Salespeople balls up the deal because ego gets in the way - Talk Marketing 26 - Ben Bennett

Salespeople balls up the deal because ego gets in the way – Talk Marketing 26 – Ben Bennett

Martin Henley  0:03

Hello there, my name is Martin Henley, this is The Effective Marketing YouTube channel. If you’ve spent any time here, you will know that I am on a mission to support you if you want to be more successful in your business. The only way I know to do that is by being more effective with your sales and marketing. So not only am I here to give you everything I know about sales and marketing, everything I’ve learned in the too many years to mention that I’ve been working in sales and marketing, I’m also dragging in anyone I can find who has something interesting and useful to share with you. 

Martin Henley  0:33

So today’s guest has 23 years sales experience. He started off in boiler room type environments, knocking on doors, and has progressed through his career into sales, strategic sales, leadership positions and roles. He is the founder and Managing Partner of Second Voice, which provides sales accelerator programmes to SMEs and startups. What you won’t know about him is that he was a tap dancer as a child and has been signed, given money by Sony Music, he is a music artists of some description. Today’s guest is Ben Bennett. 

Martin Henley  1:13  

Hello, Ben. 

Ben Bennett  1:14  

How you doing?

Martin Henley  1:16  

Really good. Thank you. How are you?

Ben Bennett  1:18  

I’m alright. Given money by Sony is probably questionable but I had a song signed to one of their computer games a few years back, small claim to fame.

Martin Henley  1:29  

Small claim to fame. The tap dancing just went by the wayside?

Ben Bennett  1:35  

No, that comes out at parties every now and then as well. You know, once you’ve learned that, it’s not something that you can easily forget.

Martin Henley  1:43  

Okay, so is that more of a jazz tap dance? Is that like a Michael Flatley kind of tap dance, what kind of tap dancing is that?

Martin Henley  1:50  

I would go like Sammy Davis Jr. Kind of, you know, old school, proper, but not not to say I was any good. I mean, I’m six foot two, I look like a newborn giraffe when I’m dancing. So probably not a profession in it for me.

Martin Henley  2:05  

Okay, fantastic, good, anyway it doesn’t matter because you found a profession in sales and marketing and that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. You know the drill, there’s only four questions. The four questions are how are you qualified to talk to us about sales? Who are your customers? What is it that you do for them? How do you add value in their lives? And then what is your recommendation for anyone who’d like to be doing better with their sales and marketing? And then the fourth question is, who can you put under the bus to have one of these conversations with me? So it’s as simple as that. So let’s start then at the beginning, how are you qualified to talk to us about sales.

How are you qualified to talk to us about sales?

Ben Bennett  2:42  

Super. Qualified is probably a stretch, you know, in this wonderful unregulated world of sales but I’ve been doing sales in some form, or description for, as you said, around 23, 24 years now and it was classically a career that I fell into. So before, before any proper real world work, I was in a call centre, just answering phones, helping people with their home loans and learning how to talk to people, engage, and follow scripts and through that ended up being taken into another business as one of the team leaders. They put me into a research role and I then ended up on inside sales. I’ve done door knocking and selling products and services door to door. Then very quickly recognised that once I realised my music career was never gonna take off as a professional started focusing more and more on what I wanted to do in business, and I love sales. I love talking to people. I just took that forwards and started to challenge myself and moved up and got more management positions and as I progressed, my career, learned a lot more, failed a lot as well, which is a really important thing to do, but was quick to learn and change those behaviours and activities and ended up in some fantastic roles in some really fast growing and large scale businesses. Then eventually took the leap and went out on my own about five or six years ago.

Martin Henley  4:13  

Okay, fantastic. Good. So you’re saying that you love sales, you love talking to people. One of the things that I’m interested in is the fact that people don’t like sales. They don’t like doing it and they don’t like having it done to them. My background is similar to yours. I started off in sales, in boiler room type environments. I was cold calling selling advertising straight out of university, kind of been on maybe a similar journey to you. I love sales. You know, If you’d explained to me, I didn’t do tap dancing as a kid that grew up in a council estate, I went to Boundstone Community College, it’s called something different now. If you’d explained to me as a 15 or 16 year old that there was something I could do for a living that would take me to cricket World Cups, for example, or have me playing golf on beautiful golf courses in South Africa, or, you know, all of the things, all of the places I’ve been to since, I would have taken your hand off for that opportunity when I was 14, 15, 16. But if you told me it was a sales job, I would have run a mile, I think that’s how people feel about sales. People don’t like having it done to them and people don’t like doing it. So I say when people put sales manager or salesperson on their business card, they might as well write please don’t like me because people don’t like salespeople, they don’t like being sold to.

Why has sales got such a bad reputation?

Ben Bennett  5:44  

Interesting comment. I think there is probably another side of that coin, in the fact that we as a human race typically don’t like being sold to but we do love to buy. That’s a really interesting point and I think sales has got a bad rap, certainly in the UK, right. So you use the word sales, and it is a dirty word. You take yourself to America and it’s something that is a career, that people will want to get into because they understand both the freedom, the monetary returns that they can gain, the opportunity for career progression and a lot of people want to operate as a lone wolf, right. I think in America, a lot of those, say pharmaceutical sales roles, they are lone wolves, they can be left alone and go and do the job it’s performance and if you win and succeed, you’ve got a career and if you don’t, you’re out the door. People love that. 

In the UK it sort of comes back to why I do what I do now, it’s that I love it. I love sales and I don’t love sales because it needs to be 100 calls a day, or knock on this many doors, or you need to be a LinkedIn influencer, you don’t need any of that, you don’t need any of that. I think if you look at sales as I need to be a decent human being, care about the people I’m selling a product or service to, genuinely have an interest and offer value. Sales is not to pick up the phone, harass a stranger on your first connection on LinkedIn, try and push your services on them. Sales is no longer pushing and outbound it’s very much merging into marketing, and awareness and inbound and building trust. That’s a behavioural change from the way people sell. Also, we need to understand that the way we buy and engage with service providers or products is entirely different as well. So let’s not forget, we do want to buy, but we don’t always know the problem that somebody is trying to solve for us.

Martin Henley  7:50  

Okay, so that’s interesting, I’ve got also got like a definition of sales, because I think this is the major issue, that it’s really poorly defined and the way it ends up being done is really poor because of that. My definition of sales is making friends with people, making it easy for people to buy and something else I can’t remember. If you’re doing that … very often salespeople become the barrier to people buying. I remember this right at the very beginning of my career, someone would phone in and say I want to buy something, and then the salesperson goes into aren’t I so great mode. This is kind of formulated when people try and push someone into a buying cycle, you know, or a sales process. Very often I’ve seen sales not happen because the salesperson is being a knob, or they’re trying to get the buyer to do something they don’t want to do. So, yeah, so I think that’s the issue. I think it’s partly sales and marketing, or marketing’s fault, that salespeople don’t have enough opportunity to sell. We’re going to touch on marketing, I think a bit in this conversation. For me, it’s a chronology, you do your marketing, that gives you the opportunity to sell, you take the opportunity to sell, you know, so it’s marketing and then sales. I don’t know what you think about that.

Ben Bennett  9:21  

I think that they’re merging, you know, more and more, it depends on the size of the business. If you’ve got a large organisation that has a marketing and a sales team, they need to have the same objectives go in the same directions, the same values. I think, salespeople historically, and still do, balls up the deal, because ego gets in the way, you know, it’s poor training, it’s a lack of understanding of human buying behaviours, it’s a lack of understanding of how to nurture and create a relationship. I think, you know, certainly when I was coming up through my career in sales, my end goal was commission, and that’s because I was young and I wanted money and that’s why I ended up doing it. When you when you realise that money is the byproduct of doing something well, and that is selling your service correctly, to the right person, in the right way, then money happens. If you’re focusing on money, you’ll rush the deal through and try and benefit yourself, not the user. I think, you know, not every business, or business owner, or freelancer has the opportunity to have a marketing function or a sales function, and they need to do everything themselves. There’s a phrase that’s being bandied around at the moment called smarketing, which is, it’s sales and marketing, is becoming more and more common. I found when working for myself, I need to do both. So I’ve been fortunate enough to work in marketing agencies and work with marketing agencies now so I can talk the talk, I understand what’s required. I can’t particularly execute on many of them channels, but I understand the role that marketing plays. Sales should really be the human to human facilitation of a purchase, or helping an individual really understand the problems that they’ve got dnd then, if they’re not addressing those problems, the knock on impact that’s going to have to them or their business or their customers. It’s more around enablement, I think is the best word, it shouldn’t be sales. It’s just about enablement of understanding a current situation and finding a solution for it. If we could think of another word for sales, I would because, you know, I tell people, I’m a sales trainer and a coach and a mentor and they immediately turn on their heels, because they think I want something but you know, it doesn’t, doesn’t need to be that way.

Why do small businesses struggle with sales?

Martin Henley  11:35  

It doesn’t need to be that way but it is that way too often. So the issue for people like you and people like me, when I was running my agency properly, is that you’re talking to small business owners, and they really don’t want to do sales. The UK is particular because you’re not like you say, in America, it’s very different, like people start jumping up and shouting about how great they are at the first opportunity. But in the UK, you’re kind of not supposed to be seen to be trying do you know, I mean, it’s like, that’s not cool. If it’s not effortless, it’s not cool and of course, this is just work that needs to be done. So clearly, you have to try.

Ben Bennett  12:19  

When you look at these influences, and everybody thinks they’re just really good at creating content, they’re really good at being a thought leader on a subject matter and building their profile on Instagram. What you don’t see is all of the work that goes on behind that, and probably a team. You know, it doesn’t happen overnight. I think  building a profile for yourself and for your business is crucial these days, at the end of the day, you know, people buy from people, so there isn’t in my view of b2b or b2c sales anymore, it’s more human to human. I think you can really buy into somebody before you buy their products or services. So if you are a business owner, small business owner, chances are you’re doing that because you love it, and you’re really good at it. You never started that business because you thought, you know what, I really want to be a salesperson, no, no-one ever went into their business other than me and people like me, that our salespeople, no one ever went into their business thinking I’m going to start this accountancy firm, because I love doing business development. You know, they never did that. What I tried to do now is emphasise the fact that, you know, the world has changed, technology has come on leaps and bounds, we’re no longer working on Yellow Pages and out of date CRMs and mailing lists that don’t don’t have the correct information. We can get access to the people we want through LinkedIn immediately and if we nurture those relationships correctly, we could do it through a really, really organic way that is both scalable, and profitable, without you being a pest, and with you then being really rated and valued. That’s the difference we’re not asking anybody to go out of their comfort zone, get in front of a camera, run events, you know, go and do speaking gigs, we’re not asking people to do that. You don’t have to get out of your comfort zone, there are a lot of introverts in the world that run businesses very successfully that don’t want to be on the front line in sales. So we show you at Second Voice we show you how to do that, it’s changing the mindset. I’ve actually had a couple of people recently just say my view of sales has entirely changed and I now consider myself a sales person. That was a branding agency owner. That for me, is the biggest is the biggest testimonial you can get, not only did you enjoy working with me, but I’ve changed the entire perception of an industry. So that is fantastic and if I could do that with one person, I now need to learn how I could do that with you at scale. Yeah, help people understand that it is possible when it’s not not a moody tactic.

Martin Henley  15:00  

Good, not a moody tactic. I like that. So I think part of the problem is, so we’re kind of in this space now where we’re talking about sales and marketing. I think the issue is that I think the issue is this, like the definitions are marketing is one to many, sales is one to one is the traditional definition. It’s really hard for salespeople to do their own marketing, because they don’t have access to websites, mailing lists, budgets, advertising, all those kinds of things. So what they have to resort to is canvassing, and then I think at that point, and canvassing is, like you say, knocking on doors or cold calling or whatever those things might be. I think part of the problem is that people don’t have the quality of sales opportunities, they don’t have the quality of leads they need, which is why they end up badgering people and hounding people. I think that’s part of the issue.

Ben Bennett  16:00  

So there lies the problem, right? It’s a lack of education on how to go and get the leads and build the opportunities. If you’re continuously giving somebody warm leads and opportunities to go and sell, they become dependent. If you teach them how to go and source those opportunities, or better still create them, they can become self sufficient. What I see a lot of is a marketing versus sales, sales will moan at marketing for not driving good quality leads are enough of them; marketing will moan at sales for not closing enough of the leads that they’re generated that they deemed to be qualified. And actually, what you’ve got is that disparity, that fracture point. Whereas if everybody was in a room together, saying this is what we need, this is how we’re going to do it, this is the role to play, and it was a sales and marketing effort, then it’d be far more joined up, where the marketer could say, we’re having a quiet period through seasonality as an example, the salesperson then goes, we’re expecting this in August, because everyone’s off on holiday, we’re now going to use our own tools, our LinkedIn tactics, our you know, whatever it is, tool systems, processes that they’re using to go and generate their own opportunities. They’re fast ways to win, you win them as well, when you’ve done the whole 360 on it. I think there is that there is that disparity, and we need to bring people together and I don’t know what your views are on this but, I don’t talk publicly about this often, but if you’ve got a sales and marketing team, and I’m an avid sales person, I come from that boo marketing, yay, sales. My view of that has changed now, obviously but I believe a sales team that is facilitating the purchase should be part of a marketing function. It should be led by a marketing lead a marketing team, and sales is a function of that department and that’s controversial.

Martin Henley  18:01  

That is controversial, because people will say people will say, firstly, like you’re talking about smarketing, they’ll say that you can’t do the two things, which is bullshit, because I’ve done those two things my entire career. You know, I was one of these hunter gatherers, I had to generate, you know, there was no marketing going on, ever, in anything I’ve ever sold. The only reason I started a marketing companies, because I thought that the marketing people had all of the budget, and none of the target so I thought, well, if I’m going to be doing this, I’ll get into that situation course it’s not always exactly like that. I think, yeah, I think they should be working together. I think sales and marketing very often are the least valued, least respected people in a business, which blows my mind, because if there’s not money coming into business, nobody else gets paid, you know, but that very often is the case. Then to make that situation worse, like you say they’re pitted against each other; salespeople blame marketing people and marketing people blame the salespeople. They’re like the two smartest kids in the playground blaming each other, you know, but not realising that actually, they’re funding the whole gig. So yeah, I see that a lot. Should sales should that I’d No, I’m with you. I don’t think there should necessarily be this separation. It’s the team. So the way I define marketing is it’s about finding, winning, keeping customers profitably and that is actually sales and marketing. You know, that’s what goes on. And I think you’re right. I don’t know if you’ve read Michael Gerber’s, the E Myth, but he says everyone goes into business, like you’re saying because they love making donuts and they make great donuts. What they don’t realise immediately that they are in business, that being in business is just about doing sales and marketing. You know, it doesn’t, obviously, it helps if you got great doughnuts, but it’s not the be all and end all if you’ve got no customers, you’re nowhere. So I think we’re on the same page. We’re definitely on the same page. Shoul sales be subordinate to marketing? What are salespeople going to do when marketing around to lunch, because they’re always out to lunch, marketing.

Martin Henley  18:15  

I don’t know if it’s be subordinate to marketing, but I think it’s a it’s a cog in a bigger wheel. So you know, it’s not, it’s not sales reporting into a marketing team, it’s a function of, and I want to be clear on that, I think they are very, very different skill sets, really different skill sets and you do need both. You learnt that for growing your own business, I’ve learned in growing my business, I learned that in my clients, companies, you need both. Arguably, you’ll be better at one than the other. We all want to do one more than the other and certainly with the smaller businesses, they always lean to marketing, because you can be hide behind a brand, you can hide behind an email, you can hide behind a logo, you can hide behind a LinkedIn post. It means that they don’t have to put themselves out there. There’s something about sales, it says we got to put myself out there. So what we’re saying is, you know, marketing is part of it and eventually, you’re going to have to speak to someone. So you know, it’s just part of that bigger picture.

Martin Henley  21:11  

Yes. And, and I think it’s definitely a chronology. So very often I would go, obviously, I’d position myself differently from you. When I started, it wasn’t really anything other than sales consultancy. I was going into businesses and saying, This is what I do. If I was a professional salesperson in your business, I do the canvassing, I do that, you know, that’s what I do. It’s definitely a chronology. So it’s a marketing generates the lead, the sales, opportunity, sales closes the sale, that’s the thing. Very often people would say to me, when I was pitching, either we’re going to employ salespeople, or we’re going to bring you guys in. That for me is wrong. What I say to people is, if you’ve got too many leads in your business 100%, you need more salespeople. In every other instance, you need to invest more in your marketing, you know. I think that very often is, is people think, Oh, I just need more sales, but they don’t like they don’t know where the sales opportunities come from. So they think if they have more salespeople, they’ll have more sales. That’s not my experience,

Ben Bennett  22:13  

The silver bullet, and it’s, you know, it really isn’t. So, one of the main reasons that falls over is businesses don’t actually know what their value proposition is. You get so many companies now they’re like, this is what we do. We’re really good at it, we know you should probably use us. What that does is that puts them in a position of consideration, right? So they will then be considered against two or three or four other suppliers that do exactly the same thing and they will buy from the one they like the most or gives better pricing or some monetary decision making.

Martin Henley  22:49  

Or better at lying?

Ben Bennett  22:52  

Yeah, and that’s sadly happens. But yeah. If you always lead with the with the buyers intention, and best interest. Instead of this is who we are, this is what we do, you should use us, you should be positioning yourself as this is who you are, we work with you a lot, this is what we fix, this is how we fix it come and work with us. It’s the same thing, but you’re just making it about them instead of you. When you hire a sales person, without really understanding that narrative, or that positioning or those value propositions, what you’re doing is you’re maximising the exposure of your really poor business communication, instead of selling value. Whereas if you’ve got all that lined up and your processes are fixed, and then you hire a salesperson, then you’re going to maximise opportunity, instead of maximising poor show. So yeah, don’t just hire a salesperson.

Martin Henley  23:53  

Okay, good. This goes to another bugbear of mine, you’ll come to understand I’ve got lots of issues with all of this stuff. I’ve spent too much time doing it and thinking about it. Exactly like you’re saying, businesses should be about the customer and the value they deliver for the customers. Very often businesses are about the business owner, and what they want to do and especially in sales, marketing, because it’s so mysterious, vague, blah, blah. They think that this is this is their opportunity to do carte blanche exactly what they want. So one of the questions that I’ve had recently is, if agency is actually required, if you need somebody to come from outside of your business, to understand the actual value that you deliver, to understand your business and your offering more like your customers might understand it. I don’t know what you think of that idea.

How does the ego of the business owner im sales and marketing?

Ben Bennett  24:52  

Perspective is really important. One of the biggest one of the biggest things that kills businesses is ego. Even doing what I do now as a so called expert in sales is that I’m too close to it. I need people coming in and looking and advising and give me perspective because what I know to be true, is biassed. Even if I’m going to gather evidence as a business owner, I’m going to find the evidence that supports my hypothesis, right? Yes. So what I actually need is, here’s my strategy, here’s my plan, here’s my evidence and my reasons why and then this is how I’m going to go do it. Then what I need is a clean, fresh set of eyes to say, please sense check this with me, and show me where I’m going wrong. I’ve been proven wrong, countless times and that’s absolutely brilliant. Because if I can keep getting proven wrong, it means I’m going to change the direction in a way that is right for the business and my customers. So do agencies have a space in the business?  100%. Whether it’s coming in and actually picking up the department and doing the work for them. Or whether it’s having that consultancy piece and just giving you that new perspective and strategy. I think that’s that’s so vital, especially for the small business owners that are literally going it alone. Yeah, it’s lonely at the top. So yeah, there is definitely, definitely a space for it, to what degree and for how long? That’s down to the individual relationship. But perspective and inputs everything.

Martin Henley  26:35  

Yeah, and I think just having just this idea of agency, this idea of, I think it’s really important, because businesses look out, and then they’re blinded by the features, because they spent so long devising and developing those features, you know, that’s what they’re most proud of.  I’ve known since my first sales training in early 90s Customers aren’t interested in features, they’re interested in benefits. Everyone’s still selling the features, you know, 25 years later, it’s still going on., I think that’s interesting. But I just think eyes I think businesses can do for themselves. But it’s good if they’ve got someone coming in from the outside and giving them that, that different perspective. What else did he say? 

Who are your customers and how do you add value to their lives?

Ben Bennett  27:21  

What I think on that point, so I changed my entire business model, right, the beginning of the pandemic, and not because of the pandemic. It basically went from being a consultant and a trainer to being an enabler. What I mean by that is, you know, goes from, you pay me for my expertise, and then I leave. Typically what happens is retention of information is really poor, that’s just, that’s just training in general, people don’t actually apply it, unless it’s there to be governed afterwards. Or you’ll do a piece of consultancy work or strategic planning, handed over to the client, you get paid, you leave, and then it gathers dust and doesn’t get implemented there’s A skills gap. So what I do now is actually work with businesses and business owners on an ongoing basis, here is your product, here is your plan, these are the bits that you can do yourself already, go do it. These are the bits that you don’t know how to do, we will workshop back together, so you then know how to do it. Then we will go to market together supporting it. The idea is that it’s the teach a man to fish scenario, but phase myself out because they shouldn’t have me in a business longer than necessary. It’s about giving them the skills and the confidence to be able to run their own their own businesses, but still be in a position to lean on me, or a community of businesses in the same position as they’re growing. That’s the really important bit, it’s making sure you’re impacting the business and making change rather than getting paid for doing a piece of work and leaving and that’s that’s the shift for me.

Martin Henley  29:04  

Okay, cool. That makes perfect sense. So this leads us in then kind of to question number two, which is, who are your clients and how are you adding value in their lives? So what sort of style? You said you work with marketing agencies? What sort of style of business are you most effective with or do you most like to work with?

Ben Bennett  29:28  

Changes on the seasons, really depends on on who’s around and who needs it. I started out doing a lot of work with software startups and SAS businesses. Over the last sort of 12, 18 months, I’ve seen a lot of service lead, a lot creative, anything from design, branding, PR, web development, in and around those fields, but it’s all b2b. A lot of what I do can be translated into the b2c world but ideally, it’s about understanding how to get in front of business owners and businesses to get decisions. It’s around enablement and I do that in a few ways. I run a group programme, which is eight weeks, it’s called the Orca programme. It’s called that because orca whales hunt in pods in different places around the world and depending on each unique pod, they have different prey and use different tactics. I just thought if that wasn’t a good analogy for a group of founders or business owners, I didn’t know what. So the Orca programme is an eight week group programme, where we run through online, everything from defining your business model, identifying your ideal customer, working out where they are and where they exist so you can go to them rather than trying to bring them to you. Key messaging that cuts through the noise, how to get good data, how to use tools and systems without becoming spammy, really making sure that you’ve got a robust end to end process, measurement framework, CRM, forecasting kit and tools, profit and loss, and then accountability and management and that that full eight weeks, they get a hell of a lot information, get to work together as a group and I run it all through a platform where we can communicate between sessions every week, as well. They’re forever in that in that platform and we can talk all about their businesses far beyond when the programme is over so so that it’s proving really successful. We’ve got some great feedback from the individuals that have gone through it and we will continue to run them probably every other month, which is really exciting. The other side is the one to one mentoring, really, and that’s for businesses that might already have a team, or a few steps ahead, and they’ve got the basics in place, and they’re looking to now upskill, or take things further. That will be a mixture of training, process planning, consultancy, but typically, I’ll sit across that in an advisory position, twice a month, or once a month meeting, then access access to the Batphone if you like, whenever they need it. Equally, they’re in the platform as well so everybody’s learning from each other. The third point is within that platform itself, that’s creating a new community, not just a mailing list, you know, it’s about people that are actually doing the work and making the changes so that I’m not the only one with a voice. I can guide conversation and I can ask the right questions and I can lead people in a way that they can get the information and start applying things themselves. What everybody needs to understand is that, as a business owner, myself, I’m going to be doing a lot of learning from my clients too because they would have done things that I wouldn’t have tried yet, that has either worked well or it hasn’t. And vice versa. So we’re all sharing from each other in that group.

Martin Henley  32:54  

Okay, so all manner of types of businesses, creative, software, etc. For the programme these are startups are they typically are they kind of owner managed?

Ben Bennett  33:08  

Yeah, they’re usually owner operators, and they will be five people or less. They will be typically freelancers or five people or less in a business looking to either get to their first 100,000 if you’re a freelancer, get to understand how do we take our 150-200k turnover small boutique into a 500,000 – 1 million turnover and it’s just about accelerating them and enabling them to do that. A lot of the time, it’s looking at the business model and the fee structure. You know, it’s about removing service providers from selling time instead of selling outcomes. That way you’ve got the ability to scale. I think, at the end of the day, so many people do well and create a lifestyle business for themselves. And they’re happy with their lot and that is exactly where they want to be and that’s fantastic. If you want to work out how you can then go and double that, while still being just you, you know, we can support how to do that and I don’t want to be this, this false claim we can 10x your business in six months because that’s just nonsense. Ultimately, what we want to be able to do is show you what what’s possible, realistic, and then give you the tools tools to get there. So owner operators, or freelancers typically come through the programme. Any business that is anywhere up to two or three million turnover that want to do any in house process stuff and upskilling will be probably one to one mentoring clients that I would work with in that way.

Martin Henley  34:45  

Okay, cool. So the issue that kept me awake for nine years whilst I was running The Effective Marketing Company and actively looking for customers who sound pretty similar to yours is that … Somebody told me early on when I was running my business, I was running around, I was doing a lot of public speaking at events, and this sage old accountant sat me down and he’s like, how’s it going? I’m like, yeah, it’s really good. I’m getting people really excited about marketing. He’s like, okay, good – here’s an idea, why don’t you just find the people who are already excited about marketing? The thing is, that was a revelation for me, it still took me another three years to actually start doing it. Very often people in that size of a business, like you say, they’re very happy with their lot. It’s like how, what do I want to say? How are you positioning yourselves, or where have they got to that they realise that they need this kind of service? That’s what I’m interested to know.

How do you engage with the right customers to your business?

Ben Bennett  35:58  

So there’s two angles to this. There’s the outbound and there’s the inbound. So the outbound, people will typically go and do an ideal customer profile. They’ll work out that Samantha’s the sales director, and she is looking to upskill her team. At’s a pre-seed or a seed level business, or they might be going for Series A fundraising, blah, blah, blah. You’ll have an ideal customer profile, what very few people do is they go and look for what’s called firma graphics, and firma graphics are the equivalent of demographics, but for businesses, and so you can use there’s tools out there, where you can go and identify the stage of life that businesses in, the sector, the location and understand what their pain points are. So it might be, I’ll give you an example for a leadership coaching business that I’ve been working with is they work with Series A software businesses, because the key problem that they solve are rapid growth, and managers being homegrown, and not necessarily being in a position to support that rapid growth. Also, another issue is maintaining culture. So it’s very easy for them to find those businesses, they go on a platform like Bo Hearst, other providers are available but you can quickly do a search or crunch and quickly do a search that says tech companies in the US or the UK, wherever you’re looking that have done their seed rounds, they’re moving into Series A, and they’re in the pharma industry, or the FinTech industry, or wherever it might be. What you can then do is you can make some assumptions that the person, the people that are the HR lead will have these problems and then you can target them effectively. So that’s the outbound approach and really looking at, you know, I understand what the needs of my customers are and the things that I fix, and they are 99.9% lways in this situation, how do I find people in this situation. That’s what you go explore. The inbound method and the way that I use and it’s a module within the Orca programme, it’s called Building Your Own Stage. This essentially, is what a lot of businesses and marketing teams have done for years and that’s in its most basic form, build a mailing list, let people know who you are, and build trust and value. There are other ways that we can do this now. There are webinars, there are meetup groups, you can build community. Like I said, I’m using a platform where people can come in for free and learn my strategy this year, is to give pretty much all my information and knowledge away for free. You know, ultimately, people are going to take that information and do what they will with it, and some will be able to execute and others won’t. Those that either don’t want to or can’t may asked me to work with him. The idea is that, like I say there’s two things outbound, recognising the who, what the problems are and how to find those companies in that situation. Then more inbound and growing your audience and building your stage is mailing list building, running regular events, and webinars, and meetups, giving away value content, ebooks, how to guides, whatever it might be, give it away, and then build trust at scale. That is ultimately where you’ll be able to do exactly what you’ve been trying to do, what we’re trying to do in our business and other businesses can do today. What am I actually fixing? How can I take that pain point away for that person? If you do it selflessly, then you end up in a world where you built an audience, you’ve built trust, and people will just ask you for advice and then you’re in a conversation, and guess what, you didn’t need to do any cold calling or cold outreach on LinkedIn. You’ve just been yourself. So that’s, that’s that’s my that’s my view of the world.

Is there any need for marketing outreach in 2022?

Martin Henley  40:00  

Okay, and I think it’s a great view. In the last one of these conversations I had, I was talking to a guy called Barnaby Wynter. And he’s saying, don’t do outreach anymore. Nobody is sitting with a problem waiting for you to come and knock on their door or ring them up to help them with that problem. You know, by the time somebody is Googling, this is my issue for me at that point, they’re a proactive customer. It’s much easier to sell to someone if they phoned you and say, you don’t know me, but I’m hoping you can help me, rather than you finding them and saying that you don’t know me, but I’m hoping I can help you. Okay, so that makes absolute sense. I was more interested …

Ben Bennett  40:45  

I don’t agree with that fully either to be honest.

Martin Henley  40:47  

Whoah, whoah, whoah, we’re not having a row here today. 

Martin Henley  40:51  

Well, it wasn’t your statement. I think the thing that I want to add to that is that people or buyers or prospective customers, may be in a situation that is going to cause issues for their business, but they are not yet aware of it. So when you are, when you’re doing any form of marketing, you’re building awareness and you’re building value, right? And it’s, here I am and you’re running the attraction piece. Cold outreach is all about getting you front and centre and telesales is not dead, the phone still plays a part in a sales cadence just just further down the line for me. So email and LinkedIn and building awareness is still really important to do cold outreach. When you know, the problems that you solve, and you see it so often, in so many businesses, the probability of those same issues occurring in a business of the same size, that aren’t aware, that aren’t looking, it’s your job, to help them understand where the pitfalls might be. I would say cold outreach is still a relevant part of business growth, and should be a part of business growth but it isn’t necessarily going to be the dominant one, but it still should be a key part of what you do.

Martin Henley  42:17  

Yeah, and I agree with you. I think there’s an issue with inbound marketing, which is you don’t get to choose who comes, you know, you can qualify them once they come, but you don’t get to choose who they are. I mean, like Rolls Royce choose stupidly wealthy people to be their customers, they do that with their price, for example, but you don’t necessarily have the control. So that would have been my argument historically, for proactively knocking on doors, calling people, getting out networking, doing all of that kind of stuff, is that you have more control about who comes.

Ben Bennett  42:54  

Account Based Marketing as well, you know, you could identify the top 50 businesses that you want to work with and then you can market to them directly. Marketing doesn’t have to be blanket, you can do really specific targeted approaches that take time, have a certain cadence, have certain content, it’s all delivering value. That effectively is outreach, targeted outreach. So I guess, as sales and marketing has evolved, as technology has evolved, the tactics we use have evolved as well. So let’s explore that as an option, you know. For those people that aren’t aware what Account Based Marketing is, it’s, I want to work with Pfizer so I’m going to go map out all of the key players in that business that I need to be speaking to or bringing together and then I’m marketing to them directly I’m adding value to them directly, and advertising to them directly, they might think it’s going to everybody, but it’s so hyper personalised, that they’ve got no choice but to at least pay attention to it. That is outreach. That’s just instead of Hi, is Martin there we want to get rid of that, the first touch point, I’m not sure needs to be a phone call, but a follow up phone call definitely.

Martin Henley  44:19  

The thing is, for the first 10 years for my sales career for 10 years, I sold advertising, exhibitions, conferences, summits, I ended up selling large scale it stuff. Every sale I ever made started with a phone call, like 0.1% of those people might have phoned me up; 99.9% of them were never expecting to hear from me, or didn’t even know existed, ever in their lives. The thing about that whole process is that it never occurred to me until I started the marketing company, in fact, some time after I started the marketing company, that all the time I was out looking for people there might have been people out looking for me. They would never have found me because I’m not anywhere, I’m in my car, I’m on the phone, or I’m, you know. So I think it’s interesting, my take is that in all of this there needs to be a balance it needs to be, all of this needs to be tested at least and integrated so that you can find the mechanism for having it work most efficiently. I think Barnaby’s argument would be that there is enough business out there for you, without you having to go look for it. He works with brands and consumer brands and those kinds of things whereas I think we’re more on a b2b page here, so we don’t have to fall out with Barnaby either, which is good. I was interested more to find out how your customers are thinking when they find you or when you approach them because that is the bane of a business like yours, and like mine was, is finding customers, securing customers who actually understand what’s required the investment that’s required time, energy and money, if they want to move the performance of their business to another place. Is that something you want to talk about or not? 

Ben Bennett  46:09  

Yeah, sure. I call it the two o’clock in the morning moment. If you’re a business owner, and you have been in you refer to earlier, this the thing that keeps you awake at night, yeah, so typically, you might go to sleep fine and then bang, two o’clock in the morning, you’re awake, and your mind is running a million miles an hour. The thing with sales and business revenue growth, it all always comes down to something tangible as an outcome, that is predictable revenue and sales pipeline, being able to see where my next meal is coming from, having a pipeline knowing that X percent is going to close and actually, that sustains me for a period of time. The biggest fears, or the biggest concerns that my clients face are, they don’t want to be a pushy salesperson so how the hell did they go and get business beyond going to networking events, and getting referrals, two really, really powerful channels. I’m not poo pooing that whatsoever, but you have got no control over it. It’s just it’s luck and being a decent human being so keep doing that; but they can’t see where the next deal is coming from, then I’ve had loads of conversations, but where is the next deal coming from, and I can see my runway getting shorter and shorter and shorter. So I’m running out of money and burning through this, I now need to start looking at cutting costs and if I cut costs, I can’t do the things I want to do to do business development so that’s the main one. It’s also a fear of selling as we said, right at the beginning, it’s a dirty word, I don’t want to be a salesperson. Then there’s the skills gap because I desperately want to do this because I know I need to, actually I’ll  think I’ll really enjoy it, I just don’t know where I’ve got to start. That’s what we try to try and remove. The the way that I can help these businesses and do help these businesses is being there when they need that and when they have that realisation. That is both a, I believe, a nice thing to do to be able to be there, because I like giving my information away for free. So I mentor for a number of coworking spaces, one of which is called Plus X down in Brighton and the NatWest business accelerator. So they are two areas where you’ve got startup businesses, early stage businesses needing all of them, but some need to learn about those commercial elements and I’ll be there to give my time away for free to help them. You know what eventually some of them do and have turned into customers, but that’s not the objective, it’s to add that value. Understanding where those customers are, what stage they’re at, and what they might be thinking about and if you know that they’re worried about money, they will be constantly either asking the right questions in their communities, in their networks, or they’ll be engaging with certain courses or content online. Those that are more forward about their problems, will come and ask questions of those that are regularly talking about the subject matter. So I post frequently on LinkedIn about about startup and business growth and revenue generation, but I’ve got a very small community down here, I don’t need to be advertising to millions of people. At the end of the day, there’s only so much I can do and I want to help as many people as possible, but you just got to be there for them at the right time. So I guess the question you’re asking is, how do you find the right time? And how do you recognise that they’re ready to work with you? And that is just truly understanding who your your potential customers are? Equally talk to your existing clients and just say, what was the situation or the thought process that you went through that felt you needed to engage with either me or X,Y,Z  brand? What made you make the decision? What were the considerations when you were looking at me or another? When you get the information from them, you can repurpose that into, into your own tactics, how to position yourself at the right place at the right time. It’s not, I don’t think it’s underhanded, I think you’re just trying to help and that’s that’s really ultimately all you want to be is helping hand and make sure these businesses do well.

Martin Henley  50:20  

Okay, 100%. So before we started recording, and you said, Oh, don’t push me too hard on like the technicalities of marketing and stuff like that. We’re only talking about marketing, we haven’t even got to the sales. This is the genius of, this is what I say to people all the time, your customers know the wh,y I’m doing this today, I never do that. I’m not that guy, They know the secret to your marketing, they know what it is that motivates people to buy from you, they know that but everyone thinks if somebody is continuing to pay them, then there’s some weird hoodoo going on and they shouldn’t upset that situation by asking that question. So I think that’s genius. We’re talking a lot about marketing, we’re not really talking about sales at all, which is, I thought, I mean, you position yourself as sales, I positioned myself as marketing. The thing is about sales, is that if you’ve got the right opportunity, for me, it really is just a case of getting out of the way, you know, shutting up and taking the money or supporting people to buy. If I experienc a good salesperson, I think if we all experience a good salesperson, we love that person, they are employed to be our best mate, specialist in whatever it is we’re buying, tennis rackets, cameras, do you know what I mean? It’s like that should be what a salesperson does. So sales, for me shouldn’t even like to the point of negotiation, objection handling, if they’re objecting, they’re not a good prospect, you know, I mean, find someone who’s actually wanting what it is that you’re doing, if you’re having to negotiate, they haven’t seen the value in what you’re offering, or they’re not in a position to realise it. So all of the staff, that traditional stuff like that, if if they have to go through a sales process, you have to put them through a sales, all of these things, I think are constructs of really shitty lead generation, or really shitty qualification, you know, none of these things will be going on if you had a good prospect in front of you, you’d be having an entirely different conversation, you would both be getting really excited about the prospect of them buying this thing. That’s what I think.

Ben Bennett  52:37  

They don’t all flow like I think you can be a good marketer, you can be a good orator, get people to come to you and then every opportunity is not going to be warm. There is that sales element that, the word you use is perfect, qualified. You’ve got to qualify that that opportunity. Part of that, moving into the sales element, then is about using real, good, open questions to find out the current situation of the individual, their perception of the situation and then the next stage on that is to challenge their thinking, by using really good challenging open questions. It’s almost like, you know, everything’s fine, we love we love our business, we’ve got enough leads coming in, you know, then you just ask a simple, challenging question like, What would it mean to you, if you have five times the amount of leads? What would it mean to you, if you increase your conversion rate by two fold? All of a sudden, what you’re doing is you’re putting the prospect in a position to think beyond the status quo. So like, Okay, well, actually, let me think about what good looks like, now let me think about what scary looks like and their thought process is different. That’s where sales comes into it, it’s just asking questions and listening. You’re not forcing a product or service on them. You will get objections, and you will get negotiation.  That for me is, that’s the challenge, but that’s the fun part of putting the sales skill to work. That is understanding how you can help somebody come to a different conclusion by just moving their their position of thinking and mindset. It’s a bit of a bit of a thick book, but Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow talks about the two, two mindsets, and there’s a system one, which is learnt and bias, and then system two, which is slow and considered. That bias one, that system one is the one that will make you cross the road when you see a charity fundraiser walking down the street towards you. You just immediately go nope, don’t talk to them, I’m off. Or, you know, two plus two is four. Then when you’re asking more challenging questions that people need to stop and consider, then you can move them into a position of consideration and thought. So, someone buying a car will give a lot more thought to that purchase than someone buying a packet Smarties. Packet of Smarties is 40 or 50p,  it’s been a long time since I bought Smarties. It’s off the shelf, I love them, it’s pence, I don’t give it a second thought, I’m about to buy or lease a car, this is anywhere between, you know, 500, quid to 30 grand, whatever; this is going to be with me for the next three to 10 years, I’m  to give this a bit of thought of where I want to be in it and they go through everything, you know, will it last? Is it safe for my family? What you want to do is just move people into that system two a thought process where they consider things other than the here and now and that is the sales element.

How do you do sales well?

Martin Henley  55:47  

100% You’re 100% right. What’s interesting to me is every sales training I’ve ever done, starts with the person or the group letting me know that they are terrible closers. Everyone’s got this fear and nobody believes that they are able to close. What you establish, what you realise really quickly, is that people are terrible openers, they don’t open up, in the way you’re describing, the opportunity. You know, so when I do sales training, I do like a staircase of needs with open questions. You start off at the beginning, building some rapport, how are you? How’s the Mrs? How’s the COVID? You go into some qualification, and it’s kind of like a warming up process, then you end by asking, like, closing type open questions like how do you buy? When do you buy? What do you pay? What’s the process? What’s the next step gonna be? And if you go through that process, nine times out of 10, you’re right, you’ve got the person thinking on a different level, you’ve deepened the opportunity and the relationship. Nine times out of 10, they’re going to get to the point where the penny drops, and they’re like, this guy can help me with this, this guy knows what’s going on. That, I think is beautiful sales and that’s what I mean, if you go through that process, what’s to object to you’re just asking them really nice open questions, you might be challenging them a little bit in their business, but, you know, it’s, it’s the rah rah rah, you have to buy this thing that I think, gives salespeople a bad name.

Ben Bennett  57:30  

Oh, for sure. And then, you know, sadly, those tactics still exist, but those businesses will be the first ones to fail. I think I’m of a really, really similar opinion to you. I don’t think closing exists personally, again, controversial to a lot of sales trainers out there. The process where people don’t win business is if they’ve done all the work upfront, they’ve understood everything, they’ve matched all the needs, with the benefits of the service or the product, you’ve done everything in a strong sales process in conversation that you’ve been trained to. The reason people don’t close deals after that is very simply, they don’t ask for the business and it’s as simple as that. A lot of people are like, you know, that was a great call, I’ve got a lot of information, let me send you a proposal, and we’ll follow up in three days. Then what you’ve done is you’ve then given a three day window for somebody to think about that information. That might be the right thing to do at the time so you need to judge the situation. You probably close more deals. If you just said, is there any anything stopping you going ahead with this today? And if they say no, it’s like, great. So what are the steps to bring you on board? Yeah. And if they say yes, there is something stopping me, then you’ve uncovered another objection to handle and you haven’t left it on the table. So you’re being able to identify the objection and address it, or you’re able to move that person to, to join your business and buy a product or join your service. So it’s not, it’s not a bad thing. It’s most common in retail. So there’s a friend of mine who runs a business in Brighton called Ocasta, and they do some great research around enabling salespeople in the retail space. It’s  a phenomenally large statistic I think it’s in its 70s, I believe, where most people give all the information to the customer and then just do not ask for the business. That needs to be corrected.

Martin Henley  59:25  

Yeah, it does. It doesn’t need to be …. It doesn’t need to be …. The thing is, I think two things about this. I think. I think that there is rarely one close, like especially if it’s in a sale like if it’s like you say a significant buying decision. If you’re selling computer systems to corporations, you’re not going to get the close, you’re going to get a close but you’re not going to get the close on the first call. So I think there are a series of little closes that happen all the time. This is where always be closing make sense to me, which is always be confirming what the next action is, you know, in that process and making sure that happens, but not always be asking for the business in like, can I have the deal? Can I have the deal? Can I have the deal? I used to work in advertising. people would phone up and say I sent you the contract three hours ago, and you haven’t sent it back to me and blah, blah, blah, it’s like, that’s done, that’s not happening anymore. You know? So I think that. It doesn’t have to be can I have the deal. It can be when you want to when you want this to happen. You know, it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t have to be, is there anything stopping you from doing this today? It’s like, okay, it sounds like this is really going to work for you when do you want it to happen? You know, and then you go again. It sounds like we fell from the same tree man.

Ben Bennett  1:00:51  

Not not too far. Off, I fell a bit harder and hit a few more branches, right. But other than that

Martin Henley  1:01:00  

You fell out out the ugly tree, that’s the joke, isn’t it? Okay, good. So imagine somebody is …. this question is really not working recently because I keep people asking people and they are just like get them to phone me. Maybe they can’t find you, maybe they’re in a different part of the world, or maybe they don’t, I don’t know. So if somebody is looking at their business, and they’re realising … You see I think that’s the only challenge in your business and my business is getting people to that point of realisation or being there when people get to that point of realisation. I think the other issue is, like, I’m with you entirely. I think people need to change their mind a little bit about sales and marketing that’s what I’m on a mission to do. I’m giving away everything I have for free, and I’m giving away everything you have for free and everything or everyone else has for free, you know, I’m really on a mission to kind of help people maybe to get to that realisation. It doesn’t function as a business, because people won’t pay for that. You know, after that they can come to you. What, what is your advice for somebody who’s like, okay, I want my business now to start performing in a better way.

Ben Bennett  1:02:13  

I would look at just putting in the basics. I think a lot of the time, I alluded to earlier, it’s and you did as well, it’s the benefit statements, right, is that it’s the positioning. It doesn’t have to be knocking on doors. It doesn’t have to be adding 20 people a day on LinkedIn and just seeing what happens. All right, that might be a tactic. If you aren’t positioned in a way that people understand that they should be on your site or talking to you that they can see you do solve the problems that they’ve got and they can see that you’ve got experience in delivering the right outcomes. If you aren’t positioned in that way you’re just another website, you’re just another marketer, you’re just another salesperson. You really need to be able to say, this is who you are, this is what we do for people like you, because …. and this is how we’ve achieved X, Y, Zed for client ABC. It all starts with a firm, solid ground to launch from. You mentioned about selling features over benefits. There’s a framework I use, called F abs, which is features, advantages, benefits. You know, the feature of coming on my Orca programme is it’s, it’s the Orca programme and it’s an eight week group learning programme. The advantage is you get to learn with other business owners in the same situation as you in an online environment with as little impact to your time and as high value as possible. The benefit means you no longer have to worry about where your next meal is coming from. You no longer have to worry about becoming an influencer to secure deals, you no longer have to XYZ. It is the feature, which is what it is, the advantage, which is how it works and what it does and then the benefit directly matches up with the problem that they’ve got or the worry or the need. When you’re telling a story like that people won’t understand it very clearly. If I’d have said, I’m a sales trainer, I work with businesses like you all the time. Here’s an overview of my sales training, your not going to give two hoots? 

Martin Henley  1:04:18  


Ben Bennett  1:04:19  

If you’re directly answering the need, that’s where you need to get to first. So ironically, with anything to do with sales and marketing, it’s nothing to do with marketing tactics or sales tactics. It’s about positioning and getting you’re bedrock set, and really launching from a strong base.

Martin Henley  1:04:33  

Yeah. I think part of the issue is that people don’t really believe that they are adding value to the world. Is that the case? It’s really hard being a small business owner. I mean, it’s stupidly hard. Like, I billed 1000 different businesses in the nine years that I was doing business. I think a huge proportion of those were essentially servicing overdrafts, is what they were doing. You know, it was, I mean, really ugly and painful, I think, for a lot of small businesses. So I think they lose confidence that what they’re doing is actually adding value to the world. Is that a consideration?

How do you motivate small business owners?

Ben Bennett  1:05:19  

I’d agree. I mean, welcome to our old friend imposter syndrome. You know, it’s something that exists at the highest level executives of the biggest firms in the world, all the way down to kids at school. Imposter syndrome is probably one of the biggest killers of business. The thing that I always say, you know, and I’m working with a guy at the moment, and he made a statement of, I’ve got a new business but I don’t have a track record, because it’s a brand new business and so why would people buy from me? My view on this is a fairly simple one, your business hasn’t got any track record, but you have, like, this work history that you’ve got, look at the client logos that you’ve you’ve built out for other employers, and actually, one of the most valuable things you can add to any client is, we spoke about earlier, perspective. Any business owners got that in bags and bags of it because you can bring perspective, you can bring opinion, you can bring ideas, and that’s valuable, whether they get executed against is one way or another, bringing that perspective and that value in that experience. It doesn’t matter if business A has only been running six months, or it’s been running 20 years, the value you bring is within you and until you separate yourself from the business and build out IP within the company;, that might be content; that might be courses,; it might be whatever it needs to be, until that point, the business is you and you are the business. So while the new logo might have no experience, company owner as got 15, 20, 30 years experience, don’t sweat it. Share your knowledge because people will consume it and give away information because people will care. There is always going to be someone in the room that will get value from your information. Equally every conversation I have I learn something new. Yeah, I’m not arrogant to sit here and think I know everything about sales, because I do not. I just manifested all of my knowledge into a programme, into a business and that that’s the real difference. People do want to hear what you have to say because you are the value.

Martin Henley  1:07:26  

Yes. 100% I think that’s really important. I think that’s really, really important. You see I had this conversation with Barnaby, and he’s given me his whole process. There’s five things in there that I used to do regularly and we’re the bedrock almost of what I was doing, you know, and then they just got forgotten. So there is, you know, even if you’re you and I and you make a living doing this stuff, and talking about this stuff all day, every day, there is still a need to be to be having conversations, talking to people getting support, getting guidance. A customer of mine was a life coach, didn’t do a lot with life coaches, but one of them was, and the issue in her businesses, she was fixing people too quickly. Like people would go and see her once or twice, and they’d be fixed and she’d send them out into the world. I was telling her you can’t run a business like this, you can’t go through all the cost and pain and energy of securing a customer to then only see them twice and have them completely fixed and never need to see you ever again. You think about the most successful football in Premier League history was Ryan Giggs, he was managed by the most successful manager in Premier League history for 25 years. Even the best people need coaches need managers, need those kinds of things. What was the point of saying that? The point of saying it that is, it was the same thing, she knew she was doing an amazing job for people. She was actually doing too good a job, I think, in my opinion, because, okay, you fix that issue, but you want to be there like you say the next time they wake up at two o’clock in the morning, you want them to be able to call you and say like now I’ve got this issue. I think it’s interesting. And I think there’s so much opportunity in this, that you almost need someone to come out from outside to be able to remind you of all this stuff.

Ben Bennett  1:09:21  

That’s a great example. And she could be and I’m glad that she isn’t but she could be in a position where she could string that out for weeks and months and years. You know, there’s a, I think it’s on Netflix or BBC, The Shrinking Next Door, Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell. Basically this man implants himself into Will Ferrell’s life, he is his shrink but he takes over his life. I’m not saying it’s that extreme, but you can keep people coming back and paying because they get value from what you’re delivering. Actually already if they already scan the real world she’s done the right thing and stopping those sessions. How can you maintain a customer provider relationship without just letting them go and never hearing from them again? 

Martin Henley  1:10:11  


Ben Bennett  1:10:11  

Can you create a community? Can you create a paid for support service that’s beyond one to one, you know, there are ways to monetize audiences where everybody still gets huge value, but aren’t being preyed upon. Because, you know, I think I shouldn’t be in businesses too long, I equally don’t want to stop talking to those clients and helping them. What is the mechanism beyond the one to one? And I think that’s just worth giving some thought to any businesses that are service providers that do end a project and it finishes, you know, what can you do for that person thereafter?

Martin Henley  1:10:46  

And I think, even if you were, not stringing it out, but if you’ve benefited, like, seriously benefited from these two conversations, you’ll probably benefit from having a conversation three or four times a year. So let’s schedule that at least, I think the danger of that is that you close the door, on the basis that everything’s solved, and then the customer doesn’t they have come back and tell you actually, we didn’t quite get it, you know, I mean, so then they’re in the wilderness looking for someone else to help them. I think that’s the danger.

Ben Bennett  1:11:15  

Yes, right.

Martin Henley  1:11:19  

Yeah, it’s interesting, that the thing that’s at the back of my mind is that, am I. My definition of a target market is a group of people with an issue that they’re prepared to spend money to resolve. But I, potentially, yeah, but I am still servicing a market where I know they don’t have money to resolve the issues, do you? I mean, they don’t even know they have the issues yet. So I guess I’m just really doing a really shit job taking my own advice at the moment. Maybe I can get a corporation to pay me like YouTube or something, and then that will resolve the whole thing, or maybe I don’t need to be paid, you know, it’s maybe it’s fine. I don’t know.

Ben Bennett  1:12:09  

Yeah, I think you’re in a really good spot in the fact that, you know, let’s work out, it comes back to your own objectives. If you want to give your value away, and you’re doing these great interviews and is providing huge amount of information, both from your experience and your guests experience. People are just gonna come and enjoy that content. For what you’re doing as a business in the fact that you’re identifying individuals, or businesses, or customers that have a need and have budget, that’s going to bring them through their path to purchase for quicker. Yeah, winning businesses that aren’t yet aware of that problem, that sort of becomes slightly more expensive but it does mean your pool is a lot bigger. So you could have let’s just say there’s a million businesses out there that could use your services, but don’t know that they need you. There are 100,000 that do know they need you and are prepared to pay. Absolutely focus your time and effort on the ones that do know they need you and prepare to pay. It’s the quickest, fastest, cheapest version of winning new business. If you want that longer term, massive audience, then start investing in awareness campaigns and education campaigns, where you can educate a broader audience that aren’t yet aware of what their pitfalls might be in the future. Yeah, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Martin Henley  1:13:24  

It doesn’t have to be that way. I’m not touting for work, I really don’t want to have any customers, you know, it’s all good. I’m in a very privileged position where I can kind of expend some time doing this. I kind of feel like my mission now is, what I hope to be able to do is get all of this out for a couple of years, and then maybe it will become my pension. That’s kind of I don’t know, that’s the that’s the idea. There shouting going on downstairs. Can you actually hear that? 

Ben Bennett  1:13:50  

I can yeah. 

Ben Bennett  1:13:52  

I don’t know what’s going on. Okay, cool. It feels like we got to the end. Is there anything that I should have asked you that I didn’t ask you? Is anything that you should have said that you didn’t say?

Ben Bennett  1:14:04  

I don’t think so. I think the thing that I found most interesting about this is, before you hit the record by I was talking about non marketing tactics and let’s talk about sales. But I think it just cemented the point, in my own mind, really, that actually sales is becoming more and more marketing every single day. I think the people that will do best in their careers now aren’t the ones that choose sales or marketing as a career if you’re going to go down that route, and do choose it if you have an opportunity, I thoroughly recommend it. 

Martin Henley  1:14:35  

Yeah, me too. 

Ben Bennett  1:14:38  

Those that are more adept at understanding the end to end journey, and having skills through that whole process, you know, that’s not going to be for everyone, but a marketer that is happy to get on the phone is going to be your most powerful weapon in your business, in my view.

Martin Henley  1:14:56  

100% Yeah. I think the other thing is that people, people in business need to realise that they’re in the business of having customers profitably, you know, that’s that’s the business of being in business. Okay, good. So the last question is, Who are you prepared to throw under the bus to have a conversation like this? Now you said you wanted to take the time and see you wanted to take the time and see how it goes. Have you got anyone?

Who do you recommend I speak to as part of Talk Marketing?

Ben Bennett  1:15:23  

Yeah, there’s a guy that I collaborate down in Brighton with sometimes his name is Alex Ryan, and he runs a company called Marketing 101.

Martin Henley  1:15:32  

I’ve spoken to Alex already.

Ben Bennett  1:15:36  

Oh, god dammit. I bet.

Martin Henley  1:15:38  

Yes, yes. Yes. And

Ben Bennett  1:15:40  

Beecause of Jim Cunliffe, he’s everywhere. Okay, well, I will put you in touch with a guy called Robbie Bhatti. So Robbie is a business development pro, he gets involved lots of businesses, is probably one of the best networkers on planet Earth, loves bringing people together and he’s got a lot of business growth, enterprise level experience. He is a wonderful human being and he is very funny as well, so a different different twist to your your audience I feel.

Martin Henley  1:16:20  

Excellent. Okay, cool. I will get after him as well. We’re not connected on LinkedIn. But I’m going to send you an invitation now and hopefully, you’ll accept and then maybe I’ll find him that way. Is that the best way to find him or?

Ben Bennett  1:16:31  

I will happily bring you together. 

Martin Henley  1:16:33  

Fantastic. You’re an absolute legend. Okay, just one? Anyone else you can think of?

Ben Bennett  1:16:42  

I think it would be appropriate.

Martin Henley  1:16:44  

I’m gonna touch Alex Ryan again, because, you know, it’s been a while since we spoke. 

Ben Bennett  1:16:49  

He’s doing a lot of podcast stuff now as well. The thing is there are there are a few brands and businesses that I’m working with at the smaller end of the scale and there’s a couple that are larger end. I can put you in touch with a woman named Sarah Osterholzer, she runs a community down here in Brighton called The Good Business Club. She’s, she’s gone through a good journey of building her own business, taking on investment and building a community of socially and environmentally focused businesses and a wonderful human being, lots of experience very knowledgeable. And potentially if you’re interested, there’s a woman named Christina Pericatti and she runs South East Angels Network. She is a former entrepreneur manager at NatWest as well. So she’s big in the startup world bigger than marketing, fundraising and so she might be some really good conversation for you as well.

Martin Henley  1:17:47  

Excellent. I’m interested in all of those if you could set up some or you’ve come up with very difficult surnames to spell. That’s the only thing so what I’ll do is send you an invite on LinkedIn, you can either send me the names or the links, or if you can instigate a conversation that will be first prize.

Ben Bennett  1:18:07  

Yeah, I’ll start it up for you that’s not a problem at all. 

Ben Bennett  1:18:10  

You’re an absolute legend. Thank you so much, Ben. This wasn’t the easiest to come together, was it? There were tropical diseases, there were accidents, scars, you know, head injuries but we got there in the end. So this ill fated conversation happened. I think. I’m really really, I absolutely love these conversations, it’s insane how much I love these conversations.

Ben Bennett  1:18:31  

I really enjoyed it. I really appreciate the opportunity and the patience to get me here. So thank you very much. Okay.

Martin Henley  1:18:37  

Definitely. I think it was March last year, I think has taken us 10 months to get here. 

Ben Bennett  1:18:41  


Martin Henley  1:18:42  


Ben Bennett  1:18:43  

Okay. Anyway, we made it buddy, we made it. 

Martin Henley  1:18:46  

We made it, we got there in the end. You’re an absolute legend. Thank you so much, Ben.

Ben Bennett  1:18:50  

No worries Bud.

Martin Henley

Martin Henley

Martin has built a reputation for having a no nonsense approach to sales and marketing and for motivating audiences with his wit, energy, enthusiasm and his own brand of audience participation.

Martin’s original content is based on his very current experience of running effective marketing initiatives for his customers and the feedback from Effective Marketing’s successful and popular marketing workshops.



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