We are proud to introduce a new Sandler podcast, Selling the Sandler Way with host Dave Mattson, the President and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler Selling System. Listen to episode one in which Dave discusses the psychology behind the sale with Sandler Trainer, Pat Heidrich.
Dave Mattson: Hey, welcome everybody. Today's topic is the Buyer-Seller Dance. Think about the Buyer-Seller Dance. How often have we talked about that in our Sandler Training programs? Because the ripple effect of whether you're leading the dance or you're following is just tremendous throughout the sales process or the leadership process for those managers that are listening to the show. Now think about it. The Buyer-Seller Dance really implies several things. One, somebody's got to lead and somebody has to follow in a dance situation. Two, we have to rehearse the dance moves just to make sure that our portion is smooth. When you're dancing, you can only control your side of the dance floor. You're never sure what the other side's going to do. We're going to talk about that.
The third thing it kind of implies is that both parties need to be engaged. If both parties aren't engaged in sales, we call that the RFP process, where we blindly get an RFP—it's thrown over the fence. Then amateur salespeople, of course not those that are Sandler trained, are running around and shut down their offices. They run around to get all the answers to the RFP when they absolutely have no chance of closing. We were with clients last week, as a matter of fact, and they openly admitted that their prospects have to have three outside companies respond to an RFP. Often times they get an RFP from an organization they've never done work with, and chances are may never do work with, although this is their opportunity. Because if you think about it, it's better than prospecting if we're out there keeping busy answering RFPs.
What they found was that they had less than a 2% shot at closing that business, but it cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so. The Buyer-Seller Dance, as I said, implies that there's a lot of implications from a sales perspective that we really want to focus in on. What I'd like to do in today's broadcast is to focus on each one of those. Let's go to number one. Hey, somebody's got to lead and somebody has to follow. Now if you think about it, that is true. As a professional salesperson, we want to lead the process. The alternative is that the buyer is going to be leading us through their buying process, which is never good for a professional salesperson. That means you're reacting, not structuring.
That means we're never on equal footing, we're always in a subservient position, and we're never really sure why we're doing things. One of the Sandler Rules, of course, is: Never ever do anything unless you know what's going to happen as a result of that. Now you've learned that from your Sandler trainers. It applies here. The other thing that it implies is that we have to make sure as we lead the buyer through the process that we have to do it in a non-threatening way. Sandler, when implemented properly, is very conversational. We don't teach a lot of scripts, and you know that. We teach more of a communication process and selling rules. I think, as you know, that people buy from people, and they're going to buy from people who they like.
That alone for most people implies we're not learning a lot of scripts because often times people never transfer the scripts to their own personality. Also, we at Sandler, when we're leading the buyer, want to pull. We don't want to push. Think about that analogy for a second on the dance floor. When you're pushing, people tend to resist. In that first step, we've got to make sure that we pull. In order to do so, though, you've got to have a plan. How often have we talked about, when you're in front of your trainer, "Hey, you've got to come with a plan"? The default, if you don't have a plan, is that you become part of somebody else's plan. The way that we teach you to create a plan early in the process at Sandler is something called the Up-Front Contract.
The up-front contract will actually lower your buyer's anxiety, but it also helps create that structure of what's going to happen. The buyers will default to that structure when you take that lead. Because let's think about it—what you can't say is, when you show up: "Who would like to lead the dance today?" Of course, the buyer's going to raise their hand, and by default, you've already lost. You want to go in and subtly set the up-front contract because then that allows you to lead that dance. The other thing that we want to think about in making sure that we're leading the dance, and this is the most important because remember, at Sandler, we're talking about attitude, behavior, and technique, is the attitude portion. Stay adult to adult. You've got to have a presence in front of your buyer.
The minute you lose that presence, by default, you will start being led through the buying process. You're not leading the process. Often times most salespeople, when they don't have presence, will default to that parent-child relationship. As you went through one of the modules with your Sandler trainer, you remember the psychology behind selling. Sales is a Broadway play put on by a psychiatrist. We've got to realize, we're on equal footing, we want to be there, and we deserve to be there. I can always remember back to school when there was just this person I wanted to invite to the dance, and I was so frightened. It took me three weeks to get there. When I finally asked her, I didn't even have eye contact.
I think I talked to her with the top of my head because I was looking at my feet. Of course, she said "no." But somebody else who thought, "Hey, I'm better than they are," went right up (presence) like they deserved to be at that dance. Guess what happened? That's who she went with. You've got to have that presence when you're leading the dance. That's the important thing. Let's talk about the second component. You need to rehearse your portion. In the Buyer-Seller Dance, it's obvious that we want to lead the dance. We need to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. It takes two, which means sales needs to be conversational. On the flip side, though, the buyers do have a process, and they have followed this process since the beginning of time.
As a seller, you need to make sure that you're aware of the process, which we're going to explain to you with our guest Pat Heidrich. We also want to make sure that, hey, you know what happens by default? If you as a buyer ... Let's just say you take off your selling hat for a second and put on your buying hat. Do you realize that you follow the same system that we're about to describe? You hate when it's done to you, yet you do it to others. We're going to have Pat Heidrich join us, who is a long-time Sandler trainer. As a matter of fact, we were talking right before we get on the air. He just did the psychology behind selling to his President's Club members, so it's a topic that we teach at Sandler all the time. Hey Pat, welcome to the show.
Pat Heidrich: Hey, thanks, Dave. Glad to be here.
Dave Mattson: Pat, the Sandler Broadcast Center—as I said, it is the ultimate reinforcement tool. I know that we reinforce the concepts all the time on how to lead the dance with buyers, and we can talk ... I mean, that's almost three months' worth of material. We've been talking as if people fully understand the four steps of the buying process. They may or they may not, but can you spend a couple seconds and give them an overview of what those four steps are?
Pat Heidrich: Sure. Couple seconds there. Let me just go through them, just name them off real quick. The first step is to mislead. Then their second step is to gather information. They want to know what we know. Then the third step really is, after they've gathered that information, to not make any real commitments as to what they're going to do, or to put some sort of delay tactic there, some stall. Then their fourth step is once they have the information from you that they need, they're going to disappear on us. They have a lot of great technology on their side to help disappear from us.
Dave Mattson: I mean, we follow those four steps ourselves, as I said. If we go to step one, they either mislead us, or they keep their cards close to the vest. They don't want to share what they know. Let's dig down on that one if we can.
Pat Heidrich: Okay. Let me give you an example here. It's a real-world example, and I'll do my best to change the names to protect the innocent.
Dave Mattson: Okay.
Pat Heidrich: I live in an area with some very large banks. I'll share a story where the branch of the bank that manages companies' large 401K programs got a phone call from a large company on the West Coast. The phone call went something like this: "We're really unhappy with our current company that's managing our 401K program. We really think you could do a better job. Could you come out here and show us how you might be able to do a better job?" Well, immediately the client development staff got all excited.
They booked a roundtrip airfare, grabbed their best presentation material, flew out to the West Coast and gave this awesome presentation. Well, what they didn't know was that the company on the West Coast has a directive from the board of directors that says: "Hey, once a year you need to get some other companies to review our 401K program to make sure it's performing the way it should be." That's an example of a positive mislead in order to get the salespeople to the second step.
Dave Mattson: In essence, then, the buyer raises their hand and says, "I'm a prospect. I'm excited. Come out and see me." Of course, then under that scenario, they dropped everything that they should've probably done from a qualification standpoint and then just ran because, of course, it was a call-in. They must have interest. Was that the hook?
Pat Heidrich: Yeah, exactly. Also, the hook could be ... Even if maybe the salespeople asked a couple of good questions as well: "How important is this? Are you ready to make a change?" They can throw more misleading statements out there like: "Hey, it's a $4 billion fund. We have to make a decision here shortly. Do you want to participate or not?" Maybe get a little more abrupt with the salespeople. Then you would talk about, like a class I taught this morning, the psychology of the sale. The salesperson at that point might be getting a little bit emotionally involved and they're afraid of something they might lose, and so that's why they pack up their stuff and bring their best presentations and fly out there.
Dave Mattson: Well, you'll hear things like, "You know that's a huge opportunity, right?" I mean, they're thinking, "This could make my quarter or my annual quota."
Pat Heidrich: Oh, yeah.
Dave Mattson: But a lot of prospects, they actually ... You're describing a buyer who over-exaggerates their interest, but don't some also under-exaggerate how bad it really is?
Pat Heidrich: Yeah. Exactly, Dave. A key rule there is: Everybody has some problems or frustrations. That's rule one. Most people's world is not ideal. The second rule is: They don't want to admit they have that problem or frustration. Of course, the third rule is: They all want to get rid of it. What they'll do is they may give a negative mislead. Now, we may have a great product or service that we can help the prospective customer with, but maybe they had some bad experiences in the past. Because, unfortunately in our profession, the sales profession, there's a lot of bad salespeople out there that are really messing up the trail for us so that when we do call on a prospect where we could potentially help them, we're getting that negative pushback.
They're holding their cards close to their vest because well, frankly, they've had some bad experiences in the past, and they may think that we've been to this killer sales training school and we're going to put a lot of pressure on them. Or maybe just that weekend they went to look at some cars and they got a high-pressure salesperson. Well, if you call on that person during a work week and their last experience was a high-pressure sales tactic, they're probably going to hold their cards close to their vest and not really be forthcoming with their problems to you.
Dave Mattson: Well, I think if you sit back for a second, it could be high pressure but I also think that a lot of people don't want to lose what they're going to consider leverage, right? If the salespeople understand that, hey, people aren't going to be forthcoming by saying, "Pat, here's my budget. Here's when I'm going to make a decision. Here are my issues." Often times they may not know the issues, but they don't do that. I mean, you used the car analogy. When I was in the UK at one of the training centers, I heard an analogy which I thought was fantastic.
Really that sounded like … let's assume that you got into an auto accident—and I'll use this because of the analogy that you used—and the insurance company came in and paid you for a replacement, and you had, just say, 40,000 Euros or dollars in your pocket. You went to buy a car, and they show up and then say, "Well, do you have a budget for the car?" Most people will not say, "Hey, I just was paid 40,000. I've got plenty to spend." They say, "No, I don't really have a budget. I'm trying to save as much as I can." They downplay because of exactly what you said. They think they have to have a leverage. Instead of having a real-life conversation, it starts this Buyer-Seller Dance that we're talking about, and I think that happens more times than not.
Pat Heidrich: Yeah. Exactly. Some of the larger companies—depending on your selling environment, if you are working in larger companies, larger accounts—go to buyer school and to your point, they will be taught to withhold as much information as possible to prevent an account leverage that they may be getting. To your point, at an individual level it's true also. If my wife was to say, "Look, here's five grand. Go get the flat-panel TV. I want to get one," I don't walk into the consumer electronics store and say, "Hey, this is the day. My wife said I can have it. I've got five grand. Show me what you got." I would never do that because I would feel that would be giving up some sort of leverage. To your point, when we put on our buyer's hat we're doing the same thing.
Dave Mattson: Yeah, and how sick is that if you really think about it? We complain. How many times have we heard it from clients sitting in the Sandler program and then, sure enough, we do it? I did it over the weekend. I just can't help myself. It's almost like a DNA flaw. We become one of them as soon as we get to put their hat on. Step one is to keep the cards close to the vest. They don't want to expose the information. Are there ways that we can either help combat that to equal the footing, or, hey, really the tools to be used are in the second step of the buying process? What can we do if anything on step one?
Pat Heidrich: Well, Dave, there's a lot we can do. Let me just touch on a few things. First of all, we would need to understand why as a salesperson we might fall into that first step, and you touched on it earlier. Maybe we don't have a particular plan in place, or we didn't practice so we weren't really ready for it. Maybe for some reason we're really hungry, and we're getting a lot of pressure from our bosses or wives to go out and sell more. At that point we're more apt to get a little bit more emotionally involved, and so we might more easily fall into that trap. When we talk about the psychology of the sale, we do talk about getting emotionally involved. When we get emotionally involved, we may want to please people.
We may have some messages that we grew up with about, hey, the customer's always right, or don't answer questions with questions—those kinds of things. There's a lot of psychology going on there, but if we're in touch with the buyer system and we are practicing, we know what their first step is going to be. Then we can be ready for that and know what to say when they say, "Hey, can you help me?" Because we know really the only real answer there is: "Well, at this point I'm not sure until I learn a little more about your situation." That'd be enough there to help knock them off their system. The big plus there is when you answer a question like, "I don't know until we learn more about your company." You're right there differentiating yourself from all your competition.
Dave Mattson: That right there is a golden nugget. Hey, members of the broadcast center, write that down. When people say, "Can I help you?," your first response could be, "I'm not sure. Let me ask you a couple questions so I get a better understanding." Why, what a consultative way to answer that question! Secondly, it puts you in that presence that we talked about. That is equal footing. It's consultative. You walk into a doctor's office and they say, "Doc, I need your help. Can you help me?" They're not going to say, "Absolutely. Look at the plaques. We'll schedule you for surgery."
They say, "I'm not sure. Let me ask you a couple questions to get a better understanding of what the issue is." Isn't that what you want your doctor to say? Pat, that was perfect. Now I said something earlier on that I'd like your feedback on. You said, "Don't become emotionally involved." I think people become emotionally involved because they don't have a plan, and so they wing it. Salespeople tend to wing it. How many people do you think really rehearse, really practice prior to a call?
Pat Heidrich: I would say less than 1%. They truly do wing it.
Dave Mattson: Okay, we're joined today with Pat Heidrich who is a long-time Sandler trainer. We were talking before, and Pat just actually ran a program for Sandler clients on the psychology behind the sales process, and that's really what we're talking about. Pat, on the break before we talk about the second step, somebody emailed us. We're out of Dallas. This is Lisa, who said, "Hey, does this just apply to new buyers and sellers?" Because she's experiencing what we talked about, really running from people over-exaggerating their interest from an existing client. She only is supposed to be responsible for five. I think that's true anywhere. Isn't it, Pat?
Pat Heidrich: Yeah. I mean, Dave, the system works for the buyers so they'll continually do it. Those are Sandler-trained, and this is actually something we talk about in my class. Just because someone becomes a client, it doesn't mean you can stop using your system.
Dave Mattson: Isn't that interesting? I think they became a client because we used the system, but that doesn't mean that's exactly right. You've got to continually use that because at the end of the day this sounds like an us versus them. Pat, one of the tenets of Sandler is that it's mutual, fair, so it's good for a customer or a buyer to make sure that you're asking the right types of questions. Because often times if you don't—how many times have you heard a buyer say, "We bought something we didn't necessarily solve our problem or we didn't need"?
This way, if it's just straight communication, it really does help both sides. It's not manipulative. I think it's just equal footing and it's good for both sides. Now, you had a gem in our last segment, which was when somebody says, "Hey, come on over. This is a huge opportunity," to respond by saying, "Thank you. I'm not sure I could help. Let me ask you a couple questions so I can better understand the issues." That was perfect. Now, that's for the first step which is that the buyer keeps their cards close to the vest. What's step two, and what can we do in that situation?
Pat Heidrich: Okay. Well, step two, as we mentioned, is the buyer is going to gather as much information as they can. Now the problem is, they don't want to pay for our information. The buyers know that we're experts, that we've been to product knowledge school, that we've been to industry school, that we have a lot of experience. We have experience with their competitors. They might even want to get information for a competitive advantage, but again the problem is they don't want to pay for that information. Keep in mind step one—they don't want to lose leverage there. Step two ... If I continue my example with the banking situation—the people fly out there. They're excited. They've got a brand-new PowerPoint presentation, and they've got Dolby Surround Sound, 3D glasses, the whole bit.
Dave Mattson: They have whole departments that do this, don't they?
Pat Heidrich: Oh, yeah. Exactly. The money's spent on that. They give this presentation. Of course, during the presentation, the buyers are asking questions. Of course, the salespeople are doing everything they can to answer those questions, maybe even calling back the headquarters to get more information, more stuff.
Dave Mattson: Those are buying signals, Pat.
Pat Heidrich: Pardon me?
Dave Mattson: They think those are buying signals.
Pat Heidrich: Oh, exactly. Yeah, they've been to some outdated sales training, and they see that as a buying signal. Then if they're real killers they're going to go for the close. Now, in step two it's easy for the salesperson to get sucked into that because salespeople unfortunately spend too much time on product knowledge and industry expertise. They don't spend a whole lot of time interacting with the buyers, or even human communications, if you will. They'll take the path of least resistance, and they'll do, I think you touched on it earlier, that premature presentation syndrome. They'll say, "Look, let me just show you what I got here," because they're trained at that. Also, if we get to the psychology of the sale, it's making the salesperson feel good by impressing the buyer with all their information and knowledge.
Dave Mattson: Isn't that the truth? I also found that they're trying to get that "aha" moment. What about also that they're out of their comfort zone, Pat? If they're out of their comfort zone having a business-type discussion, they go back into their comfort zone to actually relay what they feel comfortable with which is product knowledge, which is counter to what they really want to do. It's a never-ending cycle.
Pat Heidrich: Exactly. When we talk to our clients, this is the major "aha" moment for them. Then we get back to the doctor analogy. The term I like to use here is "salesperson malpractice." If we're a doctor, malpractice is defined as a prescription without proper diagnosis. If you think about traditional selling, we're doing that all the time. In my example, the company that flew out to do the presentation—do you think they have a different presentation piece or presentation deck for every company they go to, or is it the same one or similar?
Dave Mattson: Hell yeah, I would venture to say that the clients that I've seen that aren't Sandler-trained, they're probably standard and they fill in the blanks. Enter company here, right?
Pat Heidrich: Yes, exactly. So really what we're doing is committing salesperson malpractice. We're doing prescription without proper diagnosis. But it gets back to, like you said, what is the salesperson comfortable doing? They're not comfortable asking some assertive, gutsy questions to uncover the truth of the situation.
Dave Mattson: If that's true, let's go back. Because the malpractice, I mean, I can see people wincing, but they're really just a product of traditional sales models if you think about it. Because if we're looking at putting that presentation too early in the process—you used the phrase that salespeople suffer from premature presentation syndrome—it's true, but they're really not because they don't know any different, isn't it? I mean, if you look at the traditional sales models, don't they put the presentation pretty early in the cycle, so then they can answer stalls and objections and do trial closes? Since the beginning of time, it's been this way.
Pat Heidrich: Yeah. You're right. They know their presentation isn't going to hit the mark, and so they put all this time, money, and effort into, "All right, let's think of every particular stall and objection we might hit so we can have the answer for it." Then if we get to the psychology of the sale, it gets very defensive. It's like a tennis match. Stall, objection, hand back to you, stall, objection, hand back to you. It's a no-win situation because, as far as a human relations standpoint, you're certainly not making the buyer feel any more comfortable having you prove them wrong at every stall and objection.
Dave Mattson: Yeah, and I also think if we focus on the Sandler Selling System for a second we'll talk about it. It's very difficult to tie somebody's pain and their individual wants or needs to a product presentation if you haven't had that discussion yet. It's very difficult to do. Using the doctor analogy, it's almost like putting a cast on the wrong leg, and you're just hoping that you hit the mark, but in reality you haven't. That pain concept's important.
Pat Heidrich: Even worse, David, is our presentation may contain things in it that kills the sale and we did not even know it.
Dave Mattson: Now explain that. What does that mean?
Pat Heidrich: I'll give you a real-life example. A couple comes in a furniture store, and they fall in love with a china cabinet that holds all their family china and stuff.
Dave Mattson: Right.
Pat Heidrich: They had their checkbook out, and they're all ready. A salesperson comes up, and they said, "We'll take it." The salesperson's like, "This is our finest piece. It's got great features, it's got ball bearings in the drawers, you have 25 pounds of silver in here and it still rolls smoothly." Well, the lady closes her checkbook and she says, "I can't buy this. I almost choked to death on a ball bearing as a child." The presentation there contained features and benefits that turned off the prospect.
Dave Mattson: Then basically in step two, if they want a lot of presentations and proposals, we may have sold and bought back our product several different times during that presentation, you would think.
Pat Heidrich: Unfortunately, David, that's exactly right.
Dave Mattson: I think the other thing that may happen if we're doing a lot of features and benefits, or if we're doing the presentations and proposals, is that we're looking for a reaction. We're no longer leading that dance, are we? I mean, at that point in time we're really holding up our hand saying, "Please lead the dance from this point forward." If you had any control up to that point, you've totally lost it if you're doing the deck as you said. Then boom, there it is.
Pat Heidrich: I think, David, to your analogy earlier when you introduced the show, the push-pull concept …
Dave Mattson: Yeah.
Pat Heidrich: … is we were pushing, pushing, pushing so much that finally our partner said, "Forget it. I'll start leading this dance because you don't know what you're doing."
Dave Mattson: I think we tend to want to get to this point, so important. Cost of a proposal ... Pat, you do a lot of management training as most of the trainers do across the world. How costly is a proposal to an organization on average?
Pat Heidrich: On average, I'd say $30,000 - $50,000.
Dave Mattson: I think that's right on. The last study that I read said it was $35,000 plus, and the plus is depending upon how technical your product is. If you think about it, if that was your money, how many salespeople would actually do the presentation as early in the process as they do now if it cost them $35,000 to $50,000 every time they did it? I don't think it would be that many. Is there anything that we can do to better equip ourselves in step two? Because I want to get to step three and four too. Is there anything we can do in this area?
Pat Heidrich: Yeah, and it's like a chess match. The moves we make in the beginning will determine the outcome in the match, and it's the same thing here. If we didn't tell the buyer or prepare the buyer what it's like to work with us—in our world we call it an up-front contract. If we don't let them know, "Hey, until I find out what's broken, why it's broken, how that's impacting you, I don't know if I can help you. Can we sit down and have that conversation?" Get them to agree to that, and then help them understand that, "Look, until I know what's broken, what's hurting, until I know how much money you have to spend here, I have no idea what to recommend. Does that make sense?" When you talk common sense like that, David, to your prospects, they understand it. And guess what? If they don't understand it, it's probably time for you to find another prospect.
Dave Mattson: Yeah, I think that's true. I think that if you have that real-life conversation with buyers, they tend to react positively to that, because it's a breath of fresh air. Right? You say, "Hey, look, here's where we are." Because most prospects will say, "I don't know the budget. It's an open slate. Do what you want." Then they expect us to create these works of art. A lot of us who have deliverables that can be customized, that is the beginning of a huge product. Quite frankly, you know your product or service better than they do. At the end, you feel like you've given them a full repertoire of your options and they feel nothing but confused.
Pat Heidrich: Yeah.
Dave Mattson: We've been joined by Pat Heidrich. I know Pat's going to jump off here in a second. He's running to an executive coaching session because our trainers, as you know, do sales training, management training, and executive coaching. He's the master at the psychology behind the sale. The first step was to keep the cards close to the vest. The second step, of course, is to gather as much information as quickly. Pat, I know you only have just a second or two left. You said at a high level the third stage was to do what?
Pat Heidrich: To give us another delay. They may need more information from us after they gathered information. Instead of telling us "no," they may say, "Hey, great stuff." They may even send us an email or humanitarian award saying, "That's the best presentation I ever saw. If I need you to come back and talk to our committee, would you do that?" They keep it open to get as much information from us as they can.
Dave Mattson: Because salespeople hate to hear "no," don't they?
Pat Heidrich: Exactly, I was going to say the reason that works from the buyer system is we hate to hear "no." The salespeople don't like "no." It's that rejection. Or they might have this bridge of hope. They don't want to blow up that bridge. They want to keep it open. When I talk to clients who had this problem, David, a lot of times it boils down to their pipeline isn't real full. They don't have a lot of other opportunities so hence that creates a stronger bridge of hope.
Dave Mattson: Well, and I think that's true. When the pipeline's empty we tend to look at things in our pipeline that may not be accurate. Hey Pat, I wanted to thank you for taking time out of your schedule. I know that you're jumping between training programs and executive coaching sessions to give us an overview of what happens from the buying process. From this point I'll take off from here to kind of explain to the group what the Sandler Selling System looks like. I was going to say, hey, thanks for joining us.
Pat Heidrich: My pleasure. Thank you, Dave.
Dave Mattson: What'll happen, group, is ... Pat's gone over three of the four stages. Now stage four is, as Pat said earlier on, that we're in chase mode. Think about that. How many times as sales professionals have we had an opportunity where we did a fantastic job educating them on our product and service? I mean, we did fantastic. We gave them those PowerPoints that Pat was talking about. We flew out the team. We did everything. We actually stayed engaged when they were asking for more free consulting, only to find out that we can't get anybody on the phone line. They won't take our calls. We can't see them again. That's important. If you think about that, we're in chase mode.
Now, we don't want to hear that. For most of us, you know you're in chase mode when that call goes from month to month to month to month and it's still on your sales funnel and you have no update. We call that "voicemail jail." As professional salespeople, voicemail has actually become the greatest gatekeeper since the beginning of time. It's far more effective than any personal assistant. Is there a tactic to stay out of voicemail jail? There is. Pat gave you a gem on how to deal with step one. They get excited and you've got to slow down the system to ask questions. Here's a gem for step four when you're in voicemail jail. We refer to it at Sandler as "I got the feeling."
It sounds something like this. You're going to leave a voicemail, and it'll say, "Hi, it's Dave. Fred, we had a couple meetings. I've given you some information that I thought solved the issues that you've shared with me. I've left you a couple messages and I haven't heard back. I've got the feeling you went in a different direction, which is okay if that makes sense, but would you be nice enough to leave me a voicemail confirming that after hours? I'd appreciate it. Thanks." Now, guess what happened? First of all, if they don't call you back they weren't a prospect. You'd be amazed when we do two-day boot camps for clients—and we've got over 200 training centers—how many clients will make that phone call in the first day, on the first break, and come back by the second day and say, "I cannot believe I got a call back."
Why? It's because we go slightly negative. It's not the pushy salesperson. We say, "I got the feeling you may have gone in a different direction, which is okay, and would you be nice enough to leave me a message after hours on my voicemail?" Wow, low threat. Non-threatening. People want to be pulled through the process. The alternative is to say, "Hey, it's Dave Mattson over at Sandler. You know, I gave you an awesome proposal and I'm sitting here at my desk waiting for your call." You can even ... Ugh. You wince even listening to that. You'd be like, "I'm never calling." Use the psychology to your advantage. Those are the four steps of the buying process. What do we do?
Well, as a Sandler-trained salesperson we have to really understand. You need to know what the four steps are. You've got to make sure that you rehearse, rehearse, rehearse your portion. On next week's broadcast for leaders we're going to talk about the key areas on what we should rehearse and what we should learn as professionals. You also have to follow a selling system. The buyers have a system. Everyone that's listening to this broadcast has used this system when they've bought any product or service. You need a system too. Now, we all know listening to the broadcast that, hey, the Sandler Selling System is the best system out there.
It's basically a buying psychology and a sales psychology process, and you can use it as the greatest communication tool in your business life and your personal life. Seven steps. Step number one, establish rapport. Now, this step is going to happen throughout. It's just not, "Hey, I'm showing up today to show or establish rapport." It doesn't work that way. You need to do it throughout the process. It happens in real-time. Your job as a professional salesperson is to lower the anxiety and create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable sharing. It's got to be very conversational. Remember this: As professionals we get paid to position our product or service in a way that our buyer understands it. The buyers do not get paid to buy the way we sell.
Now what does that mean? Well, think about how many times you've had a fantastic call, you really connected with somebody, and you said, "You know what? I finally figured it out. I know exactly what to say." You go down the road, say the exact same thing, only to find out you didn't have the same result. The buyer didn't have the same reaction as the one that did yesterday. Why is that? Well, because they're different people. You've got to change your communication style based on the recipient, much like your children. They're different types of people. You treat child A differently than child B, not philosophically, but the way that you talk to them. The same thing holds true here. It's very important.
People buy from people, and they're going to buy from people who they're comfortable with. That's your job—make sure that buyers feel comfortable. Have you ever gone to a dance and you were uncomfortable? The outcome is typically a nightmare.
All right, step two—up-front contracts, mutual agreement. Up-front contracts are basically full-disclosure selling. You tell people what's going to happen on a sales call prior to it occurring. Wow, what a concept! Can you imagine starting off a call saying, "Here's what's going to happen over the next 45 minutes"? They love that. Here's when you know it's never happened. Think about a call that lasted an hour. The salesperson, amateur, comes in, 53 minutes into it and they say, "What do you think? I'd like to move forward."
That's a trial close. The buyer's caught off guard. They didn't realize today was closing day. They said, "No, I've got to think it over." When you hear, "I want to think it over," it's a great indication you didn't set an up-front contract. Step three—pain. What does that mean? Well, in Sandler world you know what this is. People buy emotionally and justify intellectually. People buy for their own reasons, not yours. What you've got to do is to make sure that you've established emotional need. At Sandler we call that "pain." People do not buy futures and benefits. That's an intellectual sale. You've got to turn it into an emotion. Pain is the way to do that. We know that, and you know that from all the courses that you've attended. You've got to make sure you got three to five pains.
You've got to tie it in to how it affects that person personally and financially. We're going to spend some future broadcasts talking about the buying rapport, the pain, the up-front contract, and here's the next step—budget. Everything there is to know about the financial landscape. How much is the pain costing them? What do they have budgeted? Is there something that we could actually sell called a "monkey's paw"? A monkey's paw is the smaller sale. Yeah, how do we get started today?
Decision. Decision is an important aspect in the process. It's our fifth step. Everything there is to know about decision. Who makes these types of decisions? When are they made? Where are they made? In today's global economy you've got people making decisions from many different cultures. You've got to understand the landscape. You've got to know the relationship maps and the cast of characters. We teach this over and over again at our training centers.
Sixth step—fulfillment. Now we call it fulfillment on purpose. It's not called presentation; it's called fulfillment. Why? Well, we're going to fulfill the pain. How are we going to solve their pain? That's key. If you go in with a full dog and pony show, as Pat has said, you've probably bought it and sold it back five to six times. It's interactive. The best fulfillment stage is one that the prospect helps you put together.
The last step—post-sell. This helps us with buyer's remorse and also helps us get referrals, but you've got make sure that when they've bought it, they want it too. These are the things that'll help us control the Buyer-Seller Dance.
You've been reading the transcript of Selling the Sandler Way with Dave Mattson. Sandler Training is the worldwide leader in sales, management, and customer service training for individuals to Fortune 500 companies, with over 250 locations.
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