The Sales IQ Podcast

Radical Transparency, With Todd Caponi

April 13, 2022

The Sales IQ Podcast

Join us as host of the show Luigi Prestinenzi talks to thought leaders from around the globe about the art and science of sales and marketing, personal development, and the mindset required to sell more everyday. Luigi is a master of creating pipeline and breaking down targets, he specializes in helping sales professionals build the mindset to achieve greatness and #bethebestyoucanbe.

In this episode, Luigi is joined by transparency nerd and sales historian Todd Caponi. By centring your mindset and values around being upfront with your prospects, Todd says you'll see payback in spades. Even if it means sacrificing that first deal on the table.


Connect with Todd at his website, on LinkedIn or by subscribing to The Sales History Podcast.

Connect with Luigi on LinkedIn.

On the Sales IQ Community you'll find resources and events to build every element of your sales skillset, and be able to connect likeminded professional salespeople. Claim your place.

Todd Caponi
Founder, Speaker & Workshop Leader @ Sales Melon

[00:00:00] Luigi Prestinenzi: By the Sales IQ Network, this is the Sales IQ Podcast. I'm your host, Luigi Prestinenzi, and each week we'll be going on a journey that will inspire you, motivate you, and help you be the best sales professional you can be. Our focus will be on mindset, tactics, and the strategies that will enable you to create more pipeline, and win more deals. 

Welcome to another episode of the Sales IQ podcast. To all our listeners, welcome. Really excited to have you join us again for what will be another incredible episode. And if you're a first time listener welcome, I hope you get a lot of value out of this podcast. And if you really like it, please, don't forget to give us a rating on your favorite podcast player.

And come back again because we are producing content each and every week to help sellers be the very best they can be. Before we get into today's episode, and I'm really excited to talk about today's episode today's guest, Todd Caponi, who is the author of the transparency sale and this sales history.

And we're going to talk about why transparency matters, but before we get into today's episode, just want to let you know about the Sales IQ Community that is growing. And in the show notes, there is a link for you to access the Sales IQ Community, where there's a lot of free content designed to help sellers be the very best they can be. We run a range of events that are aimed at helping sellers build the capability across every element of the sales process. So we've had the incredible Jen Ellen from the Challenger Sale, Andy Paul we've got Todd Caponi coming up, we have Ravi Rajani on, on storytelling.

There's a whole range of incredible speakers coming. We have an incredible event schedule coming up and there's just a lot of columns that is made available to you. And what's, what's awesome about the whole community. Is there are other like-minded people just like you, who out there looking to take their skills to another level.

So please click the link. Join. There's no cost to the actual community is that there's a portion of the community that's always going to be free. So jump in there, say hello, and we'd love to engage with you in our, in our Sales IQ Community.

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"So, my name's Ellis, I work at DocuSign as an ABR. And the reason I started Sales IQ was because I really needed that guidance and that training to make sure that the outreach that I was doing was hitting the nail on the head. So I was lucky enough to start the program early on in this role and since then I've been pretty successful and last quarter I finished on a 185%. So I've seen some huge results by adopting the principles."

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So let's get into this week's episode this week, as I said, we've got Todd Caponi and why am I really excited about this week's episode? Because Todd comes with years of experience working in, in sales, but senior leadership roles as well. And he's looked at things a little bit differently. And what I love about Todd and his concept that he's going to talk to us about today is all about being transparent and why transparency matters when it comes to the sales process.

Now, there are many reports. That are suggesting the trust gap between buyers and sellers is really, really wide, right? So a number of buyers just don't trust sellers. And the reality is there is a whole range of people out there doing certain things, tactics that are creating those barriers. So this is why transparency matters today, more than ever before.

And we're going to talk a bit about how you can bring that transparency mindset to your sales process. So that you can deliver more value. You can deepen the relationships with your prospects and clients, and ultimately it'll help you build a sustainable book of business. Can't wait to get into this episode with Todd Caponi.

Welcome to the show, Todd.

[00:04:39] Todd Caponi: So good to finally meet you and I'm excited to be on.

[00:04:42] Luigi Prestinenzi: Yeah, I'm pretty pumped mate, I mean, I'm pretty pumped for a few reasons. I think, you know, the transparency sale the book, the concepts, the fact that. Yeah today. I think it's more important ever before to be transparent in order to build deep relationships in a world where it's been a very difficult world to build relationships in that virtual world.

I think the transparency side sale is such an important concept. So I can't wait to dive into that, but also the nerd side of me tired. You share incredible content when it comes to the history of sales and I'm kind of like, I really nerd out. We got before. I think the concepts that you share, you look at him, you're like, man, it's kind of the same today, but they've been doing it for such a long time.

Right. So I can't wait to talk a bit about the concepts that you share from here, historian perspective. But before we dive into the transparency sale and the, and the, and the sales historian part of, of what you share, we'd love to learn a bit more about you and how you started in the world of sales.

[00:05:41] Todd Caponi: Yeah, that's a good one. You know, it was funny. Like, I always thought that I had a voice for radio and probably a face for radio too. But when I went to college, like I was going to get into telecommunications. Right. I was going to be on the radio and within about six months I realized that's not going to happen.

And I, it was kind of like the default that my dad was always in sales. I should just do. Right. And so I ended up finding a job with the local university newspaper. I went to Indiana university here in the U S in Bloomington. I got a job selling ads for the Indiana daily students, which was the newspaper and incredible experience.

I loved it. I loved the independence. I love the kind of, I depend on myself type of thing. Man, the rest is history, but it started there and coming out of college, went right into sales and been doing it ever since

[00:06:36] Luigi Prestinenzi: So you didn't grow, you know, go to school one day and, and say, when I'm older, I'm going to be in sales, right.

[00:06:42] Todd Caponi: Right. Yeah. I didn't grow up going into it. And it was still a time where there was two things, you know, number one. You know, even my wife and I've been married for 13 years. And I remember when I first met her sister. So actually it might've even been before that where my wife was like, Hey, I'm dating this guy.

And her sister said, what's he do. And she's like, oh, he's in sales. And her response was, oh, gross. Right? Like, I mean, that was, that was the way it always was. And so growing up in high school, you didn't think, gosh, sales is going to be I've respected and admired profession, and everybody will be envious of being like now.

And then you couple that with the fact that back then. You know, sales was not like a curriculum in college, either. You couldn't focus on it and you couldn't major in it. Things have changed. And we can talk a little bit about the history of that, but yeah, it was rare to find anybody who would go to school thinking that sales was the way that they were going to go.

[00:07:37] Luigi Prestinenzi: Yeah. And I think, you know, like when, when you think of, when you watch movies over time, some is great movies. Right. But. They do depict a very negative, you know, the negative attributes of, of what a sales person is. And you'd think that it's 2022 with all the work that's gone into building the sales proficient, elevating its capability.

You think that sellers would, or buyers would trust sellers more today? You know, in, in past years, but I was reading a recent report that was saying, you know, something along the lines of about 80% of, of, of buyers don't trust sellers. They don't trust the social media ads that they see. They don't trust PR campaigns. Right? Why is it. With all the work that's gone into elevating our profession, there is still a massive gap when it comes to trust. In your opinion?

[00:08:35] Todd Caponi: I think there's a bunch of things. And being the sales history nerd, I can inject some of that too, but let's go back for a minute. So 1960. So 106 years ago, there was a conference that was taking place in Detroit.

It was the first of its kind. It was called BIM world sales Congress. And it was attended by 3000 people, you know, dignitaries and salespeople, right? Like coming together in Detroit, Michigan for this conference. Now here's the amazing thing. The keynote speaker. So imagine a conference today where the keynote speaker.

The then president of the United States like that that's crazy, right? Like again, like I would that happen? Well, back then 1916 sales was a trusted and respected profession. It was, it, it was actually admired and salespeople were viewed as the key cog between. An economy that grows in America becoming a world power and not.

And what that meant was the message. Was salespeople bringing the right solutions to the right people, the right time at the right price. Would elevate those companies, those companies would grow, the economy would grow. The economy would grow, would get reinvested. And we as salespeople doing right by customers, we all win.

Right. And so over time that started to erode. Now I'll give you one of my perspectives. There's reasons why that happened, but one of them was what you just talked about was technology. Yeah. You know, we look at today where we, as a profession are filling every remaining crevice of the sales profession with technology, right?

Yeah. You look at those charts and there's logos all over it. Well, I would argue that the biggest evolution, the biggest game changer in the history of sales tech happened in 1876 when Alexander Graham bell invented the telephone, right. Or at least got credit for it, the telephone like this amazing. We don't really start to see telephone selling, injecting itself into the profession until the 1910s 1920s, but salespeople.

Right. Like they they've, they ruined it to the point where they started using it to harass people and interrupt them and, and force things on them to the point where technology's had to create, had to be created to prevent salespeople from selling like caller ID. And the government had to get involved with like the, do not call registry, which here in the.

Alexander Graham bell would be rolling over in his grave. If he knew that there's 221 million phone numbers on the do not call registry today, like 221 million people that don't want to be called by salespeople. Right. We did the same thing with email. We'd started to do the same thing with LinkedIn, like LinkedIn out of a mess.

I worry about video, like all of these technologies and, and. We as a profession, lost our face to sales, like back in the 1910s, you had to go face to face door, to door, business to business. You had to look people in the eyes, the phone, email, LinkedIn, all of these tools gave us the capability to not, and gave us the capability to prioritize scale and quantity over.

And as a result, I think that that was the beginning of the erosion of the sales profession.

[00:11:56] Luigi Prestinenzi: Yeah. It's an interesting perspective, right? Because you're absolutely right. When you think about some of the, what I call, you know, the, the, the real founders of professional development or personal development, the Dale Carnegie's the Og Mandinos, the Earl Nightingales, you know, they did the the way in which they described the profession of selling and the way in which they described that mindset that you need to take to it. Like when you look back, you mean how to win friends and influence people. What is it? A hundred years, almost a hundred years old.

You, when you go that's people going with it, all this irrelevant, it's absolutely relevant to that. More than ever before, because they did see themselves as that proficient that professional. They did see themselves as somebody that was making a positive impact in people's lives. And I can absolutely agree with you.

I see, you know, today and I get it, I'm getting it on LinkedIn. I'm getting it an emails. I'm getting those automated sequences did just jamming my box, my inbox. And I'm thinking to myself, you know what, for me, that's not selling right. I can see why that trust gap is getting wider and wider. Right. And I can also, cause I've got the opinion, Todd and love to hear your opinion on this, that I'm okay for a prospect, for them to know that I'm looking to reach out, to connect to them.

I okay with it. I'm okay. To leave a voice. I want them to know that I'm keen to chat, but I'm prepared to do what others aren't prepared to do to get their attention, which is do some research, which is bringing a relevant point of view to the table. And then what I do get the meeting with them. I want to be transparent to say, Hey, this is all the research that I've done.

This is the information that I've found about where you're going as an organization. And I believe so it allows me to kind of be on the same side with them. Right. Versus trying to manipulate them to get to a point of, of descend.

[00:13:52] Todd Caponi: Yeah. I mean, there, there's a couple of things, so let's start with transparency and how I define it.

And it, it started, I was the CRO of a tech company here in Chicago called PowerReviews. Yes that we were in the review space, right? We were helping retailers and brands collect and display ratings and reviews on their websites, which you've probably interacted with. Right. Buying a pair of Crocs. You scroll down there's reviews.

We get a study with Northwestern university here in Chicago that just looked at. All right. When a website's acting as a salesperson, what do people do? And the data that came back changed my life, like could only happen to a behavioral science nerd like me, that there was two data points that changed my life out of the three core ones.

That the first one that didn't was that we all read reviews today. Right? It's it. The latest update to the research was 99% of us. Brita review when a website's acting as a salesperson before buying something of substance that we haven't bought before. So cool. Everybody probably agrees with that, but the two that blew my mind, number one was that 85% of us skip the five star reviews and read the negatives first.

Right? So we, we, as human beings, we were drawn to the negative first, the fours, the threes, the twos, the ones, and that last data point, which is the thing that really triggered me. A product that has an average review score on a five-star scale out of again, when a website's actually a salesperson, I'll take you to the B2B side here in a minute.

The average review score of four, two to four, five is optimal for purchase conversion means. A product that has a 42, as an average, will sell at a higher conversion rate than a product that has nothing but five star reviews. So I'm looking at that going all right. I'm teaching my whole organization here to basically hide the flaws and sell as though we're perfectly.

Well, maybe we're doing a disservice. I got to go dig into the behavioral science and figure out is this how we're wired? And if that happens, when a website's acting as a salesperson, what happens when a human being is and found really quickly that the exact same thing happens, that we as human beings, we know subconsciously that perfection doesn't exist.

And when we lead with the negative and negative doesn't mean, Hey, this is why we suck negative means, Hey, here's something. Knowing what I know about you and what you're prioritizing. There's something that might not be a perfect fit or something a competitor might do better or something that you might find when you do your own research that we had a bad experience before when we do that, we disarm the buying brain.

Yup. We help them predict my opinion on all of this. And it's been backed up by all the, you know, not only the data and the behavioral science, but in actual practice. We don't buy when we're convinced, maybe we do, and we're not happy about it, but we are more likely to buy when we can predict is the juice going to be worth?

The squeeze is my time, my resources, my money worth it to focus on this versus the other areas that I can spend my time, my resources, my money. And when we do that, when we're triggered and we go, yeah, the juice is worth the squeeze. I'm going to prioritize this. That's when purchases happen, in my opinion.

We'll go back to history for a second. And what you just said about doing the research, there's a quote buyers know more nowadays, right? Like they know there's more information out there. Pick the quote from 1911, right? Like it's it's from today on LinkedIn, but it's from 1911 as well. And guess what? They were worried about it then, but the profession flourished in night in 2015.

So just seven years ago for. Same exact, like, almost word for word, but quote, and they were predicting that over a million B2B sales jobs would go away by 2020. The opposite happened. Why? Well, I believe that more information for buyers doesn't mean better. Yeah. More information has made it harder on buyers.

And I believe that the future of sales is transparent. We, instead of it being sales and convincing, it's setting expectations and doing the homework for the buyer and sales becomes a service profession where we're actually setting expectations for the customer, whether it's for us or for somebody else and doing it as quickly as possible.

Because again, more information doesn't mean better being a buyer has never been harder. Given the fact that they're now remote makes it even harder. If salespeople are bringing the pros and the cons and doing the homework for the. I think we have an opportunity to restore our profession, but also speed wins and speed losses.

[00:18:37] Luigi Prestinenzi: But I, I love this, right. And I'm in my head on going on our jobs, taking notes out of these stats right there. My gears are going to like, man, Todd, we're probably gonna have to do about four episodes here, but, but I think I'm with you, right? I do believe our proficiency kind of re-imagining itself.

However, I do believe that in the next five years, two to five years, we will see a whole bunch of salespeople made redundant. The ones that choose not to bring that professional mindset to the table. I still struggle with the fact that I speak to, you know, some and they say, I said, so what's your agenda for the meeting?

They're like, Like, yeah, like, what's your, what's the purpose of the meeting? What are you going to cover? Like, what insight are you going to share? What questions have you got prepared? And they're like, they've, they're, they're really looking at me. Like, I'm kind of, you know I have no idea. And I've, I've had a few, you know, interesting dialogues, robust conversations with some, with some gurus on LinkedIn about this exact concept topic, right?

I'm like, well, You know, th the, the, and my first kind of engagement with, with agendas was Wilson learning. You know, the, the, the consultant selling book that I read when I was in my early twenties, it was like purpose process payoff. I'm like, it's a beautiful, yeah, it's, it's a such a simplistic format, but I still say this today.

I see that. And the other thing I'm saying, which, which worries me about our proficient, where salespeople might be made redundant, is that. Two weeks of bootcamp, and then you throw them on the phones as an SDR. For me, it's like saying, well, we're actually insulting our profession because it takes a lot longer than two weeks to learn about our personas and, you know, learn about the outcomes they're seeking to achieve, learn about what's actually happening in their business, that empathy, how can we show empathy?

Which is a foundation of trust. If we actually don't have an understanding of what's going on in there. Right. And that's where my that's where my, where I'm struggling with that concept. And I'm saying a whole lot of sellers not build the foundational skills that they need in order to be successful.

[00:20:50] Todd Caponi: Yeah. I mean, I look at it through the lens of, and I totally agree with you. I think that you know, if, if you're going to medical school to become a doctor, right, you're going to spend a bunch of time going through books and learning about like, you know, the neck bones connected to them, know all that stuff.

You're also going to learn about really the science of what's called clinical empathy and it, you know, empathy is an overused word. Oftentimes. Confused with sympathy, right? Like I, hopefully I'm doing okay in these trying times that sympathy, not empathy. Right. But clinical empathy is to truly be able to see the world through the eyes of the people that you're communicating with and, you know, experience their highs and lows with them.

And that's what great doctors do. I'm not saying that salespeople need to go spend two years learning clinical empathy, but there's some simple things you can do. I'll give you one quick tip. For goodness sakes. It's like so easy when I was with one of the companies that I was with was a company called exact target.

Yeah. We were in the digital marketing space and we were selling to marketing executives, CMOs, chief digital officers, the people that were responsible for email marketing. Guess what? In our company, we had employees by the same title, right. We had a COO, we had a chief digital officer. We had somebody executing our own email marketing campaigns.

So what. During sales meetings, we'd bring them in and go, Hey, bring your laptop too. Cause we want to see your inbox. Show us your inbox and show us what stands out. What are you focused on right now? What do you measure by what events are you going to? What are you reading? Right. And every couple of weeks we'd bring one of those people in and just get their perspective and you can't.

But start to go. I see the world through the marketer's eyes and I can't help, but be more effective and being an asset to my customers instead of being a necessary evil, you're selling a finance. I bet you've got a CFO. You've got some accountants. If you're selling to sales, go grab your VP of sales and go, let's see you're in buck, right?

Every role that you're selling to, you could probably find in your organization. And if you can't go find some people outside, even your current customers. Could you help us out? Like we want to be better assets to our customers. Can you come in and show us your laptop? These people exist everywhere.

They're right there. Why, why can't we just go bring them in and teach like that two week bootcamp? Yeah, I clicked the clinical levels of empathy are right at your fingertips and nobody's using it, or there's a very small percentage that are, and I think as a tremendous opportunity, it's a great point, Luigi.

I mean, we've, we've got to have clinical levels of empathy to be a trusted asset to our potential customers and not necessary evil.

[00:23:35] Luigi Prestinenzi: And you, you know, like you talk about exact target for listeners who might not know who they are, because they're now part of probably the only sales conference that Olivia get a president presented at their conference.

Again, you talk about back in the early 19 hundreds, but you know, bought them and exact target. You you've achieved amazing things. Why? Because they did really understand the world of their customer. Organization. And I'm absolutely in love with these HubSpot, right? Because I did the same when they first started, they sit in order for us to have that clinical empathy.

We didn't understand how to handle our customer build sites. How do they build leading, like lead magnets? They got their salespeople to go through the process of building. Those things to really understand the barriers that they're encountering and why HubSpot allowed them to achieve certain outcomes.

Right. And so I get excited by that because. May w you know, I got thrown into a marketing role. Honestly, I was executive director of sales and I gets right into a head of marketing. I had no freaking clue what I was doing because of the organization that I was in at the time, this quite a few years ago, it was the best thing that had happened to me because it completely changed my viewpoint on selling.

And it got me thinking from a different perspective. Right. And then I think, again, this is where I'm loving what you're talking about, because. That clinical empathy, that transparency it's about going high are really need to be thinking a little bit differently. And we're going to have light on the table here and go, well, this is, this is where we're working, right?

This is the place we're working on. How can we work on this together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome?

[00:25:11] Todd Caponi: Exactly. How do we message what we give up to be great at our core? Right? Because every company in the world gives up something to be great at their core, right? The most successful B to C companies in the world.

Do that really, really well. And I think it's a huge opportunity for B2B. You're like Ikea, right? Like you're going to go to Ikea. They're going to give you a map when you walk in. So, you know, you're in for it, right? Like that that's this is going to suck. You find what you're looking for. There's nobody to help you.

You got to write down the code with your, or take a picture with your phone because you got to go to the warehouse, pull the a hundred pound boxes onto a cart that doesn't have brakes, jam it into your car, Tetra style in the parking lot. And F-bomb your way through that. Get it home opened the box hundred parts, no words on the work instructions, other than the word, like Sparta or whatever.

And, and then when you're done. We, we should have bought the end tables with his bedroom that, right. Like, let's go back there. The number one furniture retailer in the world for 14, straight years. And they do that by saying, we're going to give up the you're gonna find it. You're going to pick it. You're going to pack it.

You're going to jam it. You're gonna assemble it. But we're going to give you modern Scandinavian design furniture that you didn't pay much for. Right. There's great companies out there that do that all the time. I think it's a tremendous opportunity for even the B2B world to go, Hey. Like at PowerReviews when I was the chief revenue officer there, we were trying to be the best at ratings and reviews technologies for retailers and brands.

You're a medical practice. You're a travel site. Sorry, like that's not us go over there. You need the plugins that go into it. There's another company that has the full suite. That's not us. Right. We would lose as fast as we possibly could. Those opportunities. And in. We brought in customers. Pre-qualified we built trust with those guys.

So when they went to other companies or like your, what we need, we'd be the first call and nobody else would be involved. We'd speed sales cycles. Right. Cause when you're transferred, Again, think about yourself when you buy something online, why are you reading the negative reviews? All of you listening.

You're, you're reading the negative reviews first, right? Why? Because you're trying to come up with a prediction as a sales person provide that prediction to the homework for them. What are they going to find when they look and you're going to think the results are, it is close to a magic bullet as I've ever found to the point where like a lunatic, I quit my job and I wrote a book.

[00:27:29] Luigi Prestinenzi: But you're absolutely right. And you look at Ikea. I think that's an incredible example. They kind of throw that whole customer journey out the window. They go look, you know, You go into Ikea. It is what it is. There's a line you've got to walk through. If you have to get something right at the end, you're going to work through the whole place to get to the right.

You can go to the end, you just got to go through it. And I love it. You know, that whole Ikea effect that study that they did, that people that actually do that put this furniture together, place a higher value on the product versus receiving it already assembled. So there absolutely it. I don't know, hard behind it.

Right. They go hide it. And the reason why I love this, right, because I think too many. And we've seen this over the years of, of, of individuals, companies trying to manipulate a hide, you know, whole back. Yes, you kind of going well, that's not creating, you know, that's, that's creating tension versus reducing tension.

And you know, we look at the likes of Tesla and why they might, they completely re deleted, eliminated the tension involved in buying a car. And my daughter who's 19 and she's turning 20 this year, buying a car, her boyfriend bought a car. And unfortunately it didn't come with a warranty. Right. And it's had a bit of a problem and it's costing money.

And when I was talking to her about this last week and mind you she's 19, right? So you would think that she's not conditioned in this way, like we are, I've seen well I was talking to her about, you know, when you buy your car, you gotta be careful. And she said that that's their job. Isn't it. To get the best deal for them and to make the most money out of the, out of the sale.

I'm like, why are you looking at things in that nature? And I'm like, that's their view? Like if she's 19 and she's thinking of that, men are like, she's already conditioned to that. You know what selling is about getting the best outcome for them, not us when we know. The opposite, right. Presents its interesting guy.

And that's the next generation of buyers coming into the world and they've already got that, that condition that that's what a car sales person does.

[00:29:41] Todd Caponi: Yeah. It's it's depressing to hear that, but it's true, but I'll tell you one funny story. As it turns out like the behavioral science of all of this is really interesting in that transparency turns out it actually begets transparency.

So if you're listening to this and you're like, Hey, I understand that. Like when I buy something online, I go to the negatives. If I hear from a sales person, something I might not like, or something from an empathetic perspective that they're like, Hey, if I'm sitting in your shoes, this is what I might be concerned about.

And they aired that first. Like there there's a real connection there. That's fantastic. Yeah. Here's the other thing that's interesting. The other kind of side benefit, transparency begets transparency. And just a quick story on this. When I bought my last car, which is about, I guess, a year and a half ago, I, there was a bunch of cars that I was interested in.

And so I wasn't wed to the one, but like the one that they had. The on their lot. I was buying kind of like a semi used one. It really fit all my criteria, but I was like, you know what? Being a transparency nerd, I'm bringing my notebook. I'm going to try them. So there's three things they tell you not to do.

When you go buy a car, number one, don't tell them how you intend to pay, like whether or not you're going to write a check, you're going to finance it, or you're going to lease it like wait until the end, like negotiate the deal. And then spring that on number two, if you've got a trade in. And then number three, of course, is if there's something wrong with the trade-in, don't tell them that either.

Right? Well, I decided I'm going to go throw my cards face up and within the first two minutes, I'm going to lay all of that on this person and see what happens. I was like, Hey, I, this is the car I want. I've got my checkbook here. Like I've already worked out the financing. Number two is I've got a trade in it's that Jeep grand Cherokee in the parking lot.

It's a 2009 and oh, by the way, see the smoke swirling about in your parking lot. That's my car. That's like, my car was literally the check engine light was flashing. Right. So I do that. This guy's laughing and he's like, all right, cool. Within about 15 minutes, This rep the sales rep car sales rep shared with me, his ADHD, you know, his attention deficit disorder, his issues with his dad, his concerns about his career.

Like all of a sudden this guy was just like, really? And then at one point I was like, Hey, I've always been curious how car sales people get paid. And he pulls out his comp plan. And so I'm sitting there with him. And so it's amazing to me that, that the power of transparency. Yeah, sure. It feels good to be honest.

Right? And like these old sales books that I've got from the early 19 hundreds, we've always known that honesty sells, but as it turns out, we now have to do it because of the proliferation of reviews and feedback and everything. We do buy an experience, but it sells better. And if you want to get better relationships and get that transparency back from your.

It's a subconscious thing that when you're transparent and you do it from the heart, you'll find that transparency begets transparency and you're going to get to outcomes much faster.

[00:32:43] Luigi Prestinenzi: But I think he had loved this ride, bro. And I go, I look at this and I'm thinking, but you've got to actually have you just said it, it's got to come from the heart.

You've actually got to care about the people that you're you're dealing with. Right. And if you care, if you put the work in, you prepare it. You show them that you've prepared the, and you're bringing the, be your best self and your positive, right. You will align. And you'll find people that connect to that.

And this is where I tell sellers, like, we cannot have a mindset of scarcity because if we have that mindset that you know it, and we've got to be desperate. Everyone's my customer. The reality is that's not the case. You don't want everybody to be your customer. There are some customers that don't have the same values as you, and then on a line, right.

It's I pay and I've learned this, the hogwash I've met a lot of fuck-ups in my career. Right. And I've learned this the hard way and of have, and I've come to that realization that, you know what it's okay. Look the whole time. There are people out there that love the fact that I'm passionate about what I do.

I care about what I do. And I put in everything that I do, like everything that I can into my clients and the people that I work with. Some people love that. Some people don't that's okay. It's not a bad thing. If you don't and you buy from my competitor, that's absolutely okay. But there's enough people in the world that will engage in this style of, in this format.

Right. And, and, and this is where I think there's a great opportunity. The tactics of selling and there are so many tactics out there and I think they great, but I think the best tactic and the best strategy is being oneself. Educating oneself is saying right. If I've got to bring a transparent sort of process to the table, I certainly to educate myself.

I'm still going to think about even though I'll care and I'm passionate and all that. If I haven't got a point of view or if I haven't got any insight to share, or if I haven't got any value to. Why would the CRO, the CEO, the CFO, whoever give time to spend with me in the first place. Right. I've got to do that work.

[00:34:55] Todd Caponi: Yeah. I mean the scarcity thing that you mentioned. Part of the issue is systemic from leaders. And so like if you're a rep and you're hearing this and you're like, yeah, sure. But my leaders, all of my ass about my pipeline, you know, that's the issue. And that's like, you know, we were kind of joking about like where you screwed up in your career as a leader.

I there's one thing I used to do wrong or there's many things I did wrong, but here's one example. One of them was the, the pipeline load conversation. If we hear it, it sounds like this. For my reps at any time, you need to have four X, your quota and pipeline, right? Because we're going to close 25%.

If you don't have enough pipeline load, you're not going to hit it. So w what do, what does rep too? Well, I know when I used to hear that as a rep, I'm filling my pipeline with four X filled with crap, right. And so like, I think we all need to look at data. Cause I think so many of us use data the wrong way and look back at and go, does it really have to be Forex?

Or is there a systemic issue with the way that we're qualifying opportunities, that wouldn't it be great to close a higher percentage of deals and only need two X? Of course it would. Well, I think transparency and leading with that and qualify in and out faster gives you that opportunity to spend more time in the opportunities you should.

Or spend more time searching for opportunities that are more of a direct hit for what you do well and lose the deals that you're probably going to lose anyway, and just do it faster. Right. And, and to your point about competitors, even like when COVID first hit, you know, I w now, you know, I went from being a CRO with like a steady paycheck to running a sales training workshop and speaking business COVID hits.

And all of a sudden my pipeline goes to zero. I had a company reach out to me and they're like, Hey, You know, we really could use some prospecting, like a prospecting workshop, prospecting training, like, you know, framework, all of that stuff. I'm like, all right, cool. Tell me more about it. Guess what? Perfect.

I've got three different companies that I'd like you to talk to. Cause that's not something that. Right. And like, that's the scarcity mindset. Might've been like, Ooh, money. Right. But instead I'm like, Hey, that's not my, I could do it, but I'm not the best data. There's other people that I think are fricking awesome at it.

And in every case that I did that the person would that. Really, what is it you do? Like, what is your area of focus? And I would go through it and I probably close to out of the three of those deals by, you know, getting them to realize that there's some other stuff that you need to, right? So you can't be afraid to be honest because it sells better, but more often than not that relationship that gets built, you immediately become instead of a vendor, you become a partner and a consultant and advisor to them.

It sounds so cheesy, but I'm telling you, man, it's like my right there.

[00:37:47] Luigi Prestinenzi: I know that you're aligned with that. I'll tell you why, because I think. You know that there is that opportunity calamine. And I think for, for, for a lot of us, I mean, early in my career, I went through, I remember when I started my own practice, you know, she's eight years ago.

I did take everything on the table. Right. I needed it. I was, I wasn't, I needed the cash, Alex, if you want to sit. And then I realized, you know what, I probably shouldn't have taken that project. And I'm like you now, when I get to proposal stage, I'm it's it's, it's gone through a very specific process. I'm very clear.

I know that we've got alignment. There's consensus, strong business case for change. I know that I'm going to secure about 80% of those proposals are going to close. Right. So, you know, because I've done the work to get there and I won't move to proposal unless we were actually at a point of proposal and I had an opportunity to adjust past.

In the last three weeks, really large opportunity dog and that a new CRO. They're going through a major transformation, a huge organization here in Australia. And they're talking to two very credible orgs a couple of global ones you'd actually know them. And she says, yes, they're going to come back with a proposal.

She said, this is what we want. And I said to her, I asked her some questions. I said, look, I, my concern is you don't have alignment within your team around what the problem is that you're trying to solve. And she looked at me and she's like, yeah, we, we have got a we don't, we're not all seeing things in the same perspective.

I said, and I said, look, if I were more concerned, if I put a proposal, I'm actually proposing something that's not really relevant. It's not going to help you. I said, here's some stuff that I think is going to help you. I gave her some IP. I said, he's a, he's a sales process, sort of created. Here's some other things.

I'm happy to support you and give you some information, but I'm not going to be able to put a proposal together. Great. The other two, they deed I'll get an email last week. We're having to go back to the drawing board. Can we meet? I said, absolutely.

Exactly. Right.

And I think that's me being transparent.

That's me saying, look, I'd love this opportunity, but there's just you're you're not ready. It'd be remiss of me to try to just take and what if you accept my proposal? It's not going to address the problem. We haven't got alignment on problem. We don't, we're not clear on the outcomes you're seeking to achieve.

So therefore I'm going to take some money. It's not going to be a win for us because we're not going to be able to achieve what we want to achieve you own achieve. And we're probably going to end up at a point of tension and you're saying we're not good enough. And I've been down that path before.

Right. So I want to avoid that for you and us. Yeah.

[00:40:15] Todd Caponi: Well, the most important thing. MI everybody listening to this has in their inventory that they can turn to revenue is their time. Yeah. Every minute that you're spending on an opportunity, that's not optimal. And you're hoping that I'll be able to convince them or I'll put something together.

Right. But you couldn't be spending that time on opportunities. You should win or finding other opportunities that are better direct hit. And that just that story you just told literally last week, my biggest customer. Came to me and wanted something. They were very clear in the outcome that they wanted.

They very clear in the structure that they wanted and I could do it, but I know I'm not the best at doing it. And so I got on the phone with their as VP of sales and I was like, look, I, I got somebody I want to introduce you to, you're going to love her. But like, this is what she does. And every time she does it, she fricking kills it.

And I love you. Like, I love this company. I love what you do. The outcome. Like, what I care about is the outcome, not the paycheck from this. And she was like, huh, all right. So they talked and it turns out this, this other outfit is more expensive than I am to the SVP of sales comes back to me and is like, oh, she's kind of high for our budget.

For your outcome, go find more budget, telling you to do this, right? You need to invest more. Guess what? She just got the deal, right? Like I literally advocated for somebody else that does something else for my biggest customer where there's a big paycheck out there, but I know that is going to pay me in spades on the outside of that.

But even more part, I truly do care about the outcome of my best customer. Right. And I know that I was not going to be the best.

[00:42:01] Luigi Prestinenzi: But that, you know, you're right, but that's values, that's mindset, that's transparency. There's a whole range of things. So I think for me listening to this episode or listening, you know, being part of this episode today, Todd, like I'm going, it's just, it's cementing for me.

Why it's so important for sales professionals for us, that's going to be the competitive differentiation in the market is our ability to go with that value. Of being transparent, being honest and being very clear. In our own value system, because that's going to enable our clients, which have the best things that they can.

So my, I, like I said, I think we've got about a three or four episodes here, but good so-called day. But just before we wrap up, where could our, you know, where is the best place for our listeners to find you? I know you've got a podcast, we'll make sure we put that into the show notes, but where's the best place for them to engage with you?

[00:42:53] Todd Caponi: Yeah, I mean the easiest place is just Todd I'm hard not to find, but that's got links to lots of free information in the podcast. My blog. How to get ahold of me, my programs, my keynotes, all of that stuff. So that's a great place to start find me on LinkedIn too. I share a lot of my nonsense there.

And that podcast that you mentioned is just clearly, it's purely a hobby. It's called the Sales History podcast, but I just do 10 to 20 minute monologues on a different topic about the history of the sales and revenue profession. And then I try to talk. To making it really relevant to today. And it's just a nerdery for me, but man, people are loving it.

I'm so excited that they are like, that's just been a blast for me.

[00:43:33] Luigi Prestinenzi: Awesome. Well, we'll put that into the show notes and when your upcoming book on, or we get, you got a book coming later this year, I believe.

[00:43:39] Todd Caponi: Yeah, it should be July of 2022 called the transparent sales leader. So. You know, providing a structure and a framework for sales leaders, which growing up in sales leadership, I was always like a dog chasing the car down the street. Like I needed a foundation. I built one. I share that. Plus all of the behavioral science of what truly drives sales people. They it's a framework called the praise model for driving intrinsic inspiration into your teams. Even if you're an individual contributor, you might really enjoy it. If you want to grow in the sales leadership at some point, but just even know what inspires you.

[00:44:13] Luigi Prestinenzi: Awesome. Well, we'll make sure that when that comes out, we'll promote the hell out of it. So, Todd, I just want to say thanks for the content that you share, mate.

I I'll be getting a lot out of it. I love your concepts. I love your Instagram page. Thanks for helping me be the best sales professional I can be. And for helping elevate our sales profession.

[00:44:28] Todd Caponi: This has been so much fun. Thanks for having me on.

[00:44:31] Luigi Prestinenzi: This show has been recorded remotely produced by Sales IQ Global, audio editing and music production by Stefan Malliate. Show notes by Victoria Mathieson and graphic design by Julie Marshall. Don't forget to leave a rating and review on your podcast player. And if you want to find more about the programs that we offer at Sales IQ, head to

This episode was digitally transcribed.

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