Listen So Hard it Hurts
Listen so hard it hurts. When I first got into the business, long time ago, there was no Internet, no phones. We got our news from human beings. Amazing thing. And I remember I was in Colorado and a regional manager named Tom came with news of the top salesperson he had ever met. "This guy's unbelievable." He went 26 deals in a row. Now, nobody had ever heard of that. These were nice sized deals. And I remember being around Tom in a circle, and Lisa says to him, "well what'd he say?" And then Mark looks and says, "well, what'd he do?" Somebody else asked, "well what was he selling?" And I'll never forget Tom's reply. He said he just listened so hard that it hurt. Are you listening so hard that it hurts? Most of us aren't. There's some interesting research on why we don't. When we talk about ourselves, we actually release hormones in the brain that are feel good hormones. It's the same hormones that we get when we have sex, take drugs, or have really good food. So it's these sort of fee...
l good hormones. And so talking about ourselves, actually the reason it's counter-intuitive to listen more than we talk is because it feels good to talk about ourselves. Most of sales is counter-intuitive. In fact, 80% of everything posted on social media, Maria, I don't know if you know this, is about our favorite subject, us! 80% of what everybody posts is about themselves. So how do we listen? Well, again, once we've asked these questions, we need to really listen. I've got a quick formula for you and you wanna think about listening to the said, the unsaid, and the unsayable. This is from screenwriter Bob McGee. I love this. He says "when you listen, "do you know what you're listening for?" We need to listen to what the client says, what they don't say. Really looking at their body language. We really watching and listening. And the unsayable. Desires, unconscious ideas, feelings that they may not even know that they have. The said, the unsaid, and the unsayable. And if you're watching this at home, in your workbook, I've got a listening skills checklist and it serves to show how much we don't listen. We think we're listening, but we're not. And again, this sounds easy, but if we're not doing it, it's advanced. Why do salespeople lack listening skills? Few reasons. Just said it, feels good to talk more than we listen. It's hard to resist certain impulses. Our brain is wired in certain ways that make it counter-intuitive to do what we know we need to do. The last section we're gonna talk about, sales hell and how to get out of it. What are the demons that hold us back from doing what we know to do? Again, they don't know what to listen for. Lot of times, it's not that we don't know how to listen, we don't know what to listen for. That's why we need to listen for what I call the Big Four. They have low impulse control. Okay, it's like ooh, I got an idea. Ooh, I wanna tell you about me. Ooh, I wanna tell you my idea. Right, very easy to happen. You know, we get so excited and low impulse control, and I am probably one of the most guilty people of that, my husband will tell you, I am from the Interruptist Family. We all just interrupt each other in my family. And it's just how we communicate. And some people do that, and some people are fine with that, and that's their style of communicating. I always tell 'em, no, no, no, no, no we're just like egging people on. We wanna hear their ideas. But I can assure you when you're talking to a client, sometimes it's after that pause and the really good stuff comes out. Nobody's comfortable with a pause. No one. So what we do when we're selling is we try to fill the silence. So my advice to you is rather than trying to fill the silence, let them get uncomfortable because that's when they'll say yeah, and the software we're using is just, nobody even uses it, so there's no engagement. Go ahead and show me what you've got. I have found that after that pause, is when they are gonna tell you exactly how to sell them if we don't fill in the spaces. Listen so hard it hurts. Next part about listening. We need to not only listen to our customers. We need to prove that we listened. How do we do that? It's a step I call Information Confirmation and it's part of listening. It's repeating back what we heard or what we think we heard. I'm a rock climber, not a very good one, but when you rock climb, there's calls that you make. I call it a feedback loop, right? So what I would do is I would say "on belay, climbing." See I think I probably have it wrong. There's probably some climbers watching this saying, "no, you've got it all wrong." There's a series of calls that you make that I brush up on before I go rock climbing so that I don't fall, but there's a series of calls that I make, to make sure that there's a feedback loop, to make sure that you're listening. Information confirmation does just that. Where do we use information confirmation? Whenever we're done with discovery, and whenever we're meeting with a client for a second and a third time. So when we begin a meeting, we wanna say, "if I understand you correctly" and that lets the client know that you heard them. Jennifer and I went to a client meeting about four our five weeks ago. We had already given the proposal. We had talked to four out of the five decision-makers, stakeholders. We were talking to the fifth stakeholder and he said to us so, go ahead and take me through your proposal. Now we don't wanna lead with competency, do we? I got to know a little bit about him. Nicest guy. Found out he loves to hike, found out how and why he loves Utah, now did we go ahead and start and go through the proposal? No, I've made this mistake before, several times. But what we did is we said, "well you've probably read the proposal. "Why don't you tell us what it is that made sense to you." He proceeded to talk for the next 45 minutes and then we did an information confirmation statement. We repeated back to him, again, most salespeople start with a demo, and they'll just start launching in. If you start with confirming what you know about them and their company, either from what you gathered online, or what you remember from the last conversation, you are far more likely to win the client over. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna do a little bit of an exercise together and we're gonna practice our information confirmation skills. I love this. You know you've performed a rock solid confirmation statement when the customer says, "there's one more thing I'd like to add." See, information confirmation not only helps you make sure you got it right in the discovery, it makes sure you got all of the information the client wanted you to have in the discovery. And again, particularly when there's multiple stakeholders, what you wanna do is say, "do you have anything to add, Mike?" "Do you have anything to add, Nicky?" "Do you have anything to add, Joe?" So understanding how to do this confirmation statement is critically important. And try it. Just start with, "earlier you were telling me that." "If I heard you correctly." And it really makes people feel great. So I'm gonna ask for a couple of volunteers to come on up to the board and whoever would like to come, I want you to, we're gonna workshop through a client that you're currently working on maybe that you haven't closed yet. All right, and I wanna understand, what is the skin, bone, and heart information? And one thing we haven't talked about is what objections did you get out of that discovery? So you not only wanna get the skin, bone, and the heart information, you also want to uncover possible objections to purchasing your product. So in that discovery, you wanna ask questions like "who else are you talking to?" "what concerns you about our product or service?" If it's B to C, you might ask a question, or if you're an artist or a creative, why haven't you ever bought art before? Have you ever spent a lot of money on art? You want to get the objections out. 'Cause no questions, no objections, no sale. All right? So what two people will come on up and workshop through how to do a good information confirmation? Have any volunteers?
So the skin information is on this particular opportunity, they are having a lack of success in sending video messaging. Whoops. Video messaging using video capability for prospecting.
That would be the skin information. We also have skin information is I'm putting the zero with the cross in it, not to say that's not happening, it's just very low. Very low, right? Of the reps, very few of the reps are using the tech to support the prospecting.
Now your first inclination, I would think, would be like why? Why? But before we get to the why piece, I think the bone information is that we are wanting to find out is that really that question of how are they going about doing their prospecting right now? That's what I think of how.
So let me back you up just a minute, and skin information is just their situation. So when I talk about skin information, I want to know who is the company, how many employees do they have, where are they located? It's surfacing, right? You're getting into bone, which is problems, which is great.
Ah. Okay, I'm sorry
Ya know. So you
No, no, no, no may back up then
not at all, that's
This is why we do this. This is great.
Okay, so these are
So give me some of the skin information without telling me, you know who the company is
They have little under 300 sales reps.
Kay, little under 300 sales reps. Would you say that that's skin information?
What was the other questions I'm sorry?
Just their situations. Stuff that you could find out on LinkedIn. Stuff that you could find out.
Right, okay, you seeing the difference? These are the facts. This is the situation.
People plus sales.
And I'm talking about hyper growth like massive.
Hundred plus million funding.
Great, it's looking like a good customer here, huh? We're liking this. Okay, but this is just the skin. And I could know all of that skin information. But if I don't get the bone information, I got nada.
They have 21 competitors.
Great, great, okay.
The volume of leads is going down.
Because it's super hyper-competitive and they're also hiring way more salespeople. So where salespeople actually used to get the high volume of leads through marketing as a result of inbound
Is being reduced because there's more people to spread it across.
So less per person if you would.
All right, so you've got the skin questions, now the bone information that you've got, that's the problem. So what is the customer's problem that then Gresso can solve?
We can increase adoption.
So their problem is low adoption. Okay, so let's just get the languaging right. So they have low adoption.
That's a problem. That's bone information. They have low adoption. Okay, what else?
And we can, so increase adoption, and increase the number of conversations.
Okay, so they don't have enough conversations. Okay, great.
Yeah, they don't, so
Leads are being reduced as a result of leads being reduced and very low usage along with very, the number of reps who are engaged, it is reducing the number of conversations. Because they're relying on the traditional methodology. Because, whoops, traditional method because management is measuring the traditional KPIs.
Got it, okay. So the problem is they have low adoption, they don't have enough sales conversations, meaning there's only two ways to make more monies in sales, more sales conversations or higher conversions, right? I mean this is pretty simple.
What is the heart? Do you know the emotional reason why it would be good for the particular person that you're talking to or for the company? What is the heart motivation?
That's a great question.
Why would it be so important for them to do this? Why now?
Well, they have this series of funding. They've got a lot of investors that are expecting a high growth in the organization.
Right, so the problem is if they don't have this high growth, what could happen? They could disappoint their investors.
Okay, great. What objection do they have working with you? They're not working with you yet.
Well I came up here 'cause I just signed the contract while we're here. So, they are, they are gonna work with us,
Okay, awesome so I'm sorry
All right, so here's what we're gonna do we're gonna workshop through what I want you to do is, assuming that you've gotten this information from your client, what I want you to do is stay up here, Mario, and I want you to say, "if I understand you correctly." And I want you to go through, we're gonna just try an information confirmation. Now yours is a little complex. They're not always this complex. But we're gonna go through this series and I want you to repeat back first level information, then second level information, then the heart information and the objection, and just ask if you've got it right. So I want you to pretend that I am the customer, and you say, "so let me see if I have this right." That's what we're trying to get to here. When you do an information confirmation statement, you want to repeat the first level, second level, third level objection and ask if you got it right. It's amazing the results that you'll have by doing this process.
So, let me see if I have this right. You have a high growth in terms of your rep count that's happening this year, you currently have over 300 reps, you've got multiple sets of competitors, at least two handfuls of competitors, your lead volume is actually going down on a per rep basis, and the reps are not utilizing the video sales acceleration technology primarily because you said that it's not one of the KPI measurements that you're managing to as a result of the reps not utilizing it. So you think it's less valuable. Is that correct?
Do you see the power of this? Great job, Mario. Great job. (audience applause) And so again, this is a formula that I want you to look at using so that you can see the power of it, we're gonna take a personal example next. So that was a very businessy example. A little harder to follow unless you know Mario's business model. But let's go ahead and look at how impactful it is to really listen and repeat back what somebody said. So I'm gonna go ahead and ask somebody to come up here and, again, I need another volunteer and I just wanna talk to you about something personal and I'm gonna ask you some questions and let's make it about your last, let's see, what are we gonna make it about? What am I gonna information confirmation? Lisa, why don't you come on up here and let's pretend I'm one of your clients, so again, let's go ahead and put this in here and we're gonna look at information confirmation in action and then go perhaps to a personal idea behind this. So tell me, somebody you're working on, what is their skin level information? Their first level information?
First level information would be where a child goes to school, how long they've been going to that school, what grade they're in, even to say, "do you like it?" "Do you like your school?" "Do you like your teachers?" If they say, "I like my math teacher." Oh, okay, what do you like about your math teacher? That's kinda just staying up there in the fact-gathering phase.
Okay, so you ask those type of skin-level questions. And what kind of bone level information? What's a problem that you try to uncover when you're selling them on Halstrom Academy?
I'll ask them, "how long's that been going on? "How long have you felt that way? "Is it only in math class? "Is it in all your classes? "Is there any teacher that you do "feel comfortable working with? "Why, what does that teacher do? "Tell me more about that."
Okay, so the problem, so what's the problem that your clients are facing? What problem are you selling to?
In this particular that I started talking about was a kid that's struggling in school. So their grades have dropped. Their behavior is, yeah.
Yes, and believe it or not, the parents usually pretty surprised that their very perfect child is either acting out or not delivering well in grades and up until middle school, which is usually where we see this, they were totally fine. What happened?
Okay, and what is the emotional motivator? What are some of the core motivators why somebody would join Halstrom Academy?
They want to enjoy learning, they want to feel good about themselves, they want to feel that they are capable of not just learning the subject matter, but fitting in, feeling like their teacher is accepting of them, whether there's a processing issue, or whether there are simply just too many kids in the class, whatever it is that they feel like, the teacher gets me, the school gets me, I'm comfortable, I'm happy, and I actually like learning again which you hope you keep that going for a little while longer past sixth grade.
Right, so feel good about themselves, pride. These are all third level, heartfelt. Okay, and what's the biggest objection that you get to purchasing your product?
Oh, it's too expensive. They're in a public
School, they're like, it's free! How much are you? Yeah.
Okay, so again, I just want you to go through the process and do an information confirmation and pretend I'm the client. How would you perform an information confirmation based on the big four? How would you repeat back to me?
Okay, so, if I'm understanding you correctly, things haven't been going so well at your current school for a little bit now. And if I'm understanding you correctly, that doesn't feel so good. And you're feeling like school doesn't get you, and your teachers don't get you, and that's making you not wanna go to school. So what I'd like to know is what do you want to do to feel better? What are you guys prepared to do and are you ready to make a change? Is this the time for you guys to really make that change and try something different?
Okay, awesome. Awesome, good job, Lisa. Good job. So again, what we're doing is if I understand you correctly, there's 150 people in your company, you're this, you're this, you're gonna go through the facts, you're gonna cite the problem, then you're gonna cite the third level motivator and the objection, and even ask them, "what would it take to make a change?" but the whole idea I just wanna outline here is the power of listening, listening to the said, the unsaid, and the unsayable. And then repeating back what you heard through a process called Information Confirmation and I outline it completely how to go through this process. And again, whether you're an artist, or whether you're a business professional, feeling heard is super important. We have to not only listen, but we need to actually prove that we've listened.