PreneurCast is a business podcast. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
Pete interviews Ari Galper about Trust-Based Selling. The focus of the interview is traditional selling techniques, which will help you with both conversion of prospects and negotiation with suppliers, important pieces of the 7 Levers of Business strategy.
Pete interview Ari about traditional selling techniques for prospects and suppliers
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Dom Goucher: Hi folks, and welcome to this week’s episode of PreneurCast. We’ve got an interview for you this week with Pete and a guy called Ari Galper. Now, Ari is an American guy who lives in Australia, which is a little bit different, and he produces a selling system called Unlock The Game. Now, Ari is a bit of an expert on traditional selling, and conversion and negotiating.
And this is part of something that Pete and I have started to do. We’ve started to look for people that can help us address some of the issues that are raised by those topics that we talk about in the 7 Levers. So, we talk about conversion. We also talk about negotiating with your suppliers for better margins.
These are traditional skills that when you’re actually talking to real people, it’s not about online, this is offline stuff. You know we talk quite a lot about online in each one of our shows, so we thought it was really important to go back to basics and talk about some of these kind of old-school skills. They’re very important, even in an online business.
It’s going to apply to everybody. Pete’s had a great conversation with Ari. Watch out upfront, because Ari is a salesman, and you might get a little bit of a feeling for that at the front half of the show. But the back half of that show, Pete and Ari really do get some great takeaways. So, get ready to take some notes, and here comes Pete and Ari.
[Pete’s interview with Ari starts]
Pete Williams: Ari, welcome to the show. Thanks for your time.
Ari Galper: Thank you. Appreciate having me, Pete. I’m really excited to be here with your subscribers.
Pete: Before we jump into the whole selling side of stuff and really talk about that – and obviously, we’ll no doubt touch on some 7 Levers-related elements probably, let’s give some bit more context beyond my introduction. Can you share a bit about your background and your story with the listeners?
Ari: Sure. Well, you probably caught the accent, I’m from the US originally. But, I married; met an Aussie online, on a dating site, and used my no-pressure sales approach, to make a long story short. Ended up moving here eight years ago, became a citizen. I’m a citizen now, have three kids, live near the beach, and very happy here in Australia. That’s a little background on the personal side.
But, I will tell you the story behind Unlock The Game, and how we came up with the concept, what it’s all about, and what’s Trust-Based Selling. It is a pretty powerful starting point. I’m going to give your people, your folks, a good idea of where that came from. About nine years ago, I was a sales manager for a software company. I was managing about 18 salespeople. We sold the first website tracking software for hits, page views, and unique visitors.
It was called Website Story at that time. One of the first. Of course now it’s free on Google Analytics. It doesn’t cost you any money. But, back then, actually, it was pretty hefty price point. But we were going very fast; and my job was not only to manage the sales team, but also to bring in very large accounts. So, for about six months, I’d been working on this one account for a long time – big opportunity.
If I closed this one sale, it would have doubled the revenues of the company just in itself, that one sale alone. You can imagine a lot of excitement around this opportunity, a lot of phone calls after initial contact. He invited me to have a conference call finally, with all the decision makers. And the day finally came; we were all excited because we thought this would be it.
A lot of buzz in the company that day. I’ll never forget it; 11 o’clock, I think it was a Friday. I was in the conference room. We had a big conference table. The side of the room has all windows. Like half the company had their ears fixed to the window trying to listen in. They’re all counting their bonuses in mind, they were all pretty excited. I actually pulled the curtains down so I wouldn’t get too nervous. It was me and our director in the room.
I dialed the number on the speaker phone; I dialed the client’s office, and it went right into the conference table of their offices in New York. They’re a big, big company. I dialed and I heard all the voices. I was actually in the room with everyone around the table. My contact said, “Look, welcome Ari. Let me have everyone go around the room and introduce themselves”. As you would on a conference call, going around saying, “Hello, my name is John, I’m the CEO; My name is Mike, I’m the VP of IT”.
All the decision makers were in that room. It was the ideal sales call. After going around the room, I began to introduce myself and give them a demonstration of our live statistics and data that we collected over the Internet through the computer, through their screen at their offices. And then I showed them a demo of our product. I started walking them through it, and I started hearing noises on the call like, “Ooh, ahh. This is great. This is fantastic”.
They were really, really impressed with the content that they were seeing. They even said to me, “Ari, fantastic demo. We love what we’re seeing here”. They asked me all kinds of questions like “How much does it cost?” “How do we implement it?” And I had all the right answers. There was no resistance. It was like a love fest on the phone. You know what I’m talking about?
Pete: Yeah, absolutely.
Ari: There was just no push back.
Pete: From a typical perspective, you’re getting all the ‘yes’ answers and all the buying questions.
Ari: Exactly, exactly. Yeah, it was like a dream sales call. It was just perfect. They were going back and forth, “Ari, great job”. An hour long. Just a lot of interest, a lot engagement. I was on a high. I was literally floating off the floor, I think. I’m already thinking in my mind, “What car do I buy next year? This is done deal.”
Pete: That shopping list is being ticked off. So what happened then? That’s obviously not the end of the story.
Ari: Yeah. So, anyway, the call comes to an end and they said, “No worries. Ari, give us a call in a couple weeks and follow up with us”. I said, “No problem. Thank you so much for your time”. And as I say my goodbyes and I reached for the speaker phone to hit the off button, by complete accident – and now I say divine intervention — my thumb hit the mute button instead of the off button. They’re right next to each other on the phone system.
And they thought I had actually hung up the phone. A little voice inside of me said, “Ari, pull your thumb back. Go to the dark side, listen in to the customer world. Be a fly on the wall and just see what they have to say. Hear the kudos”. So, I listened to my intuition. I pulled my thumb back. They had thought I hung up the call and they started talking amongst themselves, thinking I had left the conversation.
Pete: OK, that’s always good to be that fly on the wall, as you said. Looking over the shoulder and getting to hear exactly what is going on, which is every salesperson’s dream, obviously.
Ari: Exactly. Or nightmare, depending on how you look at it. I was hoping to hear good things. But let me tell you what I heard, verbatim, word per word. What they said was this, “We’re not going to go with him. Keep using him for more information and make sure we shop someplace else cheaper”. Ouch.
Pete: Very ouch moment. Hearing all the buying questions and they obviously engaged in the solution; but obviously, not what you were particularly selling, which is not great.
Ari: Yeah. I was in a state of shock. I couldn’t believe it. We just had the perfect sales call and now, what I’m hearing was not what they were saying. I just sat there shaking. Literally, I went white. And I said to myself, “What did I do wrong?” I finally had enough strength to hit the off button. I looked at the wall and I had my first epiphany.
The first big idea I had was this: that somewhere along the way, it has become socially acceptable not to tell the truth to people who sell. It’s perfectly okay to say things like, “Sounds good. Send me information, send me a proposal,” without having any intention of buying.
Pete: I’m sure listeners experience that all day. I know one of my companies is a telecommunications company, and we’ve got offices in multiple states around the country. Our sales guys hear that all day every day. “Send me a proposal. We’ll look at the quote, we’ll look at the solution”. It is very much a common thing you hear. I guess the normal reaction to that is a positive thing, we’re progressing closer to that checkbook.
Ari: Right, that’s what we think we’re doing. We end up chasing what I call ‘ghosts’. But essentially, I realized at that moment that there is an invisible river of pressure underneath every sales conversation. Now, you can’t see it and they can’t see it; but boy, can everybody feel it, can’t they? They can feel that river of pressure underneath every sales moment in the process.
I realized at that moment, if I can figure out a system and a way to remove the sales pressure from the conversations and the sales process, I will have invented the first-ever methodology of helping people in sales focus on one thing more important than sale, and that is the truth of whether it’s a fit with them or the client. So, I invented my entire Unlock The Game platform based upon the idea that your goal is not to focus on the sale anymore.
Your focus is to take their pressure out of the conversation to help both parties get to the truth of whether you’re a fit or not in the opportunity. That’s where I called Unlock The Game to break this, unlock the chasing game everybody hates so much to help people be more efficient and get to the truth. That’s the whole foundation, the story behind my Unlock The Game premise and my system, and all my clients’ successes, if that makes sense.
Pete: I think, in itself, it’s such a true thing. You’re right; so many people are just trying to be polite and trying to just not hurt anybody’s feelings by being that polite and saying what they want, or think the salesperson wants to hear. And that just doesn’t help anybody, it wastes time and resources.
It doesn’t help anything when it comes to conversion; it’s just a waste of effort. I guess, if you can come up with a plan of attack better, have that honest platform in that conversation with your customer, then it’s going to be much more beneficial for everybody, not just waste time. Is that a fair statement?
Ari: Right. If you look at most company’s pipelines, you’ll see that they’re being measured on behaviors – how many calls they make, how many phone sales they make, how many surveys they send out. But in reality, that’s the wrong measurement.
The real measure should be, how effective were they at getting to the truth of the customer, so they’re not playing the chasing game and pushing numbers through. That’s a little teaser toward the next session. But hopefully, that’s the whole platform and new perspective that they’re bringing to the table.
Pete: You mentioned that the way a lot of sales companies are doing things is incorrect, whether you’re a big sales corporation or even to a certain extent, retail as well. What are some of the sales myths similar to that? ‘It’s a numbers game’ and stuff like that, that is worth discussing and getting out on the table here?
Ari: Sure. The first place to start to begin to shift your mindset toward this Unlock The Game premise is, of course, dealing with the myth that a lot of small entrepreneurs are consultants, coaches big companies still operate under. I’ll cover a few of those now. Let’s talk about number one. The first myth – you can fill in the blank, is ‘Sales is a what game?’
Pete: Numbers game.
Ari: Exactly. And that is a very common notion with most businesses. Let me tell you where that came from that idea. That notion came from a salesperson making a phone call, getting rejected, and their boss said make more calls. It’s all about how many calls you make and how many contacts you make, right?
Pete: Get right back on that horse.
Ari: Exactly. We’re challenging that belief system by saying, in this new economy, with trust being so low in the marketplace, it’s no longer about how many calls you make or how many contacts you make; it’s about how deep you go on each conversation. It’s about how good you are at creating trust.
It’s about how good you are at making a human connection in a conversation, so you can quickly and efficiently find out if it’s a fit or not. That is the new way of thinking. Not, how many contacts you make and how many leads you burn through anymore.
Pete: You want to make sure that each one of those relationships actually has some value. Every sales conversation in my mind, it’s a relationship being built and it’s not just about churning and burning and one-night stands; it’s about trying to have some proper, decent conversations that actually can get closer towards the sale.
What other myths are there? There’s plenty of them out there. I know you’ve probably got a lot more experience with them and I’m sure a lot of people in their minds are hearing these what has been historically classed as tried-and-true sales mantras. What other sort of myths do you think are out there?
Ari: Sure. Well, there’s a few more that are important to kind of dislodge from people’s minds because we’re so [used] to conditioning of our mindset and we’re so used to chasing the sale that in many cases can disrupt the relationship. That’s why it’s important that when we’re working with our clients, we spend a lot of time thinking where’s their mindset. But let’s go to another one.
The next one is what I call the ‘sale is lost at the end of the process’. You know that a lot of time when you’re in sales or you’re on your own, you try and make a sale with a client and it falls through at the end of the process; you start saying to yourself, “Oh, I didn’t close hard enough. I’m not good at sales”. You start beating yourself up and you wonder why you lost the deal at the end.
But, let me tell you what’s changed. And that is with this new economy, the sale is not lost anymore at the end of the process; it’s lost at the beginning. It’s actually lost at, “Hello”. I’ll prove it to you right now. Let’s say someone calls your office and says to you, “Hi, my name is… I’m with… We are a…” What goes through your mind in about three seconds?
Pete: Sales pitch. They’re going to take money off me. I don’t want to talk to them.
Ari: It’s over at ‘hello,’ isn’t it?
Pete: Yeah. Absolutely, over. No interest. You already put the block up, I guess. Happens here all the time. People know my name and track me down through the various companies, and they’re trying to pitch me stuff. As soon as I get on the phone call I’m, “I know exactly what you’re trying to do,” and the conversation just stops right there in my mind.
I may be polite. Exactly what you said; I’ll be polite and not want to hurt their feelings. Maybe give them 30 seconds of my time and say, “Email me something through,” because I’m trying to be polite. But it actually talks exactly to what you said before. I have no real intention; I’m just trying to be polite. It’s not the right thing I should be doing as a customer either, funnily enough.
Ari: Right. So what’s happening here is that we’ve been conditioned and wired – people who sell – to basically pitch, close our eyes and hope it sticks. That’s the traditional model of selling. And what you’re saying is true, that there’s no truth happening here. You, as a customer, aren’t comfortable telling the truth because you don’t want to hurt feelings and they’re conditioned to basically pitch what they’re offering. You have two ships in the night passing each other.
That’s why there’s so much pain and so much lost opportunity in companies of people whose reps are chasing opportunities and chasing what I call ‘ghosts’ – people who never told the truth in the beginning, so the sale is lost at the end. It wasn’t lost at the end; it was lost because trust wasn’t created in the beginning. And that’s what our whole focus of our program is, is to focus on trust from the beginning, not the end.
Pete: So, the only thing you’ve really lost is just time wasted.
Ari: Yeah, exactly. And if you build trust in the beginning of the process, guess what? The sale happens on its own, without trying to close anybody anymore.
Pete: Yeah. Very, very good point. Other sales myths? Is there anymore sales myths that we’re touching on?
Ari: There’s another one I want to mention, one more big one. That is the idea behind rejection. As you probably know, you have companies with people that are reps, salespeople. Rejection is this notion that we’re supposed to accept. As part of being business owners, entrepreneurs and salespeople, we’re supposed to accept being tough.
Rejection is part of the game to be successful. We’re challenging that. It’s such a major way because we discovered through our research and our client base that rejection is actually triggered. There are certain triggers that people who sell actually do unconsciously that cause the other person to put their guard up.
Imagine if we reveal, which we will today, some of these triggers to people listening to this call, and they were aware of them and removed them from process, this could be a major break. Basically what we’re claiming here is that we are the only system in the world that can claim that we eliminate rejection entirely from the sales process because we discovered how to remove the triggers.
Pete: Very cool. Let me ask you one more thing about sales myths. I know a lot of people that I talk to when it comes to selling, they’re wanting to have that sales scripts. So, when the customer comes up with objections, I have this script that I can use to overcome that rejection and having that already preset. What’s your take on objections and objection handling? That’s a big traditional conversation that’s had around selling.
Ari: Yes, we’ll dig into that. Our whole philosophy around scripts is they’re mechanical and unnatural, and they sound that way. We have invented what we call our own, trust-based languaging. Our own proprietary of phrases and words we’re going to discuss in a little while, using examples of how you can use our trust-based languaging to not overcome the objection (because that puts pressure on people if what they’re telling you is true), but instead to diffuse the objection.
To remove the wall down to reengage the conversation again. One of the triggers of rejection is languaging. If you’re saying certain words that associate you with the salesperson stereotype, that creates rejection. So, we’ll talk today about some trust-based languaging, my examples coming up, of how it diffuses rejections and reengages without have to put your ethics on the line at all.
Pete: Beautiful. Let’s move on because another thing I’d love to discuss as part of the conversation, and I’m sure a lot of that that you just mentioned there will come up in this. You’ve got three; make sure I remember this. It’s three mindset principles, I think is a term you use. That is the foundation of the sales process that you teach. Can we touch on those for a moment as well?
Ari: Sure, sure. There’s basically three principles behind our philosophy and our platform of thinking around selling. I’ll walk you through those right now and give you some live examples to make it more pragmatic for people to understand how they can begin to use this and get some good takeaways from today. The first principle is called using pressure.
Meaning, your goal in the sales process should be 100% focus only on one, and that is focusing on taking the pressure out of the conversation to allow the other person to feel comfortable telling you the truth. I’ll give you an example of that right now a real scenario using our trust-based languaging. Let’s just say for instance, Pete, you have a fist call with a potential client, a first conversation.
You call them or they call you. The call is going well, good conversation, call is coming toward the end. Typically, what are we supposed to do at the end of the call? What’s the typical process at the end of a call that we’re supposed to do to a client like that? What do we usually say?
Pete: It’s generally future paces. We’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen next and try to get some commitment and consistency from the call. Where are we going to go next? What’s the next step we have to take? That’s generally what we tell, have a conversation with ourselves, trying to future-pace it and work at where we’re going to go next and continue that conversation in that forward direction.
Ari: Yeah. What you’re saying is right. Traditional selling is focus on moving the conversation forward, right? Moving toward the next step, moving toward the next conversation. That’s what we’re wired to do as salespeople. We’re supposed to be moving things forward. But what can happen if you attempt to move things forward in the conversation at the end of the call and they’re not ready yet? What can be broken right there?
Pete: That’s the trust. The rapport is going to go straightaway.
Ari: Exactly. So, in our world, we don’t try and move things forward. In fact, we try to avoid momentum towards the sale because that puts pressure on people. What we do instead is this, and here’s a scenario again. We’re having a good call, call coming to an end. Rather than saying, “Hey, let’s move things forward. Let’s see you next Tuesday,” we use trust-based languaging and we say this, “Where do you think we should go from here?” I’ll say it again, “Where do you think we should go from here?”
Pete: So, you’re putting it back onto them.
Ari: Yes. How do you suppose that changes the energy of the call?
Pete: Well, I think it does show you’re not going to be pushy like a traditional salesperson. It will differentiate you as a salesperson from everybody else because you’re not saying what you kind of touched on before, those traditional trigger words that automatically elicit a certain type of response from the person.
It’s different. It’s going to shake them up because they’re going to go, “Hang on, this is a question I probably haven’t been asked before”. And it’s going to make them actually think about it and engage a response, as opposed to elicit a stock standard automatic response. That’s how I would see that.
Ari: Right. What we’re doing here is actually humanizing the conversation early on in the process, you see? What’s interesting is the potential clients, when they hear this from you, they’re in a state of shock. They can’t believe they’re being treated like a human being. What is this? It’s just so countercultural. That shock in itself is the beginning of the trust-building process.
What happens here is if you begin to ‘Unlock The Game’, your whole business becomes differentiated not just on what you’re selling, but how you are selling. And when companies engages us, they realize that it can’t compete over time on our product because of customization. The Internet, one more feature, one more price point, that can’t win anymore.
What’s left in the tool bag is trust-building. We shift the whole process around focusing on the trust of the relationship; and the sale comes from that, not just the features of the product. And when you say to someone, “Where do you think we should go from here?” that’s the beginning of creating a differentiation brand in the mind of the client realizing, “Wow, this is a whole different experience”.
Pete: Yeah. The thing that I take away from that personally is not only just the trust-based conversation you just had there. The biggest thing that I see was that it’s going to actually shake them up. As we touched on earlier, so many sales conversations go down these same straight-line approach every single time. It’s, ‘I say this as a salesperson. Customer, you respond like this.
Then as the salesperson, I say this. And as a customer, they respond like this’. It just goes that same wave every single conversation. Whereas, when you can start throwing in conversations and questions and statements and language that break that pattern, it’s a pattern interrupt which will get them out of that traditional sales response process and get them more engaged in that conversation themselves.
So many people as salesmen and saleswomen, they just put the person into an unconscious, zombie-like customer state. You need to do stuff to pattern-interrupt them and get them engaged in the conversation again. Things like, “Where do you think we should go from here?” is a great pattern-interrupt question because it’s an engaging question that obviously has that whole trust element wrapped around it as well, which you talk about.
Ari: Here’s what’s interesting about this. When you integrate the mindset part of how you think and you deliver this to somebody the way I just delivered that, what happens is, they begin to tell you the truth. In the beginning, they say things like, “I’ve got one more question. I’m not sure yet. What about this?” What’s interesting is, if they are a fit with you, they themselves will say to you, “How about we move this thing forward and discuss this next week?” And they’ll schedule an appointment with you. They do it, not you.
Pete: Yeah. Also, if you align that to another one of Robert Cialdini’s influence factors that we speak a lot about on the show, if they’re the person telling you in the conversation what is going to happen next, it’s more likely that they’ll be committed and consistent to that actual outcome because they’re the one who made that commitment.
It wasn’t you forcing the next step on them. It was them coming out with the next step and they’re going to be more likely to be consistent with that. If they do say, “Let’s chat next week,” it’s much more likely that’s actually happening because there’s trust there. But also, that commitment and consistency element is there.
Ari: That’s absolutely right. Building that conversation and building trust in the beginning allows that whole sales process to happen naturally by taking that pressure off. That’s exactly right. If you remember, I mentioned there are triggers. And one of the triggers I mentioned is languaging. One single word in itself can break everything. That’s one trigger. The other trigger is actually delivery, voice tone. What did you notice when I said, “Where do you think we should go from here?”
Pete: Pace slowed down, tonality changed. It was more empathy in the voice tone, showed caring, which obviously elicits trust. Definitely, a tonality shift is a big thing there.
Ari: Yes, tone is another trigger projection. In selling, we’re so used to moving quickly, speeding up because we’re so afraid of losing the momentum.
Pete: True. Absolutely.
Ari: We have this illusion in our mind that we have a sale in front of us. When we move so fast, we’re so afraid of silence and so afraid of present with a person, that even though we’ll listen to them, the back of our mind we’re thinking to ourselves, “Oh, this is a good one. This is just great”. We’re moving the sales process forward and we’re not even present with people.
And this is a problem because we’re so wired to chase this goal of the sale that is our goal, we can’t even be present with the person at the moment. When we coach people, it’s amazing when we role play with them, they’re just speeding up. We go, “What are you doing?” And we realize that they’re turning what we call sales armor on.
They’re carrying armor to protect themselves because they’re afraid if they slow down, that they’re going to get rejected. This all comes from old-school conditioning of chasing that sale. We work with people to stay more calm, slow down and pause, and most importantly, do not create momentum. This is so anti-contrarian because in sales we’re supposed to be, what, enthusiastic, right? We’re supposed to love what we do.
Pete: When you do these sorts of traditional things, it elicits that natural fight or flight-type response in the customer, which is not what you want.
Ari: Correct. Being enthusiastic about your solution early on in the process is exactly the wrong thing to do. It’s not about what you’re selling at the moment, it’s about identifying if it’s a fit with them or not and solving their problem. That’s a major shift for most companies and people who sell.
They’re not used to letting go of the end goal. What’s interesting is this, when you shift your salespeople away from focusing on the sale and focus on the truth, sales double. Because they’re not chasing people anymore on the illusion that they think they’re going to buy, if that makes sense.
Pete: Yeah, absolutely. Is there anything else in the first mindset principle we should touch on, or can we go onto the next thing? I don’t want to waste all our time on one principle and leave things missing for the listeners.
Ari: Yeah, no worries. Let’s go to number two. That is the whole idea of getting to the truth. People go, “What does that mean, Ari?” It sounds so airy-fairy, abstract. What does truth mean? What I mean is this; getting to the truth with people means allowing the actual client to feel totally comfortable telling you exactly what’s on their mind. The truth, what they’re actually thinking.
I’ll give you an example of that, a couple of examples actually. Let’s say someone calls your office and says to you, “I’m looking at your phone systems and are interested. Please send me information about what you guys have to offer”. The typical reaction to that is, “Sure, what’s your postal code? What’s your address? We’ll send it out to you right away. And then, we’ll give you a call and we’ll follow up, right?
Pete: Yeah, that is definitely. “I’ve got an interest,” that’s a good thing.
Ari: Right, so I’ll make one caveat to that. When I mentioned about keywords that you should not be using, one of the most important sales words removed from all vocabulary in selling is the word ‘follow up’. Because what is the only industry in the world to use the word ‘follow up?’
Ari: Exactly. Why in the heck would you ever want to use a term that connects you to the stereotypical process that everybody hates so much? We’ve replaced all the languaging to take the pressure off. Rather than saying, “I’m just calling to follow up,” what you say instead is, “I’m just giving you a ring to see if you have any feedback from our previous conversation”. And that’s going backwards, the opposite direction, not forward. Little caveat there.
But back to this example of sending information, most people just react. They send the information out, they chase people down, and they end up having this huge thing coming out of it. In our world, when somebody calls us and says, “Send some information to our clients,” what we say is, “Not a problem, I’ll be happy to. It might make sense to first figure out or identify what your two or three core issues are you’re trying to solve, then I can know exactly what to send you. Would you be open to that?”
Pete: Yeah, it’s a great another pattern-interrupt. You’re not doing that typical. I love it.
Ari: Exactly. And then you’re back into a conversation again and another example. Recently, I had a call come to my office. I picked the phone up and heard this on the phone, “Hello, Ari. My name is Michael, I’m with XYZ company”. They’re a big company in Australia and they have an old building in the CBD of Sydney, you recognize the name.
“I’m the Senior Vice President of Sales. We’re looking at you and two other thought leaders in selling to change our culture and improve our business next year. We want to know, first of all, why should we go with you, why are you the best, and give me your best sales pitch”. He’s putting pressure on me now.
Ari: That’s the game, isn’t it? That’s the sales game – pressure back and forth. He doesn’t realize he made a wrong call that morning. But let me tell you what I responded to him. I took a very deep breath because I’m a human being too. I took a deep breath and I said to him, I lowered my voice and said, “Well, isn’t that interesting.
Because over here at our company, we have a very similar process to you. We have a Phase One where we ask some questions, collect some information and see if we’re a good fit. And if we’re a good fit, then we decide where to go from there. Would you be open to that?” That’s all I said to him.
Pete: Okay. So you twisted it around a little bit. How was his response to that?
Ari: Well, first of all, there was no response. He was totally silent. There wasn’t a word on the other side of the phone. I said, “My God, did I lose him?” And the next thing I hear is I feel the breath come across the phone. He actually breathed and lowered his voice and said to me, “Okay, what kind of questions do you have for me?”
Ari: Next thing I know, we’re having this really nice conversation, human to human. After a few minutes, I determined: one, he’s not a decision maker; two, he’s just curious as to what we do. So, I sent him off to some free information from my site, he was quite happy with that. I hung up the phone. Now, what did that just save me in myself?
Pete: Follow up. Using that term again.
Ari: Exactly. Actually, it’s a drug. It’s a drug called ‘hopium’.
Pete: Okay, ‘hopium’. I like it, so true.
Ari: Some people have this drug, it’s in their bodies. It’s activated where they hope they got their deal. They go to their boss, they go, “Oh my god, guess what? This company called me today. It looks really good for the month. We hit our numbers and I’m so excited”. They run back home, tell their wife about it. They put numbers on the board and they’re living this hopium dream. And in reality, they never got the proof.
Pete: Yeah. It’s almost like eliminating, going about a process to eliminate the tire-kickers in a much more cleaner way. You’re trying to get to the truth quicker so we are not wasting our time on those tire-kickers and those people who are just going through the process for process’s sake. I think a lot of people, particularly when they’re starting their own business, in their first couple of years of business, every lead and every sale is a good sale, and the best sale they ever needed to make.
We actually spoke around that topic a couple of weeks ago on the show; there are times when you shouldn’t take on certain clients and make that sale. Before you even get there, there’s plenty of times when you shouldn’t even entertain the proposal or entertain a conversation. And if you can have a system in place to get to the truth quicker, it allows you to identify that and feel more confident when you do say no to people when they don’t fit you. Is that a fair statement?
Ari: Well said. In fact, most small businesses basically chase everything that moves in their vicinity.
Pete: They’re a 15-year-old, 16-year-old high school teenager again.
Ari: Exactly. And this is the problem. They don’t have a system, like you said, to mechanically and systematically sift out those who are real or not. They don’t have the language to engage without hurting the relationship. That’s what we provide, a model to be able to let go of people who are playing the game and you help them relax and get the truth.
What’s interesting about this whole processes is, the ones who benefits most from this are the salespeople. People who feel relieved from this, because they have to make phone calls, call back opportunities, without feeling pressure closing the sale, but instead focusing on the truth. We’re learning to help people really enjoy the process again.
What’s interesting is that they get a huge improvement because they realize that in their current throughput, their current system right now, with their current leads and opportunity, a lot of that stuff in there is all just air. It’s just not real because no one had ever thought of the idea of, “Geez, we should focus on the truth”.
Pete: Absolutely. So, we’ve established the truth, we’re getting there. What’s the third biggest mindset shift that, I think, people in the sales game – and this is a big thing that we probably should have touched on earlier, is that everyone’s in sales. I know a lot of the context is in what were talking about here at the moment is conversations about long-form sales.
Not long-term sales copy, but long-form sales where it’s a proposal, follow up, follow up, conversion, but sales. And this same methodology applies to even one-off conversations in the retail store, I’m sure. Let’s get that out there as well.
Ari: Sure. It applies to short sale cycles, like one phone call. It applies to long sales models that require meetings, proposals, demonstrations. And the reason why sales cycles are usually so long, is because of the lack of trust in the middle of the whole thing which extends it.
Pete: Now that we’ve got that elephant in the room out of the way, what’s the third mindset that people need to change when it comes to selling?
Ari: Sure. The third one is a big one, and that is the idea of focusing on becoming a problem solver rather than a pitch person. What I mean by that is converting your solution, what you do into the problems you help your clients solve. That might not sound logical to all people listening to this call at first glance. But let me tell you, this is a shift.
As we’re talking about this idea that your conversation should not be focused on what you’re selling anymore, your focus should be on the problems you’re helping the clients solve. They call it a problem statement. It’s an opening phrase you can use to answer a conversation with referrals or inbound leads, outbound calls. We don’t begin the call with, “Hi, we offer this. We are a provider of,” but instead to begin a conversation, open the dialogue with issues your solution solves.
It’s interesting. When we do live events, we have an exercise where we have people draw a tree out, and the branches of the tree. We have them write on each branch all the problems they help their clients solve. They even have a hard time doing that because they’re so used to listing the benefits. So, we work them through a process where they come out at the other end of this with a really great tactical problem written with languaging from the plan point of view.
And now, their entire sales process is wrapped around the problems. When you call somebody back you don’t say, “Hi, I’m just calling about the phone system you’re thinking about buying.” You call and say, “I’m just giving you a ring to see if you’re still open to solving the problem of having communication between your different offices more efficiently”.
Pete: Absolutely right, it’s a big thing. I think something we talk about on the show quite a bit is that it is very much that everyone’s business solves a problem. That’s what you really need to focus on – solving the problems, not necessarily making the sale. The sale comes as a side benefit or byproduct of supplying the solution.
Ari: Exactly right. We’re so conditioned to sell the future. Meaning, if you buy our phone system, you buy our software, this will happen. We just sell the future all day long. But people, unfortunately, now in business, can’t think past tomorrow. They can’t think past the last hour. Here we are focusing on trying to sell the future, we aren’t even focused on the current problems on their plate right now.
The real secret here is when you begin to own the mindset, get the languaging down and begin to develop your own problem statements around what you’re doing for people, you are bulletproof. You can answer any conversation any time you want with a potential client in you marketplace because you know them better than they know themselves.
In fact, when I do a large engagement with companies, I actually make live sales calls in the room, to their clients to demonstrate. I don’t even have to know the future benefits of their products, I just need to know the problems they help people solve and I can begin a dialogue around the problem, and that expands out to great things.
Pete: Very cool. I think that’s awesome. It is very much, in the initial part of the conversation, when you actually do the proposal, that’s when it matters to know the nuts and bolts of what it is. But it’s not about the product when you’re doing the solution and problem analysis, because anyone who’s articulate and can think on their feet can have that conversation and addresses the problems that someone has.
Ari: Well, caveats here. This whole idea of consultative selling and solving problems, isn’t necessarily new. We’ve always known we have to ask questions about a business. The problem is, in this day and age, you can’t answer a conversation asking questions about their business. They’re not going to tell you the truth.
They don’t trust you, you see? You have to enter the conversation already articulating and knowing their problems. That’s what creates the trust because you understand them better, and that opens up the whole sales process without pressure and makes sales happen a lot faster.
Pete: Yeah. I want to sum up really quickly. The one big takeaway for me here is if people can just walk away from this and start asking different questions. Questions like, “Where do you think we should go from here?” If they just take this after the end of this conversation and start implementing that in their business and start consciously looking at the change that happens with the engagement level of the people they’re speaking to, just that one nugget will at least show them what’s possible with this way of selling.
Just implement that one question very easily, very frictionless implementation for this week’s show. We always try and leave people with an action point to do. I think the action point for this week is to start asking that specific question when they speak to people. Whether it is on the phone or in the retail outlets, or wherever it might be, just having that conversation with the mindset of looking for the trust and asking questions to get to the truth of things, not asking questions to actually make the sale.
Just see how it works, and the engagement level and the response you get from the customers, clients, and prospects you have over the next week. Then you can decide where to go from there. Let me ask you this question. Let me put the question to you. Where should people go from here? If they do implement this and trial and test that question in their business over the next five or six days, and really see some amazing engagement change with their clients and their prospects, where should they go to find out more, Ari?
Ari: Definitely, what you just said is right. Go ahead and test some of the languaging. See what happens. You’ll see what will happen. What are the things that are happening to you? And, you should come to our website. We have a free test drive. It’s UnlockTheGame.com. Just like it sounds, UnlockTheGame.com. It’s a free test where you can actually take a sampling of our material, listen to our audios, and see if it’s a fit for you, matches your personality and your values.
If it’s a good fit, then we have, on our site, a starter kit. You can download right away and get access to languaging you can apply to almost every sales scenario – outbound call, inbound call. There’s action cards in there, really good tools to apply. When that starts to work and more money’s rolling into your bank account, then give us ring.
We’ll talk further from that point forward. But I think the free test is a place to start, and sampling our program. We made it really easy to do that at a low price point, to get people started in our world. And again, this is only for people who really believe trust is their core value and don’t like the idea of selling the old way.
Pete: Absolutely. We’ll put that in the show notes, like we do for every episode, over at PreneurMedia.tv, the home of the podcast. You can get the show notes and links to Ari’s site, and in particular, UnlockTheGame.com. Go off, everyone. Start asking those sorts of questions, those language-based questions in your business. As always, if you know two people in your world right now who are in selling, who are selling in their business, we always suggest you take the link to this show.
Email it to those two people. Show them that you can offer them value as a friend and a networker. Say, “Hey guys, there’s a really cool podcast I listened to this week. One really cool question that might help you test in your sales scenario. Here’s the question, here’s where you can find more about it”. Share the podcast with other people and help them grow their business through sales and Ari Galper’s Trust-Based Selling methodology that we’ve spoken about today.
So, Ari, mate, thank you so much for your time and sharing the questions and the Trust-Based Selling theory and methodology. I think it is something that people really need to grasp. We talk about this regularly on the show, the importance of selling, particularly in the framework of the 7 Levers. Without selling, you can’t convert; and without conversions, you don’t make money. Your approach to this is a much better way, and a much easier and more frictionless way to get to that sale. So, thanks for your time.
Ari: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate having me. Will talk to you soon, no problem. Thank you.
http://www.unlockthegame.com/ – Ari’s Web site
http://www.7levers.com – The 7 Levers of Business Home Study Course is now live. Sign up today and get 2 months free access to our Preneur Platinum private members’ area.
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