Establishing Confidence as a Salesperson
This is probably one of the biggest differentiators. Book three, Eat Their Lunch, the last half of the book is intangibles and it's because the intangibles are the things that create a preference for you. And so you have to have confidence that you're a value creator, and that you're consultative, and that it's worth spending time with you. This takes a massive amount of confidence and for the home audience who may be creators you have to have a lot of confidence. There's a bunch of attributes that make you a subject matter expert we're gonna look at those and we're gonna talk about subject matter expertise. I will tell you the one thing that I noticed for people that struggle is they're conflict-averse. They just do not want to have difficult conversations. I was with the guys from CEB, now Gartner, the guys who wrote Challenger, their office with a group of influencers, having a conversation, and one of them looked at me and said, "You really like conflict." And I said, "Yeah, I do."...
They're like, "No, but you really like it." I'm like, "Yeah, I do." Because if we don't have the conversation, nothing gets better, and so, whistling past the graveyard, pretending like nothing's there you don't serve anybody doing that it's just better to get this out on the table and have the discussion and solve it one way or the other. But if you're conflict-averse and have some fear that they may not like me, they like you, if you're the person that can actually help them with the problem. They like you if you're the person that's willing to deal with it. The cat's out of the bag, you get to name it. I name it Let's Change Right Now, that's the name I would give the cat. I mean you gotta say, "This is it, what are we doing here?" That's how you create trust and I don't need somebody that's gonna come in and pretend that nothing is wrong or that this is going to be easy or that I don't have to change because I can't trust that person. Ultimately it's going to be more work and more energy and the person that's honest about that and engages does better. I'm gonna talk about book number one with the title that you already know. I wanna show this specifically to you as value creators number one, but more particularly, for creators because they think to themselves, "But I'm not a sales person." And I wanna tell you what the attributes are that make someone an effective salesperson. The first is, do you have the discipline to keep the commitments that you make to yourself and to others? It really starts with discipline. So if you're a creator and you're watching this and you're saying, "I'm not a salesperson," if you're a creator, you're disciplined already, 'cause that is the discipline, the creation is a discipline itself. But can you keep your commitments? Can you keep the commitment you make to yourself and to other people? That's the starting point. The second thing is your attitude. Your attitude's 100% in your control. Even though the news will try to make sure that you have a negative attitude on a daily basis by bringing you bad news all the time. You have to control that and the reason, in my view, optimism follows self discipline is because it is a discipline. You have to be willing to ignore things from the outside world. So if you want to be a value creator having that discipline and being an optimistic future-oriented, positive, empowered person is going to make people want to buy from you. I had to eliminate my negativity. At about 38 years old I realized I was totally infected with what the world had shown me. And I went on a negativity fast for 30 days. I watched no news, I listened to no radio, I read no newspapers, there was no real Facebook at that time, there was nothing like that, and instead, I listened to Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Stephen Covey, Les Brown, Do yourself a favor and pick up Les Brown, you will be unbelievably entertained and inspired by listening to the his story, he's the best. And a couple other things, Anthony Robbins, and that's all I listened to. And what I decided is that, if your mind is like a glass, mine was filled up with murky water, and I'm like, I'm gonna take a fire hose and I'm gonna blast that out with clean water. And so I only took positive things in and at the end of 30 days I decided to do it again. And then I did it again, I went 90 days. And now I'm immune. I'm immune to negativity. What I see, what I hear, I'm not gonna my state changed because I need to be positive, optimistic, and empowered to help other people do those things. You can be that, it's a decision, and it makes you a better salesperson because you're a person who believes that something can be done. And I said something yesterday in a blog post that, given enough time, and energy, and resources, every obstacle yields. And a guy sent me back a Tweet that said, "You're wrong, I'm never going to play at the masters "and I can't have a baby." And I said, "We're missing the time "and the energy, and the resources for both of those, "but the baby is probably going to come before the masters, "a man will probably carry a baby "before you get into the masters, that's my guess." But it's true, you need to be somebody who believes that there's something better available to people and that you can help them do that, that's part of it. The third thing is, caring. Being other-oriented as a superpower, it makes you a super hero. If you want to create massive competitive advantage I'll show you all the sales skills in a minute and all the sales are totally important but you get this part right, and selling becomes super easy. Because you're so other-oriented and you show up ready to serve other people and the engagement feels different to them. And so you start to have that preference created for you right out of the gate. You also do need to know how to be competitive that's part of it. I wrote a book about that, it's coming next. You are in a zero sum game so you do have to have a competitive spirit and that doesn't mean you do anything illegal or immoral, or you bully people, or you pressure people, it just means you understand that you have to play full-out because there's consequences for losing. That's all it means. And my favorite of all is resourcefulness and I found this picture a long time ago on the web. Because the web is where you find all the best content in the world, there's so much out there. It's... You know when you get too many parking tickets and they put a boot on your tire, they call it a boot? It's a picture of a wheel and the wheel is in the boot. But the car is gone. So I looked at that picture, and I thought, the person who doesn't know how to come up with enough money to pay their parking tickets is resourceful enough to figure out how to get the car off of the wheel. And they took the car away and it's just the wheel sitting in the road. (audience giggles) That's resourcefulness, right? How do you figure that out? That person figured it out, that was like an easier problem for them to solve than the money for a parking ticket. That person should right now be working for NASA, you are a really good engineer at some level. But that's what your clients really want from you when they're trying to buy something from you they want somebody who's resource, somebody's gonna have new ideas, somebody who's gonna figure out how to solve a problem. That's what they're looking for, so when you have that, you're creating a competitive advantage, all of its on this side. We'll get to skills, all important, but if you don't have this, you're already behind, so if you're a creator, I hope this gives you hope, if you can take initiative, and say, "I'm not going to wait "for people to get hurt before I act." If you're persistent, and you say, "I'm willing to lose this conversation "so that I can come back and have another conversation later "and continue to try to move down this path," that persistence is valuable to your client, too. You're the kind of person. I've had salespeople ask me, "What do you do when you really torque somebody off? "'Cause you're so persistent." I said, "You own it, you just own that. "You see as persistent as I am "in pursuing you and your business, "that's how persistent and overzealous I'm gonna be "about getting you that result. "Let me ask you again for that appointment." It's fine, own it, be persistent, it's a value. Communication skills, critical. Being a good listener, and then, ultimately, being accountable for what you sell. If you do these things you're already winning before we even get to the skills. This part we'll do more. Who you are matters more than what you do. The decision about who I'm working with is, who are you? And then after that what you do matters but it matters to me who you are first that's the first decision I'm making. We'll go through skills really quickly 'cause we've talked about 'em. Number one, closing, why? 'Cause if you ask for an appointment when you're prospecting, you're closing already, you're asking for a commitment. You have to be able to prospect, you have to be able to tell a story, so if you're a creator, you still to have these skills, you have to be able to tell the story about why we do what we do different. You do have to be able to diagnose and you do have to be able to negotiate. And then the skills now for B2B sales people and I would say anyone who aspires to be a trusted adviser is gonna be business acumen, the ability to help people change and then actually having leadership skills 'cause I have to lead your team and my team, we're gonna have all kinds of conflict and things that happen. We have to be able to have somebody lead us through that. So, here's the thing. You are already a subject matter expert. Even if you're a creator, you're a subject matter expert, you're especially a subject matter expert, because if you're a videographer and I need a videographer I know which part of the camera to talk into but beyond that, I know nothing. So the guys here at CreativeLive said, "Where's the shutter settings on your camera?" And I said, "I don't have the foggiest idea, "I talk into the part that's pointed at me "and that's all I know." Should I know something like that? Probably, but I don't need that, I have people who know more than I know so I look to them, they set the camera up for me, I talk into it. That's it, so wherever it is, it's this idea that where your business intersects with your client's business, that's the seam where you're the expert. I'm not the the world's foremost authority on your business but where it intersects with mine, I am, I have more experience. That's the difference. That's what makes you a subject matter expert. Again, your client has a single experience of buying inside their company and you're working across hundreds of companies. So you get to see more things and you get to have more experiments, this works, this doesn't, here's why, that gives you subject matter expertise. And consultative means you're a teacher. It means, I can consult with you, and I can teach you how to think about this. So even if you're an artist, you're still a teacher, and you're saying, "This is why we make these design choices "and this is why we make different ones." As a creative, you win by default, because your client doesn't have your expertise at all. They can draw stick figures so their graphic designs... Actually my artist, normally, that's what they start them with is stick figures, like, "Maybe like this." And they're like, "No, don't do art, leave that to us, "you talk, we do art." And then they do stuff like this and it looks a lot better. I get a lot of compliments on my slides. People are like, "You're really good at slides." I'm like, "Really good, I give it to professionals "and they advise me." This is the role that you have to have. You can't be a trusted adviser without knowing things. It's impossible to be a know-nothing and be a value creator. You have to have insight, you have to have ideas, you have to have values, you have to have a point of view, you have to believe things. And buyers have access to information now so when you see people talking about how salespeople aren't gonna be necessary in the future 'cause the internet has all the information... It does have a lot of information, but it doesn't have wisdom, it just has information. And there's a difference. Because I was sick a few months ago and I went on the WebMD, and I put all my symptoms in, you ever done that? That's great, isn't it?
Yeah... (audience giggles) I showed up at my doctor's office, and I said, "I have a ovarian cancer." (audience laughs) And she said, "I'm pretty sure you don't, "but I still want to run some tests." And the tests came back clear, so, that's good, she told me that. But that's the difference between information and wisdom, right? It's out of context, and so you can look at these things, and you can read, but you really don't still know anything. You don't know anything, so you need somebody who has a different level of experience to tell you that this is what's right, and this is what's good, and this is what's true, and this is why you need to make this decision instead of that decision, that's how it works. And you wanna enter this conversation as a trusted adviser. You don't wanna enter it as level one, and say, "Let me tell you about my product," or let me tell you about this. Even if you're an artist and you're selling your pictures, maybe you do photography, when somebody calls, you have to say, "Tell me what your building is like, "tell me what you want people to feel "when they walk in the building, "tell me why you think black and white pictures "are going to do this for you." You've gotta start seeing there's judgments and values that we have to weigh into this to talk about what you're gonna do and then you've positioned yourself as somebody who has insight, and ideas, and a point of view that can help me. That's the starting point. You also have to control the process. You have to control this conversation from beginning to end because once you cede control of the process you now have a big, big tough challenge in front of you getting back in front a client. Once they decide they control it, you get an RFP. Or they go dark and you end up chasing them with voicemail and email. They don't know how to buy. And there's a new article the Gartner put out under CEB about the imperative to actually control the process. And the imperative is you think that the client has a process and they don't have one. They don't know how to buy. So part of what you're teaching them is, this is how to get the outcome that you want, this is what you need to do first, and then you need to do this, these are the considerations. So the more that you have that conversation around what the process needs to look like the more of a peer you are and the more of a trusted adviser. The research shows that, that's why they wrote the forward to that book. This is probably the worst idea people have is that the buyer should control the process and when we went from always be closing to never be closing, it was the buyer will tell you when they're ready to take the next step. The buyer doesn't even know what the next step is, how are they going to tell me when it's time to take it when they don't know anything already? They expect you to be able to guide them so you step in and you say, "This is the best way that we work." And it's so easy, because you start the very first conversation like this. You say, "Can I share with you how this tends to work best "for most of our clients?" That's it, "Can I share with you "how this works best for most of our clients?" They say, "Yes." And then you say, "How it works best, is we're gonna do some discovery. "And then we're gonna need to collaborate with your team "to make sure that what we design works "specifically for them and that they can agree to this. "And then we're gonna have to have some consensus "and we're gonna need to talk to some people on your team "and after that we're gonna have to "review some solutions together. "Once we're done with that "you're probably still gonna have some concerns "and you're not gonna be ready to make a decision "so we'll have another meeting to make sure "that everybody's 100% confident moving forward "and if that works out then I'll ask you for your business "and we can put something in place, is that okay?" Tell 'em how that process goes so they know. And get an agreement that we're gonna go through this process together because that's ultimately what you want to have happen. It doesn't mean you always get a yes at the end it does increase the odds of getting a yes at the end but it doesn't mean you automatically get a yes. You can go through the process and have somebody say, "It just isn't gonna work for us right now. "We don't have the bandwidth for this right now. "We just had a company that bought our company "and we're not allowed to say yes to anything right now." All these variables happen in sales because it's a complex, dynamic human interaction, that's why. And here's what the research shows when you have the same product, the same experience, and the same outcome, you're gonna have the same price. There's no reason to pay you more 'cause you're not showing me anything. 89% of buyers say they don't see any difference from one company to the next. That's an enormous number isn't it? It might as well be 100%. I don't know who these 11% are but I wanna call on them because they perceive a difference. What we found, this is what research shows, the information that you give them as they ask you for information just confuses them more. You sent me this, and they sent me that, I don't know how to think about these two things, this is in conflict with that, what do we do? And so what buyers tend to do is go, "Let's just do nothing, "let's just make a no decision, "we'll look at this again in a couple years," in your world, Or, "We'll look at this again next quarter, "or we'll look at it again next year," and it's because we didn't control the process and let them know how they were supposed to think about it and what they were supposed to think. This is the 10 commitments. This is the controlling of that process always in a way that's other-oriented, always in a way that's serving other people. I'm asking you for time so we can explore these ideas, I'm asking you to explore in case there's something here that's gonna create greater value for you. I'm asking you to change so you can get the outcomes that we've been talking about. I'm asking you to collaborate because it has to work. I'm asking you for consensus 'cause your team needs to support it. None of this is about us, it's about how we serve them, and when you get this right, and you get these agreements, then it becomes easier. You don't automatically get a win but you get more wins by following a process that serves the other person through their real buyer's journey than pretending that your process does that by itself and say, "Well, I checked the box, I did diagnosis, "I know what their problem is, "I'm ready to give them a proposal." Yeah, but they're not ready. They didn't do these things, and because they didn't do it, they can't say yes. All things being equal, people choose the lowest price. Your job is to make things unequal. So you have to step into that and say, "I'm the one responsible for making things unequal." And this is probably the single greatest change in sales over the last decade, you are now the value proposition. That 11% that perceived something different that's because a salesperson creates a differentiation. The salesperson shows up as a peer and controls the process. That's your job when you sell, you create a preference. I'm gonna talk about being other-oriented for a minute. I'm gonna talk about caring, trust, and intimacy, and I'll start with caring. The way that I can best describe this to people who are sometimes challenged with this, and my favorite guy in a workshop said, "I'm totally other-oriented, "the first thing I do is, I sit down with my client, "and I explain to them how my compensation structure works." (audience laughs) Yeah, I had that same reaction that you had, I was like, "That may be the worst thing I've ever heard, "thank you very much for playing." (mimics buzzer) I said, "That's called commission breath, and, literally, "you will melt people's faces apart "when you say anything like that "never say that again, "you're gonna hurt yourself and others." But he literally said that, like, "I was just showing them what the comp structure is "so it's all transparent." No, that's about you. It can't be about you. And I have found a way to help people understand this, if you have two salespeople. They're both calling on you. One of them is totally other-oriented, they have a presence, they literally show up, they sit across from you, they listen to everything you're saying, they share with you their ideas and insights, they help you bring your team along with this, they're totally other-oriented around the investment, they work with you, you collaborate, everything follows the 10 commitments fairly close, and then you got another person who doesn't show up, has no presence, tells you what their commission structure looks like, says something that you might not think to be harmful but it's something like, "At the end, we want a win-win deal." Because your client's like, "Yeah, I wanna make sure you get a win, too." Please. I'm gonna ask you sharpen your pencil, that's how that works, they're not thinking about our win. Which salesperson do you buy from, it's so easy, right? Which salesperson do you want calling on your aging parents? You're gonna pick that one, the one that's going to be honest and have integrity, is trustworthy, who cares, who's going to be accountable in all those attributes I showed you. That's who you wanna buy from, so you just have to be that, be that person, even if you lose the deal by being a person of integrity, and somebody asks you to do something and shortcut at any of this process, live with the loss. Just develop enough opportunities that you never are subject to compromising on any of this because being other-oriented will serve you better than anything else over the longer term. The best way to create that relationship is be more interested in other people than... And that makes you interesting to them. That's when we talk about ourselves a lot, we talk about a product, that people start to get a little bit crooked, 'cause it's all about us and not about them it has to be about them. And this is the root of trust. My friend Charlie Green wrote a book called Trusted Adviser with David Maister and I'm always afraid to say the word trusted adviser because they have it copy written. And ultimately I think that someday I'm gonna get a bill, like, "You keep saying trusted adviser, "and you owe Charlie 11 billion dollars "'cause you say that so much." He's got a formula for trust, and it's, reliability times credibility times intimacy divided by how self-oriented you are. So no matter how credible and reliable you are, no matter how much intimacy you have, the more you're all about you, the less I can trust you. That's the way it works. And I've asked Charlie, extensively, he wrote a book called Trust-Based Selling and the Trust-Based Selling Fieldbook, both great books, the Fieldbook you should absolutely have, it will solve tons of sales problems for you. But I said, "Which of these is most important?" And I had a hunch. And I know a lot of people think it's credibility. Like, do I believe you? And he said, "That's an important one." And I said, "But not the most important?" And he said, "No, not the most important." He said, "The most important is intimacy. "Intimacy is the biggest driver of all of these "and if the intimacy is higher, "the reliability and credibility can be lower "'cause you multiply 'em against that larger number. "And that tends to be what people want, "do you know me, do you understand me, "do you care about me?" And when you ask Charlie what his research shows and they take all the sort of jobs that one might do and they say who has the very lowest trust score. Who would you think is at the bottom?
Politicians, correct, who's number two?
Lawyers. Politicians, then lawyers, then salespeople, right? And why does that word have this connotation? Because of a few people, not many, and we never have a connotation that's this negative about doctors, or lawyers, or anything else, but we do about salespeople, and it's not true. And it hasn't been true for a long time minus a few bad actors, but there are bad actors in every single endeavor. And I know this because I teach a class at Capital University called Personal Selling and I get young people into a room and I ask them to describe salespeople for me. And they say all these words, pushy, selfish, sells people things they don't really need, money-grubbers, you know, they have all these things, I write 'em all down on a big white board till I get a good, full board. And then as soon as I'm done, I say, "Raise your hand if one of your parents works in sales." And then a number of hands go up, maybe five or six people, and I say, "Okay, put your hand down if it's your dad, "and leave your hand up if it's your mom." And then I normally have a couple people whose mom works in sales, and their hands are still up. And they're not yet aware of what's about to happen to them and I am, so, I'm usually joyous that I still have a couple hands up, and I get to say, "So your mom is a pushy, selfish person "that sells people things they don't really need "and takes advantage of people who are unsuspecting?" And they're like, "No, that's my mom you're talking about, "my mom's nothing like that, her clients love her, "they trust her with their business, "they even call her on the weekends." I'm like, "Yeah, I know, "then why did you just say all these words?" And they have no idea why they got that, it just sort of seeped into the culture that everything is Glengarry Glen Ross, always be closing, and nobody sells that way because you wouldn't make any money if you sold that way. And their mom doesn't sell that way. Their mom sells like their mom. She cares about people, she's trying to do really good work. That's how she sells, and that's why she's successful.
Do they say that about their dads?
I don't ask about their dads. (audience laughs) Because their dad might be a different story, right? No, I ask about a mom, 'cause everybody's mom as a mom. You're not gonna say a bad word about a mom, are you? Not my mom, I can tell you that. Your dream client has to feel that their needs are more important than your needs. So anytime you're talking about what you want or what you need you're actually taking away from the relationship. They need you to be concerned about them and so when my manager in Los Angeles told me nobody cares about the binder, don't talk about us, only talk about the three things that they care about, this is what he was teaching me. It was, there's just a few things that they want, figure out what that is. Who has the highest score on intimacy in all job titles, what would you guess?
Nurse. Nurses. No self-orientation, all there to serve you, very different than doctors. Doctors tend to have some poor bedside manner but nurses don't. Nurses tend to have the highest score on trust and it's the intimacy. You were at a very vulnerable spot if you have a nurse and you have somebody that is nothing but pure caring for you trying to help you. They have the highest score and it's the intimacy that drives that. And so you have to think that way when you're serving your customer. I'm here to deeply understand them and get to know them and get to understand how I'm supposed to help them in their world where they live with all the challenges that they have with their team. That's really what you do when you're at your very best selling. And I want to tell you that the shift here that I want people to make is that you have to operate from a place of abundance. So I think a lot of the poor behaviors that people have and a lot of challenges they have is that they believe opportunities are scarce and there's not enough, even though it's a zero sum game, there's still a giant pie, the market's tremendously large, and while you're competing, your competitor's competing at the same time, and ultimately that competitiveness is an upward spiral of value creation. There's super abundance right now. And all you have to do is prospect and do the work to get there but you don't have to believe that there's a scarcity of opportunities available to you you just have to decide that you're gonna work hard enough so that you get the right ones for you and for your business. And we're back to Q and A.
And, so, with the mindset, if your management doesn't share this kind of mindset and it's all about, "Hey, we just need the money in the door, "relationship, yeah, okay, but we need the money." So, time to walk?
No, not necessarily. I would tell you, take all those attributes and those skills and turn it on 'em. Just turn it on them and go to war. I mean go have the tough conversations. And say, "Look, we've been hard-charging, "bottom line, dollar-driven for a long time, "and it doesn't seem to be working for us. "Maybe there's another way." Yeah, and I'm not pretending that that's easy. I would never pretend that that's an easy conversation to have but it's the funny thing about money. Everyone wants more money but they don't wanna do what's necessary. I had a young SDR in a workshop one time say to me, "I need to be compensated, I need a structure "that would, if I was level four, "would compensate me for being that, "because I'm money-motivated." And I said, "No, you're not." And he said, "Yes, I am, you don't know me." And I said, "But I do know you don't make a lot of money." So you want more money, like 7.6 billion other people on the planet, that if I walked up to and said, "Would you like some more money?" They would say, "Sure I'll take all the money you can give me, "Powerball-level money would be good," right? But they're not motivated by it. And that's the mistake that we make a lot is thinking that people are motivated by money and so they give you a comp structure that says go be a hard charger, and make more money, when 1% of the American population, the top 1%, makes $383,000 a year, that's what money motivated is, it's $383,000. But they think with an unlimited upside people are gonna go do all this work for them and for most of us, we're not driven by money alone. Everyone wants more money, no doubt about it, but a lot of us are driven by significance, and recognition works better for us, and doing meaningful work, which is what you're really asking, the real question you're asking is, I want to do meaningful work and these people aren't looking at it that way. And so you feel out of place, and maybe it's time to leave, I can't make that decision for you, maybe, or maybe it's time to say, "What if we just try to do meaningful work here?" Because more people are happy doing meaningful work and getting recognized for it. And then the money doesn't tend to motivate people at the same level that people think it does, some people it does. But they're already making that money 'cause they were motivated. They were already doing that, that's what they're motivated to do, you don't have to say anything to them. But most of the population, of course, 99%, isn't there. I would tell you, I would try to turn it on them, and say, "I think we need to bring more meaning to this work," if you can have that conversation. And I don't know your company so I don't know what you can do. But, I'm, of course, I've already told you pig-headed and I'm willing to persist longer than most other people. Because I don't feel bad about it. In fact, I kinda like it. My daughter really likes it though. She got that from her mother. Who will deny that and say, she has nothing to do with this, it's her father, it's her father. (audience giggles)