How to Igniting Sales In Your WordPress Service or Plugin Business
With over 20 years of experience in leading tech sales success with businesses all the way from startups to FTSE 100 giants, Victoria delivers repeatable sales success for all of our clients. And the great thing is, she even makes it fun!
Intro: Welcome to the WP tonic podcast where each week Jonathan and his co-host interview, the leading experts in WordPress, e-learning, and online marketing. Jonathan, take it away. Jonathan Denwood: Welcome back folks to the WP tonic show its episode 611. I know I regularly say this, but I have been really looking forward to this interview. We got Victoria Fleming with us Victoria is the founder of Buzztastic. Yes, Victoria, I slip there to say she’s a software sales expert would be an understatement she’s got over 20 years experience of working with some of the largest tech companies in the world. plus she’s been actively consulting with medium and small companies. I thought she was the right lady to give her wisdom and insight when it comes to sales. So we’ll be delving into all the processes, all the problems that you might have around got sales.
I’ve also got my great co-host Steven with me, Steven, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers.
Yeah, Steven Sauder from zip fish.io we make my press fast by optimizing the code that runs WordPress and the code that runs the servers.
Jonathan Denwood: That’s great. And before we go into this great interview with Victoria, I just want to talk about our major sponsor and that’s Castos. if you’re looking to get into podcasting, you need somewhere to host your audio files plus to produce the RSS feed and a host of other things. I was using another platform for about five years, about six to seven months ago I moved over to Castos. Matt Medeiros of the Matt Report podcast had just become their marketing and sales director. You know, he’s a great friend of the show and I decided if Matt was going to head it I should look at their product and I decided to jump ship and I have been delighted to join them. It’s a great interface, really simple to use. They’re about half the price of the previous, platform I was using. And they’ve just been tremendously supportive in the process of moving over 700 podcasts to their platform. Yes, I do two podcasts.
I suggest you go over there, have a look, what they got off, all the links are in the show notes. If you’re looking to get into podcasting for yourself or for clients, have a look at what they offer, I would use them. If you do please tell them that you heard about them on this podcast, it really supports the show. So Victoria let’s go straight into it. you said before we went to life, that everything seems to have woken up. Everybody is jumping with joy that the pandemic seems to be in the back mirror to some extent. And they’re looking for sales what are your insights about, you know, what you should know and some, maybe a key way people look at sales that are incorrect. Is that a good start, Victoria?
Victoria Fleming: Yeah, of course, it is It’s talking about sales. So that’s always a good start. You know, it’s a really interesting time, across the UK, and we’re in the middle of opening back up, which is fantastic because we are so excited to see people. So I’m sure across and in the US, I know you’ve had different approaches in different areas, but I think we can all just appreciate how nice it is to get back out and about both personal and business. So, and I actually, I think one of the big misconceptions about sales, so that is my little link because I think one of the big misconceptions about sales is this quite antisocial role almost, you know, nobody likes salespeople.
Jonathan Denwood: You seem very antisocial Victoria.
Victoria Fleming: Exactly this is the whole point. That’s the misconception. Actually, most of the best salespeople I know are just real relationship people and they love having conversations and building relationships they love talking to people. so I really excited about being able to go out and do that face to face a bit more, again, work, you know, face to face and the teams that I work with. But I think that the big misconception that salespeople are bad, evil, horrible people has been the biggest limit on people’s success. Because I think especially the smaller businesses people think, well, I don’t want to sell cause that’s horrible, that’s going to make me a bad person. Like if I do that, I’m going to be that horrible person that’s in my head that I’ve seen on the TV, you know, sort of in the films and stuff like that I’m going to be that like rotten person.
And that really holds back people’s businesses when really being able to sell is just about having great conversations with a purpose. And it’s just that having a great conversation, having a great relationship with the purpose of sharing more about your business and maybe opening up an opportunity and then asking for it. So yeah, I think that to join up the pandemic and the biggest problems, that one.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. I totally agree with my own business. we use inbound marketing to generate, interest in our product and service. So we use inbound articles, and SEO, in a traditional online software for service model. But my main objective when they come to the WP tonic website is for them to book a zoom with us. And I normally take all those zooms, fundamentally, it’s a sales call, but, what I try and produce during the call, even if they don’t purchase straight away, a WP tonic service is they get some value from the call, is that I think that’s the right attitude. What do you think Victoria?
Victoria Fleming: Like a hundred percent. And in fact, I don’t, if you want to speak with me and you don’t book a sales call, you don’t book a discovery call you to book a conversation. And that’s because I always say you spent a bit of time with me and you are going to have at least one, [Inaudible 06:49] on that call. But of course, I’m always hoping for two [Inaudible 06:52] moments because I want the [Inaudible 06:55] moments where people get a quick win. and I want [Inaudible 06:57] where they realized that they need to work with me. But I always because you recant conversations. Cause literally I will get going off the call, just got going. That was like, awesome. Like if you say I’ve got a bit of value, I’ve got something actionable. And I actually, you know what, I could totally work with that person. We could do something great together. So I agree with that so much. I even renamed my discovery calls. [Inaudible 07:22]
Jonathan Denwood: Over to you Steven.
Steven Sauder: That’s awesome I love that name. You were saying just a little bit ago about how sales are about relationships and stuff. I also hear from a different side saying that sales are all about process and automate everything and you know, get people in this funnel and then work them down the funnel. And to me, that feels like it’s at odds with this relationship because like you can’t a relationship you can’t, automate or at least I haven’t figured out how do you automate a relationship? Because a true relationship has so many variables. Like you can’t adjust fast enough. You have every person’s unique and individual kind of have, they have their own problems, their own use cases during the things that you have to speak into. how do you balance that you think you should balance it, are people too far in the automation world? Are they not far enough? What’s your perspective on that?
Victoria Fleming: This is a huge challenge as well because I think on one side you’ve got like fairly low-ticket items. Like you can’t afford to invest loads of time and those types of sales. So, you know, you need more like a restructured funnel, you know, it’s going to automate and do all the [Inaudible 08:32]. on the other hand, you’ve got like really high-ticket items where it does need to be like a one-on-one conversation or one too many conversations for you to progress that. I think that was really interesting in this day and age though is because there’s, there’s more room in the middle. And what I mean by that is I think that even with that we automated approach, which I’ve got to be honest. I think some people hide behind. So people automate things that don’t need to be, and shouldn’t be automated because they don’t want to have a conversation Because they’re scared.
So, if that’s the reason you’ve got a re-automated funnel, then you’re probably losing business because of that. But I think it’s about being smart. So even right, at the other end of the scale, you know, you do have to automate all the way through that. I think what’s getting to be really important for people is personalization. I also think that just because you can’t have loads of ongoing conversations with people and lots of face-to-face doesn’t mean that you can’t have instigated some sort of a conversation. I know someone actually who sells really low ticket-based software stuff. but what they do is every day they hop on into the chatbots and everything. And actually, they take over from the chatbot and they literally just take over on the side, hey, I’m just taken over by, you know, on the chatbot. It’s actually me. I just want to say hello, how are you finding the site?
So that hour a day investment, normally they do a good couple of dozen, but two interesting things about that hour. 1 is that those people that are talked to like one-to-one the conversion rate on those people goes right up because of course [Inaudible 10:11] the second thing about it is though the actual overall lifetime value of those customers is coming out as much higher. And it’s because those buyers not only bought in, they feel a more personal connection to the business and the product. So I think this is where I’m all about like thinking about how can you be innovative? How can you do something different? And yeah, you can’t go and talk to every single person who’s going to spend 10 pounds a month on a product. I get that. But like, what could you do? What could you do to impact? Because the other thing that’s interesting is people talk so even if someone doesn’t buy, they talk about, O M G. I had the [Inaudible 10:51] talking to me, you know, they just had done this or they’ve just done that because he purposely keeps it super personal purposely to show that it really isn’t a bot. I think it’s an interesting one. I think it’s about being a much in that middle ground, you know?
Steven Sauder: Yeah. Kind of like mixing that automation with maybe moments of personal interaction, because then the automation gets kicked off later on down the road, right. To that person. Sure. Maybe they know it’s an automation that’s going on, but they still have that personal connection or affinity for that company from the previous, you know, a couple of times ago or whatever that they had that personal interaction.
Steven Sauder: Yeah So I definitely think it’s a place that is trying to work out how to make it happen, you know, and being, clever, because the other thing is as well, I think that you as an owner or, somebody who owns a business, someone who is scaling a business, you know, whatever you’re doing, the biggest challenges that you get so absorbed into the stuff and the sales automation works to whatever level that you start to get removed from actually your front line customers and prospects, and that in itself can actually be dangerous. So having that small amount of time every day to interact with people who make on the website or who are in your funnel or whatever it might be, can be really invaluable to your business, as well as to your actual sales process and sales cycle.
Steven Sauder: If I was like, just for the sake of argument, I was like a person that hated sales and like, I just want to hide behind my keyboard all day and just work on my product. Like I love my product I built an awesome SAS product. No one’s buying it because I’m not doing any sales. Can you hire a salesperson? Like, does that work, or does the person who likes, if you’re a founder you’re just starting off, do that founder have to figure out how to get out of their shell to do the sales?
Victoria Fleming: This is such a great question. So I deal quite a lot with founders who are in exactly that situation. I was recently doing some work with Stolberg boost, which is now funded boost, around exactly this. And it was all with the founders involved that, so I think the first thing is does a founder have to sell and you know what, and this is going to sound terrible, but I think if nothing else you should try. And the reason for that is because actually nobody cares about your product more than you, nobody in the world. And actually, that passion and enthusiasm for your product will really help to carry you there even if you feel uncomfortable about it and the reason you should try and sell it is that if you have never sold this product before, then you don’t know how to do it. And if you don’t know how to do it, and you try and outsource that, you’re trying to employ someone. Then the one thing that every salesperson out there can do is they can sell themselves.
So you are going to be paying a big salary for somebody for however long you put up with them to potentially not be able to work out how to sell the bloody products. At which point in time you invested all that money. You still don’t know how to sell the product. You’ve invested in them now not knowing how to sell the product either. And you still got no money coming in. So I understand people are like desperate, like outsourcing, but I really push people like give it a go. You’re the best person to talk about this product. I mean, after all, if you’re going to go and pitch to a group of investors, you would, of course, do it. Well, that sales it’s absolutely sales. So it’s just a little bit of a different angle. And I also think again, as the founder, as the leader you’ve got this beautiful thing that you’ve put together, taking that out into the world and getting people to say, that’s great. I love it. But because there’s always the B-word, I love it but I would definitely buy it but that’s really important valuable feedback for you as well. And Steven if you are hiding behind a keyboard [Inaudible 14:57].
Jonathan Denwood: We need to go for our break Victoria. It’s been a fantastic first half. we’re looking forward to the second half We’ll be back in a few moments.
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Jonathan Denwood: We are coming back, we got Victoria Fleming with us to say that she’s a sales expert is a slight understatement. we’ve had a great discussion in the first half. I’m sure the second half is just going to be a blast as well. So Victoria, I know two words that will induce a cold sweat into business owners, and that’s called cold calling. If there’s anything that can induce panic and fear in a business owner. I don’t do cold calling, but I do what I call warm calling. you probably know what I’m talking about. What does the difference mean to you? And maybe you can explain the difference between cold calling and warm calling.
Victoria Fleming: Okay. So, certainly, I can talk to you a bit about it because I actually have been involved with businesses who do both and I definitely, won’t call for my business. I don’t col call, but there’s a reason for that. so cold call, actually, I’ll tell you, I will describe a cold call experience because in my first ever sales job, I was young and impressionable. I was keen to impress and I turned up my very first sales job and it was ringing people on an evening to sell them [Inaudible 18:25]. Literally, that was what it was. That was my first sales job. So, what that meant was, we went to the stream, we sat down at a desk and it was back when, you know, you have the phone, like actually on the cord. I am that old. Okay. So we had the phone on the cord and they ripped out the page of like the literally local directory with all the phone numbers. And they gave us a script and it was horrendous.
So you’d ring up and say, oh, hello, who I’m speaking to, I mean we all have these [Inaudible 19:03] complete cold calling that really is the definition of cold calling. It meant that we didn’t know who they were. We knew nothing about them we are randomly ringing people and just going fingers cross. If we ring enough people, somebody might actually say, I’m vaguely interested in your product or service. I hated it. I managed all night and I didn’t go back. I didn’t even go back to pick up my wages or anything else I’m just so done with that. It made me feel dirty. it was terrible, but this is the impression that people have sometimes a sale [Inaudible 19:37]
That really, to me is cold calling in the moment you do still see some of it quite often on, auto-dialers you get that little blank silence before the phone, somebody kicks in and you know, you’re on an autodialer and that is literally exactly the same thing. It’s exactly the same thing when you automate it. I’m sure there are some businesses that if they’re making that work to me, you know, you’ve got a very low hit rate. I think people are highly irritated by a lot of these now. And so you’re not necessarily building that relationship you were talking about earlier.
Jonathan Denwood: Sorry to interrupt Victoria. I think I’m not unusual, when I have a client or anybody that I’m going to take a voice message from, I put some in my smartphone and any call that comes to me. That’s not from a direct business number that I only use on the website. If it doesn’t come from that they are either using my personal mobile number and it’s not on my list, it doesn’t get answered. If they can’t be bothered to leave a voice message, it doesn’t get an answer. and then every day I block all the people. I’m not even sure cold calling works in any shape or form cause I’m sure most people do what I do.
Victoria Fleming: I don’t know what you do, Jonathan. So what do you do? Tell me what you do and then I’ll tell you if I do the same,
Jonathan Denwood: Well, if it’s anybody that’s important, they go on my contact list on my iPhone. So they have identified straight away when they call me, if they’re not on the list I’m not going to pick up. And if they can’t be bothered to leave a voice message I just presume they’re a cold caller. And then, they get blocked. so, that’s how it works and I’m sure it’s no different with anybody else.
Victoria Fleming: So, yeah, so I am not going to make those phone calls for my business. I don’t think they’re going to do my reputation much good. And, I also think that, as I said, people are very tired of them. Say, I’m like you, I follow a warm call strategy. And, that means that by the time I ring and somebody picks up the phone and I say my name, they know who I am and there are various different ways that I do that. I’m quite active on LinkedIn. what I do is I just LinkedIn flirting. So I flirt on LinkedIn. [Inaudible22:16]
Jonathan Denwood: You wouldn’t dare do that would you, Victoria? Flirt on LinkedIn?
Steven Sauder: I go on their profile so they can see I’ve gone on their profile. And then two days later, I check to see if they come on my profile because like I’ve winked at them if they come on my profile would have winked back, all right, then I’ll go to, and I’ll send a nice little connection request with a message. That’s like on Wednesday. And then between that, and the beginning of the next week, I’ll generally try to post a comment or start some sort of conversation just around the stuff that, they are interested in so that when I ring them on Monday I’ll go Oh it’s Victoria we’re talking on LinkedIn and they go, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, brilliant. Okay. So now we’re starting the conversation.
The trick of that of course, is you have to do it relatively quickly because everyone’s busy. So it’s that whole thing that you need to do it quickly enough that you’re top of mind. So that’s one way that I do it. And I also do face-to-face networking events as well. It’s obviously a great way to actually build your contact list. But of course, the key thing is, is once you’re going to pick the phone up, they’re going to take the call because they recognized your name. But what you say next is going to be really important because they recognize your name, but they’re going to give you 30 seconds. Why are you ringing me? What’s this about? So in that first 30 seconds, I think the really important thing is to [Inaudible 23:41] your call. And this is what people quite often don’t do. And because to me, the very first sentence really needs to be, you know, once you sort of say who you are, has got to be a great reason why they should invest the next couple of minutes in talking to you and it should have something in it for them, some point of values. This goes back to what you were saying, Jonathan, really before, where’s the point of value.
Jonathan Denwood: Over to you, Steven.
Steven Sauder: When you’re starting to like, look at your sales process, right? Like I need more sales. Where, where should I start? Kind of like, I think that’s something like, people are like, oh, I need more sales. What, what do I do now? Like start cold calling, start emailing, start Google ads spending is everything. There are, just so many different ways to sell the day. And there are so many people out there trying to get you to use their service or their system to help you sell, right? Like buy a list for me or run an ad over here or come be a part of my networking group or whatever. Like where, how do you even get going? How do you get out behind your keyboard and start that process?
Victoria Fleming: Do you mean what should you do next Steven? is that like, actually the question.
Steven Sauder: Yea the actual question is alright so you’ve convinced me that I need to get out from my keyboard and I need to start selling, but what do I do?
Victoria Fleming: Okay. So the first thing that you need to do is you need to look at what you’ve already got. Okay. And I think that’s really important because you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Like, what have you got already? So are you already running marketing campaigns or they deliver leads? And is the problem then what happens next or is the problem that you’re running the marketing campaign, not getting any leads. So the first thing is, look at what you’ve already got because there’s literally no point in reinventing the wheel. If you’ve already got something that’s actually delivering, you know, inquiries to you, because actually, it sounds like that if you’re getting inquiries it’s just what happens next. So the first thing is, look at what you’ve got and I go through and rate every one of those things, on like a scale of one to 10, just because that’s a really sensible way to just say, well, this is like giving me a return. This really isn’t, you know, what’s the problem with turning that now into a sale. So I think that’s the first thing don’t like, start from scratch if you don’t need to.
The second thing is, is to think, okay, so what is the point at which, and I’m going to actually get that customer across the line, like, you know, when are they going to do that? Are they going to do it on the website or they’re going to do it on a call or they going to do a face-to-face meeting? Like, what is the sale point? And again, that’s really helpful because if, for example you know, you need a face-to-face to me in order to sell a level of, you know, money that you’re asking for the value that you’re asking for. Then actually you need to start there and work backward because then you need to think, okay, well, how do I get someone to the meeting? How would I do that? Well, I need to ask them, okay. So how would I get the opportunity to ask them?, well, I would need to be connected to them. I think you have the conversation.
So you can almost start to work backward. If it’s a case where that purchase is going to be a click on a website, you know, a clicky button, you know, then again, it’s the same thing, work backward. How are people actually going to get to that point? And I think between those two points, that’s quite often where you find you’ve got the problem. So you think this is how they are going to buy, and this is where they go to buy. And this is what’s working on my marketing bit. Oh yeah. Haven’t really sorted out that bit in the middle. I don’t know if this is ringing any bells with you, Steven.
Steven Sauder: Yeah. Oh yeah, of course. Like it’s, it’s that part in the middle, right? It’s one thing to make a connection with the customer. It’s how do you get that connection into a sale, right? How do you get that click into a sale? And that’s like, what you’re saying, we’re all that, that nuance is probably depending on like what your product is and stuff, but, that’s really where the rubber hits the road and where like things actually matter and make a difference in how you handle that and how you transition that, which I guess is kind of similar to what people are talking about with funnels. But, in this context, we’re talking more about relationships. Like, where are you as a person as that person? I mean, funnels probably play a role in that as well, but there’s also this relationship aspect.
Victoria Fleming: And I think, especially for founders, so quite often what I tell founder sellers to do, and because they’re worried about it and they’re not really sure what’s going to happen. And they are getting a bit nervous of getting out from behind the keyboard now speak to that and how it speaks to them and then never sold the product. So what’s going to work, what isn’t. One of the top tips that I sort of say, this is what we’re going to do. And so what we do is, you know, people are lists and all this that we come up with something, which is a bit of a hand raiser. It says, yes, I’ve got this problem. So that might be a click-through, or it might be a download or it might be whatever. but then as part of that, what that’s basically said is yes, I have this problem, which is always really helpful. It’s a marketing thing.
But then the next thing that we then do is follow up with a personal email from the founder. And that email actually says I really appreciate you downloaded our thing. And you know, I was really interested in your feedback on what you thought about it. And I’m actually picking up with a few of our prospects or a few of our clients are a few people around what they thought of it because obviously, I want to get an internal view. So I would love your help. Have you got five minutes just to give me your feedback on what you thought of that? now also lovely about that is there are a few things you’ve done there asking for help is wonderful. because we are human beings, we want to help each other. We want to help people 99.97 want to help. So as soon as you say, can you help me? That’s really nice.
The second thing is, is because [Inaudible 29:35] like the CEO or the director, you know, I’m a senior person. People see that as not such a sales thing, it’s more like a genuine thing where you want an insight into your business. so people will also be a bit flattered about that. You know, you want their insight, you want their thoughts about it. So at that point in time, people will, we’ll hop on a call with you. And that’s great because you can literally start with, so what did you think of it? Does it make sense? Oh, that’s really interesting. What exactly is the problem you’re having at the moment what’s really helpful is if you’ve not sold before, that is getting you into non-sales open discussion aimed around the problem that you actually solved. So you’ve got the right people in front of you. You can then just have a lovely chat with them. And then on the back of that, you can make an offer. So it doesn’t feel like a sales thing at all, but you will learn so much. So that would [Inaudible 30:33]
Jonathan Denwood: That’s great Victoria we are going to have to wrap up the podcast, the show, hopefully, Victoria is okay to continue the discussion for about 10, 15 minutes, which we call bonus content, which you can watch the whole interview on the WP tonic, YouTube channel. we have a lot of extra content on there. You definitely want to join that. also, I want to talk about another group before we wrap it up. I want to talk about another great sponsor that’s a Peachway buy. If you’re looking to set up a quick payment gateway for a client, you really want to look at the Peachway in about five minutes, you can have a really great professional shopping cart, up and running with Peachway it works with woo commerce. But takes all the, all the heavy lifting out of your hands and for your clients. You’ll find the link in the show notes. I highly recommend that you look at Peachway. So Victoria, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and your words, words of wisdom
Victoria Fleming: They should. Of course, come. And look at me on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. LinkedIn is my friend. So come and find me on LinkedIn. I’m sure we can drop a link in the comments you can, course going to have it on the website as well, but I don’t have a chatbot I’m afraid. So if you want to chat with me, come on LinkedIn and drop me a message because I’m a bit chatty
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. You are friendly Steven, what’s the best way to find out more about you and what you up to Steven.
Steven Sauder: Head over to Zipfish.io to run a speed test to see how much faster your website can be.
Jonathan Denwood: We’re going to wrap up the podcast, but also do two things that will really support the show folks. If you can go over to iTunes podcast player, whatever they’ve renamed it, they seem to be renaming their podcast platform every three days literally, go over and leave us a review it really does help the show and certainly join our Facebook, group. it’s the WP tonic mastermind all the panels for my round table show, including Steven got any questions about WordPress and business or WordPress in general like I said all the panels, are admin, they will help you. And it’s just a great place to have a conversation about WordPress, WordPress business, the whole area. So please join that. We’ll be back next week with another great guest like Victoria. We’ll see you soon. And please remember to go over to the YouTube channel and watch the bonus content of this interview.
outro: Thanks for listening to the WP tonic podcast. The podcast that gives you a dose of WordPress medicine twice a week.
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