Leveraging Existing Clients To 5X Your Revenue With Terry Dry
Sales Strategies for Consulting Businesses
Terry Dry is an entrepreneur, strategic advisor, and executive coach that has built, scaled and successfully exited a few companies. Currently, he is the founder and CEO of Future Proof Advisor where he helps small and mid-sized businesses to create a network of personalized advisor support.
During the conversation with Paul, he covers sales tips and the value of pre and post-sales. He also believes that referrals and LinkedIn are far more efficient ways to capture leads than cold emailing or cold calling. His advice when it comes to sales: “You have to remember it’s about them and not about you”.
Welcome to the Accelerate Sales Podcast. So great to have you here. If it's your first time and you love what you hear or see, please subscribe. If you're a regular, I would really appreciate a review for you. So you are welcome to take notes, please do. But depending on your situation where you're listening, you'll also have a full transcript at the end. And also all the links mentioned by our amazing guest today will be in the show notes as well. So what are you going to learn today? You're going to learn the value of pre and post-sales. So everyone always thinks about the sale and the pitch, but there's a lot to the pre and post. So our guest goes through that. But also I talk about leveraging existing clients to 5X your revenue and I've got some great tips on that.
And lastly, they talk about how to play on LinkedIn. Yes, LinkedIn has just approached a billion users, but there's some ways to do it and some ways not to. So this guest shows you exactly how to do it. So they've had enormously successful careers and entrepreneur themselves. They scaled a marketing agency called Fanscape, and then had a very successful exit. And they've also had a company called RSVD, which is a SaaS based product, they've also scaled very quickly and exited. So all of that knowledge is here for you to tap into today. And what do they do now? You're going to learn the value of pre and post-sales. So what I'm going to do now is hand you over to Terry Dry from Futureproofadvisors.com.
Welcome Terry Dry from Future Proof Advisors to the Accelerate Sales podcasts. Great to have you on today Terry.
Great to be here. Thanks Paul for having me.
Yeah, well, like you said, we spoke about 12 months ago and I love the conversation. I call you my Aussie in residence in the US. Yeah, certainly for me, you struck it an accord and seem to be incredibly easy to talk to. So I'm really looking forward to this podcast. But why don't we just kick off with who you love to work with?
Well, who I love to work with, it's really entrepreneurs, owners, leaders. And I've kind of, I wear all those hats and I look for people who've kind of grown a small business or run a small to mid-sized business. And essentially somebody who's totally dissatisfied with the status quo and really trying to figure out what do I do next? And it's people who not only need help, but they want help. And at the end of the day, also based on what you just said, I hope they're a good person because I've been fortunate to be successful in my life and now I'm at this stage or I just want to help others be successful.
Yeah. And look, I'm not saying this is always mutually exclusive, but I do find that sometimes in business, the most successful people aren't always the easiest to deal with. I'm sure everyone listening now has got, they can nod their head at some people they can think of, but yeah, it's great to see someone like yourself doing so well because you know, the old saying, the nice guys don't always win. I think in your case and what I said in the outset, you've certainly done that. And when you sort of work with these clients, what are some of the biggest problems you help them solve or what are some of the biggest problems that they first had before you helped them solve them?
Yeah. It's funny. The problem I think we're solving is providing what I kind of call support or air cover really, because what we set up is being this sort of outsourced board, this outsourced brain trust of what I like to call superheroes. As if you could walk into the Justice League of America and go, oh my God, I've got all these experts who can help me solve my problem. That's what we've set up. And so it's a variety of problems that every business owner or leader has because it's... The saying it's lonely at the top? It's real and I've lived in it. And so I know, so I kind of tried to create this company, this advisory board for small and mid-sized companies because it doesn't really exist where it can be this outsourced board that it's essentially what I wished I had had 15 years ago when I was going to on my journey with my first company. And so I'm trying to do that and give back in that way.
Yeah. And before we dig more specifically into sales, just at a total level at the moment, have you seen that the challenges some of the owners face, are they the same as what they were pre-COVID or they changed at all given the impact COVID has had on us globally?
I would actually say it's both., I think to be more specific about the problems, it's just getting them unstuck, right? And helping them have a vision and a plan. I think what post COVID now, people got shaken, right? And they're like, okay, this is real, things can really happen and things can change dramatically. And that's the whole concept of the name of the company, Future Proof, which is just this, it's inevitable change equaling less opportunity. Right? But if you can embrace change and recognise that change, there's this phrase I love: change is inevitable, but struggle is optional. And so if you're just like there's going to be that change, now they kind of all get it. So they're like help me because I'm stuck and I know I need to future proof and be ready. So that is kind of what we see now.
Yeah. And look, I certainly know from a sales perspective, I'm hearing here in Australia, most of my clients are in the US but obviously I'm Australian based that there's so much uncertainty that people just aren't making decisions to buy at the moment. Are your clients that you're sitting on the boards with, are they experiencing a similar pattern?
I would say it was really quiet. You went from everything during COVID, right? Everything was great then everything dropped out. And then I did have a few, especially in the e-commerce space, that were booming during COVID. So I had this really interesting experience being an advisor and focusing on sales where some people were just crashing and others were booming and that would literally vary from day to day. But now there's sort of this resurgence, at least here in America with the vaccinations going fast and everybody kind of lifting the restrictions, that it really does feel a little bit like the roaring 20s and people have been like these caged animals who can't wait to get out and just go, go, go. And so I am seeing a lot of buying behaviour, a lot of growth behaviour, a lot of let's make new hires, let's try new things, let's build. And it's fun. That part, I love that. I always have a growth mindset, so it's been fun. So I am feeling that. Are you not feeling that right now?
Look, I'm finding it here in Australia that there's still a lot of uncertainty. We've got another outbreak here and in New South Wales, which is our largest state, biggest population. So yeah, it's causing a little uncertainty. But I do find in the US that yes, it is that. I actually spoke to someone this morning who's about to get on a plane and go to their first in-person seminar for a while and they were so excited. It was like their first. They just couldn't wait to get on that plane and have a haircut. They said I've got to go get a haircut before I go. And yes, it's great to see that the biggest economy in the world, and really the economy which is more entrepreneurial than any, is back to business. So that's great. And if you look from a sales perspective, you know what, given all your learnings. I know that you've scaled, sold, and exited businesses yourself. Like you said, you've been there, you've done that, now you help others. What are some sales tips that maybe many of us may miss?
I think the biggest sales tip that people miss is you got to remember it's about them and not about you. It's not about your product. It's not about what your special thing is. It's all about them and listening and figuring out what their problem is and can I solve that problem and can I add value? And everyone skips that, right? It can't wait to tell you about this is what I do, this is what I can do. And they forget to stop and go, hold on, what's your problem? What's your issue? And how can I solve it? And it just becomes a more consultative, more natural way in my opinion to sell.
And this is not just service companies, it can be anything. Just meaning an e-comm company, somebody selling a product. Listen to your customer, listen to them, understand them, what are their needs, what are their problems? And that to me is the biggest sales thing that I can tell you myself, I skipped that all the time. Back in my days, I would forget that. And now it's something different where you're like I want to be helpful and offer value and provide hopefully whatever the product or service is. It's an opportunity that's solving some need for the other end, but you can't know that unless you listen to them and understand them.
Yeah. And if you got an example to bring that to light, one that comes to mind.
Yeah. I mean, I'll go back to my marketing agency days when we would pitch our business. I ran a social media and digital marketing agency and we were so excited. Right? We would show in our presentation and our deck and our whatever, and here's what you can do on Facebook, here's what you can do, whatever. And we would go into huge companies, Fortune 100 companies and we would just talk and talk and talk. And we couldn't wait to tell you this, this and this. And you would notice that five minutes in, people are looking at their iPhones, they're bored, they're not paying attention. And then we finally flipped it and said, you know what? Forget the deck, forget the whole thing. Let's just go in, let's study them, let's ask them questions, let's ask why we're here, what are their needs? How can we help them?
And then maybe there'll be something in a PowerPoint presentation that might be illustrative, but let's just have a conversation and talk about solving a problem. We used to sell so much more and so much better by just being, I just call it consultative. But honestly, just being ourselves and listening and not being so rehearsed and excited to get to slide 16 that we totally missed the point.
Yeah. Look, I think that's so powerful. And also I think a lot of the pre-brief. I know when our sales, selling within corporate, my goal was to actually have the sale done before you even walked in the room i.e that you were talking to all the key stakeholders. We used to have a thing called strategic selling, which is a framework by Miller Heiman, where you had a coach, you knew the economic buyer, and you're sort of doing a lot of it before you even walked in. So you weren't walking into a cold pitch per se. What's your experience in that pre-sell before you even get in the room?
100% right Paul. I mean, it's so important to develop the relationship, but also develop the understanding. So it's funny, my partner in our advisory business, he came to me with this one which was like you want to get to VITO, which was V-I-T-O, which was the very important top officer. So there was always this plan of who are we going to talk to, how are we going to talk to them, who's the decision maker. And there was a lot of strategy to it, but there was also just you wanting to develop a relationship. People forget that they're not just buying your product, they're buying you and they're buying a relationship and they want to work with people they like. So there's no question you want to do that. And also, this is what I learned later, which is like, what kind of jerk am I if I walk in there without having that pre meeting because I haven't asked all these questions of what do you do about this? How do you go?
There's so much to learn and you just have to be curious, interested and sincere, right? Some people are doing it just because that's what they have to do, but they're still not really listening. But if you're like really go at it like I'm going to listen, I'm going to understand and to see if I can help them. And quite frankly also, if I can't help them, I'm going to tell them that too and not waste anybody's time. But yeah, but I would also say Paul, there's the whole post sales. That's the other interesting thing and it is like you do the pre, you do the meeting and then everybody thinks it's over. Oh, they're going to make a decision. This thing is far from over. You have to keep having the relationship, keep having the conversation and keep showing up.
Yeah. That's a great point. And what are some specific things you do or used to do part of that post-sale routine?
Yeah. It was always the follow-ups, right? If you walk out of a meeting and you don't have something to follow up with, something to talk to them about again, something to show them, maybe just something that they referenced to follow up, then you really haven't listened and you haven't done your job. So there was always the, okay, we're going to follow up with the class, right? Thank you. But there's always these kinds of next steps, right? You want to have it actionable. And so there would be, I'm thinking about, again, I'm going back to my marketing agency days, which hopefully is useful for your audience. But if you had a quote unquote pitch meeting, then you'd go back and we did this with some CPG brands where we would talk about, well, here's the packaging thing we talked about. Here's an example of a great digital thing that somebody did on Instagram that you should consider.
Oh, by the way, remember when we referenced your competitor did this? Here's the example they did. And then you would follow up with a phone call to the decision maker, if you will, or the person that you talked to pre and just have a conversation but it would be relevant to something they asked about or something they talked about. And then finally, Paul, I would say a new idea. Something had to be sparked during that meeting. So you might want to give them a link or a thought, or I was thinking about this, we talked about this. What about this as an idea? Really excited and you just want to show the passion and energy. But have it be sincere. The worst is when it's not. And hopefully it is. But that's what we would do and we won a lot more than we lost doing it that way.
That's brilliant. Now I suppose a lot of businesses are done online versus off so a lot of what we're doing now. You're in California, I'm here in Melbourne Australia, and we're doing it over a video or Zoom. Are there any differences that you know about when selling this way versus fleshing the flesh so to speak?
I think that's one of the great benefits of COVID. I think that, which sounds horrible to even say there was any benefit of COVID but what I would say is COVID accelerated the inevitable, which is this kind of communication where you and I can actually develop a relationship via Zoom was kind of like you can't do that in business. And now it became the norm and everybody kind of woke up and said, whoa, wait a minute. I don't have to get on a plane and I don't have to travel to have the same kind of rapport that we could do. This became a little bit more natural. So I think it is doable, but I would say trying to do it all via email is difficult. You want to have some kind of conversation, whether it's old school, just on the phone or new school Zoom or even old school meeting in person is still helpful.
There's something to be said for having a meal, having a drink. That does help in business. But Zoom has definitely helped that. I'll tell you a story where I once flew from LA to Miami, which is a five, six hour flight for one meeting and I turned right around and flew home. And this was only a few years ago and it was for a pitch and I was just thinking the whole flight back and forth: I'm like, this is the biggest waste of time, the dumbest thing. But at the time, if I didn't show up in person, then the potential client would be like, well, they're not taking us seriously. They don't care.
And I'm so spoiled because it was August and if you've ever been to Florida in August, it is like no, I can't deal. It's so hot, humid. I'm like I just got to go in and out. Plus I had something with my daughter I had to be at so I literally was back and forth with 12 hours on a plane back and forth. It was just crazy. And I think now it's completely acceptable. If I were to say, hey, I'm going to just Zoom in. I've got this going on. I still care, but I don't know that you want me to fly all the way there and I think people would have a totally different attitude towards it.
I agree. And I think there will be a hybrid and there'll be certain situations where it makes sense, but yeah, redundant meetings like that. I was the same when I was in corporate at Coca Cola. I would be up at 4:00 AM in the morning, fly to Sydney for the day, get home at 10, 11 o'clock at night. It was just ridiculous. And most of the meetings could be done on a live video and we sort of had... We were early adopters, I should say, to video. So we had it but it was incredibly expensive and people just didn't have the behaviours whereas now I think it's a lot easier. So that's great. And now if you sort of go down the funnel, so to speak, leads or the top of the funnel should say, at leads, what are some ways that when you're advising businesses, what are some ways that you see at the moment that they're being able to capture leads better than some of their competitors?
It really varies because we're advising a variety of different companies, but I would say, and this is probably no big shock to anyone, referrals. So much of this is just like if you do a great job, people will refer your business. Or in the case of a product or whatever, if you have a great product and it's a great experience, people will talk about it. You 'll create that advocacy, you will create that word of mouth. And I'm seeing that as the greatest source and I know that might be frustrating if you're somebody who's just like I got to accelerate sales, I gotta do it. I'm going to cold call 100 people and I'm going to do this. That can work.
We're working with a company right now that is old school telemarketing. They've got a formula down, they've got a script and they know for one out of every 100 that they call, they're going to get a deal. So that stuff can work too. But what we kind of, I would say elevate or graduate to, is how do you make fans out of all of your customers? And so that they're doing the lead gen and they're doing the marketing for you. And that's just by creating a great product, great experience. And sometimes that just gets so overlooked. Just someone makes the sale and they move on.
Yeah, I think that's great. And I think it's... I do think there's a combo. And to me, the new referral platform in a way is LinkedIn because people, you can share your successes a lot more broadly, your clients can share success that they've had with you. And now I think the numbers are about a billion people on that platform. So I think the old coffee in person and referral I think now has moved online with LinkedIn and you obviously ran a very successful digital agency. What are you seeing as some of the key trends that are occurring on LinkedIn in particular at the moment?
I think LinkedIn is this fantastic tool that's often overlooked. I don't know if you're seeing this Paul, but you see some people who are set in their ways, whether it's with cold calling or cold emailing. And you're like, you know LinkedIn is a far more efficient way to do this. And LinkedIn, there are so many different products available if you need to reach out differently, but it's really just a much better platform, plus it's more organic than the rest of them. So I'm huge on LinkedIn. So I agree with you and to the point where we were doing strategies for big brands and introducing them to look at LinkedIn as a marketing platform too, which I think people don't realise. And then, yeah, I would also just say CRM and email. But being really tactical and smart about it. Not a one size fits all, but really understanding who people are and again, coming back to delivering something of value every time you touch something of value. So I'm not sure if that's answering what you're asking Paul, but LinkedIn.
Yeah, I think it is. I think LinkedIn is, like you said, I think it's untapped by a lot of people. We've been very fortunate. I've got over 3 million views now on LinkedIn, which has really driven my business. It's all been free per se because it's organic. It's me writing a 15 minute post and getting 20, 30,000 views a post. It's phenomenal. I can't get that on any other platform. And then now like all platforms is the good and not so good behaviour of users. I'm a bike rider and like cars always have a go at bikes and then in the same breath, bikes are always good to car, so it works.
But I do find that relationship that you talked about before and the value, I think that's coming more to the four. It's like we had all the automation and it was like when marketing automation sort of bombarded our inboxes in email, the same thing is happening on LinkedIn. And I think the people that do it well are going to survive. And if you got any specific tips on when you're reaching out to somebody on LinkedIn or you're advising a client to do that, if you need specific tips on how to do that.
Just provide value. Actually do your homework, research them and make sure it's somebody that you can actually provide some kind of plus one, some kind of benefit to. The people who just spray and pray, it doesn't really work. And there's so much noise. The unfortunate part of LinkedIn is that there's getting to be a lot of noise there. There's getting to be a lot of InMail. There's a lot of solicitation versus just really organic stuff. But your point is right. It all changed. I'm somebody who ran social media before it became pay to play. When you could do organic things on Facebook, organic things elsewhere.
LinkedIn is really the only still pure thing out there. But back to your point on LinkedIn, it's providing value and something that somebody is going to want and pay attention to who they are. I don't know about you, but I'll get solicitations on things that I already have. If you just looked at my website, you'd know I've done it or it has nothing to do with what my business is. And that's just, it's just not cool and it ruins it for the people who are trying to do good things.
Yeah. Look, and I get, the other day I got someone saying who's your ideal client? And I just shot back my LinkedIn profile like come on. If you can't even do that as a basic thing. I make it very clear on who I'd love to work with. So yeah, I do think it's gold there for the good people and as far as sales, who does it? Right? And businesses and certainly businesses that are scale. So let's say you're a $2 million business, you've got ambitions to get the 10 and there's that should I hire a salesperson? Should I hire an outsourced sales team? Should I continue to develop a team under me when you're the business owner? What's your experience on those different options to get to that next level of sale?
What I always find when somebody is doing that is I'll ask them, what are you doing to grow organically? What are you doing with your current clients to either grow them more or use them for referrals to grow your business more and what you find, and what are you doing as sort of the touches with all the people in your network? And it's without fail that I talked to them and they are not, they're ignoring that and they're just going for the net new. And we always know it's easier to sell to somebody you're already in business with or somebody you already know but people just forget that. So the number one thing, when we're trying to five X somebody is what are you doing with your current base and how are you using that to grow and to build?
Because I've just, and I don't know about you Paul, but I just never gone there where somebody hasn't got some really untapped resource. I just had one reason, they're like, oh yeah, we have this email list of like 1,000 of our customers. We haven't touched that list in like a year. I'm like so we're going to spend all this time trying to find new people when you've already got 1,000 right here? And then they'll look at me like, oh, I'm glad you just said that. And then it's just you move on. But people are just always looking for the next thing.
Yeah. And I think that's so true and that's the benefit of working with, like you said, advisors like yourself is that it's hard to see the label from inside the jar sometimes, and what's dead obvious isn't always obvious. Right? And I totally agree. And it's like the first connections on LinkedIn. Often people are saying, I want to do outreach on... Okay, so how much have you actually looked at your first connections already? A simple question, but how many of your ideal clients are in your first connections? And they're like I don't know. I've never thought of that. I'm like, well, there you go. There's an existing database that you've got some relationship with. Why not go in and mine that first or look at that first before you go in? So yeah, that's fantastic.
So before we go into the rapid fire section, Terry, I'd like to ask you whether you are listening or watching this, do you have the sales system to get your next million dollars in revenue? And like Terry said, there's definitely referrals. There's also existing clients, but there's some other things that you can do. And what I've done is created a pulse check, nine questions. It'll take you about three minutes to fill out, but will really see if your current sales system is what I consider or how you can compare it to best practise.
You can just go to Paulhigginsmentoring.com/pulse. You can answer those nine questions then at the end, what you'll do is get a score based on your results, what you've answered. And then on that, we can either have a call, which I'll go through those gaps. So it's not a sales call. It's just saying, okay, here is a little bit more clarity so you walk out with a plan or you can get the opportunity if you've nailed everything. We'll come and share those experiences like Terry has on this podcast today. So Terry, are you all set for the rapid fire?
Sure. Let's do it.
All right. Great. So the first thing is what are some sales habits that make you successful?
I keep this mantra in my mind: good things are attracted, not pursued. So you just try to do great work, provide value and share content that's going to help people and try to stay top of mind with people with social, email, et cetera.
Right. And what's some technology that is essentially accelerating your sales?
Well, I guess because I have a background in social media, it is definitely using social media specifically LinkedIn and then also CRM in email marketing.
And what CRM do you use?
HubSpot. Yeah. Look, I think the HubSpot free has been a great strategy for them. I'll find a lot of people are doing that. Another gap to the paid is a little bit, but it's definitely worth having a look at. And for you, what's your best source of getting ideas around accelerating your sales?
Yeah. I mean, it's going to sound, I guess old school, but it's word of mouth, referrals and it's networking and it's LinkedIn. And that's really what I'm focused on. That's how we do it.
Excellent. And this one's a little different, but it's important and certainly links to my last podcast, which is build to give, but how do you give back?
Yeah. My favourite topic is giving back and that's a big piece of what I try to do. Right now, I really, I spend a lot of time mentoring and coaching university students. There's two big schools here where I'm fortunate enough to be an entrepreneur in residence. So I work with the entrepreneur programmes and work with the different teams and people and it keeps me young, which is awesome and keeps me fresh. But that's my favourite thing to do as far as giving back.
Yeah. Look, and I read that on your profile. We've talked about that, but yeah, it's a brain thing that you do and I wish more people were as giving as you are. So the last question is sort of the big one, but for you, we've talked a lot about different actions to take and you've given a lot of practical advice, but what's one thing that we as listeners can take today to 10X our sales?
The biggest thing I would tell you, it has to do with not a specific action, but more about a mindset. Have a growth mindset. Just be thinking about how do I grow and be in the abundance mindset and growth mindset, then all of the tactics will stem from that if you can just be in that place mentally
Brilliant. Well said. So look, it's been great having you on the show today. So you can go to Futureproofadvisors.com to find more about Terry and he's got a great, I think it's a five-step? Five-step framework and the results you get out of it and I've found, yeah, the resources were excellent on Terry's websites. So go and do that. We'll have all the links and everything in the show notes. Terry, wonderful having you on today.
Thanks Paul. I appreciate it.
I really enjoyed that interview with Terry and I suppose the pre and post sales process is something that many people miss and sometimes it's the obvious things that you don't see and that's what Terry, being someone with enormous experience doing it firsthand and then being an advisor can do. So I really loved his experience and what he shared. But I'd love to know from you, what is a key action that you can take from the interview with Terry? Please let me know and also maybe share that with Terry on your socials. All the transcripts and the links, as I said, will be in the show notes, but also why not tell one, 10 or maybe even 100 of your friends about today's podcast? You could be a sales hero by sharing it with them. No use in keeping it to yourself. So please share it with them. They will love you for it. Also, if you want to know if you've got the sales system to make your next million, go to Paulhigginsmentoring.com/pulse.
And also don't forget to check out my solo shows. They're audio only, but they go up between eight to 10 minutes where I give you very specific sales strategy advice that you can go and implement. So please take action to accelerate your sales.
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About Terry Dry
Terry Dry is an award-winning marketer, entrepreneur, strategic advisor, CEO, and executive coach. As the founder of Future Proof Advisors, Terry specializes in advising mid-market businesses and their executive teams on how to overcome barriers that inhibit growth.
Regarded as a “pragmatic visionary,” Terry is best known for pairing innovative thinking with practical solutions that help organizations transform their operations and achieve meaningful success.
Not only does Terry advise existing companies, but he also builds and transforms his own ventures. Most recently, he co-founded, scaled, and then profitably exited, RSVD, a SaaS business that provides digital capacity management solutions for retail, food, and hospitality industries.
Terry is a consumer engagement pioneer, who prior to Future Proof Advisors, co-founded and scaled Fanscape, one of the first-ever social media marketing agencies, which he grew from an initial $10K investment to an eight-figure acquisition by Omnicom (OMC: NYSE). Terry began his career in the music industry, culminating with his role as VP, Artist Development at Interscope / A&M Records (Universal Music Group).
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