Closing deals through personalization – with Brent Brague

Brent Brague


Brent Brague is a sales guru, with over 20 years experience in the industry. A graduate of Univeristy of Utah, Brent currently serves as Senior Vice President of Revenue at Wrench.AI. He is an organizer at the ABE Summit, and has shared many useful tools at past summits. Brent’s specialty is optimizing brand’s existing martech stacks.


“I need to make a human connection so I could sell my product. And that should be the number one goal for every salesperson is ‘I need to make a human connection first.’ How do I make a human connection with the perfect stranger?” 

Key Points

  • Bots cannot replicate a human touch during the sales process – but they are a tool to be used.  
  • You need to sell to more than just your target demographics.  
  • Qualify your customers with BANT. Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline.  
  • Don’t just sell your product, sell your customers on a solution to their pain points.


Hello. I’m Brant Brague, the Senior Vice President here at I first want to start off by thanking ChatFunnels for inviting me to Demand Gen 2022. I’ve been asked to speak in – sorry, selected to speak, about “Closing Deals Through Personalization.” I first want to start off by sharing a little bit about myself. I’m going to share my screen.

I’ve had a wonderful career in sales and marketing for the last 20 plus years. I started at Xerox and moved to IBM, then jumped into the world of entrepreneurship. I’ve had several different co-found, several MarTech companies, a couple of exits, and I really enjoy, at the end of the day, selling and communicating with other individuals in a high influence scenario.

I am a father of three, husband of one, proud owner of a dog. I mentor people and I also am an advocate to many people, but I’d like to consider myself a friend to all. In sales and marketing in many different aspects of society. I think there’s a race and there’s a race between humans and A.I. technology robots.

However you want to phrase that, there’s ultimately a race. And in this race, there’s pros and cons to both. Humans do things much more efficiently, and robots and technology and A.I. does other things much more efficiently. And so, at some level there’s a race, because as technology improves, there’s fewer and fewer things humans do more efficient than the robot, and to be aware of this, I think, is important, because the trick is not to eliminate technology, but to leverage technology. Well, let’s review just real quickly some of the high level differences from a sell scenario between humans and robots. Humans are not the best for remedial tasks. If I have to do a lot of repetitive things, I will find technology and/or a robot to do that.

Whether that send a million emails or whether that’s to to make a million calls. A dialer, a email platform will be much more efficient than me dialing for dollars with my fingers or pushing send a million times. I like to take time off. I don’t sleep in my office. I work 8 to 12, 15, 18 hours a day.

Depends on the day. My computer could work 24 hours a day. Never take time off. Never take a holiday. Never take a vacation. In theory, until you have that technology glitch. But the idea is the same. Robots often lack personalization. People are offended when you have a robot pretend as a human, without that personalization touch.

On the opposite side, a human being human has the amazing ability to maximize their influence and even be perceived as expertize in such different subject matters. Whether that’s a doctor, whether that’s a sales professional, it does the a human has a better appreciation for expertize. While people recognize Dr. Google, you still will go to a human for the expert. I find humans are still superior at closing technical, complicated, complex deals.

On the other hand, technology, websites, etc. Amazon. They’re very efficient at closing self self-serve commodity purchases. So as I mentioned, the best closers leverage technology and in the context of in today’s world. Personalization of being personal. Remaining personal is the biggest difference between you and a robot. And you want to leverage that being human and not yield that.

If everything I’m doing is at the robot level, then I am right to be replaced by a robot. The way I stay above being replaced is embracing my humanness and executing at a higher level.

Personalization is more than just sending a broadcast email with someone’s first name and potentially their their title or some other tidbit you pulled off of some list strategically placed in an email. Once upon a time, that worked great for opens and clicks. As there’s more and more of these solutions spitting out more and more emails every day, the novelty of any of that has nearly diminished or actually just dissipated, and so again, we’re going back to I need to make a human connection so I could sell my product. And that should be the number one goal for every sales person is ‘I need to make a human connection first.’ How do I make a human connection with the perfect stranger? Someone who purposely doesn’t give me a lot of opportunity and is blocking me, if you will, from wanting to acknowledge the value I bring to them, as to keep a balance or keep an uneven balance in the relationship, because I don’t want a salesperson to have any power in that in their particular role. So what I do is I leverage technology for my benefit. I have the technology do all the remedial tasks like research and deep analytics and taking thousands of data points and coming up with something intelligent – that, quite frankly, isn’t my skill set. My skill set isn’t the analysis of 4 million spreadsheets.

My skill set is communicating and taking the output of that analysis and executing on those findings to provide a solution for my customer. So ultimately, what does and what I love about is we provide the who, the what and the how to every customer in someone’s customer database. Who is your ideal audience?

Well, I could tell you the demographics. When I talk to customers all the time, they are you go, who is your target audience? Oh, well, you know, C-suite, billion dollar company. You know, this tech stack and that’s that you know, it’s all demographic based. They have really no idea the psychographic makeup of their target audience. They don’t know if they’re laggards in the adoption curve, or early adopters, or innovators.

They have no idea if they are typically analytical or social or if they’re talking to a social person and they’re giving them too much analytical answer. Those are big blunders when you have only one or two swings to hit a ball, if you will, you have to make sure you get contact. And I like to stack those cards in my favor by having the AI give me the answers before I start the engagement.

We can see on this slide that the data that actually pushes acquisition is quickly changing. If you look historically, what used to be important, I just talked about, hey, I really know my demographics, well just glancing at this this page, you see the demographics early, just over 6% of the influence of the purchase. But yet people are so proud that they know the demographics of their target audience. Well, you’ve only left 94% chance on the table. Still with a I doing the research and provide new insights. You just increased it with your demographics to over 60%. That’s a huge difference in your probability of success when you engage with your target audience. And so that’s where the power of AI, the power of technology can boost your humanness to connect with other people, to purchase your products and services. Here’s another way of looking at the branch output. So we give you brand and affinity scores. Hey, you’re selling widgets. Here’s the affinity of your target audience in that widget. Here’s the affinity of your brand. Who sells the widget? Here’s the psychographic, makeup, their values, their sentiment, their predictions of how they’ll respond to what message, how the persuasion angles that you’d want to do at reciprocity.

Hey, I should buy you a cup of coffee. So. So there’s an exchange of value for listening to a pitch, something of that nature and everything. The air does obviously have to pass efficacy. The predictions have to matter. The predictions have to be accurate. And that’s what what leveraging the technology is. Other behavioral insights that robots and technology can provide. Your customer base personas. Your ideal persona. Churn rate LTV Brand Scores. Lead scores. Channel recommendations. Do I call them? Do I email them or do I text them? We could have a I predict all of those things. So your time is being maximized not by chasing answers that are difficult for the human to comprehend or come to, to to develop, but to actually execute on those those findings and insights in addition to the behavioral, this is a sample of the personality profiles that we provide our clients.

It’s usually between one and two pages. It has a general description, then it goes on to partner strategies and recommendations. It then goes into actions that you should expect to do. And then also predictions and strengths. We even will place that on the adoption curve, so to your brand and product, where are they likely on the adoption curve?

Are they an innovator? Are they a lagger? Are they a late adopter? Late adopters are usually more sensitive to coupons and discounts. Innovators and early adopters, they just want to because it solves their immediate problem. A laggard – You’re going to have to twist their arm. They’re the last to buy because they there’s a perceived they have to the laggards by the smartphone when they no longer could find the flip phone.

It’s not a choice. It’s a it’s a forced issue because as you could well imagine, when I have this wealth of information about all my contacts, it boosts engagement. I am meeting my contacts and my prospects and my clients where they are at today in the manner they want to be approached. So the communication efficiency is maximized. The way I communicate the values of my products are maximized for their comprehension. Because I’m having maximum efficiency with my communication.

My results naturally follow. Taking a step back now that I’m engaged with my client, what do I say? First off, the fundamentals don’t change. You still have to qualify your customers. Qualify your customers. I am a traditionalist, I use BANT. It’s Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. Authority can be tricky. Make sure you realize who can ultimately say yes. Between you and yes are usually several layers of know people that can say no to your product, but they cannot say yes.

So you have to sell each layer of that as if they can say yes to get to the person who gets to say yes. The quicker you can find who actually needs to say yes, the more efficient your sales will be. Also, needs. It’s critical, critical, critical. Ask great questions when qualified. A lazy salesperson will stop when they understand what the person’s shopping for instead of what the problem solving for.

Please do not be a lazy salesperson. Find out what the problem they’re solving for is in solve for that more so that trying to solve for what they’re shopping for. Sometimes they don’t know they are going on the recommendations of previous salespeople. I’m shopping for X-Y-Z because that’s what the last person told me I should be shopping for.

If you understand the problem, you could either confirm that, or redirect them to a better solution. An expert level salesperson will always uncover the pain associated with not having their solution. What happens if you never buy from me? Not a darn thing. You likely will have a difficult time selling that person positively or negative. If I have perceived my life will be better with your product.

It is a sports car. It is a luxury item. The pain is what’s your life like without that item? That’s where it is. And in that space is where the expert salespeople play. The better you solve for this the pain, the more success you’re going to have. So here are some questions before. After I understand and I qualify them.

I understand their pain. Before I present solutions, I like to ask myself these questions. Is it clear how their pain is going to be relieved or how their life will be better? With my solution, I should be able to have that articulated in my own mind on paper, in my presentation. One, two, three. It’s clear to me. Does it meet their decision requirements if they gave me requirements?

Does my solution fit those requirements? Sometimes it’s not a perfect match. Sometimes you have to reset the requirements. But I should always know if my initial solutions within their initial requirements. Do your value statements support your pricing? You can have a lot of success selling it. Being the highest cost is not a disadvantage when you know how to do it, but you have to have the value to support it.

Being the highest cost without the value to support it is not an easy position to be in and rarely equals success. One of the hidden things about a lot of the SaaS solutions and technical solutions is ‘what’s the pain point of implementation?’ Hey, you told me how many, how much you’re going to solve. All my pain is the implementation process to get there paid for?

I found that paying attention to the implementation process actually helps the sales process, because they know that you’re thinking of all the aspects and again, you’re relieving the pain because they’re thinking about it whether you are or not. In addition, that is my story even believable? If I am making all these great claims,

Oh, we could do this. Oh, we could do that. Oh, this is nearly free. Oh, this is not. Oh, this is great. This is great. Wow. How come I haven’t heard of this before? If it’s so great, why?

You know, it has to make sense. Sometimes based on education levels, based on awareness of certain products and industries, they don’t know what makes sense or doesn’t make sense, and so they’ll just go ahead and nod, and so it’s a good practice to always support your claims with resources, case studies. So even if they’re thinking they may not verbalize it, but you’re immediately showing them social proof that this is common for you. You solve this problem many, many times. Your maximum influence is always in person, in person, and 2022 is different than in-person in 1988. In person in 88′, you means you jumped on a plane. Now we have video conferencing that’s come. We have Zoom, we have Google Meet, we have in-person planes and cars still work too. So whenever possible, if minimum we get on the phone, hopefully have video. Why is video so important? Why is in-person so important? Because A, it shows a level of commitment to them

You’re able to see the nonverbal communication, which is critical in cells. I need to know what you’re hemming and hawing at. I would need to know what you like. I need to know when I say something, if it created a response, and that cannot be replicated through text. That’s difficult to replicate through email. It’s more common through voice fluctuations on phone. But certainly the in-person is the most ideal. Once I’ve communicated my value in this presentation, it’s then time for me and spend time for me to ask for the business, prepare for the business. Before I prepare to ask, or in preparation for asking for the business, I’m going to need qualify them again. I’m going to confirm that my solution meets the requirements, alleviates their pain remains in their budget in the current timelines aligned.

Once I’ve done that, I’m then going to ask for the business. It’s always wise to follow up asking with 15 statements because usually by asking for the business, it’s your first invitation to hear no. And that’s when the selling begins. Are you prepared to say that? Well, Brent, let me tell you, you know, so-and-so is out and I don’t know, and we’re going to listen to this other vendor today and that’s when I could go. If I’ve set your requirements and this is the best, do you believe my solutions are best? Well, it’s very strong. I can then go if/then statements. If this, then we do this. If I could give you free implementation, will you sign today?

If I do this, if I could guarantee that this will happen, will you do this? If I give you an out, a contractual out, if you signed today to meet this other requirement, will you do this today? The if/then gives them gives you a commitment of purchase. And that’s what you’re looking for as you continue down the path of commitment.

In many ways, closing is the manifestation of personalization throughout the whole sales process. If I am know how to talk to them in the beginning, maintain that high level of communication throughout the sales cycle, and even in the end I am personal, but because I know their requirements, I know their needs, I know the personality and know how to structure the deal. I know how to present the deal all based on that individual or group of individuals attentive to their individual styles, I’ve now stacked the deck in my favor across the board. This is basically the end of my presentation. Hopefully we were reminded of several things you probably already know, but maybe there’s some new concepts that you might want to try.

Feel free to reach out to me. I’m happy to connect and coach you in appropriately, and then also I’m willing to give you a free personality profile. Send me your email, your name, and your LinkedIn profile. I’ll send you back a one of our AI generated profiles – it’s very fun to see what the A.I. knows about you based on your profile.

And thank you for your listening. Take care.