Think you’re focusing on the right things when it comes to selling your product or service? Chances are, you’re not. Scott Stratten, co-author of UnSelling, is here to tell you what you’re doing all wrong, and how to fix it.

Tod: So, reading through the book, one of the things that struck me is just how obsessively focused people in sales are and sale managers and VP’s on transactions and not what leads up to that transaction. Is that where get people hang up, is that where doing wrong?

Scott Stratten: Yeah, I think that we say it, people have kind of funnel vision. So, it very very small and short and — my background is a National Sales Training Manager in a B2B world. So, I know that, these transactions aren’t like a bag of chips, like, they’re a large sum, large amount or revenue transactions. So, you could sell — you’d have twelve transactions in a year that makes your year. But the thing is though, what we do is, I found that people would sell and finally get to sell, they got the sign on the dotted line and they’d be on to the next one. And then once you became an actual customer especially, a businesses who you have repeat buying or a contract renewal or a service based business. We kind of take them for granted after they’re sold and we’d be running of to the next one, the next trade show, the next speaking gig to try to get more clients. And then our service, our follow up, our repeat sales would be kind of lackluster compared to how would we doing — it’s like courting somebody ’cause you want to date them. We try really hard until we’ve got them in a relationship.

And once, we sign on the facebook relationship dotted line, we don’t try as hard and I think that’s a mistake, and I think that not only do we have — we discredit the reapy bind. We also discredit or we give too much credit to the facts that the last transaction or the last action transaction, meaning, you and I are both analytic guys, we know, we see the data, we see what works, what comes in the problem, we look at the last thing, as an example. If I get book for a keynote, I can see and says, “Well, somebody clicked on — they searched under a Scott Stratten or Unmarketing Keynote.” So, we should do a lot of our SCO to make sure we’re heavy in those terms. But in reality, they actually saw a youtube video of a keynote a month ago or their sister sent them…like the, it’s the actual true story. Their sister sent them a link saying, “You gotta check this guy’s QR code rent out.” and sent it to him and then he searched it so it’s actually the youtube clip that was more important than necessarily the ranking of Unmarketing Keynote but we give credit that last action. And that’s — it’s like the guy in football, it’s the guy who vouchers the touchdown. You run ninety five yards in the bigger giant ball bag it’s to break through the touchdown, he gets the credit for. We got to be careful with that.

Tod Maffin: Well but surely, the solution isn’t bigger tool, better systems, more expensive budgets for IT. I mean, these tools that exist that the plot it all the way along the sales cycle. You clicked here then here, then watch something on Wistia, then you went there. Those tools exist already so, what are we doing wrong? We’re not capturing all of those? We’re just capturing the first, the last one.

Scott Stratten: Well, I just think that sometimes we give, — I love digital. I loved the digital — we called the paper trail of what happened online and how you got there. But sometimes things also happen that’s not digital. And one of the way, especially in the B2B world, it’s very hard on the consumer base thing, were have maybe a thousand transactions in a day but asking people in a service base business or B2B sense that, “So, what brought you here? Why did you finally decide to buy?” We actually don’t ask that very much. My mechanic ask that, my first time walking in the dealership sometimes they’ll say, “How did you hear about us?” Well, we don’t do that a lot in B2B sense. “What made you purchase?” It’s just — I’m not talking about looking at analytic necessarily. I’ve been offline and online say, “What made you come down this road?”,” Well, actually Scott, I actually read an article in this industry magazine that mentioned your book and then I bought your book. And then two months later, I actually ended up talking so somebody else they sent me to your youtube.” So, you see, there’s a — this kind of literally a paper trail of online stuff that we can kind of go back, it kind of ducts in and out of digital. It’s not always as a clear path as we may think it is.

Tod Maffin: Sometimes, the way to capture that, is remarkable low tech as well. We work with my company with a retailer, more the retailer just one shop, essentially. And they’re, ” I don’t know how many capture this and put it into a system and a CRM.” and I’m like, “You don’t need to do that.” So, we’ve printed up a piece of paper that we taped to the front desk when ever the receptionist had someone they would say, “How did you hear about this?” The receptionist would literally write it down on the piece of paper.

Scott Stratten: Yeah, it doesn’t have to be all new school stuff, it’s okay to — and if you want to keeps on top of it and have a CRM system, they have a field you entering yourself. Like we, people are still human and we don’t always — we followed certain generic logical patterns but there’s always this little twigs to it. And I always find it interest. That’s why I like to ask people, when we do a gig, “How did you…?” I find it fascinating “How did you came up and end up deciding to spent this chunk of a budget on me.” And I want to know because you don’t realized it sometimes because, here’s the interesting part, we never ever have the data on the people who don’t buy. When it comes — like, meaning, “Why didn’t they?” We see the fact that one to two percent of people who would get out sales, readers sales, news letter page won’t but, I’m sorry will buy but we never really find out why the ninety eight or ninety nine percent never did. “Did something turn them off? Did something… Did they get distracted? Did they have seventeen windows open? Did skype popped up?” That to me, is were I actually find more fascinating side of things. “Why didn’t you? Was it a tweet, I sent last week that I said about a politician that turned you off for me? Is it my hair?” These are actually legit reasons not to hired Scott. It’s like, “Is it a facial hair thing? Is it a Canadian thing?” Not necessarily, I’m going to change those things but it’s interesting that we actually never usually find out those things because we don’t have a chance to do the exit interview. We could do that with current client. They don’t come back but we never find out from the general public but “Why? Why didn’t you buy?” that’s actually more valuable to me than “Why they did?”

Tod Maffin: Allow me to play devils advocate for a second on the concept on the traditional funnel, you’ve got sort of your sales, your conversions all that kind of deal. What is wrong with the funnel. I don’t mean this to be goofy, is it the shape, like I mean is it literally the process is wrong? Why are we doing it all wrong when it comes to using that funnel to filter down into sales?

Scott Stratten: Well, I think there’s two problem. One is that we think the funnel isn’t what actually is, that I think as a classical sales and marketing guy that to me a funnel, is where you, as a vendor you control the contact. Once, I’m in your funnel that means you can email me or maybe it’s a phone call or mailing address and I can send direct mail to — whatever that is, I have control of the actual information of that target, of that lead. And the problem is, now a days we have all these people coming out here and say, Well actually, the new funnel includes social media. So, if you get amount of tweeter followers or facebook like or whatever contact then, “HA HA” , you’re now also, it’s the new funnel. And I don’t think that’s true. I think that because I control the contact in a classical funnel. So, if I send an email it’s reactive communication, meaning the receiver has to decide to delete it, to read it, to reply to it or not to. Just to file it away and never go back to it later. Same thing with a letter sent to my home, same thing with the phone call. The difference is, in social if I follow a brand or lead follows me on tweeter and send them a tweet, they don’t have to decide whether they’re not going to read it. It goes away, it goes away in the Ether of the internet, that if I’m not online and that ten minutes that I sent them the tweet I’ll never see it. There’s no, yes or no, reply, delete. And so to me social is actually a social sieve. If you’re going to talk funnel terms, I mean , I don’t want to talk utensils and things. It’s a social sieve that it just leaks all the live long day and it goes out the sides. And so, I love social, you know I love social.

Tod Maffin: Yeah.

Scott Stratten: If it wasn’t for Justine Bieber I’d be the most popular Canadian on tweeter. I get it, I love it but I love it for what it is. It’s a communication tool, a customer service tool and a potential connection tool but it’s not a good funnel type of thing. And the second problem is that in a B2B sense, there’s a lot of studies out there from smarter people that say, “Sixty percent of the percent decision in B to B settings is made before they get in to the actual funnel of yours.” So, there’s actually a sales cloud floating around of content, this is were content marketing company comes into play. Content, peer reviews, industry articles, anything like it could be a yell preview, it could be a video but it’s out there in the cloud, if we’re speaking cloud terms now a days and it floats out there. Now, you can create content to go in there but it’s not part of your funnel. If I read a blog post, if I read your blog post in your company website, I’m not in your funnel yet. You want me to take that next step so that’s why we have like white papers and you only could access to them if you give them your email. That white paper is now part of the funnel.

Tod Maffin: Yeah.

Scott Stratten: But if it’s just a white paper that’s has a pdf download that has a call to action in the pdf but not before, that’s not part of the actual funnel to me.

Tod Maffin: One of the most telling part, I thought of the book was in your section on funnel vision. Which is quite early in the book actually, you’ve got turn it model the description or visual image of a funnel. And then, you’ve realized you kind of, you sort of spread it out, you’ve got the cloud in the middle with that social media blogs, white papers were the most that kind of stuff. And you’ve drawn funnels all around those, with leads and resources both coming in and going out. When you first look at it, you think, “Oh my god! I’m going to have aneurysm just looking at this thing.” but it’s true in many ways, it’s not that single funnel, it’s all of these different things. Tell me at the, this may not be the week to talk about Teddy bears in Canada but tell me about Joshie.

Scott Stratten: Well, Joshie is a great example of a story that goes into a sales cloud and carries beyond the brand reach itself and Joshie is the story I’ve opened with almost every talked with and we opened the book with it because it’s jut so perfect that the Hern Family stay with the Ritz Carlton in Amelia Island in Florida. And the kid left Joshie its his stuff giraffe in the room. He forgot it. He got rolled up in the sheets and they returned home and they lost him and every parent knows he freak out. The kid will freak out it’s his favorite thing, it’s his security blanket like a better term. And so, the Ritz Carlton follows them up because they found Joshie and not only did they find Joshie, because the father told the kid, ” Joshie is not here because he’s on his extended vacation and he’ll be home soon.” And not only said Joshie back over night, not charged the family for. They also sent back photos of Joshie on an extended vacation. he’s on, he’s getting a massage, he’s by the pool, he’s meeting new friends at the bar, he’s golfing so they went above and beyond. And that’s were, obviously, the father react and said, “Holy crap!” He changed his pants then he went and wrote a blog post and authorized all the original one and then every shares it. Here is really the key and the moral of the story is that, his brand and his marketors were always talking about story telling and how do we tell a stories. Well, it’s not our job to tell a story. It’s our job to create the content and let our customers and our client tell those stories. They didn’t sent the package back with Joshie and the letter and the photos and say please blog about this.

Tod Maffin: Right.

Scott Stratten: Please tweet about this. Here’s a tweeter handle. They did it because it was awesome and it was a good thing to do. And sure enough of course, he might tell the story. And he it went bananas but because it was great story. And that’s the point that I’ve been doing word of mouth and viral marketing for the better part of two decades and the only thing I’ve ever learned in the whole time, is that people share emotion. That’s all we do, we share, you evoked emotion we share. Now, that evoke could be good or bad, but we share it and that’s why I still share it. I tell people in the audience when I actually share the photos of the early in the book, were the photos to Joshie going through all the things. People are they either laugh, or they say, “Ahh.” and the person setting beside you has no smile on there face right now. Change tables because they have no soul, it’s a soul test. It’s just a great story and here’s the key I’m telling the story around the world, the best part of that, is that it didn’t happened to me.

Tod Maffin: Yeah.

Scott Stratten: That’s the amazing part. I felt so amazing about this story and it didn’t even happen to me.

Tod Maffin: And also, think about from the perspective of the person, the employee at Ritz Carlton who got to spent an hour taking this teddy bear around. It’s almost an HR story in a ways. Well, you expected from the brand of Ritz Carlton. And I think were might be even more powerful is that the okay tires of the world, were they’re not, I mean I’m not to say that who cares not known for good service, they’re great service but Ritz Carlton has this sort of ethos that will do everything for our customer and in the hospitality space. Let me ask you this, actually, I have to tell you this story. You may have heard of this. It’s the opposite example of emotion spreading. There’s a college student in Tempe, Arizona number of years back. Under grad, struggling, living in a kind of shacky of an apartment, has no furniture as we all did when we move out and went to school and in the alley behind his apartment he sees this dumpster, in the dumpster about thirty or forty FedEx boxes or shipping boxes need to thrown out.

Scott Sratten: Oh yes.

Tod Maffin: So he takes them home and he builds furniture out of it and I’m talking couches, tables and he takes photograph. He’s so proud of it, it’s literally just duct tape and FedEx boxes. He takes a photo of him laying across and he’s not a small guy. He posted up to his blog and FedEx, sends him a season assist.

Scott Stratten: Ah, God.

Tod Maffin: But here’s six…Now, Scott think about when if you see this, 220 lbs. guy or whatever lying on the couch made entirely out of FedEx boxes. What does that tell you about FedEx boxes?

Scott Stratten: They’re strong as hell.

Tod Maffin: They’re strong as hell. This was the story, FedEx should have sent him a hundred boxes.

Scott Stratten: FedEx should have sent him an entire furniture set.

Tod Maffin: Yeah.

Scott Stratten: And a shirt and saying, “Thank you for proving that our boxes are strong.” And dude, how much mileage would they have got if they just sent him a new set of furniture or a gift card or saying, “Go on a shopping spree on us.” And teamed up with the retailer. How many retail partner does FedEx have? FedEx could have gone, “Hey, IKEA you want to maybe go together on this and help and make this guy’s day?” Because we already has, we already went viral. The article goes…

Tod Maffin: Oh, yeah.

Scott Stratten: They’re already go nuts, right? It’s already nuts and read it, it’s all over this and they have an opportunity and wow, they blown that opportunity, hurts my soul.

Tod Maffin: And it’s not just that legal department as well. There was an author we’ve got this in our book, there’s an author who did a cover for a novel and it look just like the Jack Daniels label, and Jack Daniel sent him a the most polite season assist. In fact it wasn’t really a season assist. They basically, said, “Hey listen, on you next printing we’ve really appreciate it if you change it. And if you’re willing to change it before, will kick in some money to help you and…”

Scott Stratten: It was beautiful.

Tod Maffin: It went viral, it was absolutely beautiful.

Scott Stratten: But that was…but see that is the way to do it. That I remember reading that. I remember person saying that and explaining that look, “One of the things about trade mark law is that if we dutifully enforced it…

Tom Maffin: We lose it.

Scott Stratten: …we lose it.” And I thought that was actually a forgotten thing about, “I can’t believe they go with trade — forced.” I mean ell, you got to do actually, but the way they handle it. Oh, God! it was beautiful. It was beautiful and I loved it. And then they’re like, “Will kick in for doing your next printing for” I love you guys now. There’s your two example right there. How to do it and how to not. By the way, the same pretty much issue, it’s copy write trade mark law. It’s a law and there’s ways to do it and that’s see, that’s why you drink Jack Daniels and sometimes don’t shipped by FedEx.

Tod Maffin: Exactly. Scott what is the single thing that you think you’re doing wrong today in your marketing of let’s say keynote presentations?

Scott Stratten: I’m actually pretty bad at gathering information and following up that I realized what I should have done years ago. Since it’s my only business, it’s all I do and I have keynotes I did three years ago. I should be contacting now and say, “I got a new talk by the way.” I’m sure the fees higher, “But hey you loved it three years ago.” So, I’m working on that now and I have a really good, a great assistant my Coordinator of Awesome Karen Class. She’s been with me for ten years this year and so she’s good at grabbing at the phone following up. I should be dropping the email and say, “Hey Jeff, remember I really like to gig with you.” So, follow up is a lost start form I think in doing it well. So, we’re trying that it’s different and what my challenges right now, what I’m trying to do is when I talked to an audience of five hundred or a thousand people, I walk out that stage, it’s left up to them to be, take the next step and I really need to work on the system to get them, “Hey, get there card and get them what they want to be in my news letter, get them part of that, of thee Scott family, the Unfamily and be part of that. Because I think that’s a, we going to lose that opportunity.

Tod Maffin: Scott Stratten, he is the co-author of Unselling and listen if you’ve read UnMarketing and I don’t know who hasn’t and you like the format of it, punchy, every really easy read and every single one of this short chapters contains so much nuggets, you will love UnSelling. So, is were you can find all the information. Scott do you know what you going to break next?

Scott Stratten: Don’t even start with me. I don’t know, but you know what the life, the shelf of the book, I have to start running the new one now for doing next year. So, I don’t even want to think about it but I’m sure by next week I’ll be ready to go.