PartnerHacker Principles: Show Me You Know Me - Samantha McKenna

The PartnerHacker Principles are something we come back to time and again to stay on target. Today, we're diving into the PartnerHacker principle: show me you know me.

We reached out to Sam McKenna of #samsales, to learn more about how she uses the principle, Show Me You Know Me, to guide her company values. Below are highlights from the interview.


This is the 5th article in our series exploring the PartnerHacker Principles. You can read more about the other principles here:


Show interest in others

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"Why wouldn't we try to get to know the people that we're ultimately trying to do a deal with, but why not prioritize that relationship first? It is vital to our success and setting ourselves apart." – Sam McKenna

It starts with building a relationship

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"Surprise! Building a relationship isn't all about work. It's really about the idea to have learning about their personal lives, and then being able to continue to build a relationship by sending them articles, funny memes, and things like that, that relate to the things that you know about them." – Sam McKenna

Show your customers you care. No more phony, Dear Sir or Madam. Get real and start showing interest in them. People won't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Be relevant to the customer

Show your customers how much you care by showing them you know something special about them. Don't just spend time telling them about how your product is relevant to them.

Show them that you care about them as a person. Are they into sports? What teams do they follow? Be real, and be relevant.

Don't be a salesperson; be a person who solves challenges

To me, the win isn't the sale. To me the win is solving their challenge. – Sam McKenna

Play the long game. Don't go for the quick win, but build rapport as a person who solves challenges. Yes, you want to bring in revenue; but more importantly, you want to be seen as a person that helps bring solutions to the table.

Full transcript:

Will Taylor
I think we should go back to the origin of show me you know, me, let's do so tell me about how show me you know, me came to be what's the inspiration for it?

Sam McKenna
This is an interesting thing. So show me you know, me is actually something that I heard years and years ago, I heard one of my dear mentors, Lee say he was like, do some show me, you know, me. And I was like, That is genius. So he gives me a hard time all the time that he is actually the inventor of show me, you know me. But I think where this really turned a light bulb on for me, I took a I was a young, young young rep, I took a chief marketing officer to lunch, I somehow got lucky enough to take her to lunch. And during that time, the only thing we talked about was our personal lives. I asked her about her career, I asked her about how we got here, etc. And then at the end of that lunch, we laughed, and she's like, I want to tell you something in my you know, 2025 year career. I have never ever ever had a sales rep take me to lunch and just get to know me do research on me show up with a point of view on like things ask meaningful questions about how to jump from here to here. And she's like, How refreshing. And I think it struck me I was like, the hell do you mean, right? Because to me, it seemed like, why wouldn't we do that? Why wouldn't we try to get to know the people that we're ultimately trying to do a deal with, but why not prioritize that relationship first. So really struck me. And then the more that I did it, the more I got that feedback, right. And I it occurred to me like that that's a movement that's something we often skip. That's vital to our success is setting ourselves apart.

Unknown Speaker
And so why in you know, a more remote worlds,

Will Taylor
is that more important than ever, because there's definitely been a change in how buyers engage with brands and the b2b world as a whole. Why is show me you know, me more important than ever?

Sam McKenna
I think two things. I think, one, our buyers are smart. Our buyers get hammered every single day with tons of outreach. They're on calls every day, their expectations, frankly, are pretty low for what to get from a salesperson. They're going to imagine that a salesperson is here selfishly for them to drive revenue to hit their quota, make it stick and then move on with their lives to the next deal. So I think right with that bar being so low, if we take the time to show me you know me and create a smart subject line if we take the time to do our research in advance and show up to a discovery call you Not by saying, you know, hey, tell me where you're based, which is on your LinkedIn profile. But instead say, This is what I read about you, or I love this part about your background, etc. It is such an easy way to set ourselves apart. And frankly, as we start those conversations, right, you think about that digital world, I hear a lot of feedback of like, what do I do now that I can't go to conferences? What do I do that I can't do networking, happy hours? How do I replace the time where I hide from walking to the lobby, to the conference room? And build that that relationship? How can I do all that you can do all of that digitally? Right. But it starts with understanding who your buyers are, their challenges, etc. but also understanding who they are? Personally, I just posted about this today, right? We think about how to get more time in front of our buyers how to stay top of mind how to nurture them? Well, surprise, it's not all about work. It's really about the idea to have learning about their personal lives, and then being able to continue to build a relationship by sending them articles, funny memes, things like that, that relate to the things that you know about them.

Will Taylor
And what's the effect that happens with these buyers? When they're having someone show up? Show them that they do know them? And what happens in the relationship? Why is it you know, so different from what people may think the need to do, which is having that bar so low? What happens when this is established, I think

Sam McKenna
your speed trust so quickly, and you also turn the opinion that that buyer probably had value as a salesperson on its head, right. And this is what we hear over and over and over again, when you come and you talk to Sam sales, it is a completely different selling experience, a sales experience and buyers are accustomed to we do a couple of things, right, we make sure to set the ambiance and resume we're always laughing and talking, we're bringing somebody into the fold, we're using the research that we've done to connect with them as humans, I think where it makes such an impact, right is that somewhere along the way, salespeople were taught not to be their authentic selves to be more buttoned up to have to qualify a buyer, you know, through a series of questions before ever moving them on to another stage. And to script everything, right? follow a script be a robot, and we're not any of that. And so I think that that's where that show me, you know, may become so different, because they are expecting, you know, just very serious business oriented stuff. And then when they get a how's it going? Oh my gosh, did you see this, you know, article about whatever. And we're off to the races talking and chit chatting. They feel like they're being treated like a human versus just a buyer.

Will Taylor
And, in your opinion, how do partners play a role in all of that for? Let's say it's a referral or an introduction? How does that delight the buyer or the customer? And also add to that show me, you know, me aspect?

Sam McKenna
I think one thing, it is the greatest honor to us, when we get a referral, it means especially from a buyer from a partner who holds a high bar to themselves, right? If we're gonna get inbound referral, it means that they're saying we feel like you Sam sales and body everything that we embody. So that's huge. I think I would say, think about just the response maybe of that partner, and the show me you know, my introduction, what I mean by that is oftentimes we let's say we'll send an inbound lead, and we'll say, Amy, please meet Well, he'd be great, you guys should chat, etc. And then Amy will respond and say, well, thanks. Here's my calendar invite or my calendar link to schedule time with me. Inside where again, I think that show me you know, making plug in is take a beat, you've just got a referral, you got an inbound lead, you got to vouch from somebody already. So take two seconds, right, we're all about urgent bird gets the worm and moving quickly. But take two seconds, pop to that person's profile, go and look and see what they're about who they know where they've worked before hometown where they live any of that information, and just weave in a little show me your domain, because here's the coolest part. If I get an inbound lead, let's say I get introduced to you well, and I'm like, Okay, well, and so you're coming to me already through a trusted source, if I can go to your LinkedIn profile, and I can find other people that we have in common, perhaps even people you know, that our clients and I can say, by the way, I say you know, Susan and Mary, I don't know if you guys know each other well, but they're also our clients in case you need additional back channeling, I have now instantly up to the vouch credibility, I have not by one person, but by a second and a third person. Also, I've just taken the time to do a little research and just set myself apart. So those partnerships think about how you can do that for each other how you can go a little bit extra extra lengths to also make that partner look good.

Will Taylor
Amazing. Yeah, that part stands true. In my mind, were making your partner look good as well. It's almost like I don't want to say it's more important than in regular sales, but in like a partner sales introduction. It's not just your reputation on the line, it's your partner's reputation and their relationship with the client as well. So

Sam McKenna
when you do that, right when you get a referral for the first time for somebody, this is your opportunity to earn or not the right to additional referrals so you really have to treat that that super well. I think even think about it where you might have you might be out partner that is one or two of the same services, right that somebody can refer, or perhaps your channel partner, and you're working with brokers or something like that, right? And there's seven of you, the more work you do on that, show me, you know me, the more urgently you respond, the more beautifully you treat the client, the more likely it is that that partner is going to say, I'm just going to send everything to because you're amazing. So think of how that can go a long way to

Will Taylor
very good. I like that. And so what are some misconceptions about showing you know, me that people are like, they just get it wrong most of the time?

Sam McKenna
One, it's irrelevant to that it can scale. And so I think when the way they get it wrong, is they'll just say random things about somebody like we, one of our one of our trainees, sent an email to somebody who lives in Miami and said chocolate plus baseball and the subject line and then said, like, oh, man, I love chocolate. I bet you know, living in Miami are excited about the first day of baseball. And I was like, Where does chocolate appear on the guy's profile? And he was like, it doesn't, but I bet he's a fan. And I'm like, why? And then I'm like, What does baseball Miami have to do is like the it's like the first pitch or something in Miami? And he's like, No, but Miami has a baseball team. And I'm like, What the hell is happening? So we get around just by not using our brands that well. And then I would say the other thing and a lot of people talk about the fact that how do we scale scale scale? Right? So they my personalized by saying will plus Sam, you know, initial call on day of week. Okay, well, great. Show me you know, me can't scale the idea of is quality over quantity. So do your research. I promise it'll pay up. I think final just misconception on that is it needs to be your show me, you Nomi must be relevant to the problem you solve. And I couldn't disagree more. I think the thing about that is like you can connect as a human on Show me you know me, and then use a smooth transition, right? So I might say something about a sports team or school, we both went to our hometown, or am I gonna be live in Chicago? I have to tell you if your restaurant is where have you been? But Baba, I know the owner, whatever. Anyway, I could talk about this forever. But the real reason I'm reaching out is I love to talk to you about how we can support your sales training needs, right? It doesn't have to be relevant to the challenge yourself. People are humans, and they love to connect about things that are near and dear to their hearts.

Will Taylor
I'm curious what show me you know, me really means to you. You mentioned the personal story and how it benefited you. But like, what does it mean to you in the grand scheme of things? Like why is it really so important to you specifically, and for you to live through it day in and day out?

Sam McKenna
I think part of my part of the brand, this is gonna sound a little strange, but part of the brand that I've always wanted to have is not not as a salesperson. But as someone who truly gives a darn about you and normally use a different word truly gives a darn about you, and cares about being of help, too. So I think one of those things, right to show respect to the other person that's giving your time is to, to do that research to connect with them as a human being to build a relationship. To me, the win isn't the sale. To me the win versus solving their challenge, hopefully through us, right, which does bring revenue to the win is building that relationship, and then three, ultimately getting the deal. But even if I don't get the deal, if I can build a relationship, and I can solve their challenge, it's a win for me, because I've helped somebody along the way, which I love about sales. And at some point, maybe they'll have loved the experience so much that even if they don't need us, they'll send a referral our way. So I really think about playing the long game, every new person, whether they represent money to us or not, is a is a touch point where we can set ourselves apart, treat them like a human and hopefully build a fan for life.

Will Taylor
Amazing. And I would say that the approach of respect and whatnot that you've shown me as well, which I mean, we were engaged at at videocard. So I was like playing a supporting role. But then, you know, I technically reached out for asks in a way, but always wanted to make sure that it was valuable for you. You have always given me the time and also, like heard me out. And I mean, hopefully this only continues to be me giving you as much as I can. Because again, the support has been been like, I'll share a very like, personal thing that has come up like a few times in my mind. And I was actually just talking about it last night because so I've been courting a new romantic interest, and it's been going very well. And she was like, before we went to sleep, she was asking me what I am excited about for the next day. And I have a few recordings today. And I mentioned this one specifically and I said that like Sam has honestly felt like a big sister. And I've always appreciated the fact that you are so supportive. And so I needed to share that especially because just before this you had some emotional sentiments and like I truly do mean that and like the guidance as well, like you've always been helpful and supportive, and it hasn't felt like a business relationship. So this is why I'm always thinking like, one, how can I give as much back to same as possible but to, like, you are a perfect example of exactly everything that you just talked about, through the call today. And the last piece, especially where you're living through it, you're showing that respect, and you are creating that longer lasting relationship. And so it's paying dividends. And I'm gonna always try and give that to you as well.

Sam McKenna
Thank you era warms my heart beyond, beyond what you're now and I think like, again, like that said, like, just just getting to be a part of people's lives and making a difference is everything. I'll tell you, sometimes you're you're so you're so kind to always comment on my content. And I, I, I so rarely see diversity in my content. Because there because I have so many followers that sometimes I'll see your posts, and I'll feel I'll feel like a shed because I'm like, I haven't commented on wells in a long time. So just know, even if I don't have the time to do it, it's on my mind. And I try to make make efforts to do that one way or the other.

Will Taylor
I appreciate that. And hopefully we can meet in person, we're going to be going to a lot more events. So we're going to be at like Dreamforce and you know, all the other big ones. So I imagine we'll cross paths and I'm going to try and make it a point and we're going to a lot so there are at least be you know two opportunities minimum to make it happen. So I hope we do make up and

Sam McKenna
Thanks for Thanks for having me for this too. And scheduling it out. Let's say it was good. Good to be here and good to see you.

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