52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 10 – The Unfair Advantage: Sell with NLP! by Duane Lakin

The world of NLP is a little hazy. I’ve met people who swear by it, and others who write it off as wishful thinking. I believe that there is somethSellwithNLPing to the NLP method, although I’m not sold on the mass appeal and train-ability of this. It’s a tough topic to teach in a book. Let’s take a quick dive into this.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 10 – The Unfair Advantage: Sell with NLP! by Duane Lakin

I was looking to read up on NLP in a professional setting. I had been given the recommendation to read “The Game”  by Neil Strauss which is a book about a pickup artist but his pick up scheme is dominated by the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). I can best describe it as part subliminal messaging, part hypnosis and part mentalism. I could see the parallels between really selling yourself in the dating scene to selling yourself and your products/services in a business setting, but I wanted to find a book that really made it simple and had practical demonstrations. I downloaded the audio version of this book after a quick online search of what was available.

I’ve read a lot of self-help and motivational books as well as a lot of sales skills and leadership books, I’m not 100% sure where this book should be categorized. It has some great sales skills advice that can be implemented in person with a lot of practice and some advice about phone sales and scripts. I can see the validity in the sales scripts right away. I’m familiar with word tracks, power words and mirroring your client to make them feel more at ease. NLP can be used to encourage a particular response, in this case a YES response to whatever we are selling.

Some ethics come into play here though, at what point do we cross the line where we are “tricking” a customer into becoming a buyer? Does the NLP speech pattern make someone do what they otherwise wouldn’t want to do? Will there be massive buyer’s remorse a few days after every sale? Is this sales skill, or is this manipulation? I describe Sales as having the ability to persuade and influence a purchase decision, and I think using the right words in conversation has a role to play in that.

I believe that words have power. I believe that a better phone sales script or a better presentation for any pitch will lead to better results. Furthermore, I believe that if you take those same exact words and change your pace and tone to match the situation your conversion numbers will improve dynamically. I believe your body language can influence how likable you are. I also believe that if you are a slime-ball and purposely sell Widgets that are over priced to people that don’t need them you probably shouldn’t learn these skills. I prefer my snail-oil salesmen to rely on old school tactics, but this is America and capitalism requires supply and demand. There are thousands of products available that are destructive to your home, life or the environment and people still buy them.  I’ve seen an Act by Darren Brown, (if you don’t know who this is go do your google search now http://derrenbrown.co.uk/the-core/ ),  and he’s also a mixture of persuasion and influence using some of these appear to be NLP techniques or very similar. He’s upfront about what he’s doing and it still works! He’s entertaining and I’d hate to see him as a salesman. I don’t think that NLP is a bad business practice but it can be used for evil instead of good. Don’t cross that line.

If you research NLP and decide to try some techniques, do it for the right reason. Do it because your client wants to make the right decision but is a little hesitant to do so for fear of making the wrong decision. Use NLP so that you get more thank you cards and verbal gratuities. Use NLP in a scenario where customers are appreciative that you helped them to make a great decision. Tell them what you are doing, tell them that you are going to help them make the right decision. That’s a good thing, Right?

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 9 – Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There by Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz

KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. This book is a nice spin for the classic Hard Work Beats Talent when Talent doesn’t Work Hard. There is a giant fear of failure in most sales repsGoForNO and it limits the amount of risk that they will take. This is a classic mind flip that creates the scenario where NO is Good.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 9 – Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There by Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz

 

I’m a strong believer in the SweatAbility factor (Effort X Skill = Success) and typically in my own experience the hustlers are the ones that put in the strong effort. They work harder, longer and have strong visions of what they are working towards. Those guys are the ones that often get the trophy’s at the end of the month, but sometimes it’s someone who just has to struggle to stay at par. I try to take those guys and increase their skill level, I work on their closing skills, listening skills, mirroring skills and general sales I.Q. I stand by that assessment, if someone’s work ethic is already a 9 out 10 and I double their sales skill, they will double their income.

This book focuses more on the Effort piece of the puzzle, which is something the 10X Rule by Grant Cardone does as well, but I think this book might be more dangerous in some industries than in others. There is a message in the book that encourages massive prospecting, which I am on board with, but the book initially also seems to reward a low conversion ratio or at least it could be interpreted that way. The surface message would seem to just take massive leads and get through them and you’ll probably find a few “lay down” deals and out perform your competition by just sifting through your leads faster.

The hidden message is in the last chapter. The No’s that you get don’t all get thrown away. The same leads can and should be reused and in fact most customers will say No 5 times before saying Yes. That means that by prospecting more often and calling on your own sales leads multiple times you’ll increase the number of times you are told No, but eventually your conversion ratio of sales calls to confirmed clients will actually improve. Let’s face it, everyone you talk to buys from someone right? If you are persistent enough that person can be you.

Talk to more prospects. Get to the point. Don’t burn bridges. Follow up relentlessly. Ask for the business so you always know where you stand. You will both outwork AND out smart your competition by following these rules. The Author’s might disagree, but I think a salesman’s favorite word is still Yes, but I’ll concede that the second favorite word is No. Look for the No in every sales call and you won’t be running away from prospects with fear of rejection, you’ll wear it like a badge of honor on your way to the bank.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 8 – Bulletproof Business: Protect Yourself Against The Competition by Ryan Stewman

 

There Bulletproofare only a few times while reading this that I remembered that this was a business book.  For the most part Ryan is just telling a story about how some interesting stuff happen in his life. It’s kind of like a train wreck in the sense that I just couldn’t help myself from looking at it but it made me squirm a few times and I felt bad for anyone caught in the wreck.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 8 – Bulletproof Business: Protect Yourself Against The Competition by Ryan Stewman

 

Just because I forgot it was a business book a few times doesn’t mean that there weren’t valuable lessons to be learned. Ryan’s approach in this book is to help the reader learn from his mistakes. He’s taken the long way around and still ended up ahead of most people in the race for the biggest bank account balance. He’s taken some risks and enough have worked in his favor that he’s in a position today to continue to gain respect and offer advice. He’ll willingly tell you that his time and advice are worth a lot of money these days.

It’s hard to believe how many crooks are in this world and unfortunately salesmen make up more than their fair share of those white collar criminals. Salesmen are likable and they have the ability to craft a story that makes sense of any scenario, it’s no surprise that a lot of great salesmen have been caught in unfortunate circumstances. Grant Cardone openly talks about a partnership he once had where the partner and he split and he calls that partner a crook. We all know about the Wolf of Wall Street, AKA Jordan Belfort, and the things he did while in the midst of some great “sales”. It’s no surprise then that in the world of sales even great salespeople get sold on someone from time to time, we all want to believe. Ryan was sold on some business partners, he’s been sold on a few women, he was sold on the trappings of the white picket fence and the required role he was “supposed” to fill. He was sold on who he should be and then he tried to sell other people that dream too.

The worst part of being a salesman is trying to sell something you don’t believe in. Ryan talks about selling and training something in the insurance industry but he really wasn’t into it. He wasn’t sold on it. For the first 3 quarters of this book Ryan wasn’t sold on who he was and it manifested itself in insecurities and bad decisions. He couldn’t rise above the fray because he didn’t know who he was and had no idea how to get out. If you aren’t authentic to yourself  it’s hard for anyone else to buy into you.

From a technical standpoint Ryan isn’t exactly a wordsmith but he crafts a story that keeps you interested. He keenly advertises his services and asks for the business in the pages before, during and after the story. He ends his chapters with a quick teaser about the next chapter to keep you motivated to get through the whole thing.The paragraphs, pages and chapters are short and in the sales world we work with a ton of people with shorter attention spans. It’s not our fault, we just crave the action and we’d rather be talking to people and learning on the go than actually sitting down and doing the work. Ryan references this behavior in the book, but he knows his audience too. Ryan is 100% himself and that’s often in expressed in language that might be considered crude. I don’t speak the way he does, but I don’t judge him for it just like I don’t judge a New Jersey accent vs an English accent. The message is important and maybe his message will actually come across to more people in his terms than someone prim and proper who doesn’t have the ability to connect with most sales people.

As human’s we are all sculpted by our past. His has brought him to the point where he has firmly taken the bull by the horns and refuses to let the bull win. I admire his tenacity and effort. He talks about doing the work and I put Ryan in the category of DOER. He does stuff. Period. Most of us just talk about it, but it’s too much risk to put ourselves out there. Ryan put in the effort and now he’s got the skills, to have both is a sure fire way to gain success. Effort X Skill = Success.

If you walk a mile in another man’s shoes maybe you can take the short-cut that Ryan is offering. You can get a glimpse into his history and perhaps you can come to the same conclusions that he did. You are accountable for your own success and failure. If you fail and it was someone else’s fault, think again because it’s your fault that your fate was in someone else’s hands. Take control and raise the minimum expectations of your life.

You can start buy buying his book and checking out his website. Go ahead and and check him out at www.clyxo.com/closer.

(FULL DISCLOSURE- Ryan sent me a copy of his book for Free, but I’ve paid to see his video’s, listen to his podcasts and read his sales strategies. He didn’t ask me to review his book, I just happen to be a member of his Facebook group and I’m on his email mailing list.)

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 7 – The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure – by Grant Cardone

10xruleI once had an English teacher inform me that in order for my audience to actually receive and retain any kind of message I would need to tell them what I’m about to tell them, then actually tell them and finally tell them what I just told them. I had to hear this several times before it actually sunk in. Go ahead and  re-read that now a few times to get it out of the way.

 

 52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 7 – The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure – by Grant Cardone

 

I find that the more I read these kinds of books the more that they blend together. If  you only worked harder and smarter than everyone else you’d be vastly more rewarded. That seems like basic common sense doesn’t it? The person that figures out a way to way to be more efficient and then ALSO out works you, well that person deserves massive success right?

Cardone talks a lot about the effort piece of the puzzle in this book, by the very title he wants you to work 10X more than the other person, but do it in the same amount of time everyone else has. It’s simple, yet tough to achieve otherwise there would be a ton of Grant Cardone clones running around. Well, there are probably a ton of Grant Cardone wannabe clones running around, but none have rivaled him yet today.  It’s easy to read the words and I can actually attest to the fact that doing just some of what Cardone talks about will change your life significantly. Why don’t more people take his advise at 100% or 1000% if we want to stick to the 10X rules?  I guess most of us just don’t want what he has bad enough, we are content to  keep the same social circle and status and we have adapted our lives to our income and tricked ourselves into thinking that’s all we need.  Most people earn what they need, not what they want.

Cardone goes strong in this book, but it’s palatable and not crass so it appeals to the masses. New salespeople and  those stuck in middle management for the past 20 years have all got a reason to read this book. The best part is that this guy really eats, sleeps and breathes what he preaches, he’s a product  of himself.   I’d have to imagine that he’s baffled that not everyone is as successful as he is. I truly believe that he intends to share every secret he has in the hopes that it helps the world and he can’t believe that the world is not literally knocking down his door for this info. It does seem that more and more of the world is taking notice.

Grant seems to write in a flurry, it’s well thought out but you can tell that he is a force to contend with and his willpower is a force to be reckoned with.  He says exactly what he means and then he tells you 29 more times because he’s passionate about success and what it takes to get there. It seems to be working. He 10X’d my English teacher, that’s for sure. Buy this book, but be warned, you’ll want to buy his other books and download his audio books and then watch him on Youtube and then go to his website and watch the 100’s of hours of video he has posted there. If you are going to pick a Mentor from afar, and basically that’s what you are doing when you choose to read a book like this you could do worse. If you go in though, be prepared to go all in, otherwise this is a useless addition to your book shelf. You buy this book to start the 10X system and way of life, not to pick up and put down again to get dusty.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 6 – It’s Called WORK For A Reason! – by Larry Winget

There are few times when I don’t appreciate a good wake up call and Larry delivers them like no one else. This is the 3rd book of his that I’ve read and they all haveItsCalledWorkforAReason the same no nonsense style that I’ve come to enjoy. He’s brash and he makes no apologies so if you are easily offended or too “high brow” to get down and dirty then you probably wont want to read this book.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 6 – It’s Called WORK For A Reason! – by Larry Winget

 

Larry is the ultimate in self reliance and self accountability. It can come off a little over the top sometimes but he’s still authentic and so he pulls it off. He really is just over the top and that’s probably a good thing. It’s what makes him special, he does and says things in a way that normal people wouldn’t. He’s unconventional, but he also gets to make unconventional money too I suspect.

His language is plain and his stories are easy to relate to. He’s an every man’s, man. Larry has had trials and tribulations that you can tell are for real, which makes his stories and recommendations all the more convincing. This dude has been bankrupt, he’s been broke, he’s been where a lot of people have been in the last decade and he’s come out of it smelling like roses.

A lot of these self help or inspirational books have similar messages, you just need to choose the voice that resonates with you. Larry is a dude that a lot of people would want to sit down and grab a beer with, his books feel fresh and entertaining even if the ideas aren’t new, the stories are.

Do you need a wake up call? Do you play the victim too much? Is it never your fault? Is the man holding you down? Do you need the swift kick in the pants to get motivated? If the answer is yes, then pick up this book. Laugh a little at the stories but look for the truth in them.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 3 – 3 Sales Tips from “THE ART of WAR” – Sun Tzu

There are very few books that are so sparse but have inspired so much commentary. The book itself was written more or lessThe Art of War about 2500 years ago and the first English Language versions didn’t show up until the early 1900’s. For roughly 2400 years this book was known in China but in very few other locations, now it’s virtually a household name in America.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #3 “THE ART of WAR” – Sun Tzu

 

First things first, I’m a Sales guy. I’m not a business mogul or Wall Street type. I know the book has been read and recently, (the last couple of decades are recent for a book that’s 2500 years old), The Art of War has been associated with ruthless business practices and the cold hearts of the corporate takeover world. I would like to think that today’s world has a lot more empathy than Sun Tzu’s time, but I grant you that the world is allowed to have a lot more empathy today due to progress and quality of life. Sun Tzu lived in a world where the End Justified the Means, we wouldn’t stand for that now. I’ll try to pull out some relevant bits for the Sales professional though, and there are some golden nuggets to be had.

When I say that the book is sparse, I mean it. It’s pretty much written in bullet point format. It’s more like an outline to a book, maybe that’s what makes this book so adaptable to other industries and situations. There is so much to fill in between the lines. I have to imagine that in 500 B.C. there wasn’t a lot of paper floating around. I would bet that writing material from something like bamboo would have been used and that the actual writing would have been painstaking to complete. The efficient use of words was likely essential to keeping the work accessible, transportable and replicate-able.  No matter the reason, the book is a quick read and that alone probably helps. That leads me to tip #1 today-

TIP #1 from the ART of WAR.  DON’T INFO DUMP.

It’s easy to consume some ideas which could easily have been made over complicated. The bullet point presentation reminds me that we don’t need to use flowery language or long drawn out scenarios to get our point across. If the point is valid, people will get it. Don’t tell a 30 minute story when a 3 minute bullet point presentation would have done the trick. People have been sold on Sun Tzu for centuries, follow his lead and give clear concise messages with functional examples.

TIP #2 from the ART of WAR. PLAN AHEAD RELENTLESSLY.

Sun Tzu basically lays out a contingency plan for every scenario. Based on his teachings, there were no tough decisions to make in the heat of the battle. There was a simple plan with slot closed options. Were the enemy troops garrisoned heavily or lightly? The answer didn’t matter so much because there was a solution to both options. The only thing that really mattered was accurate information and timeliness. Sales calls and presentations should be this well thought out. Whether or not you anticipated the objection or avoided it all together doesn’t really matter because you have a solution to every scenario. What matters is that you listen, observe and accurately assess the prospect, their problems and their ability/willingness to buy. Have a plan and selling anything to anyone is easy, unless it’s time to pack up and run to see another day. It’s OK to do that too if it’s the right choice. The trick is to plan ahead, so that you KNOW when it’s the right choice.

TIP #3 from the ART of WAR. CONSISTENCY IS BETTER THAN CHAOS.

It seems like a good portion of the book is dedicated to breaking the consistency of the enemy troops, while maintaining the consistency of his. He wants to create the right habits and practice like they battle. He wants a routine so that in times of War, his people are cool headed and able to follow commands. At the same time he wants to create chaos in his enemies troops to break their habits and force them to make a mistake. As long as Sun Tzu doesn’t make a mistake, he wins. If I’m in a sales environment I need to practice my sales techniques under all conditions to avoid getting flustered by a question at a crucial time. Consumer’s have skills too and they will use them to try and find out if your product or service is faulty.

There you have it, 3 sales tips from the ART of WAR. Now go read the book yourself! Click here to check it out.

SALES MO

Sales Momentum, what I call the SALES MO, is just like physical momentum.  It’s easier to keep it going than it is to start frKicktrasom scratch.  When I was 17 years old I went away to college, my family wasn’t particularly well off but I had a scholarship and a part time job.  My father bought me an old 1984 Chevy Luv pickup truck and that little truck got me back and forth to more than a few places.  I was not particularly mechanically inclined though and had no idea how to fix it when things went wrong.  For the better part of a year the battery was dead and I just dealt with it.  The truck was a manual stick shift, so I would just “POP” the clutch to get the motor running.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of “Popping” the clutch, it basically entails you getting the vehicle moving fast enough to slam the vehicle into 2nd gear and the engine would magically start running.  The truck made a few noises when it ran, (we named the truck Gabby because she talked a lot), but it basically got my friends and I where we needed to go.  I learned to park the truck on a hill backed into a spot.  This way when it was time to go I’d just put it in neutral, release the parking break and wait until I had some speed before putting it into gear to start her up.  More than a few times though I’d let a friend borrow Gabby and this friend would find a much “better” spot right in front of our building and would manage to parallel park Gabby.

Now I ask you, have you ever tried to move a truck that won’t start-up out of a parallel parking spot?  Can you imagine having to push a truck 6 inches forward, stop it completely then crank the wheel and push it 6 inches backwards?  Not only is it hard to push a truck when the wheels are cranked, but it’s almost as hard to stop it once it’s going!  In those days bumpers were still for bumping,  at least that’s what I told myself and the body builder guy who drove that little white Geo Storm.

My point is this- Don’t parallel park your prospects.  If you block them in with nowhere to go it’s awfully hard to get your Sales Mo moving again and there is bound to be a few bumps and scratches along the way.  Harness the Sales Mo and you won’t have to worry about stalling out or getting run over.  Always say YES before you say NO.  Keep the conversation positive. No matter what a customer says, objects to or implies just start the next sentence with something spectacular like “GREAT!”, “PERFECT!”, “I LIKE IT!”, “EXCELLENT!” and keep the conversation moving forward.  If you try to correct the customer’s preconceived notions or convince them that their request is wrong you’ll be setting your self up for disaster.  Sales isn’t about getting into a verbal boxing match and seeing who the winner is, it’s not a debate or a competition. You don’t get paid to win the argument or to be “right”. You get paid to close deals, whatever you are selling needs to get sold. You do that by keeping the forward momentum, if a customer wants a blue suit give him a blue suit. Keep the SALES MO going!

Invest in Yourself & Improve your “SweatAbility” Factor!

Invest in Yourself & Improve your “SweatAbility” Factor!cropped-Kicktras.png

 

This week we are straying from the normal sales tip regarding technique or skill. Instead I want to give you a tip about time management and encourage you to be selfish every now and again. I encourage you to all draw your own chart with your own daily/weekly activities in between phone calls this morning, at lunch or when you get home tonight.

 

Think about your day and the activities you complete. We all tend to be creatures of habit and in sales we are often very reactive instead ofactive. In our positions, it’s easier to react to a phone ringing than it is to actively make outbound dials and make it ring. We are also creatures of habit in that we tend to approach our sales calls the same way, we all have our standard presentation lines. The truth is that we all have our own systems for obtaining and tracking business, right? Every system works a certain percentage of the time. Some systems are just better than others. For example- If all we did was answer the phone and ask for credit cards within the first 30 seconds, that system would work, just not very often.

 

I propose that we all take action to shake up our systems from time to time.  Are you where you want or need to be right now? What action can you take to effect change yourself? I suggest that you think about your business and reinvest in yourself. Spend some time everyday improving your sales skill, listening to calls, breaking down your own systems and building them back up. Read some sales books: Gitomer, Ziglar and Tracy are all at the library and easily on Amazon. and Do you want to be a leader? Read some books on the subject from Jack Welch or read articles from Harvard Business Review. In order to become better than you are now and to maintain long term success it’s important to be selfish every now and again, lock yourself in a room for 30 minutes a day and improve your long term success factor exponentially.

 

The Equation for Success is your SweatAbility Factor. Sweat X Ability = Success.

 

Sweat refers to your Effort and Willingness to Work Hard. It’s easier to increase this factor, just make a few more calls or work more hours. But that isn’t very much fun is it? Eventually this Factor runs out, we get burned out if we rely on hard work and Sweat to make up for Ability. See Quadrant I Below.

 

Ability refers to your sales skills and how efficiently you perform your job. It’s your sales IQ among other things like organizational skills. Most people think that their Ability is capped at the current level, but it’s actually easier to improve your Ability and takes less time than just working an extra 4 hours every week. See Quadrant II below for long term success and growth.

 

What activities do you currently have that fall into each category below? Are you spending the right amount of time in each? What will you do to invest in yourself today? How will you improve your Ability Factor?

 

SweatAbility Efficiency

SweatAbility Efficiency

What is SalesFu? – Capturing the Energy

vintage morse telegraph key with white background

Practice the MORSE Code of Success

What is SalesFu?

Sales Fu = The Art of Identifying & Capturing Customer Energy and using it to Persuade & Influence a purchase decision.

We’ve found that there are different personality types and we have an idea of how those personality types impact our communication. Now what? Now we talk about Capturing Customer Energy via Sales Momentum, Control and the MORSE Code to success.

 

SALES MOMENTUM

All too often I hear salespeople getting ready to do “Battle”, getting set to “Take another one down” or getting into a “Verbal Jousting Match”. All of these terms create the image of an adversarial approach to sales. We are one side of the war, and the customer is on the other. Is this how we really see our jobs and is this a healthy approach? I believe that at it’s highest level, Great Salesmanship is the same as Great Customer Service. We ask our customers to move forward because we strongly believe that it’s the right thing to do, we will meet and exceed their goals and have the right product at the right time for the right price. Instead of thinking of this transaction as a boxing match in which we beat our opponent into submission, let’s think of this as a chance to work together and move in the same direction. Some quick tips to make this a habit and make your sales calls continually move closer to the point of sale.

#1  DISARM – Never tell the customer that they are wrong or become confrontational. Instead, when a customer has a false assumption or becomes confrontational themselves, disarm them with moving phrases – “Great, I believe I can clarify this point so that we can move forward”, “Ah, I see the misunderstanding. I think that moving forward you will be happy to learn that…”, “Yes, we should be able to overcome this obstacle by,,,”. These phrases start with a positive sounding word, (Great, Yes, Ah) and then create a vision of motion actually moving forward.

#2  IDENTIFY THE DIRECTION – Based on the personality type already observed use language that will connect with the customer. If the customer has just given us an objection take the objection and turn it into a buying sign. If the customer objects to the Cost of your product/service then confirm their intent to buy once this issue is cleared. “Great, I’m glad you are giving this some thought before jumping ahead (or diving in) because that means you are serious about this transaction. So if I’m understanding this correctly, I think we just need to make sure we have enough value here before moving forward right?

#3  RE-CLOSE – We’ve successfully transitioned an objection back into a buying sign and the customer is still focused on moving forward somehow instead of how to get you out of the office or off the phone. We’ve kept the momentum of the call moving forward and can now ask for the business. Perhaps through this process we’ve realized that the goals we had outlined for the customer were wrong, or that product will need to be modified somehow. Instead of stalling the process we’ve shifted gears on the fly with feedback from the customer and kept the flow of the call moving towards a sale. Once we have redetermined the goals it’s time to Re-Close. Mention the customers buying sign and guide them to the point where they are comfortable saying Yes. “So I know that Cost is a major determining factor for you, so you’ll be pleased with this because…(insert benefits), which makes this all worthwhile. It’s safe to say we can get the process started now right?

 

CONTROL FROM THE TOP

Sales Momentum is key, but a measure of control must already be in place to work a conversation in this manner. Control is easier to maintain than you think. Visualize control in a conversation as a Baton that gets passed back and forth through the dialog. Every time a customer asks an unprompted question, gets sidetracked on a long story or tells you they have to go, you have lost control. Start with asking basic SLOT CLOSE questions, THIS or THAT type questions to narrow in on the product or service type needed. Then move on the POSITIVE AFFIRMATION questions, repeat goals back to the customer and ask for approval. “This is what you want, RIGHT?” , “It’s safe to say you need this ISN’T IT?”. “ISN’T IT safe to say we’ve met or exceeded all your goals?” , “Help me understand this, we need to offer you X,Y and Z, CORRECT?”. These phrases all maintain control of the conversation. Last but not least ask open ended questions, this will give the customer the sense of being in control, the more they talk the more they like you and at the same time you’ve still maintained control of the Baton. You gave them direction for this part of the conversation. I’ve even heard the phrase “Now this is the part of the conversation where we talk about…. ” this clarity gives a customer comfort. When a customer knows what their role is in the conversation and what comes next they will be at ease. It’s easier for them to let their guard down when you provide clear direction during the conversation. Give time limits, “This will only take another 10- 15 minutes. I have another appointment after this one.” This sets the customer at ease because they know they won’t have to beg you to get off the phone, you have defined the conversational limit. You have the control.

 

MORSE Code to Success

We have captured the energy, controlled it and funneled it into a positive experience for both parties. Energy like this becomes more powerful the more focused it is, so if we can direct that focus onto 1 or at most 3 objectives that we know we can satisfy we can earn the business and help that customer. Sometimes we need to help identify that focus though, we need to help define the problem so that we can create the solution. I call this the MORSE Code of success.

M.anufacture

O.pportunity.

R.ealize it.

S.hare it.

E.xecute

 

Very often our potential customer comes into contact with us without a firm goal in mind, or at least not with one they are sure about. We can use the tools of control to uncover a need, to Manufacture an Opportunity that the customer didn’t even know was there. Once we have identified the opportunity we need to help the customer Realize the need. You will know that your customer recognizes the need when they Share that need back to you, often prompted by us. Then, it’s just time to take action and Execute.

Imagine this scenario- The customer calls in and thinks you can help save them money somehow, they already pay for this service or product but perhaps you can provide it for less money. It turns out that you can’t really save them that much money on a monthly basis, but you can save them a lot of money in the long run, your product pays for itself faster or has a shorter payment plan. The customer wanted to save money, but was probably thinking it would come in the form of monthly savings. Instead, you Manufacture the Opportunity to save money in the long run. You plant the seed with a  control question- “So what I’m hearing is that you can afford your currently monthly payments without any problems, but you think you can save a significant amount of money over the life of this product with an upgrade right?” Then a little later in the conversation ask for the customer to Share this opportunity back with you, “So can you imagine what you’ll do with your extra money once you’ve paid this off? What will you do with the extra money then?” The customer starts to Share their plan for the additional funds that will come in the long run, this creates ownership of the decision in their mind. This goal is now theirs and luckily you can provide the solution. All that’s left to do now is to Execute a little more control and get to the point where you can ask for the business.

 

Next post we will talk about SalesFu Persuasion!

 

The Inertia Close (Feel, Felt, Found)

The Inertia Close (Feel, Felt, Found)fff

 

The Feel, Felt, Found technique has been around since my Grandfather was peddling Encyclopedia’s door to door. I have used it with great success when faced with the “WAIT”, “I’m just fine where I am”, or “That’s not enough savings to make it worthwhile to go through the process” type objections. Basically, I’ll use this whenever a customer says that it’s easier to STAY at REST than to go into motion. I first ran into it while selling MLM products about 20 years ago myself, the problem with using it today is that anyone who’s had any experience in sales will surely recognize the technique so we need to dress it up a little and change the vocabulary. Otherwise, the same system still works today. It’s “Old Reliable” in your SalesFu tool belt.

STEP #1 Empathize with the customer (Understand how they FEEL). First Empathize with the customer but do NOT use the word “FEEL.” Examples-

I understand why you might have strong loyalty towards your local/current agent…

I can see why you would lean that way…

I get why you would have a tendency to stay put…

 

STEP #2 Tell them about someone else who was in the same situation (It’s OK, some other people FELT the same way). This is basically a Bandwagon type closing technique. Examples-

…and I’ve seen 100’s of customers in your situation with similar hesitations…

…and many of my clients don’t take action initially because they are scared of making the wrong decision…

…and tons of my current and past customers expressed similar concerns at first…

 

STEP #3  Explain the solution the other person came up with (The solution they FOUND). What was the resolution. Examples-

…and what we did was find the best program (revisit Benefits)…

…and invariably once we made the leap of faith everyone breathes a sigh of relief…

…and then we reviewed the warranty protection program and realized that this was the safest course of action…

 

STEP #4 CLOSE.   This technique, like all others only works when you circle back to the CLOSE and ask for the Business again. Example-

So it’s safe to say that we met all of your goals right?

My mother used to tell me to Trust people, but to Verify the details. The documents will verify these for you. What credit card do you want to appear on the documents?

So wouldn’t you agree the we’ve now exceeded your expectations?

 

A couple of Tricks-

Do not say “BUT” it sounds argumentative, instead say “AND”.

A common mistake is talking too much about the Benefits during the “FOUND” response. Make it short, sweet and to the point. Long rambling responses are hard to follow over the phone. KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid.

Practice. If you are using the technique or any sales tool for that matter, don’t wing it. Practice this so that it sounds natural.

 

Happy Selling and if you have any questions about this feel free to reach out to me!

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