Have you ever been in a selling situation and thought to yourself, there has to be a better way? Well, there probably is. And there is a wave of new data that is showing us what is truly working in today’s marketplace. It’s absolutely stunning. We truly live in a very unique time in history, where we finally have empirical hard data on what is working in sales. And the simple changes that you can make right away can go a really long way. So in this chapter, I’m going to show you 13 sales techniques you must know, right? Now, check it out.

Number one, break the pattern with your opening? Do you ever think about what that first couple of seconds are really going to be like, from the perspective of your prospect? When you get someone on the phone, or when you sit down with someone face to face, the first couple of seconds are going to dictate how they feel about you for the entire rest of the interaction. And yet most salespeople aren’t really thinking about what they’re saying what they’re doing in the opening to those initial conversations. So breaking the pattern first requires that we understand what most salespeople are doing. And I’ll give you an example with a phone call. Most salespeople when they make a phone call sound something like this. Hey, George, Mark WayShack calling how are you today? Now, what about that call, immediately? Let the prospect know that you are a salesperson. It was the excitement, it was the enthusiasm it was the Hey, how are you? Right? Everything is very predictable and reliable and that’s what most salespeople are doing. Instead, what I suggest, and the data shows that we need to break the pattern with a different approach. And this is brand new, the new approach is going to sound something like this. Hey, George, Mark WayShack calling how have you been? That time out for a second? Think about the difference between those two situations? Not only was my tonality lower, but I use the question, How have you been? And there are some powerful new data that shows that when you start a conversation with how have you been, you have about a six times

Higher likelihood of actually setting that initial face to face meeting, really powerful stuff. 

Number two, tell them the reason for your call. So this builds on that first part, which is we first have to break the pattern. And we open with something along the lines of how you have been. And then now we’re following up with the reason for my call is and then you fill in the blank, right? Whatever the reason for your call actually is. And in most cases, it’s to get a sense of what’s really going on in their world, we want to give them just a little reason, it doesn’t have to be a big explanation. But just basic reasoning. Again, the data shows that we have a two times higher likelihood of getting through to that meeting, by just simply stating what the reason for our call is it’s getting right to the point it’s no BS, and a buyer or decision makers going to appreciate that.

Number three, give them an overview of the challenges that you’re seeing right now. Most salespeople, when they start to get a prospect on the phone go immediately into their pitch, they start talking about all the features and benefits are about their company and how they’ve got the best this or the greatest that. But in reality, your prospect doesn’t care about you, they don’t care about your offering, they don’t care about your company, all they care about themselves. And so what we want to do is present ourselves as a true expert, as someone who really understands what’s going on in their world, by giving them just a basic overview of the challenges that you tend to be seeing. So might sound like this, George, right now I’m seeing a lot of companies that are struggling with worried about or concerned with, to any of those issues ring true to you. And so what we’re doing, we’re giving them a list, of course, you have to fill in those challenges or frustrations with what it is that makes sense in your world. In my world, I would talk about sales challenges, I would talk about, you know, sales, people not making enough calls, or they’re not getting through to decision makers, or Finally, they’re just not getting a good ROI on their sales activities to any of those issues ring true to you. What I’m doing is I’m showing that I understand what’s going on. And then I’m engaging them in a conversation about those key challenges. 

Number four, get them to tell their story. This is some really, really powerful new data that basically shows that when we can get a prospect to talk over about 100 seconds about their story in that initial call, we have a much higher likelihood of ultimately getting that meeting. And so what we want to do is really do everything we can to get the prospect engaged to start talking to tell their story and my story, I don’t mean their life story. But I mean, the challenges that they’re facing the frustrations that are going on, or what they’re looking to accomplish whatever it is to get them into the conversation in a way that’s really focused on them. And when you do that, now you’re going to be much more likely to ultimately get that meeting and finally get that sale. 

Number five, understand the upside. Now, most salespeople really miss this step. And the upside is simply this, we need to first, of course, engage them in a conversation about what are their challenges, and now you’ve got them talking about their challenges and they’re starting to see the value. But the key word is they’re starting to see the value. There’s no tangible value until it’s actually been stated what solving those challenges actually means to them in dollars. Imagine you’re talking prospect, and they’re talking about their challenges, let’s say you’re in a business to business space. So they’re talking about their business challenges that pertain to whatever it is that you solve. And they go on about, you know, this and that. And we tried to do this, and it just hasn’t worked. And then you say something like, George, if you were able to solve this challenge, what would it mean to the organization? Now we’re starting to get them to paint a picture of what it means. And in fact, if you want to be really hardcore, if you want to be really Ninja, get them to articulate a specific dollar amount. So George, if you were able to solve these sales related challenges, what could it mean in additional revenue to the organization or additional profitability to the organization? That is a question that I asked every single prospect that I ever sit in front of. And what always happens is they give me really big numbers. And so when they tell me that, yeah, if we’re able to solve these challenges, and if we’re able to solve them, it will mean an additional $10 million in revenue, suddenly, a half a million dollar consulting contract doesn’t seem like a lot of money. Really, really powerful stuff.

Number six, make it personal. So often, we want to focus on the business side of the challenge. And that makes a lot of sense. But the data shows and psychology has taught us that every single decision, every single buying decision has some personal meaning behind it, it has some personal objective behind that decision. And so when we want to do is go from the business objective to the personal objective. So you may want to say something that would sound like this charge, I really appreciate what you’ve shared with me so far. But by every business objective is a personal objective. What would it mean to you, if we were able to solve these challenges, what you’re going to find is if you have a strong connection, if you’ve built a strong relationship throughout this conversation, what they’re going to do is open up about how this is really affecting them. They’re going to say things like, well, you know what, if I don’t solve this, I could be out looking for a job, or this really matters. So that way I can help pay for my kid’s college, whatever it is, right? I mean, it could be a slew of different reasons. But what we want to do is get to that personal motivation, you get there. And now you’ve created so much value. And by the way, you haven’t said anything about this, what you’ve done is gotten them to tell you. 

Number seven, budget is everything. We need to have that budget conversation. And what the data shows is that most people are having some kind of a pricing or budget conversation when they’re in sales. Of course, you have to at some point, talk about price. But what top performers are doing that really separates them from everyone else is, first of all, they’re having the conversation later in the conversation. So they’re talking about budget later on in the buying process. Whereas a lot of average performers typically start talking about price early on in the conversation. And secondly, what we want do is make sure that we’re not just having a pricing conversation, but a budget conversation. Any salesperson can say, you know what George, this is going to cost $100,000, really, is that you could train a monkey to do that. But what takes skill is having that conversation around budget, having the conversation where you know what, George, you told me already that the challenges that we’ve discussed, if you’re able to solve them would mean about $10 million in additional revenue to the organization? What kind of a budget Do you think you might be able to pull together in order to solve these challenges? Now this person may say, Well, you know what, I’m not really sure yet. That’s fine. And so now you’re going to say something along the lines of well, totally makes sense. Typically, a project like this is going to range anywhere from about 300,000 to 700,000. We’re on that spectrum, could you see yourself fitting, now what you’re doing is you’re throwing out some numbers, but you’re it’s a really wide range, and you’re getting them to pick the budget, really important distinction, much more important than just throwing out a price, what we’re doing is we’re giving that range, budget is everything. 

Number eight, understand their decision-making process. The data shows that one of the biggest complaints that prospects have about salespeople, in general, is that they did not take the time to truly understand their organization’s decision making and buying process. And so as a result, a sale that could otherwise happen didn’t happen, or maybe was set back, and was certainly risked. And this is one of those situations in selling where it’s really have nothing to do with your abilities of persuasion or creating value. It’s just asking the questions about understanding their decision-making process. So simple questions like, George, could you walk me through what a typical decision like this look like at your organization, understanding that information, who’s involved, what it looks like how they go about doing it is going to make you so much stronger than ever before. 

Number nine, clear and scheduled next steps. There is nothing sadder to me than to watch a salesperson do everything right. And then at the end of a conversation or at the end of a meeting, just say hey, would it be okay, if I followed up with you sometime next week. And the prospect says, sure. And then they leave with this wishy-washy unclear next step, it’s devastating because what it’s doing is it’s creating so much opportunity for that sale to fall apart. In fact, what we learn is that top performers are significantly more likely to spend a very clear portion of the end of any conversation, discussing nothing but next steps. So make sure that at the end of every conversation with a prospect, you are getting a clear and scheduled next step. And by scheduled me literally, it’s going into their calendar, they’re going to get a calendar invite from you that they’re going to accept and you are now in their calendar

Number 10. Only present to their challenges. Have you ever been in a selling situation where you’re giving a presentation and you’re feeling great, and you feel like man, this is going awesome? And then you say, you know what, but one last thing I want to show you that we can do for you. And then you go off on that little tangent and then suddenly the look on their face just changes a little bit. And they say, oh, well, yeah, we don’t really need that. And then suddenly, for the rest of the conversation, you’re starting to think, you know, what, did I just hurt that sale? And the answer, of course, is that you did, you did hurt. That’s it, we’ve all been there. So this is certainly not something that any of us haven’t done before. But the reality is, is that we only want to be presenting the solutions to their challenges. Nothing more.  Keep that presentation as short as possible. And all you’re trying to do in that presentation is make sure that you demonstrate that you can solve those challenges. There doesn’t have to be this huge, magnificent presentation, it’s simply going through the checklist of here are the challenges that you mentioned. And here’s how we’re going to solve each and every one of those challenges, you do that you are going to show the buyer that you understand them better than any other salesperson that they’ve ever dealt with. Ever.

Number 11, Keep it under 60 seconds. Now, this one may seem a little unclear. And let me explain what it means some recent data came out that showed that top performers who close sales almost never in a presentation go more than 72 seconds without re-engaging the prospect in that conversation. And so what that means is that they’re never going on with these very long monologues. In fact, the same data. And this all comes from an organization called gone.io, which I love. And I speak very highly of it and I’ll be sure to link in this article gone.io also showed in the same piece of data, that no closing presentation had any period where they went more than about 100 seconds before there was some type of a switch and who the speaker was. And so what this tells us is that

Prospects are losing their interest. They’re losing engagement when we go on for too long in that presentation. And we’ve all been there, right? We’ve all had that long monologue, where we just go on and on and on. And we kind of lose track of where we are. And so what we have to do is make sure that we never go in for more than 60 seconds before we’re really engaging them back into the conversation. We’re getting them to buy into this conversation to share their thoughts. Now you’re thinking yourself, well, how I do that. And that leads us number 12.

 Number 12, feedback loops. Now a feedback loop is simply this when you’re in the middle of a presentation or by the way at any point in a sale, and you are talking for some type of an extended period of time, and you’re starting to see their eyes wander or you’re thinking I want to make sure that they’re on the same page with me, what you’re going to do is you’re going to use a feedback loop to pull them back in. And a feedback loop sounds something like this. Does that make sense? Or before we go any further, I just want to make sure we’re on the same page. What you’re going to do is these little tiny questions are going to pull them back into the conversation. And you’re giving them an opportunity to provide feedback on how they feel about what you just said, feedback loops, pull them back in. Does that make sense? See what I did there.  Number 13. Get bored of using the same process over and over, then do it again. You’re probably thinking, what is this guy talking about, get bored? That’s exactly right. The best salespeople are highly systematic, then it’s not about getting creative in the sales process. It’s about using the same exact system over and over and over and over again. And then starting it over and doing it again with the same person or with a different person, use the same exact process, make sure that the process is an effective process driven by what actually works. And not just some guys opinions. But use that process and follow it to the tee and do it over and over and over again, get all of your creative needs met in some marketing brochure that you put together or when you go home and you draw a painting, sales is about following a systematic process. If you do that, you are going to become better and better and better because you’re going to be using the same exact process and continue to slowly but surely refine that process by not just trying this and trying that and going all over the place, but really staying on track, use that same process over and over again.