Did you attend the OutBound Conference this year? If not, hear why you should do it next year, and if you were in attendance, enjoy the recap.
In this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl is in quarantine and without a guest, so he’s using this unique opportunity to share his reflections from the OutBound Conference, an incredible show put on by sales reps for sales reps. Darryl discusses his experiences from Atlanta, getting to meet with industry legends, struggling then overcoming stage anxiety, and sharing the valuable content he recently learned.
Darryl Praill: Welcome to another episode of INSIDE Inside Sales. I don't say that opening very often, do I? I usually open up with the, " Hey. Hi, how are you? How's it been? How's your week been? How you doing?" This one's a little different, and that could be maybe because I'm out of my rhythm. For the last week and a bit, I was in Atlanta, Georgia, my friends. Atlanta, Georgia, and I was at the OutBound Conference. Ah, I just got back home to my house yesterday. As you know, I'm Canadian, and so that meant I had to cross an international border during a global pandemic. Lots of paperwork involved. And on the Canadian side, when I get back, I have to quarantine in a hotel for three days, and if I test negative on that, then I get to go home for the balance of my trip and still quarantine. So I'm talking to you right now from the house, and I'm quarantining at home for the balance of my two weeks. So that's where I'm at. I'm by myself. We're empty- nesters. My wife and I, and my dog. But my wife and my dog have gone to the family cottage. My wife has a bit of an immuno issue. So she's playing it safe. She's off to the family cottage and we talk and we videotape. And that's what we do nonstop until this is all said and done. My quarantine period ends, ironically enough, on July 4th. So lots to celebrate on July 4th. And then, on July 5th, I'm scheduled to get my second shot. So I'm pretty cool about that. I'm pretty excited about that. But I wanted to talk today, with you, my tribe, my crew, my posse, about the OutBound show. So full disclosure, I got no desk today. Nobody's going to sit here beside me. It's just you and I, and I want to talk to you a little bit about the show, what it is, why we went there, why you should consider going there, if you didn't, and what you can look forward to next year. Because it's a really cool show. So a couple of things, I went after this show, I went after this show hard. Usually, people come to me, event organizers come to me and they ask me to sponsor their shows. And then we go through a qualification process, like you do in sales. Well, who's the show? Who's your target audience and what's your reach, and what's your price, and what does that get? Can we negotiate? And can I have this extra, and can I have that extra? And do I get the registration list? Do I get a booth? Do I get a speaking session? All these kinds of things that you normally do. Whereas this show, we specifically targeted. Most recently, the title sponsor was Outreach. And I wanted to take the show from Outreach. Nothing to do with Outreach, I just wanted the show. The reason I wanted the show was, because it's the only show in the industry that's put on by sales reps for sales reps. There's no vendor bias, so it's really no pitching, pitching's not allowed. There's no sales association push for membership and all that stuff. There's no research firm advance, analytical, scientific frameworks that they're launching or releasing. And again, they want you to sign up for a subscription to their very expensive research services. This is just pure, pure sales. And that's what I love about and why I do this podcast, why I do the webinars, why I do the videos, why I speak. It's just me as a salesperson speaking with you as a sales person. Together we're building our craft. Because that's what it is, right? It's a craft, it's a discipline. We don't view it as a job. We view it, not transactionally, but we invest our own time and our money and our efforts to become better every single day what we do. That's what the purpose of this show is, to become one percent marginally better. So I went after it and we got it. And finally it happened a year later, and it was weird, I got to tell you, being at a live conference speaking again, but it was amazing. Now, some of the things you need to know about this experience. You go into the Georgia Center, it's a huge place, and you go in this particular pace. We're on the third floor, whatever. We go up the escalators, you go up and boom, you're in OutBoundville. OutBoundville, how's that? And everywhere you look, there are all the different speakers, they all have tables. There were three sponsors, we're title one, as I mentioned, but we are also joined in sponsorship from ConnectAndSell. We've had Chris Beall on the show many times, and a company called Skipio. And I admit to never having heard of Skipio before, but they sound like they have a really cool product. Of course, ConnectAndSell has great products if you want to do massive outreach at scale, using the telephone and develop your pipeline that way. So good sales solutions across the board. And then you see the speaker set. You go, " There's Jeb Blount's table, and there's Victor Antonio's table, and there's Anthony Iannarino's table, and there's Mark Hunter's table," because those are the four anchors of the show. But then the speaker list just went on and on and on. Again, go to outboundconference. com and you can see what I'm talking about. Like Jeff Bajorek, Larry Levine, Shari Levitin, Meridith Elliott Powell, Amy Franko. My gosh, the list goes on. It's crazy how big it is and how amazing it is. And what was really interesting is, all these people whom I follow online and have done lots of work with and consider them colleagues and peers, many of them I'd never met live. So leading up to the show, many of them were emailing me, I was seeing them. " Are you going?" " Yeah, I'm going. I'm so looking forward to meeting you live." And that's what's so cool about this. I got to hang out with all these cool people who I only knew through a virtual connection. Might've been a Slack group, might've been a webinar, might've been a podcast, might've been as a panelist, might've been in a community. And I finally got to meet them face to face, and it was like homecoming. It was truly fantastic. I had so much fun meeting these people. And what was really more earth- shattering to me was that they actually wanted to meet me, which I have total imposter syndrome, so that was just disturbing. It was weird. So you do that. And then you go beyond that into the main room. And I mean, check this out kids. This is a 45- foot wide main screen. There's three of them. So a three by one ratio, where normally you see one screen, think of it as three wide times three. The truss work alone, the cameras, the lights, the fireworks, the pyrotechnics, crazy. Everything was socially distanced. It was classroom seating. Everything was six feet apart, which quickly changed when people get with their friends, and they would pull their chairs together. And the lighting was incredible, and there was fog machines and there was logos on the walls, and it was bigger than life. And it really was the most truest bad- ass production I've ever seen in this industry for a sales show. It was like you were going to a Hollywood event. It was crazy. You were immersed. So that was the show. And then they had these other things. They were so innovative. They had the fishbowl. Now, the fishbowl is a room you can go to. And they call it the fishbowl because it's all glass in the front, and inside, they have three cameras, they had a producer, and they had a cafe table chairs that you can go and you see all these people have booked time to do podcasts and webinars live from the show floor. And that was really, really cool to see that. And then they had this dynamite thing. They had Doug Lehman. If you don't know Doug, you hear him In Lehman's Terms. He's a video guy, interviewer, this is his shtick. He's very good at it. And he was backstage. So the entire time he was backstage, and so he would get people, " You're about to go onstage. What are you feeling? What's going through your mind? Okay, go." And then they come off stage, " You just came off stage, what was it like? What's going through your mind? How the audience react?" So it was like you were at the Academy Awards. And this was a constant channel and feed going. At the same time, they had the live event being fed. And what was really cool about the event, I've never seen this before, was they did non- stop content, back- to- back- to- back- to- back- to- back- to- back- to- back. There were no breaks. Crazy. So here's the thing, I was asked to open the show. And they came to me a couple weeks beforehand and they said, " Darryl, we want you to talk about 20 things you'll learn in 2020." Of course, it's all about COVID and our experiences, our shared experiences together there. And so I thought, "What do I do here?" So I actually have a clubhouse. And I got a boatload of all you folks who are joining me there, we spend... I don't remember why got into it. And we had more than 20 things. But imagine, I mean, I'm not a nervous speaker, I do tons of public speaking. I don't know about you guys, but maybe you're the same way. When you're about to do a call with a big fish that you've been wanting to get in front of the whole time, and you get a little bit of nerves and jitters, and are you prepared? That was me. First time in years, I'd had massive anxiety and butterflies. I really wanted to nail it. And sure enough, the time comes and they play my opening video where it introduces me as a speaker. It's like a monster truck video. It's loud, it's booming, it's bass. And then Darryl Praill's announced, and then I go running onstage and I do my thing, and it was incredible. I'm going to share that with you. But the best part was at the end of my time slot, I had to then turn around and actually open the show. So just like Saturday Night Live would say, " This is Saturday Night, Welcome to Saturday Night Live," whatever it is they say. Every week, the guest host says that. I finish up by saying, " This is OutBound." And then the fireworks go off, and it's crazy. Was just an incredible sensation. At the end of the day, I was hanging out with all of the other speakers, and I was sharing how my anxiety, and I had a bad sleep. I said, " I'm not normally like this." And it turns out every single speaker who you know and you see, who are legends, were the exact same way as me. So if you ever second- guess yourself for having anxiety and nerves or butterflies or thinking you're going to blow it, this just tells you, no matter how much visibility, how much experience you get, we all are the same way. And the reason we all had that shared anxiety wasn't because we're afraid of the audience. We trust you folks. It's because we didn't want to disappoint our colleagues who were speaking. People we follow ourselves. See, that's the thing. You follow me, but I follow you. And I see all your content online folks. You intimidate me. I learn so much from you. So you're not alone in that. They did a couple of cool things at the show. Before the live event, they had streaming, I think started Sunday. The live event started Wednesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and then there was an elite and VIP session on Friday that was live. And that was a wrapped- up final virtual session on Saturday morning. So it's a full week of content. So, but Sunday, Monday, Tuesday was all virtual, and this is the first year that ever done virtual. So they have this combination, this one- two punch of virtual and then live and then virtual. It was really, really well done. While the virtual was going on Tuesday, watch day started with Monday, yeah, Tuesday. So Tuesday, we had a VIP masterclass where Victor Antonio, Mark Hunter, and Anthony Iannarino sat up front. And they took all the people who had paid for the VIP passes, which was a little more money, and they broke them up, and see all the sales leaders over here and all the sales reps over there, and then we had 10 minutes to put on whiteboards all the issues and challenges we want to help with. And then the next several hours, the three of them, facilitating a conversation where we said, " Okay, what's the issue on the leader side?" And this was the issue, and then they would talk about it for five, 10, 15 minutes, and they'd do it again on the sales rep side. And so you got these three guys, it was incredible. But what was really dynamite was the conversation in that room. And even more importantly, was the fact that Mark and Victor and Anthony often didn't agree with each other. And that's cool. I loved that tension and that lack of disagreeing, because you're going to hear multiple viewpoints, and then you can go test Mark's approach, Anthony's approach, Victor's approach and figure what's right for you, or one will resonate more with you. So that was the VIP masterclass. If you're going to go do the show, consider that. And then they have the VIP reception that Tuesday night where everybody goes. We were at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. And you had, again, all these bestselling authors are giving away books and shirts and everything else. And we just spent several hours just mixing and mingling. And I tell you, the time flew by, flew by, and everybody was dynamite. For example, Lucy, one of my sales reps, who was there to help staff the booth, Lucy's early in her sales career and she got time with every single one of these experts. And they were helping her with her pitch, and they were getting her to practice it, and they were laughing together. And this is Lucy, this is dynamite. This is how approachable they are. So if you get a chance to do the VIP, invest in yourself. So that was the thing. Yeah, so Wednesday we kicked it off, it was crazy. We were all behind the stage, ready for the kickoff. And I did something crazy. I don't give it away. But when I opened it up, I went out with my top half and my suit jacket and my dress shirt, and my bottom half, I was wearing cargo pants, shorts. I'm sorry, cargo shorts. I was wearing camouflage shorts and flip- flops, because that was the official uniform for business meetings on COVID. And I took it on stage and we had a lot of fun with that. So that was my little, I took a risk. Let's talk a little bit about some of the content I learned. Okay, some of the stuff I learned. So Anthony Iannarino has this concept called one- up. He's got a blog post about this from a year ago. But it's about how you do consultative selling and about how you add value in the process to your prospect. You're not pitching them, you're one- upping them. You're taking their issue to the next level. You're knowing more about it than they know about it. You're giving them options that they hadn't considered. I'm doing a poor disservice for it. But that resonated through the crowd like you wouldn't believe. Because that's where we sometimes drop the ball, we get intimidated, what have you. I wouldn't be shocked, and I'm just throwing this out there, but I have nothing to base this on, if we see a book from Anthony soon on the whole one- up aspect. So check that out if you get... It was all about consultative selling. So Google Anthony Iannarino on consultative selling, all that kind of stuff. He's really good. Anthony's an interesting cat, if you don't know Anthony. He's probably the most cerebral of all the sales leaders you're aware of. And what was so interesting about him is he just got this dry wit. He's cheesy, he's sarcastic. He dead- pans it. That's his delivery. So there was that. He had another session where he's talking about old school, recent school, new school. Again, I'm paraphrasing what he was doing. But one a slide jumped out at me about the best leaders and professionals in the sales profession, and he's quoting all these incredible people who are thought leaders. So these aren't people in sales industry he's quoting. He's quoting legitimate people who we all think are amazing and bright, and we recognize their wisdom. And he talked about the best leaders, the best people, are the ones who are willing to learn. You invest in yourself to learn, and then eventually unlearn, because that no longer applies. And then relearn, but the new way. Check that out, learn, unlearn, relearn. That was crazy. And that's already resonated with me. His one- up and his learn, unlearn, relearn, just the whole idea. Even he had another one, talked about how you would have a sponsor and then you would have, that was the old way. And then you have a buying committee, which is a more recent way, and now you're just driving consensus because the buying committee is so fluid these days. So you had all these gems that were just really, really crazy that caused you to think about how you approached it. Kenyetta Gordon, she was on stage. Every day, they had a podcast, Women Your Mother Warned You About with Rachel Pitts and Gina Trimarco. You should subscribe to that podcast. It's really crazy, it's really good. It's fun on toast, quite colorful. Well, they were live on stage, and Kenyatta was one of the people on stage. She's a real brand person, and she made a common saying, " You're a brand representing a brand." And that was like, wow. You're a brand, representing a brand. So think about it. I'm a brand. Darryl Praill is a brand, representing a brand, which would be VanillaSoft. So I'm both representing me and I'm representing the company. And when you start thinking about your brand that way, which is one of the things I talked about in my 20 Things We Learned in 2020, was we all became brand conscious. You often go, " Wow." And that's another way of developing your own pipeline, because you're a brand representing a brand, and people trust both brands, right? That's dynamite. So that was Kenyetta Gordon. Jeb Blount, he's the master. At the heart of it, this is his show. It's all the Sales Gravy crew. He did a couple of things. Jeb's got an expression, I always modify it. His expression is, " Pipe is life." So I always od the hashtag# pipeislife. But he's right. He said everything you're doing is for pipe. And he told a phenomenal story. He's an incredible storyteller. Told a phenomenal personal story about how he got so caught up early on. He was the top sales rep in his organization, and that he had actually closed a massive deal. And, of course, his success team's having difficulty deploying it. So he had to get involved in doing this. He spent the next quarter really helping this customer get up and running it successful, because he sold the deal. And then all of a sudden, he had no pipe and he almost got fired because he had no pipeline, no activity. He had a zero forecast for the next quarter. And then he ended the quarter up being number one rep again, but he had to bust his hump to do that, because he didn't want to lose his job. And the lesson learned there is pipe is life. That's where that comes from. And he's right. I went through the exact same experience myself, my first sales job selling copiers, I had sold so many copiers. I was so busy selling that I forgot the prospect, and you have to balance that. So he talked about pipe is life. I loved his point about cadences. His point over and over again, and we've had him on the show, he's talked about this. But everybody starts a cadence off with an email or a social touch, or what have you, and they're always afraid to do the phone call. And his point is your first touch should always be a phone call, because isn't that the ultimate goal is to get them online so you can physically qualify them further and advance the sale? Why are you hiding behind email? So first touch, phone call. He hit it over and over again. The other thing he really hammered home is how video's a game changer. He had him and his son, Jeb, Jr., up on stage, and they talked at length about video, the importance of video, the power of video. So I'll challenge you again and again and again and again, and again, are you using video? With a social connection, if you got a sales prospect, that's go- see all a sudden, you can use video through LinkedIn to physically get it going. I mean, it's incredible how well video does. He uses video in email, video on social. It's dynamite stuff. So he's on class, just hitting it again. Now, Victor Antonio. If you've never watched Victor Antonio, he's got over 200,000 subscribers on YouTube. This cat is just incredible. You've got to follow him. He's got an incredible voice. He is the king of delivery. He is so funny, he is such an entertainer, he is such a storyteller. He broke the fourth wall, which you've never done. But onstage, he had a mic in the middle. He had a lapel mic, a lav mic, and he did his presentation, then every so often, he'd stop and go to this mic that was on stage on a stand, and he talked like this. And what'd he say is, " All right, what Victor's doing right now is, is Victor's doing this and Victor's doing that. And then when Victor told you this, he told you this, because he wanted you to do that. And once you do that, he's probably going to do this." And then he stepped back and carry on his presentation. So basically, he was presenting to us. He was shaping us, he was teaching us. He was getting the outcome we wanted, and then he'd stop every so often and speak like an observer, observing what was going on, and tell you the audience, what exactly was going on. It was incredible. Please follow Victor. He's incredible. Mark Hunter, I'm a big fan of Mark, as you well know. We've worked with him so many times. I loved his masterclass. Mark had a 90- minute masterclass on Friday that was on ideal customer profiles. That's how important they are. And it's really about knowing who you're going after and why they should care about you. And if you don't know, then it doesn't matter how good a sales rep you are, you're going to fail. He's got so many books out there. He is such a dynamite guy. So check out Mark. And finally, I had my masterclass. I had my masterclass on Friday morning, 90 minutes long. That's a long time folks, even for someone like me, 90 minutes long. Although, I've heard others say 90 minutes, if you're a professional speaker, 90 minutes is the perfect time. Because beyond 90 minutes, they have to go to the bathroom, they get tired, they fall asleep, but you've got enough time to do a lot of content. So we went long and hard. Our topic was on sales engagement, deconstructed. And you got to check this out. We went so deep on every single channel, phone, social, SMS, video, and all the do's and the don'ts. We gave so many samples of different ways you can do email, and it was all formulaic. If you do an SMS, follow it this way, this is why. If you do an email, these are the dos and the don'ts. These are the different frameworks you can follow to generate the following responses. All of this stuff was just incredible. We actually ended up going almost 15 minutes over my 90 minutes, because it was so well received. So that was cool. Now, every single day, at the end of the show, they'd wrap up the show with what they would call was, After Hours with Victor Antonio. And this was like a cigar lounge. And everybody was in there and they could go and get an adult beverage, and the lights were all down low, and it was just like this club. And they would just debate about stuff, and it was a panel, and they had people come up, people can ask questions. And everybody in the audience, they were tired, at the end of the day, and they had their adult beverage, and that's what it was. It was just a really laid- back vibe. It would truly was incredible. So that's dynamite. So with all that said, none of this stuff happens without an amazing team. I want to thank a few people, myself, personally, of many at the OutBound Conference. Mark and Victor and Anthony and Jeb, of course, were incredible. They have an incredible supporting cast. Judith was their main contact for all logistics. She was a machine. Wolfgang was helping them out, from an event organizer point of view. Trey on video, David and all the production. That Sales Gravy team is world- class folks. If you're looking for training, Sales Gravy, check them out. My own team, I mentioned Lucy and Chad already helping me staff the booth and talk to every single person that was there. They were phenomenal. But none of this happens without a great team. I have Nicole, my events organizer. I have Katherine, my head of sales. I have Yvette, my head of marketing, they just worked their behinds off to drive and make this a success. Because any investment, you got to have ROI. Daniel. I talk about Daniel all the time. You should have seen the content he made for us. He made such amazing videos, commercials, documentaries. He worked on such tight timelines, Ali and Bergen, my product marketing rock stars of the company, made such incredible content to present to you guys. They worked their behinds off. Eliza, she's one of the solution engineers to make sure all of our systems were in place to do pre- and post. That include as well, Alaina and Stacy on my team, working to make sure that all our systems were also working as well. Alec, my designer of PowerPoint and Emma Lee, the other designer of PowerPoint made me look like a million bucks. Lot of late nights, lot of work, a lot of hours, a lot of people to make this stuff successful. So all that's to say that was OutBound. It's happening again. It's happening in September, 2022. And I tell you this now, because you hear me say all the time, learning is earning, genuinely. Convince your employer, pay the money yourself, if you have to. If there's only one show you go to, this is the show. You've got almost over a year and a quarter, at least, to save the money up, to do what you need to do. Make it part of your compensation plan. I don't know, but you need to be there. You need to be in Atlanta in September, 2022. So that my friends, that's the OutBound Conference. I just wanted to give you the debrief, what the experience was like, what it was like to be in front of people again, what it was like to actually meet your heroes and the people who you respect and love so much and just value. And as a whole, what it was like to be with you again, not on this podcast, not in an email exchange, not on a social media, LinkedIn world, but live, one on one. If you were there and you took time out for me, thank you very much. I loved talking to you. You made my day. For all those who said such nice things about me, thank you, I am so grateful. We do have a special going on right now. If you were an outbound attendee, just a reminder, you get a good discount, 10% off the next 60 days. Just let us know and we'll cross- reference the list, and if you're on it, baby, you got it. And in the meantime, I think what I loved about that, was people really got how we were different from every other solution provider out there in this space. And that's so hard to do, right? That's your unique selling proposition, isn't it? And I had a chance to get that across and everybody was receptive to it. Folks. I don't say this often enough, you're an amazing tribe. Without you, I wouldn't do this job. You're the reason I get up every morning, you're the reason I go to bed every night. I feel like I'm part of a community. That truly is the case. I hope you get value out of my INSIDE Inside Sales podcast. I hope you get value out of the content we bring you, hope you get the value out of the personal and stories we share you. And if you don't, please don't follow me, because I don't want to waste your time. Because your time's too valuable. You should be going elsewhere where you get value. But in the meantime, that's my story. That's my shtick. It's another week in the can of INSIDE Inside Sales. But this is a real personal one for me. I want to give a shout out to everybody one final time for all they've done. Jeb Blount, Mr. Jeb Blount, special shout out just for you. You're much loved, brother. So my friends, family, fellow tribespeople, that's it I'm done. I want you to go forth. I want you to practice the best practices. I want you to close the biggest deals. I want you to have life balance. I want you to be experts in your career, and I want you to be disciplined in your approach. Don't be afraid to try stuff. A, B test, everything. Don't just take people's words for it. Don't be lazy and take shortcuts, actually personalize, make things relevant. And for every recipient, show them you know them. You know what I'm saying? That's it. That's my story this week. We'll be back next episode with another amazing guest right here on this podcast. I am delighted and grateful that you are in my life. Friends, have a fantastic, fantastic fricking week. I'll talk to you soon. Bye- bye.