Success Stories

Relationship Marketing with Kody B: Larry Levine

What is sales?

Sales have transferred from an ‘Outside’ sales environment to an ‘inside’ sales environment. Whereby the time we are able to make our pitch, prospects know more about us then we know about ourselves. Indeed, in this informational world, people have the opportunity to learn about you, and your service. Whether good or bad, this information is readily available before your prospects even meet you.

In today’s day and age the subject of ‘relationship marketing’ couldn’t be more critical to business owners, entrepreneurs & professional sales people no matter the industry.

It’s is about having;

  • A servant heart and;
  • Mindset

Hence, sales is the art of helping someone and giving back to your community.

Therefore, to help and give back, our mindset should be in such a place to have a servant’s heart. Simply put, there is no better way to succeed than to bring the best version of yourself to the table. It’s definitely true that we are all capable of being genuine and authentic.

One way of doing this is collaboration (sales vs. being pitchy) and here is how it’s done;

Start with your mindset

  • Lead with your heart, not your wallet
  • Have a normal conversation between 2 people
  • Inform yourself about the person you’re meeting with before you meet

In order to succeed as a salesperson, you must get to know people…period end of story!

Finally, sales is about relationships, and the more focus you put on building relationships, the more successful you’ll be in business, not to mention your personal life.

Well, who better to speak to us and teach us how to put this into practice in the New Year than Larry Levine, international and best-selling author of ‘Selling From The Heart.’

Larry knows and has 30 years experience in the world of the B2B technology space. Most importantly he knows what it takes to be a successful sales professional.

Take a look at this special interview on learning the whole premise of ‘Selling from the heart’ …

Kody Bateman: Hey everybody. Welcome to the Relationship Marketing podcast with Kody B. I’m very excited about today’s show and we’re having some fun with this. We’re having a whole bunch of fun sharing some information from all over the world, from different industries, from professional salespeople, business owners, entrepreneurs on the subject of relationship marketing, relationship in sales, those kinds of things.


In today’s day and age, very important. We have a very special guest on the show today. I’m really excited to have this guy on the show. He has recently written the new book Selling from the Heart. I want to show this to those who are seeing us on Zoom. Selling from the Heart is the book. So let me tell you a little bit about this guy and we will have him come on here in just a second.


This is Larry Levine. He’s the international best-selling author of Selling from the Heart. He’s the co-host of Selling from the Heart podcast. He has got 30 years of in-field sales experience within the B to B technology space. He knows what it takes to be a successful sales professional. He successfully sold to customers ranging from up and down the street accounts to Fortune 500 companies.


Larry, welcome to this podcast here today.


Larry Levine: Awesome. Thanks for having me Kody.


Kody Bateman: We’re real excited. I had the chance to look through your book and you have a journal. In fact, I’ve got this right here. There’s a place in your book where it instructs you to print off a journal that you can follow along and I did that and I’ve got a lot of notes from there and maybe we will cover some of that today.


Larry Levine: Sure.


Kody Bateman: But the title alone, the title alone, Selling from the Heart, as our listeners listen in, I mean what an important topic that is. Just the title alone, what an important topic that is in today’s sales world. We’ve transferred from an outside sales environment to an inside sales environment where our prospects know more about us than we know about us by the time we’re doing a pitch to them. So everything has changed.


I love your title Selling from the Heart. So let’s just start with that. I want to start with first of all what does selling from the heart mean to you and why is it so necessary especially today.


Larry Levine: Wow. Do we have five hours?


Kody Bateman: I know, exactly. Well, that’s what I say. You got a 200-page book here on that subject though.

Larry Levine: I think the whole premise behind selling from the heart, that was me forever and a day as I sold. What was really interesting is when I started podcasting – this goes back about a year and a half ago. I just said – you know, I told the co-host of my podcast, “Hey, let’s just start podcasting. Let’s just get the word out around being true, being genuine, just being the real deal, just being a real salesperson in today’s society.”


So my co-host goes, “What do you want to call it?” I go, “Selling from the Heart because that’s what I brought to the business table.” Forever and a day is I brought who I was and I always said – you know, Kody, I rolled up the sleeves. I rolled up the pant legs. I got vulnerable with my clients and my prospects and I said, “You know what? In order to succeed as a salesperson, I got to get to know people, right?”


It might go against the grain with what some other people say and that’s OK. But to me relationships matter. What better way to succeed in sales is to bring the best version of yourself to the business table?


So I stayed true to who I was. I didn’t waver from it and I always said, “You know what? Maybe it’s because I grew up with all sisters and a lot of my cousins were females, that it’s kind of that motherly instinct that I took as a sales professional.”


Kody Bateman: So you always had that.


Larry Levine: I always had it and some people say, “Hey, you’re born with it. Can you adapt to it?” I say we all have the capability of being true. We all have the capability of being authentic. But I think what happens is it goes against the grain in today’s sales society, that it just sounds too – you know, the words “selling from the heart,” if you ask most people and if they’re just honest and they’re just brutally honest, they might go, “Hey, it’s too touchy-feely,” right?


Kody Bateman: Right.


Larry Levine: Well, this isn’t me, right? It goes against everything that I’ve ever been trained on or coached on in sales. I go, “No, it’s the polar opposite,” and I think – I’m waving a flag on it Kody because we got to bring the best version of ourselves. We got to bring our heart to this because if we don’t, then I will throw the phrase out there that I love using all the time, “We’re just a bunch of empty suits.” Right?


Kody Bateman: Right, right. Well, I will tell you, it’s interesting because traditional salespeople, they take a lot of pride in being the tough sales guy. You know, the tough saleswoman that goes in and closes. I know how to deal with people. I know how to close the deal. I’m all about making money.


That has been embedded in salespeople for decades, for generations, and today, things have really shifted. So we have this concept of serving versus selling. It used to be that selling was cool. Selling was the cool thing. Well, today’s serving is the cool thing. Serving versus selling.


You were serving over selling when serving over selling wasn’t cool. Now it’s cool, right? So talk to us a little bit about what does that even mean, selling versus serving.


Larry Levine: Wow. I think the serving part of it – and I always said I was on someone’s podcast. This was probably about six months again Kody and he goes, “Just describe in the shortest possible what sells.” It has to be as short as possible. I said, “How about the art of help, the art of helping somebody?”


I think in order to help, one must serve. Where I learned it – this is where it kind of came full circle for me. So my son went to a private Christian school out here in the Thousand Oaks area and in sixth grade, they had to start doing community service and that was part of what they had to do, sixth grade, seventh grade, eight, all the way up through high school. You had to give back to the community and you had to serve.


I said to myself, “You know what? If he has to do it, then I must do it and I must lead by an example,” because I’m in the sales world and if I’m going to serve my customers, then not only do I have to live it. I got to walk it, talk it and breathe it. What better way to learn the art of serving? It’s to give back to your community and lend a helping hand. I think that’s how it started tying in for me is when I really fully understood what it meant to serve, it helped me sell better because I think people in today’s day and age can relate to the art of serve or servant, right?


It’s not so much customer service because we always think of sales in terms of hey, I’m going to service the client or I’m going to service the prospect. Well, yeah, that’s a function of what you do. But you got to serve your clients. In order to serve them, you got to understand what it means to lead with a servant mindset and you got to understand what it means to lead with a servant art.


Kody Bateman: Well, I think in today’s day and age, it’s collaboration over a sales pitch. It used to be that you could get really polished with a scripted sales pitch and you would get really good at it and you would know all the nuances of the objections and you would know all the right answers. Then of course the infamous close.


You got all these strategies behind the close and that has been the focus typically in outside sales arena. That has kind of always been the focus. Well now, things have shifted dramatically to where like we mentioned before, people know – they know about you. They know about your company. They know about your product or service. They even know comments. They’ve seen comments that your customers have made about you, good or bad. They know all this stuff before you’re going in there to give them any kind of pitch.


So now today, collaboration is far more effective than a pitch is. So – and I know you implement this because I’ve read it throughout your book is the importance of collaboration, finding out – you’re there to serve your prospect. You’re there to serve them. How can I be of better service to you? So walk us through the process of that type of presentation.


I mean obviously you’ve got the product you’re going to sell and there are benefits to that product or service that you’re going to sell. But walk us through the collaboration process. How is it that you serve somebody instead of pitch them?


Larry Levine: Well, I think it starts with your mindset and throughout my book, I have these one-line zingers all the time that I use just to help drive the point across and I think this will help drive and kick-start my answers. I think we must lead with our heart and not our wallet.


What I mean by that is especially when we see start having conversations with people, if we’re truly there to help, to me – and again, I don’t keep this thing at a rocket science level. I just keep it at a real basic simplified level is we just have to have a normal conversation between two people, right?


I might be a seller. You might be a buyer by just the definition. But we’re just two human beings and if you’re there to truly help somebody, then you’re going to sit there and ask them some great questions to get them to go, “You know what? You are the best fit. How does that make you feel? What are you doing about this particular issue? If we don’t solve this, what’s going to continue to happen?” and share stories.


I’ve just been one that – you know, maybe I just learned this through just trial and error and just getting beat up out in the sales world. But I just found out when I didn’t walk in with a script, I didn’t walk out with a plan – you know, walk into your office with a planned agenda. That was the best form of communication and I can remember sitting with sales managers and VP of sales and said, “Hey, you know what? We’re going to role-play for the next 20 minutes,” and I’m all for role-playing.


But I said, “We’re going to role-play how this account is going to go. We’re going to role-play how this call is going to go,” and it never went that way, right?


It just never goes that way.


Kody Bateman: No.


Larry Levine: It’s just – that’s why I’ve always said, “You know what? The best form of a sales call is when you know something about them and they know something about you,” and especially in this day and age with social, if you position yourself really well and that person is doing their homework, they already know something about you, what you’re going to bring to the table, who you’ve helped solve problems for, what people say about you before you ever walk in the door.


So if you do this correctly, you will be amazed what starts to happen when you kick-start business conversations with somebody.


Kody Bateman: So you and I have some very similar format in what we teach. I have the book out. I think you have the book on here. In fact if you could put the book up here. You have a copy of my book there. It’s called The Power of Human Connection and I talk about relationship marketing.


It’s very similar to your concept of selling from the heart. I talk a lot about relationship marketing and relationship marketing I always say is about the first word over the second word. There’s a reason that the word “relationship” comes first. One of the principles that we teach is that relationship marketing is about creating relationship 80 percent of the time and sprinkling in marketing or sales about 20 percent of the time.


It’s very hard for a lot of people to understand that concept. Make it about the relationship first and here’s the number one question I get from professional salespeople on that approach. Relationship first 80 percent of the time, marketing second, 20 percent of the time. I know you get the same question because I read it in your book.


The question is – and I will ask the question in terms of your terminology “selling from the heart”. I know you get it. So Larry, doesn’t selling from the heart take a lot longer?


Larry Levine: No. It actually doesn’t. Here’s how I know this because I’ve lived it. I walk it. I practice it still to this day. But where it started to make sense to me is about 13 years ago Kody. I read a book by a gentleman named Kevin Davis and Kevin Davis wrote a book called “Slow Down, Sell Faster!”


The whole premise of the book is what you and I are just speaking about right now. It’s building that relationship and I took it even farther than that and I said, “You know what? How can I logically and realistically sell something to somebody if I don’t get to know who they are, what makes them tick and if this is the right fit?”


To me, if you look at someone’s sales funnel, I don’t care if it’s a 30-day funnel, a 60-day funnel or a 90-day funnel. If you’re looking at this as far as, “It’s all about me. How fast can I sell this to somebody?” it’s never going to work.


It might work but you’re not going to have consistent success with it unless you really truly go, “Am I building a relationship with somebody?” It may go against the grain with what other people say. You know what? They don’t have to like you or even go to lunch with you or go to dinner with you.


You just have to help them solve a business problem. I said, “Sure.” But when it’s all said and done, relationships do matter.


Kody Bateman: Yeah.


Larry Levine: The more that you take that time to truly get to know somebody, what makes them tick, watch what starts to happen. There’s just something magical that just happens and it’s hard to describe. I know you’ve experienced it.


Kody Bateman: Oh, no question about it. People just want to feel like you care. They really don’t care what you sell or what you offer. They just care that you care. I mean that’s just a common human nature thing. We all want to feel like we’ve been heard, feel like we’re getting recognized.


So I think that’s kind of what you’re speaking to. So yeah, I mean there’s just some really powerful stuff in here. There’s a quote here that really stuck out with me. I love this. I love it and actually before I ask this, I’m going to ask you one other thing.


You brought up the sales funnel and if you’re in sales, everybody knows about a sales funnel, a marketing funnel and a sales funnel. It starts with leads coming in and what not.


To you, what is the most important part of the sales funnel? What would you consider to be the most important part of it?


Larry Levine: Yeah. My personal take is the top which is going to go – probably someone is going to go, “OK. Well, that might not be cool,” I said, “It is because if you have nothing in the top of your funnel, what comes out of your funnel? Nothing.”


Kody Bateman: So most people’s top of funnel would be prospecting. So what you’re saying is prospecting is one of the most important things that you need to do in sales. To me that seems like an obvious thing. But talk to us about that. Becoming from the heart, you’re saying prospecting is the most important thing.


Larry Levine: It’s absolutely non-negotiable. When you sign up to be a salesperson, I don’t care what you’re selling. Prospecting goes along with it. It’s not hey, I want to be a salesperson but I don’t want to prospect, right? It doesn’t work.


But one of the things – you know, since you brought up sales funnel and again – and I held myself accountable to it, I hold people accountable to it now is in order to have a healthy sales funnel, one must have a healthy relationship funnel.


What I mean by that is if you really pick apart – I think sales funnels today are weak. I’m being polite when I say weak. It goes back to relationship development is weak.


So if you have one or two or three deals in your sales funnel, hey, that’s an issue. But how many new relationships? How many new conversations are you opening up on a consistent basis? Because if we’re not doing that, then what?


Kody Bateman: OK. So an elementary answer to a sales funnel, I mean what – to me, like the three things that are in everybody’s sales funnel and there are variations of this, further steps, whatever. But it’s about prospecting, presenting and following up. So prospect, present, follow up.


So that’s a traditional – yeah, and close, right, right. And close. So prospect, present, follow up and close. So those are the four primary things that’s in traditional sales model.


You mentioned a relationship funnel. So what dynamics would be in a relationship funnel?


Larry Levine: It’s going to be very similar to what you just said. So I will use you and I as an example in this. If I’m out prospecting, I’m out starting new conversations and I meet you for the very first time, Kody, to me mentally and the way I operate, I would place you at the top of a relationship funnel.


I don’t even know if there’s a basis for you and I to do business.


Kody Bateman: Right.


Larry Levine: But as I get to know you, you get to know me, you learn something about me. I share some education with you. I share some insight. I’m further developing that relationship. I’ve mentally just trained my brain to say, “OK. I meet Kody for the first time. He’s now at the top of my relationship funnel.”


As I build that relationship, it moves through a relationship funnel the very similar way that a sale would move through the sales funnel. So by the time that I get – because I’m a sales guy at heart. So a lot of the relationships I develop, I go, “OK. I got to turn this into revenue somehow.”


But it takes a little bit of time, which means there has to be an exchange of value, exchange of conversations. Do I understand this person? Do they understand me? So by the time it gets to the bottom of a relationship funnel, then a logical question that I always ask somebody is, “Hey Kody. Tell me. What are the few things that you’re working on inside your office? What are some of the things that you’re working on over the next 90 days? What are the top two or three things on your mind right now that I can transition that into a sales funnel?” You follow what I’m saying?


Kody Bateman: Yeah, yeah, exactly.


Larry Levine: And it’s just people don’t give thought to that because I think what happens and what I see happening today in sales is we’re prospecting for the now, right? We’re prospecting for that deal that’s just getting ready to close, that 10 other people are on. We’re going to get beat over the head on price and all that.


How can you develop a relationship with somebody when they’re already in the market? They already know what they want and you’re one of five other people. It’s next to impossible to really build that relationship in a way that that makes profitable sense.


Kody Bateman: So I was actually just teaching a workshop last week in Vancouver. We call it the Relationship Marketing Summit and I was talking about traditional sales and marketing. It’s all about creating a list and then – this is very one-on-one stuff. But traditional sales and marketing is about creating a list of people or organizations and then from that list, you find prospects and from there, you acquire customers and from there, you maintain those customers and then it goes over to the relationship marketing side of things and the relationship marketing side starts with creating the relationship first.


Then it goes to acquiring and maintaining customers and then generating referral business from those customers because you have a solid relationship.


Larry Levine: Right.


Kody Bateman: And that feeds back into your traditional sales channel. So I ask the question. So in traditional sales, it’s all about creating a list and from that list, building prospects, turning them into customers and then maintaining customers.


So the question I ask, which I thought was a simple question, is everybody on your list a prospect? How would you answer that? Is every single person on your list that you create – and now that list could come from your personal contacts. It could come from lead generation. It could come from internet stuff, whatever. But is everybody on your list a prospect?


Larry Levine: Are you asking me?


Kody Bateman: Yeah. No, I’m asking you.


Larry Levine: And I would say how would I know until I have a conversation with them to determine if they’re even a prospect? It could be a list of suspects, right?


Kody Bateman: Right. So yeah, so just –


Larry Levine: It’s not a prospect until you have a conversation with somebody to determine is there a mutual good faith. See where I’m going with this?


Kody Bateman: Yeah, well –


Larry Levine: Most people don’t do that.


Kody Bateman: So my point is, is for you even saying, “Well, I have to have a conversation before I know,” tells you that not everybody is going to be a prospect because you don’t know until you talk to them. Let’s face it. When you create a list of people, you don’t know if they’re a prospect.


Larry Levine: No.


Kody Bateman: You don’t know until you’re able to do some filtering questions. Why do you think they call it a funnel?


Larry Levine: Yeah.


Kody Bateman: It’s wide at the top because everybody, the whole list is at the top. The funnel process is qualifying them down to a certain thing.


Larry Levine: Yeah. You know what’s really interesting about this and if you – if I look back at the whole decades in sales and if I looked back at my clientele that I had from the past – and this might help salespeople out there and determine, you know, who might be that right fit. What I always say, I enjoy having like-minded conversations with people who share the same values as me.


In order for me to understand that, when I was out prospecting, I had to look for those vertical industries or those vertical markets that possibly could share the same ideologies to me.


So if I took my top four verticals, it was not-for-profits. It was the religious sector. It was the private school sector and it was Fortune 500 and big corporations in the Los Angeles market because I love having really strategic business conversations.


But on the flipside of this is the not-for-profit and religious sector hit my heart because I knew what their makeup was. I knew the personas of the people that were in there. So I can instantaneously start having great conversations with these people because we had something in common right away.


I think if salespeople today can understand that, instead of just out there with a big sales fishing hook and some bait on it and whoever will talk to Kody or Larry they will talk to, that’s fine. That’s part of sales. I get it.


But if we took a step back and go, “OK, I got to get to know me, what makes me tick. What are the best conversations I get involved with, with other people?” and start prospecting for that. So I always tell people prospect for a conversation. Don’t prospect for an appointment. Prospect to have a conversation with somebody like yourself who shares some of the same things that we do.


In order to do that, you got to do some research. You got to learn a little bit.


Kody Bateman: You know, it’s interesting. When I started my company SendOutCards, we’re a relationship marketing follow-up system to help businesses and customers – right, exactly, selling from the heart. But we have a system that –


Larry Levine: No, it’s a card. It’s a send-out card.


Kody Bateman: Oh, yeah, yeah, that you have a send-out card.


Larry Levine: Yeah, I have it. Yeah.


Kody Bateman: So yeah, so I’m just kind of explaining to our listeners too that it’s a follow-up system that you follow up with your customers, clients, prospects with thank-you cards, birthday cards and we teach all kinds of ways to do that and it’s all heartfelt. Everything we teach about how to send a card to somebody goes in alignment with what you’re talking about is selling from the heart.


Don’t ask for a referral. Deserve one. Say thank you. Only say thank you. Say happy birthday. Only say happy birthday, those kinds of things. So it’s really important that we follow up with the heart, that we stay followed up with the heart. We do those kinds of things.


So I want to go back full circle because we were talking about this funnel and not everybody is a prospect. Everybody is on your list and the people that are on your list are people. They’re human beings and the sales funnel is trying to decipher who’s going to become a prospect, who’s going to become a customer.


You talk – and I love how you do this. You talk about there being another funnel. The other funnel is a relationship funnel. The list is at the top of the relationship funnel as well. The difference though on the relationship side is those people never go – you never filter a potential relationship away.


Larry Levine: Never, never, never.


Kody Bateman: You see the difference? That’s where a lot of salespeople, they miss it. They’re like, OK, well, once they go out of the list and they’re not a prospect anymore, you forget about them. They’re gone. They’re not – they’re gone.


Larry Levine: It’s so spot on that you say that because I asked this – I get fired up talking about this Kody but I always ask salespeople this question and this really tests what they have inside them.


If you’re having a conversation with somebody and they’re not ready to buy something from you, it doesn’t fit in that tight little window, what do you do?


Kody Bateman: Well, I will tell you what we do and that’s why I brought up the whole greeting cards concept is that they’re not interested, they’re not a part of it, but there’s a way to send out a tangible touch, a tangible thank-you for being a part of that and put them in a drip campaign where you’re continually – I could tell you stories and I know you can tell the same stories about salespeople that put non-prospects. OK?


They filtered out, out of the top of their funnel really fast. They’re gone. They’re not prospects. But you put them in a drip campaign where you send a genuine “Thank you for your time.” Listen, they spent time with you. You did establish rapport or connection.


It is a potential relationship. Thank them for that. Capture their birthday. Say happy birthday. Only say happy birthday.


Larry Levine: Yeah.


Kody Bateman: Reach them at certain touch points for the intent of relationship, not for the intent of a sell. For the intent of a relationship and there’s a lot of people Larry that are not willing to make that investment. I think that’s the saddest thing in the world because people don’t understand. Yeah, we all got to close sales to make money, to put food on the table. But what’s far more important than a closed sale is a relationship. Because what does a relationship do in the future?


Larry Levine: Yeah, and it’s not only that. Wow, it goes back to time and patience and this is how I look at things is we have to set aside certain hours of that day to do certain things. I get it, right? But most salespeople can improve how they manage their time. I just made it a point that you know what, I have to sell something, right? I have to make a living just like everybody else says. I get it, right? That’s Sales 101 in its simplest format. That’s short-term thinking.


But I also have to remember I got to consistently put food on my table and take care of my family every single month, month over month, year over year.


In order to do that, I have to take a short term, midterm and long term approach to building relationships and prospecting. That’s what blows my mind today with salespeople is just because Kody tells you no today, it doesn’t mean you should fail to build a relationship with him and fail to put it in your company’s database because why don’t you connect with Kody, connect with meeting, get to know Kody, because not only does Kody have a network but Kody has got feelings and he’s a human being.


Sooner or later, if you stay in touch with Kody, you’re going to do something that probably most of the salespeople that are taking care of them aren’t doing.


Kody Bateman: Right, right.


Larry Levine: Right. I think it’s simple but some people just make it so complicated.


Kody Bateman: Yeah, it’s the craziest thing and it goes back to the importance of prospecting. If you are prospecting enough and your pipeline is full enough, then the pressure is off because there’s always – there’s enough people in your pipeline. There’s always somebody that you’re approaching the close aspect of your sale and that puts food on your table.


So now, all those people at the top of the funnel, because you have lots of people in your pipeline, you are closing deals. But you’re also able to nurture the top of the funnel.


Larry Levine: Yeah.


Kody Bateman: You’re not desperate to go find a deal I have to close today because you’ve got enough down there you’re doing. Now that takes some time to build up. But that’s why it’s so important to prospect continually and on a daily basis.


In fact you touched on this in your book. I love this quote by the way. I love this. Page 52, it’s a big part here.


Sales reps have hypnotized themselves into believing what they aren’t doing doesn’t work. I mean that just hit me up the side of the head. It’s like that is so true.


Let me read that again. Let me read again for our listeners. Sales reps have hypnotized themselves into believing what they aren’t doing doesn’t work. I run into this all the time. It’s crazy.


Larry Levine: It is probably – wow. I’m full of all this and I just randomly will spout this. I thought about that a long time ago. Plus it’s not proper grammar which makes it even – right?


If you think about it is I get the look all the time from salespeople, exactly with that quote. This isn’t going to work. I know it’s not going to work. I go, “How do you know it’s not going to work? You’re not even doing it,” right?


Kody Bateman: Right.


Larry Levine: I always say sales reps are consistently inconsistent.


Kody Bateman: Yeah.


Larry Levine: If you’re consistently doing something, that quote doesn’t apply to you.


Kody Bateman: OK. But there are two things that salespeople are consistently inconsistent with. The first is prospecting. The second one is follow-up.


Larry Levine: Yeah.


Kody Bateman: Those are the two things they’re most inconsistent with and because they’re not prospecting enough, there’s never enough people in their pipeline. So they always feel desperate. And guess what, if you feel desperate to close a deal, your prospect feels your desperation.


Larry Levine: Oh, absolutely, 100 percent. What I always challenge salespeople with is this. Why should somebody continue to do business with you if you do not invest in the relationship? If you peel that back even farther is the industry that I came out of obviously works on lease cycles, right? Whether that be a three-year, four-year, five-year lease cycle. That’s just the nature of the business in the vertical that I came out of.


If you see somebody on annual basis or when it’s time to make another sale and you don’t invest in that relationship, how can you cash the check?


Kody Bateman: Right.


Larry Levine: Right? If you’re not willing to invest, then how can you expect somebody to continue to do business with you? It’s a hard thing for people to digest until they experience it and I even wrote about it in the book is they’re your customer or your client, however you want to define it, until somebody comes along and provides better experience. That’s what we as salespeople need to understand is not only is it a relationship economy. It’s an experience economy and you got to be able to marry both of those together.


Kody Bateman: Yeah, no question about it. I will tell you, there are so many good things in here. In fact, I’m looking at this journal thing you got. Man, we could do a five-hour podcast with all the information here. There are so many cool things.


In fact, I will just thumb through here real quick. Let’s see here.


Larry Levine: Well, you know, as you’re thumbing through that, it’s really interesting because that whole journal came about – I was probably 80 percent, 90 percent done with the book.


Kody Bateman: Yeah.


Larry Levine: And then it dawned on me. There’s a lot of – for lack of a better word, there’s a lot of beef in this book. But how can I apply it to somebody chapter by chapter and can go through. That’s why I just came up with the self-reflection journal.


That journal takes you chapter by chapter deeper into the book but I’m a firm believer in self-reflection. I do it every morning. If somebody just read a chapter and then just sat in silence and answered those questions, they will be amazed at what starts to happen. It helps you become the best version of yourself.


Kody Bateman: It’s interesting you brought that up because I want to summarize chapter two really quick, Sales Professionals Lead with Their Hearts, Sales Reps Lead with Their Wallet. Chapter summary talks about chaos in salespeople’s lives. Chaos in your life leads to poor sales results.


The signs of chaos are only looking through your own eyes, no planning. That’s a huge one. Lack of time management and patience. Not doing the small things right. You get beat on price. There’s no coaching from leadership. Actions do not match words. A need to control everything. So that’s part of the chaos that we deal with and I love what you do here because you talk about three steps to getting rid of sales chaos and the first one is what you just said.


The first one is self-reflection. So tell me, so you go through a daily routine where you do self-reflection. Explain that more in detail. What exactly do you do there?


Larry Levine: And again, there’s no sign. There’s nothing magical behind what I do. What I found out – and this goes back decades ago. I found out when my brain worked the best and my brain works the best first thing in the morning. I’m mushed later in the afternoon and in the evening.


You know, and some people may do this later on. I just found out the minute I wake up and my feet hit the floor, I walk into my office and for 30 minutes, I just sit in complete silence.


Kody Bateman: Wow.


Larry Levine: And depending if it’s summer or winter, you know, I will grab a blanket or I will be in shorts, just depending, and I will just sit there and I just mentally go through who am I. What did I do? How can I improve? I always tell people I’m my own worst sales manager. I’m my own worst critic because I’m so hard on myself and I hold myself to such a degree of accountability that if I don’t do this, I feel bad. I even do it Kody on the weekend. But when I’m on vacation, it drives my wife absolutely …


But part of becoming that professional is a degree of accountability and that becomes – you know, to me, just like prospecting is non-negotiable. To me, waking up every morning and saying, “OK. What did I do today that I made progress at? Who am I? What can I do different? How can I do things better?” That’s just a normal part of my daily routine that I’ve just worked into doing.


I go, “What better way to spend the first 30 minutes of every day than to work on yourself?” What – just wake up and roll out of bed, go in the shower, grab a coffee, wolf down a doughnut and they’re off to work.


Kody Bateman: I love what you say here. Again, this is a summary of chapter two. It kind of goes along with this self-reflection, 30 minutes a day. You say challenge yourself in five areas. I really like this. Challenge yourself in five areas.


The first one, seek to become an expert in your field of work. So part of your self-reflection is to critique that. I mean I will give you – I do the same thing.


I do this in my hot tub. I have a hot tub that’s out on my back deck and I look. I have a beautiful view of the – I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have the beautiful view of the Wasatch Mountain Range from my hot tub. So I will sit in the hot tub and I just stare at the mountains.


Right now, there are beautiful snow caps, gorgeous, right? I sit out there and that’s my time of reflection. I was sitting out there about 30 days ago and my whole life, my whole professional life, I’ve been a voracious reader.


Larry Levine: Yeah.


Kody Bateman: I love to read and it was interesting because I’m so habitual with my reading that it’s just kind of second nature to me. I’m always in a sales book. I’m always in a non-fiction book. I’m always in a personal development. I always even read a fiction book. I have a combination of books I read all the time.


Well, I was reflecting and this is interesting because it’s so much a part of my life. I didn’t even realize when I stopped doing it. So I was sitting 30, 40 days ago, sitting in my hot tub and I started reflecting and again, like you say, seek to – you know, self-awareness, self-reflection. Seek to become an expert. Always thinking about, “How do I get better in my own field of work? How do I get better at podcasting? How do I get better at this? How do I get better at that? How do I get better at teaching sales techniques, et cetera, et cetera? How do I get better at my writing?”


It dawned on me that when I was doing that, I realized for the last 30 days Kody, you haven’t been reading.


Larry Levine: Yeah.


Kody Bateman: I’ve been doing a bunch of stuff on social media and I’m doing a bunch of stuff on Instagram now. So I kind of channeled my free time if you will to doing this social media stuff and I literally stopped my traditional reading for about a 30-day period of time because I was doing the social media stuff. It just hit me up the side of the head of how much it affected me, how much I had digressed in 30 days because I stopped doing something that works so well for me.


That doesn’t happen unless you can sit in the hot tub or sit under a blanket and do that kind of self-reflection. It’s powerful.


Larry Levine: Yeah, and it’s – you know, the same could apply to anything and it’s – you know, I’m a gym-a-holic as well, right? I go to the gym every day. But what was interesting is last week, I was sick. I didn’t go to the gym for seven straight days just because I had a really bad cold. I just didn’t really want to go. I felt like I got hit with a baseball bat and I had no energy.


But I still spent the 30 minutes to work on myself. But I just didn’t do something that I normally do and that’s go to the gym. Well, I went to the gym for the first time yesterday and I hadn’t been for seven days. I felt it, right? I felt out of whack, even though I think I’m in pretty good shape, but I missed that part of it. My brain was telling my body, “Hey, you missed this thing for a little bit.”


So how does this translate to salespeople? How do you expect to get consistently good at something if you don’t practice it, you don’t do it on a daily basis? You never can and that’s why – you know, I’m so hard on salespeople all the time.


I don’t do it to upset them. I do it because I care. Just listen. If you want to consistently achieve and overachieve and consistently earn higher earnings years over year, you got to do something and it might be a little bit uncomfortable at first and that’s just develop a routine of learning.


Kody Bateman: Yeah, no question about it and I’m going to give you another one of yours here and this is hard for a lot of people. But probably one of the most powerful things you can do – and it’s on your list, challenge yourself in five areas. Become an expert in your field.


The second one is probably the most powerful in my opinion. Constantly crave feedback on you. I don’t like that. People don’t like to give feedback on them.


Larry Levine: People hate it and I go – you know what, I’m constantly asking and it’s interesting. I have a team out there. There’s a pharmaceutical team that’s actually reading my book right now and I did a team read on my book yesterday a matter of fact. That was one of the things that some of the salespeople brought up to me Kody is you know what, I need to ask my customers for feedback.


I said, “How can you expect to improve the relationship or the experience if you never ask for feedback?”


Kody Bateman: Right.


Larry Levine: Because you’re always misaligned. What I mean by that is salespeople have one idea of how their relationship is going. But it’s until they really get it through the eyes of their customers are they really going to learn, OK, this is – it’s either working or it’s not working.


Kody Bateman: Right. Yeah, no question about it. I like some of these others. Constantly create feedback on you. Be brutally honest with yourself. I like to – my terms I use for that is look in the mirror.


You got to look in the mirror every single day and look, we all do some things good and we all screw up at stuff. I mean come on. Get over yourself.


Larry Levine: And we’re all not perfect and we got to get –


Kody Bateman: Nobody. Yeah, nobody and so I just – you have so – the reason I want to point this out is so – hopefully I’m sharing the unbelievable value of your book. You’ve got some great stuff in here. Be brutally honest with yourself. Set goals and create a business plan and never, ever stop learning what you’ve been talking about here.


That’s just chapter two for crying out loud. There are like 10 total chapters in this thing and there’s a lot of really, really good stuff.


Larry Levine: Yeah, and thank you so much Kody. But I want to touch on, if I can, on that last thing that you just said. Never, never, never stop learning and this is where I want people to understand this is – and I will share a quick story that I think it helps drive the point across is I’m an active member of my Kiwanis Group here. I live in Thousand Oaks, California.


So about a year or so ago, one of the past presidents of the Parent-Teachers Association spoke at my Kiwanis meeting. She was an ex-school teacher. She says, “You know what? As a school teacher, I always have to be learning. I have to know 10 times the amount that my students know because I never know what question my students are going to ask me.” You follow?


Kody Bateman: Yeah.


Larry Levine: So how does this translate to salespeople? I think salespeople out there have stopped learning and now, I mean I can go Google something and find out anything I want to know about it. So as salespeople, you got to know 10 times the amount of content that your clients and buyers know, which means you got to constantly be feeding the brain. You got to be reading and I always say sales reps eat content for breakfast in the morning. They have to.


Kody Bateman: Yeah, that’s right.


Larry Levine: Because you just never know. Nothing worse than working so hard to get an appointment with somebody face to face or a phone conversation or a Zoom call or Skype and then all of a sudden, you get into a conversation about your topic and that person knows more about it than you do.


Kody Bateman: Yeah, yeah, no question about it. I will tell you, I wish we had a whole bunch more time. We could spend hours talking about some of this. I feel like we’re just getting warmed up. There are so many things to talk about.


I will probably have you come back on the show a little bit down the road just so we can talk further and look forward to speaking with you at some future events and stuff like that.


I always like to close asking some questions. I’m a big personal development guy. So I always like to ask these questions of other people. The first one is, what is your favorite book and why?


Larry Levine: It’s an oldie but to me, it still holds true. It’s How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.


Kody Bateman: Yeah.


Larry Levine: What’s interesting – and I tell people this all the time and this is why. The core premise of that book and that book is well past eight decades old, right?


Kody Bateman: Yeah.


Larry Levine: I always tell people if good old Dale was in sales teams today, it would still resonate, him standing up there, shouting it is you’re building relationships and changing the way people think.


Kody Bateman: Yeah, no question.


Larry Levine: That’s why that book hits home still to this day.


Kody Bateman: I tell a story when I go on the stage. I tell a story that when I was 15 years old, an older gentleman gave me that book. He gave me How to Win Friends and Influence People and he gave me advice. He said, “I want you to read this book and I want you to have a pen and I want you to mark every single saying that means something to you and even put notes on the side.”


I took his advice. Fifteen years old, I read that book. That was my first personal development book I ever read. Changed everything about my – it just put me on the journey for the rest of my life. I learned after that that there were lots of other books like that book. You know, personal development books.


So now I’ve got a library of 4000 of those books some 40 years later. So it’s – these things are really powerful. So human connection, when I say the word “human connection,” how would you define that? What does that mean to you?


Larry Levine: Real simple. Tug on their heartstrings. It’s interesting. Why I say that is if I’m talking to somebody, I’m looking him in the eye. I generally have interest in what they have to say. I think what happens is that human connection is lost and I want to throw something out there. I’ve said this on numerous times is I like to humanize what many have dehumanized and that is just that art of conversation with people. It’s because we’re not truly listening to anybody when we connect to them. We’re listening just long enough that we can say something on top of them.


Kody Bateman: Right.


Larry Levine: You can’t connect to somebody like that. You just can’t do it. It’s just listen with the intent to understand and watch what starts to happen.


Kody Bateman: Yeah. It is discipline. It’s something that you really have to pay attention to and learn and make a habit in your life.


Larry Levine: Yeah.


Kody Bateman: Final question, I love this one.


Larry Levine: Uh-oh.


Kody Bateman: If you could be remembered for just one thing, what is that one thing?


Larry Levine: Wow. Caring. I truly care about what other people think of not only me but of themselves. I’m constantly doing it and sometimes, it’s to my own detriment. Hey, what did Kody think of me, right? It was just a great podcast interview, right? As soon as we’re done, OK. That whole thing goes – it just – what I really want people to know about me is I truly care. I care about them. I care about myself and I really care about the relationship to the point where sometimes it eats at me because I’m always going, “What does that other person think? Did I make him upset?” Right? I don’t know. That could really backfire in a lot of people. But that drives me. That drives me to no end.


Kody Bateman: Well, I will tell you this. When we finish this podcast, one thing that I definitely will remember about you – in fact, I will make a comment about you. This is a guy that cares.


I mean you genuinely care about the success of other people and I can sense that from you. You genuinely care about the people that you sold products and service to. I sense that about you. I mean it resonates from you. So I appreciate that.


Larry Levine: Thank you. Yeah, no. I appreciate it and I always used to share this with people. This was part of – call it my secret sauce or is part of just what I would share with people. I said, “You know something? As we build our relationship together and as we take care of each other,” right? Because I think it’s mutual, right?


If I take really good care of you as a client, you’re going to take good care of me. That’s just the way it works.


Kody Bateman: Right.


Larry Levine: I said but when that time comes where a breakup may happen, it may be one of the worst of worsts you ever go through in your whole life.


Kody Bateman: Yeah.


Larry Levine: I say that – just being fun with it because I truly do care and I care about my client. I care about my relationships and I always say it’s me being me. That’s just who I am. It’s how I was raised.


Kody Bateman: Well, there you have it my friends. That is Larry Levine, author of Selling from the Heart. You also have a podcast with the same title Selling from the Heart and I really appreciate you being on here today. You’ve added great value to our listeners. Really appreciate that very much.

So all of you, farewell. Until we come back on here with Relationship Marketing with Kody B. Once more Larry, thank you very much.

Larry Levine: My pleasure. Thank you.

Kody Bateman: I will see you all next time. Take care everybody.


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