Marvin, no disrespect to you. I know the investment you were talking about, but it's really just a little more than what we're expecting, you know, to pay at this point in time. So I immediately said I said, you know what? I've run into that situation several times and I have a solution for it. They said, You do? I said I said, Is there anybody that you feel comfortable partnering with? Because if you can partner with somebody who is not in direct competition with you, then you can share that investment. Then I paused. The person looked at me, says, Oh my God, what a great idea. I didn't think about that. You mean I can bring another company in and we can share that expense? I said, sure. So we did a co-pay.

Todd Miller:

:

I love that. It's a great approach to do consulting and training.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

As far as reaching out to my customers. I practice what I preach. To me, training is no different than exercise. I actually have, my second book is titled Training Wheels, and I use that analogy of just like you train a young person to ride a bike is the same thing you do, same steps, same focus, same process that you use to train and onboard a new employee and it never stops. But one of my questions is, remember we talked about the power of questions, one of my questions is let's start with the end in mind. Who's going to continue the initial training that I'm going to conduct? I know the training is going to be good because people have told me that. It's not the initial training is going to help change behaviors. It's going to be the ongoing training that we set up. I can do it or I can train someone to do it internally. So that's always my focus. I don't want my training cannot be like cologne. You know, after a while it's going to wear off.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah, yeah.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

I mean, it smells good. It smells good initially. Man, I'm smelling good, looking good. But initially, I got to take, you know, the shower and put on some cologne. Well, training is the same way. You just can't train and then I'm done. Okay. I did my pushups today, I did my situps today, I did my walk. I'm good for the next couple of years. No, there's got to be a routine. There's got to be a pattern. What's the ongoing plan that you have? Otherwise you're making a bad investment. And I'll tell you right upfront, you're making a bad investment just by having me come in and do a one-shot training. But if you really want this to stick, let's talk about how we keep this going. And that's why I like this virtual training. I'm busy every day with sometimes four, five hour follow-up trainings, 45 minutes things. And when I do my follow up training, it's around specific areas that's the point person and I discuss prior to that session. The one I did yesterday, all we focused on was overcoming sticker shock. How do you overcome sticker shock? How do you prevent sticker shock? Because what happens sometimes is people get what's called buyer's remorse. You know, they start second-guessing the decision and sometimes that second-guessing is around price. So we spent 45 minutes just discussing that and how we can prevent that and how to reaffirm that relationship. What does that piece look like? So the follow-up was crucial because that's when you get into the nuts and bolts of some of the issues that the individual salespeople are facing.

Todd Miller:

:

You know, I really like where you said that you will actually tell people, Hey, you're making a bad investment on this one-and-done type event-based training. And you know that it's good advice. It's the correct advice. But I also think it's eye-opening for folks. And most all of us have done that thing where we've gone to a one-and-done event and we walk out of it all pumped up and ready to go. And, you know, the next day, real life sets in a little bit. The day after that, real life sits in a little bit more. And, you know, suddenly you realize, Oh, I'm not doing anything I thought I was going to do because you need that continual reinforcement. Your training wheels analogy is great. There was a guy by the name of Dave Sandler I'm sure you've heard of.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Oh, yeah, I'm good friends with the gentleman right here in the Cleveland area that that oversees the Sandler system.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah, and, you know, he had a book called You Don't Teach a Kid to Ride a Bicycle in a Seminar. And that's exactly how it is with selling too.

Marvin Montgomery:

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Absolutely.

Todd Miller:

:

So I'm curious, you are such an upbeat, gregarious, positive person. What do you enjoy most about what you do? Did did you ever think life would really be this good? It just seems like you love what you do.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yeah, whenever you're blessed to do what you love and love what you do, it doesn't seem like work. The gratification that I get when somebody calls me and says, Marvin, I did exactly what you said and it worked. And I have a recent situation that I can share with you where I just got that call. So we were talking about different closing techniques and I just focused on a closing technique that refers to, it's called the adjournment. It's referred to as the adjournment close and adjourned means you just leave for a very small period of time. It can be for a couple of minutes. You can put the person on hold. If it's a virtual call again, ask be put in the break room while you think about it. Because sometimes people just need space. Okay, so this young lady was on a sales call and there were three other people in the room that she had presented her solution to. And they said to her, you know what, we like everything that we that you said here today, everything looks good. We just need a little bit more time to think about it. She immediately reached for the arms of her chair. She stood up and said, Oh, guys, take as long as you, as long as you like. Is there some place where I could go and sit for a few minutes while you talk this over? And they go and they said, Oh, you would do that? Yeah, yeah. Where should I go? So they walked her out, put her in another room, they came back and got her in less than 10 minutes and said, okay, we're ready to go.

Todd Miller:

:

Wow.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

But most people will do what? They'll go, Okay, when should I follow up with you?

Todd Miller:

:

Right, when can I get back with you, yep.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yeah, I mean, you had it right there. You have to know when I'm talking about closing techniques. And if you Google closing techniques, there's hundreds of them. Which means you have to be a student of this game. I always ask people, how much time are you spending, preparing and practicing what you do for a living? You got to stay practiced up. I talk about the five P's: preparation and practice provides peak performance. Preparation and practice provides peak performance. You probably heard the coach's version of it is, the way you practice is the way you play, the way you practice is the way you play. So what a great reward for her and it was a big sale, too. It was almost a $900,000 sale that she got in the same 15 minutes, so to speak, just because she said, you know what, guys take all the time you want. Is there a room I can go in? Actually, I've done work for Andersen Windows in the window and door industry. They refer to it as the porch light close, because I shared that in construction. So we're at this person's house and they say we need more time to think. Oh, guys, take all the time you want. You know, I walk out to my car, let me hang around there for a minute. When you're ready, flip the lights off, I'll come back in.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

You don't always have to leave for days at a time. Look, you've heard the expression, time kills a deal. Do you know how many sales that are lost because we leave too much time in between the time we were there to the time we actually get back to them again? That prospect is not sitting there for two weeks looking at what you left. They didn't pick it up again until you called them.

Todd Miller:

:

Right? Yeah. Yeah.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

And then they say to you, Hey, could you send that back over? I can't find it.

Todd Miller:

:

You know, one of the things I'm thinking about is in relating this all to construction, it's kind of interesting. Most people in construction, this is not 100% of the case, but a lot of people are in construction who, you know, end up in a small business and construction, are there because they grew up with a hammer in their hand. They grew up in the industry. And, you know, one of the things that we run into a lot is they know the industry very well from a technical standpoint, from the doing it standpoint. And so they assume that that can be their method of selling. I don't really need to do a formal presentation. I just go in and talk to them. I know all this stuff. And yet, you know, the reality is someone's going to come along with a formal presentation that's got to go through why these people want to make the decision they're going to make and they're going to get the deal. Seth has one of our dealers he had worked with for a long time and said, you know, you've got to use a presentation. What were his results when he finally started using it?

Seth Heckaman:

:

Oh, dramatic immediately. His closing rate doubled and his selling price doubled. So he learned the value of it, of walking people through that step. We talk about presentations and people assume we buckle people into a chair and just, you know, bombard them with all the features and benefits. But no, it's built around that consultative process like you were talking about, of needs analysis and asking questions, listening to what their needs are, and tailoring your solution to meet their needs. And we do it in such a way where the vast majority of people see where our products are the only product that's going to meet all their needs. But sometimes that's not the case, of course. But yeah, once he started walking through that process, he learned the benefits very quickly and it transformed his business.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

So you're spot on with that, because when I first did the training by Renewal by Anderson with the salesguys here in Middleburg Heights, their process was go in, sample them to death, you know, because they'd walk in with these samples of doors and windows and, you know, keep throwing it and keep throwing it until either the customer said, I give, I'll buy. Or they said, Get out, I'm tired of this.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Sure.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Most of the time it was get out, I'm tired. So one of the things we did, I immediately said, guys, you got to change this to. Some companies call qualifying, some companies call it discovery. Some companies call it assessment or analysis, but that's why you're there. So when you walk in the house, the first step is you introduce yourself. You engage them in some type of small talk, some type of conversation to make them feel comfortable. And then you use what I refer to, because if you don't use a verbal agenda to control the transition from your conversation starter to what happens next, they will control it. And the way they control it is, Okay Seth, yeah enough about the Browns. So tell me about your company Seth and what you might be able to do for us. Then all of a sudden you take a deep breath and then you're in your information dump process. You want to control it with a verbal agenda. So I'm going to say Seth, yeah, you're right, that those Browns have a lot, a lot of work to do. But let me share with you what I'd like to accomplish with you and your your wife over the next few minutes. First and foremost, I'd like to find out why you're looking at making this investment with blank, blank, blank right now, because that's going to help me determine whether or not we're going to be able to provide a customized solution for you. And then you need to know what your starter question is. What's your opening question? It's like going back to that courtroom, you know, the what's the opening statements that those two attorneys make, you know, because they're already trying to get that jury on their side. Right. So you want, your opening statement has to be so engaging. They look at you and they lean in and they start talking and they start sharing. And that's where you want. That's where the process starts, it doesn't start with a presentation. I've seen companies that have a great, they invest a lot of money in PowerPoints and pop-up books and marketing material and then shove it in a poor customer's face. And the customer doesn't know whether to look at the stuff they handed them or the list of what they're saying. That's not why are you there? I want to find out very quickly if I can provide you with a solution, and I can't do that with a presentation. I have to do that with a customized process, a customized approach. And it starts with what I talked about initially, asking questions and listening.

Todd Miller:

:

Amen.

Seth Heckaman:

:

That verbal agenda is powerful. I love how you teed that up, but setting that expectation for the appointment, being in control because they asked the first question, you know, related to the why you're actually there, you've lost it and you're just hanging all along for the ride at that point.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Exactly set. And I'll tell you, a friend told me long time ago that verbal agenda. You tell him what you're going to tell him, then you tell him, then you tell him what you told him.

Todd Miller:

:

Three steps, yep. You know, one of the things I always suggest folks do if they can, because we're normally working on the outside of a home, is, you know, early on, get him outside, get him walking around that house, get them dreaming, get them envisioning. And you know, what I find is as humans, it's hard for us. We think we can do multitasking, but our attention usually has to be on one thing. And if you get them walking and talking, they'll share a lot more quickly than if you're sitting across the kitchen table trying to get that sharing out of them.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

So, yeah, because you want to do, if you're doing something around construction, you want it's a two part assessment. It's a verbal agenda and then a visual agenda.

Todd Miller:

:

Right.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

I do work also in the HVAC industry and when I rode the sales guy two weeks ago, he's catching on. Now we walk in, he does a verbal agenda, he does the verbal assessment first, then he does a visual assessment with the customer with them. If the customer can't visit mobile, then you do a video. Then you come back and you show them what you saw, you know. So you got to do the verbal and visual if the visual was appropriate.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. So I'm curious what we've all heard this. What is your advice to the salesperson who says they're in a slump and we all know what that means, but what's your advice to them to get their ship righted?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

A couple of things of that I tried, especially with if it's something I'm working with or company I'm working with. One, it's almost like you can retrace your steps. I'll ride with you and let's go on a sales call. We go out and I'll just sit back and and listen and they introduce me. I say, This is Marvin. He's just hanging out with me today. And all I do is listen, you know, take some mental notes, take some written notes. And a lot of times it's, it's really nothing they're doing wrong. Sometimes it's just a small thing they need to tweak. And because, what's the good news? The good news is you've been doing this a long time. The bad news is you've been doing a long time. And sometimes you don't realize when you start taking shortcuts, you start cutting things out that really were making you successful before, but now you're not doing it. And you can always see and hear that if someone is seeing and listening to you or you can record yourself. Remember the way you practice is the way you play, you know, practice with somebody else. Go through your presentation, let them give you some feedback on what they saw you did well and then opportunities for improvement. But I always say if you find yourself in a slump, don't start making wholesale changes. They talk about a batter being in a slump. You know, sometimes the way to get out of a slump is to keep swinging, you know, so don't feel you've got to make wholesale changes to get out of a slump. Sometimes it's just tweaking something a little here, a little there to put you over the top again.

Todd Miller:

:

That's great advice and all by going back and revisiting what you're doing. And is there something I'm skipping?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Right, I do some self-reflection on that last call.

Todd Miller:

:

So a big topic in the construction industry now for many years has been the labor shortage. And, you know, we talk about that in terms of the lack of skilled nail bangers, as I call the people who do the work. But it also affects sales teams as well. And a lot of construction industries that almost, or construction businesses, it seems like their sales department is almost a revolving door. I mean, there's this constant change. What are some ways that you advise the companies or maybe even help companies with to help make sure that they make good hires in sales? And of course, then how they get those folks on board in a way that leads to long term success as well.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Well, obviously, now, unlike before, if you're using some of the technology out there, there are assessments. You know, the DISC for example, DISC has a assessment that when you take that, it will let you know if you're good for inside sales, outside sales, or no sales. So those assessments are available. The other thing that I just saw this morning on FOX 8, the NARI show's in Cleveland right now and there is a construction company that has partnered with Lorain Community. They've got a trade school out there in Lorain. So this construction company partnered with them and they're having a competitive contest on building sheds. So, like, they're growing and they're finding and growing their own next generation of our construction kids. And so and they showed some of the the sheds that these kids built, you know, and interviewed them. So are you are some of these construction companies partnering with some of the local schools so you can go out there and kind of encourage and kind of grow your own with different projects and things that might be happening. But Wayside Furniture has had a commercial running for years, and it says, We hire for attitude and we train for skill. So even if you have the skill, what if your attitude is not good? You don't want that person because they're going to cause you more problems than what it's worth. So I actually do a training, one of my three presentations that I did, and it was wall to wall people down in Nashville. I talk about the power of attitude and how attitude is everything, because in sales it's a marathon, not a sprint. And you already said it earlier, Todd, how the sales cycle can be a little longer than it is with somebody walking into a retail location. So you got to be prepared. You got to be prepared for this marathon. So what is that? It's not very often you're going to close this person the first time they walk in or the first time you go out and see them. So are you prepared for that marathon? You know, and attitude has a lot to do with it because a lot of decisions that we make are fueled by our emotions. And if you don't have a strong mindset, if you don't have that mental toughness, if you don't have the ability to go through these ups and downs with a positive mindset, you're not going to last too long in this industry. You got to have a positive mental outlook and approach. I write a motivational tip every week, and a tip that I wrote a while back was titled Your Outlook Impacts Your Outcome. And then in parentheses after outcome, I had income to remind them that your outlook also impact your income. So I always take a positive mental approach to everything. I've got a good friend that took a positive mental approach to this whole Covid thing, retooled his whole business, Todd and Seth. He's making more money now than he did before.

Todd Miller:

:

Good for him.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

In other words, he didn't go, Oh, my God, what do I do? This Covid thing is really shutting me down. Oh, well, I guess I'm done. That's the negative mental outlook. That is not the positive approach.

Seth Heckaman:

:

How do you coach someone up on cultivating that positivity, that outlook you know, for someone who may naturally have a personality that errs the other direction?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Well, it starts with one of the first things I talk about. I talk about seven things. One of those seven things Seth, is outlook. You got to change your view. I give the analogy of, it's not really an analogy, it's true. Because I was a part of a group probably 20 years ago where they used to show the old DVDs. So I'm watching this, I'm watching this facilitator show a 60-second DVD clip, and she asks us to put a hash mark every time we saw this team of people passing the basketball back and forth. So I got my pencil to the paper and I'm focused on this ball with these five people passing this ball. She said, Go. So she started the video. I'm not even looking down at my paper. I'm just putting a hash mark every time that ball is passed. They stop the video. The first question she asked was, How many of you saw the dancing bear? I went, What? I turned to the person on my left. Did you see a dancing bear? No. You see a dancing bear? Nobody around me saw a dancing bear, okay. She replayed the video again. In between the people that were passing this ball was a person dressed up in a bear suit. I mean, not just standing. I'm talking about moving around, dancing inbetween these people. Well, why didn't we see this person the first time around? Because we were focused what? On the ball. Now, there were a couple of people in the audience that did see this person, but they admitted they took their eyes off the what?

Todd Miller:

:

The ball.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yeah. So the whole focus of the exercise was if you're so stuck on negativity, you miss opportunity. So first and foremost is getting to look at that. Sometimes you got to ask yourself the question, I know this is happening, but let's look for the opportunity here. Let's not get stuck. So many people get stuck on the negativity. And let's be real, these things happen. Financial, health, customer scenarios. I mean, we could go on and on about the real life things that come at us day to day that can take our attitude and what? Dash it to the floor instantly. The key is, is to make that a moment and not a lifestyle. How do I take Covid and turn it into an opportunity? How do I take this illness? And you've seen people do that. I saw a kid. Seth, this kid couldn't have been more than 17, 18 years old. He's in a van. I was at the doctor's office for my annual physical. I'm getting out my car in the parking lot. He parked right beside me. The side door slowly opened, a ramp came down. This kid was coming down this ramp with his mouth on a tube operating his wheelchair. He looked over at me, took his mouth off the tube, said with a big smile on his face. Hey, good morning, sir. How's everything going? And I'm thinking myself, man. Everything's great, right? Here's a 17 year old with a big smile on his face, asking me how I'm doing.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Powerful.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah, powerful reminders. I had someone ask me the other day, Well, Todd, aren't you worried about this happening? And they were talking about something in the world. And I said, if I worried about everything I could possibly worry about, I would never accomplish anything positive. So I'm like, No, I'm not worried about that.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yeah. You know, that's the second thing on that list of seven is what you just said Todd. Stress, but I say manage your stress. You can't eliminate your stress, but you can manage your stress. You can exercise, some form of exercise. Spiritual, I mean, we could talk about it all day, we make a list of all the things you can do to manage the things that come at you from life, not just from work. Because now you got work and home coming at you all day long. Okay, so how do you manage that? You can't eliminate it, but you can manage it. I had a person told me years ago, you got to be the duck, you can't be the sponge, you got to be the duck. And I've been sharing that with audiences. I actually had a woman send me a picture of a yellow duck that she has on her desk now. She says, Marvin, I am the duck now. I'm not letting these things bother me. They're rolling off my back.

Todd Miller:

:

That's cool.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Because she said I used to be a sponge. I soak up every situation, negative situation, and you know how sponge is. A sponge can only hold so much water before it starts what? It starts leaking. And the leak that we get ourselves personally is mentally and physically. Doctors will tell you stress is what? It's a killer.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, I hear you. So what advice would you give to someone out there who is maybe thinking about a career in sales? And is there anyone besides yourself that you would suggest they listen to and read and so forth? What advice do you have for folks?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Well, you know what? We've all been given gifts. And I, I always tell people is, do you feel that's your main gift? You know, because if you're not careful, you'll kind of fumble around in your second, third, or fourth gifts and you'll see that all the time. The challenge sometimes is we don't recognize the true gift in ourselves. Other people do, though. Someone recognized the gift in me. I was working on the sales floor selling. I didn't realize that I was also being a good trainer to anybody that started with my company for the first time. Someone named Larry Robinson recognized that gift. So my first position was not Training Director. My first position was training specialists. So as we were growing, Larry would have me go to the new stores and train the new people. I didn't know I had that gift. Someone saw that gift in me, I'm thinking I'm just good at sales. So sometimes you have to listen to the people around you and even ask the question, Do you feel I'm using my gifts? Or like I said, you can do your own self-evaluation self-assessment online with some type in the DISCyou know you would have to pay for. But there's self-assessments that you can do that are free. Just see what your expertise is in because it may not be in sales, it may be in sales in some type of way, but not direct sales, okay? So I always tell people, are you using your true gift? And there's so much out there with technology now you can find out your gift just from your phone, just from your laptop, just from your tablet, you know, or your desktop. You don't have to go far to discover that. But I'll tell you, I love Jeffrey Gitomer, I love Brian Tracy, I love Joe Girard. You know, I love listening to podcasts. I love audiobooks. You know, you can't, you got to continue to improve. That's what, that's self-improvement. Continue to grow. Go watch speakers, go listen to podcasts. But make sure because there's people that are in sales that I've actually pulled aside and said, you know, I don't think this is your gift. I think you're going to be better at this or better at that, because I'm looking at this through a window where they're in it right now. See, when you're in it, sometimes you can't see it. There's people that say, Boy, your son looks just like you. When I see him, I don't see him. I don't see me in him. Other people do. Well, I don't, so. But you can see in others what they can't see in themselves.

Todd Miller:

:

Good advice. Great stuff. So. So find your giftedness and and pursue that.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

And pursue it!

Todd Miller:

:

And use all these tools that are available to you. Fantastic, well, we're getting close to the end of our time. This has been great, so enjoyable. Need to do it again. Before we close out, though, I want to ask you if you are willing to participate in our rapid-fire question around. So this is like seven questions that are going to range, maybe a little bit silly, some serious. All you got to do is give whatever quick answer comes to your mind.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Ok.

Todd Miller:

:

Great, our audience needs to understand. Marvin has no idea what we're going to ask him.

Todd Miller:

:

I sure don't.

Todd Miller:

:

So you're up for it? Okay. You want to alternate questions here?

Seth Heckaman:

:

Sure, let's do it.

Todd Miller:

:

Okay, I can start. Rapid fire questions. Favorite car that you've ever owned?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

I finally got it. Convertible 430, convertible BMW. I've always wanted the convertible, hardtop.

Todd Miller:

:

Awesome.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yep.

Todd Miller:

:

Awesome. Great car. It's funny, I still think back to a Pontiac Grand Prix that my wife owned, which was one of their souped up models. And I've had some cool cars, but that was really a neat one. Okay, next question.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Question number two, what is your favorite thing about someone in your family?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

My favorite thing about someone in my family. Oh, probably one of my favorite things. I have an older son, Chris, who knows how to do all the things that my dad was able to do. I am not a fix-it guy even though I talk to construction people. But I am envious, Seth, or jealous of anybody that can take a piece of wood and make something out of it. If you gave me a piece of wood, it would still be a piece of wood.

Todd Miller:

:

That's a neat skill. Question three, what would you like to be remembered for? Probably not leaving pieces of wood behind, but what would you like to be remembered for?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

I think I'd like to be remembered for really changing the way people look at this whole sales process, because that's my goal, was to change the way you look at sales one person at a time. It's not telling and talking, it's asking and listening. It's becoming that trusted advisor. So any time I'm in front of anybody, if I can get that across, everything else falls into place. If you go into that situation, I call it learning to think in questions. If I can get people to think in questions, that's I feel like I've really provided a great value because that doesn't work just in sales. It works in life and how we should be communicating.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Absolutely. Question number four, if right at this moment, you could snap your fingers and have any food or drink suddenly appear in front of you. What would that be?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

A slice of my mom's lemon meringue pie.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh, my goodness. You answered that quick, too. That's awesome. Question number five, how long does it take you to get around in the morning to be up and ready to go and be productive?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

I got my dad's genes. You know, we had the pleasure of having my dad live with us for about two years. The first night he was at our house. My wife's going, Do you hear something? I said, Yeah, what is that? I don't know. It was like 4:00 in the morning. I get up, you know, throw my robe on, go in there. It's my dad, he's like ding! He went to bed at seven, so I got that quality from my dad. I'm up in the morning, ready to go 5:00, 5:30 at the latest. I'm not one of those people that can sleep in so I'm definitely that morning person. Up and ready, like this morning. Ryan said to me, Marvin you here already? I was waiting for you guys at 8:45. It's self-motivated, self-motivated.

Todd Miller:

:

Awesome.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Do you play any musical instruments?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

No. But one thing that people when people say, what's one known thing that people don't know about you? Well, in 1970, I got a recording contract for a local recording company here. And at the same time, I got drafted. So I didn't go on to be famous like Elvis Presley did when he got drafted. But I don't play, but I do sing. But right now, though, I do sing the choir. We actually have choir practice on Thursday night, so I still dabble at singing.

Todd Miller:

:

Seth is worship leader at his church so he can relate to those Thursday night practices.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Yeah, I was there too last night.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

We're getting ready set for our Easter program. This is really going to be robust because this will be the first year after two years that we're really getting back into the church again. So we're excited about it.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Fantastic.

Todd Miller:

:

Okay. Final Rapid-fire question. I always love this one because it's interesting, I think. Top or bottom half of the bagel, which do you prefer?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Oh, the bottom half.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh, that's interesting.

Seth Heckaman:

:

The first one, besides me.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah, because he's a bottom half guy. I like the top half.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Actually, if we split a bagel, I'm going for the bottom half.

Todd Miller:

:

Man, you and I need to hang out then.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

You get the top, there you go.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, thank you again. This has been a real privilege and pleasure to visit with you. Is there anything we haven't covered today that you'd like to share with our audience?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Well, the only thing that I was going to get to but we moved on to another topic was, oh, I've been working a lot with companies on the importance of followup. Because nobody has a 100% close rate the first time. And what I'm seeing is that we are afraid. We have that fear that we don't want to come across as being pushy. So we're waiting for the customer to call us back. We're waiting for them to get back to you. Before you left, you didn't set up a concrete follow up plan. You get back in and the sales manager says, How did it go? Oh, it went well. Well, what's the next step? Well, Todd said he's going to get back with me in two weeks. Well, good luck with that. I should be able to tell my sales manager, Seth, it went well. We're scheduled for the follow up tomorrow evening at 6:00 on a Zoom call with him and his wife. That's follow up. But I'm not seeing that definitive follow up when I talk with salespeople about something they didn't close.

Todd Miller:

:

That's great, great ending advice, that's for sure, for anyone out there. Because you're right, no one is 100% first time in. And but it's all about that no or a...

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Not now.

Todd Miller:

:

You know, in not now, but here's the plan. Here's where we're going to go. Good stuff. Well, so folks who might want to get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that?

Marvin Montgomery:

:

I'll take either one. Salesdoctor@marvinmontgomery.com, salesdoctor@marvinmontgomery.com or my phone number direct dial comes right to me, 216-509-0281, 216-509-0281.

Todd Miller:

:

Fantastic. Well, I certainly hope that we have some folks reach out to you and and your website marvinmontgomery.com is fantastic. I've spent some time on there, so.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Yeah if they go there, they can get everything.

Marvin Montgomery:

:

Todd Miller: Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you again for joining with us today. We've really enjoyed this. I want to thank our audience for tuning in to this episode of Construction Disruption with Marvin Montgomery, the Sales Doctor. Yeah, man, you don't have to, just as we saw today, you don't have to spend very much time with him at all to begin to feel Marvinized, get Marvinized. And I love it on the wall there behind you. So we encourage you check him out at marvinmontgomery.com and please of course watch for future episodes of Construction Disruption. We have more great guests on tap. Don't forget to leave a review on Apple Podcasts or YouTube. Until then, as I always say, change the world for someone, make them smile, encourage them. Powerful things that we can do to change the world out there one interaction at a time. God bless, take care. This is Isaiah Industries signing off until the next episode of Construction Disruption.