The brutal fact is the number one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipeline and the root cause of an empty pipeline is the failure to consistently prospect.
Hi there, this is Dylis Guyan and welcome to The Inspired Selling Podcast, the place where business owners who sell to bigger business, discover how to attract, convert and retain more of their ideal clients without any of those nasty, sleazy sales tactics.
I’ve got to tell you, I’ve got an amazing guest for you today Jeb Blount and he is going to share his cutting-edge insights on how to keep your sales pipeline and bank account full, and how to become a superstar in sales consistently. That is a word I know we’re going to touch on quite a bit.
Let me tell you a little bit about Jeb, he has been named one of the top fifty most influential, sales and marketing leaders, he is the bestselling author of eight books including “Sales EQ,” “Fanatical Prospecting” which I have two copies, I just want to say, one in my office and one in sports bag for when I’m finish swimming and I lie by the pool. Also, author of “People Follow You” and “People Buy You.”
He advises many of the world’s leading organisations and their executives on the impact of emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills and sales leadership, customer experience, channel development and strategic account management. He really is a leading authority in his field. So, Jeb I’m absolutely thrilled to have you with us today. You have a very prestigious CV, so, tell us the story about how you got to become the thought leader, the author, the authority that you are in your field today.
Jeb: Well, it really begins with my career in business. I started young, when I was 23 years old I was managing multiple profit centres for a company called Nutrisystem here in the United States and then I started with a company called Aramark which is a global outsourcing company, 250,000 employees, fortune 250 company. I started there driving a truck when I was 24 years old and by the time I was 34 years old I was the head of sales.
So, I went from running my region and my group and so, I went from truck driver to vice president in the span of about 10 years there and along the way I learned a lot about business and how business works. My story is not dissimilar to a lot of folks who remember the 2006/2007/2008 and nine malaise that we were all in and the worldwide global recession.
In the middle of that recession, my fortunes changed like so many other people in corporate America because we started paring down. I had to make some career decisions and that moment of truth made me decide that I was going to go down the entrepreneurial path rather than to get back into corporate America, which I had the opportunity to do. I started my company Sales Gravy 11 years ago, today we are a global sales training and development company, we have 16 people working for us. Along the way I’ve written nine books, the ninth book right behind me will be out in two weeks.
Dylis: I’ll have to go and get that one. I’ll have to go onto Amazon and put that in my diary in two weeks’ time.
Jeb: Absolutely and, it was…I think that a lot of people who are in business who are my age or who went through the recession, there were a lot of entrepreneurs that came out of that. I think that’s just part of the natural cycle is that we lead businesses and we take that DNA and we plug it in other places or we take what we learned in business and we build our own and then we hire people and we build the economy.
That I think is the story that so many people share. Like a lot of people in your audience when I started my business it was just me and I was sitting in my home drinking a cup of coffee, I went from my corner office in a big tall building, flying around on the corporate jet and with two assistants working for me to getting on the telephone and literally cold calling people to try to get business and it took my two years in that space to land my first enterprise level account.
So, I was doing a lot of mom and pop sales, smaller companies and I…in the really late summer of August of 2009 I landed ADP and that was my first big enterprise account. Then from there I picked up Verizon, I picked up Sprint, I picked up Edward Jones and a number of companies, but I had to get the ball started because that’s one of the problems with selling to big companies is big companies do business with you when you do business with other big companies. So sometimes when you’re breaking into that first one it takes a lot of work.
My story is really simple with ADP, for example, I built relationships with a lot of people in the middle of the company and people who had budget and I started getting a little piece of business from them. Then I was able to aggregate that up into a larger contract with the company as a whole. From there we just grew and grew and grew and grew and grew and I think that’s how most small businesses make that leap forward.
Dylis: Absolutely and you mentioned something really important there Jeb, about you don’t have to go in and get this huge piece of business it’s about starting with a small piece, becoming known in that company, being trusted and seeing that you can deliver and then really building on that.
Jeb: That’s how we work today. We’re still a…I mean, my business in doubling in size every single year and we’re…this year we’ll probably move past the small business moniker that in the United States it’s a business that’s under $5 million in sales. So, this year we’re skipping past that and we’ll be closer to $10 million in sales. We’re on a trajectory, if we can continue this, to move to $25 million in the next couple of years; just based on what we’re doing.
But even today, we will get into a company and pick off a small piece of that company and then we prove ourselves and we keep working, and the truth is where we fail is we get into a company and we’re working, and we prove ourselves, but my people get comfortable and they don’t keep pushing to the next level. You have to keep asking for more.
If that company doesn’t care about your small business, it doesn’t care about how busy you are, it doesn’t care about any of those things it cares about how you’re going to deliver value. Most of the people in that business that are hiring you care about, can you save time, can you take hassle off their plate, are you low risk decision for them, that’s what they care about. You and your small business you have to step into their shoes.
Now, the benefit that I have is that I worked for a massive company. So, I know, and I always recognise that from the very beginning. Because I work for a really big fortune 500 company I understood how things get done so it’s a little bit easier for me to accept some of the road blocks and some of the issues that you get that are so frustrating when you’re working with a big business.
Even today, 11 years later, I still get frustrated with the pace, how slow sometimes it is to get things done. But if you get into a big business and you prove yourself, when you get in most of the times you stay in because now you’re the low risk.
Never ever, ever forget that when you’re selling into a large company you’re dealing with a human being, that human being is solving their own problems and the company’s problems. You have to make sure that you’re handling both of those things. If you become a risk to that human being who probably has a salary, may have a retirement plan, has a family to feed, has a mortgage, has all those things the moment you become a risk you’re done because that person is going to protect their job before they’re going to protect you.
Dylis: Yeah, indeed. This doesn’t just apply to getting into a fortune 500 or FTSE as we have here in the UK. This applies really when you’re selling to any bigger business doesn’t it? You don’t have to go in and get the crown jewels.
Jeb: I think and when we look at…we lost a proposal, we were competing and there was a no decision in this situation, so we didn’t lose to our competitor we just lost, and everybody lost in the situation. We went in with too much, like, we went in and we overwhelmed them with the proposal, we asked for way too much. It was a lesson that we had to learn.
It was one of my sales people who went in for the whole thing; for the kill. Sometimes when you go in asking for too much you don’t get anything at all and this occurs regularly and sometimes it is worth the risk to go in say, “This is what it’s going to take to do this because your business can’t sustain a bad reputation because you bring in half a solution.” But I agree with you I think that the key is get in the door, get something.
It’s a mantra that I have with my own sales team. We do an event for a big company and your you’re an executive, it’s not just fortune 500 when you…I look at big companies, once they get pass like $250 million US, and I don’t know what that would translate into pounds in the UK, but once they get pass $250 million, there’s infrastructure there, there’s bureaucracy there.
I love going into a $50 million company because typically I’m dealing with a CEO and somebody can make a decision just like that. But once you get above that number, you’ve got bureaucracy, and it’s so much easier to pick it off in small chunks than it is to go for the whole thing.
So, it’s important that when you’re working with a larger business and you’re going in to sell to them that you think what’s the easiest path that gets me into this business and generates revenue; start there. I know that like a lot of the sales books you read the sales books are like “Go to the top” and “Go for everything” and “Go to the CEO,” and that’s not always the place to go.
Sometimes it is but in a lot of cases there’s budgets and departments where they can bring you in but there you have the hard job of levelling up. This is where, we said this earlier but I’m going to say it again, this is where my own team fails because we fail at this all the time. There’s nothing that anybody on this podcast is doing that we haven’t done and failed at.
Dylis: Yeah, me too.
Jeb: Is that we get in there and we get comfortable and we don’t keep asking for more. If you get comfortable and don’t keep asking for more, you get in trouble. There’s one more thing that I’ve experienced over the last 11 years and that is you get in and you’re a small business and you’re working with a big business and they become a big part of your revenue stream. You like them, and they like you and it’s a great relationship.
But sometimes when you’re starting out, especially, you’re willing to go in and you go in at a rate, whatever you’re selling whether it’s a service or a product, you want a rate that’s low enough to get you in the door. Then one day you wake up and realise that this business loves you and they’re taking a lot of your time and they’re taking a lot of your business resources and your profit’s really low and because you’ve become successful and you got a reputation you need to move the number up.
That’s a very sticky thing to do and it’s important that you, and this is the book “objections” behind me, that you know how to and learn how to ask for a raise when you deserve it and you’re doing the right thing. I know from experience when you’re dancing with the gorilla sometimes that’s a difficult conversation to have but it’s important for your business. If you’re doing a good job and you’re doing the right thing you should be able to ask and get more for the work that you’re putting in.
Dylis: I’ve got a great example of this Jeb and this actually was quite a number of years ago. I got into a national chocolate company here in the UK and my son-in-law was in fact the assistant chocolatier. I asked him who I should be talking to about increasing revenue by improving the skills of the managers, the leaders.
He introduced me to this lady and I went and spoke to her and she introduced me to the Board and I went in and did this work with the store managers but whilst I was doing that I identified an opportunity that they were missing. They were missing this huge opportunity to gain corporate sales through their retail stores.
So, I went to the CEO and I said, “Look, here’s what I’ve identified, here’s…I put some numbers together and so on,” and he said put me a proposal together. I ended up then, in fact, increasing my daily rate- because I was on daily rate I wasn’t putting like a proposal top line number in- and he accepted it without any hesitation because of the work I had done previously. This was kind of a notch up. It was a different level.
Then from there I actually ended up going into their direct department where they were selling online and re-doing all their systems processes, sales processes and so on. But they wouldn’t have brought me in, I don’t think, at that top-level right from the outset. I had to work my way through and establish myself.
Jeb: Exactly, you had to build trust and that’s, I think that’s the most important thing. Again, we go back to risk when you’re dealing with a big company and you’re dealing with their bureaucracy and you’re dealing with the individuals that are involved, you have to de-risk the situation and that is your reputation, that’s the work that you’re delivering.
The second thing that you did there that was brilliant is you focused on the business outcome. So, when you were talking to the CEO you’re showing the CEO, here’s a place where there’s opportunities for you to generate more revenue and profit, the language of CEOs, and I can help you achieve this outcome. That’s different from saying I’m really good at this, I’m really good at this, I’m good at this because if you’re just selling and pitching you, that doesn’t attach itself to something that’s more important. Along the way as you moved into corporate and to B2B you’re able to ask for a higher rate.
One of the things that our company has evolved into over the last few years and really over the last two years, in earnest, is we’ve moved from things like daily rate into a subscription-based relationship, we called them integrated partnerships. We realised, with a lot of our clients, the client wants our time, they want us to spend…put a consultant in place or have one of our trainers on site all the time or they’re trying to accomplish a particular goal, and on the daily rate or on a project basis it’s…we can’t deploy our resources to always be there for them.
So, we shifted from daily rates and project rates to a monthly subscription, I call it a subscription fee and monthly recurring revenue model, and it’s been really, really successful for us because we’ve moved from almost nothing. If I go back I can look a couple years ago we were about $30,000 a month in recurring revenue and today we’re around $400,000 a month US in recurring revenue on these types of models.
Just like you had, like, we’ll ask for more, ask for more, ask for more, and we realise that heck we’re there all the time. So, what we’re able to do is two things: we’re able to lower the rate that the company was paying if they paid us a daily rate. So, we’re able to go to them and say we can lower your overall cost to having us come in, on the flip side we get the guarantee that the revenue is going to be there so that we can then take out resources and put them on that with the peace of mind of knowing that the revenue is going to be there.
Now, if you’re a small business, you know how hard it is when you have limited resources to work with a big company that has a lot of demands. It’s a model that we’ve used to allow ourselves to attack things like that. Once we’re in and we’ve got the subscription model then we’re in.
The reason we call it integrated partnership is now we’re a part of their business very much like the chocolate company. You move, and you move and you move and now you’re in there all the time and the CEO calls you ask, I’m sure this happened to you, “Hey, what should I do in this case?” or “What should I do here?”
Yesterday I was on the phone all day long with clients who are on subscription models from CEOs to senior vice president of HR who are calling me up, and even founders, who are calling me and asking me, “Hey, we’re about to spend this money what do you think?” I don’t have to send them a bill, I don’t have to think anything about it, this is my client and we take care of them.
That further creates that connection because they get used to dealing with us at that level, it no longer feels like I’m nickel and dimming them or you got to pay me so much every time you have a conversation with me. It’s really shifted and changed our business. I got to tell you, in the process of doing that, as a small business, the first couple of asks were really, how do you say this? Like, your heart was pounding, it was scary that you’re asking for something, you don’t know what they’re going to say. But it was interesting how many said yes because I think it also give them the peace of mind that you’re going to be there.
Part of the learning on that was us recognising that we had become such an important part of their business. Some of what they felt was anxiety that we might go away, that we might not take their business anymore and leverage it someplace else. So, it’s a benefit for both parties and once you get into that space then you can really start getting into the organisation and applying yourself without worrying about money.
You can start applying yourself to solve problems and for my business which is a consulting business, that’s the greatest place in the world to be because all of a sudden you get request like, “Hey, will you sit on our Board of directors? Or will you do this, or will you be an advisor for us.” At that point you begin shaping future buying decisions because they’re asking you for your opinion and as long as your opinion is given with integrity and the right intent then they begin to pay attention to your advice and what you’re asking or what you’re recommending that they do.
Dylis: Yeah, indeed. So, something else I would like to touch on Jeb, and you mentioned it before. So a lot of companies or businesses who are selling to other businesses would get a really good contract or a good project to work on and so they’re working on it, but they forget to work on keeping their pipeline full. So, they get to end of the project, look in a diary and go, “Oh my Gosh,” just before the end of the project and think, “Oh gosh, now what?”
Dylis: So, can we talk for a moment about the importance, and I used the word earlier about consistency, of consistently keeping your pipeline full. So, let’s talk about that and then how to do it.
Jeb: Well, so many entrepreneurs/small businesses, especially in the service space, primarily in the service space might get a big contract or what have you or the feast or famine amusement park, riding on the desperation roller coaster. So, they’re…it’s up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, and there’s a couple of reasons why this happens, so let’s just take the human side of this.
One of the reasons is that you got into the business that you’re in because you love doing what you do and it’s not that you love selling, you don’t like prospecting, you don’t like filling the pipeline, you like solving problems, you like spending time with your clients, you like working on these projects. No matter what it is, that’s what you love to do.
So, you get into a project and you work really hard doing something you hate, filling up the pipeline/ prospecting, people you don’t like that right? Then you go through the process and then you get a project and you’re like, “Oh my God, I’m doing what I love to do, this so much fun,” and your brain shuts off and you forget that there’s going to be a moment when that project is over. If it’s like a six months project but you don’t think that way, you just thinking, “What do I do right now?” If you were a solopreneur, if you’re all by yourself it gets even harder because now you’re doing all the work and you’re doing all the prospecting.
So, it’s important that you create, I call it Spidey Sense from Spider Man, but you have to have this thing inside of you that is driving you to be paranoid to be uncomfortable that you are single focused on one or two contracts and those contracts are going to be over and you have to constantly keep filling the pipe. You have to get past two fears, one of the fear is your fear of being told “No” and your fear of asking for more and the other fear is the fear of getting too much and being completely overwhelmed.
I know that right now because we have so many proposals on the table as a business right now that if they all say “Yes,” we are screwed because I have no idea how we’re going to get them all taken care of. But that’s a good problem to have and we’ll work it out and usually the universe if on our side. So, you have to think, “I never quit prospecting.”
We teach something called “The 30 Days Rule” and “The 30 Days Rule” says this, the prospecting that you do in any given 30 days period has a tendency to pay off over the next 90 days. So, if the moment that you quit prospecting what you do is you impact your revenue over the next 90 days. You take a day off its going to hurt you, you take a week off its going to bite, you take a month off and you’re not going to be able to make your mortgage payment.
So, as an entrepreneur, as a small business you must always be focused on filling up the pipe. Look, if you’re working on a really big project that’s taking all of your team’s time just make a commitment that every morning I’m going to get up and I’m going to make five prospecting touches. If you’re not working on something that’s pulling all your time, you get up in the morning and the first thing that you do is you make 25 prospecting touches.
When you make prospecting, you make filling up the pipeline because the pipe is life for a small business. You make that your number one priority every single morning. You don’t start your day without prospecting because if you don’t prospect first thing in the morning, everything else is going to hit the fan and at the end of the day you’re going to push it all for another day.
A French guy came up with this back in the 1800s but…talking about eating frogs. So, if the worst thing that you had to do every day was to eat a frog the best thing to do is do it first thing in the morning. You have to think about prospecting and pipeline build like eating frogs, it’s the most nasty thing that you can think of. No one wants to eat a nasty old bull frog. Do it first, eat the frog first thing in the morning and I promise you, you will never go hungry, you will get off of this up and down, up and down, up and down.
The problem for a lot of small businesses is when they don’t fill up the pipeline they get to that point where they hit the bottom of that hill or the bottom of that roller coaster and they can’t get back up again. They can’t solve the problem because the money issues get in the way; you still have to feed your family, you still have to pay for things, you still have to pay your bills. If you don’t have money coming in, you can’t do that.
The other problem that happens when you get to the bottom of the hill is you get desperate. So, we talked about de-risking earlier, when you feel desperate, you exude risk. You say things, you push too hard and big companies they move at a slower pace than small companies do, so you have to be patient, you have to move people through the pipeline.
If you need this deal as bad as or worse than anything else, you’re probably not going to get it, it’s called the universal law of need. The more you need to solve a project the less likely you are going to get it. So, the best way to manage your emotions is to have a full pipeline and you should never forget, especially when you’re dealing with big businesses, that the human being in that conversation, anytime we’re having a conversation with a big business, that exerts the greatest amount of emotional control as the highest probability of getting the outcome that they desire. A full pipeline, a full book of projects gives you great emotional control when you’re dealing and working with a big business.
Dylis: Yeah and prospecting in your terms and mine is not about fiddling about with social media. Now, social media is great as a first touch, like, you might want to connect with somebody on LinkedIn. It’s not just about going to a networking meeting or going an exhibition, what we’re talking about here is picking up the phone isn’t it?
Jeb: Yes, pick up the phone and call people or go knock on their door and see people. If you go to a networking event, get a list of people but within 24 hours you call them all; you’re exactly right. Like, social media is important, I get up every single morning and spend at least an hour and a half doing social media, but I do that between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. not when it’s prime prospecting time. So, it’s picking up the phone.
Here’s a good thing, look if you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve done projects with your customers in the past, some of those people aren’t doing business with you right now. One of the easiest places to start, I mean our best prospecting list are the companies that have hired us to do work for them in the past, and sometimes we just call and say, “Hey, how are you doing? We just want to check on you,” and they go, “I’m so glad you called, we have some more business for you.” So, it is building a list and it’s picking up the phone and its calling people and having a conversation.
There’s some frameworks you showed them Fanatical Prospecting earlier, there’s some framework in Fanatical Prospecting on how to have that call and how to build better messaging. In this book behind me, Objections- there’s frameworks and objections for dealing with what happens when people tell you “No” or they won’t meet with you or what have you. But the cumulative impact of a little bit of prospecting every day, pick up the phone and call and say something, hello to somebody, it pays off over the long term.
What happens, and this is what I mean by the 30-Day Rule, I may have a conversation with you today and we just say, “How are things going?” “Well things are pretty good,” blah blah blah blah blah and we don’t talk again for a week or so or two weeks or three weeks but I’m in your brain, you see me on social media, something happens, a trigger event happens, you call me now and say, “Hey, we talked a couple of weeks ago, turns out I do have something for you.”
Dylis: Because you’ve created this top of mind thinking.
Dylis: With your various touches. Would you share your framework with us, Jeb? Because I think this is one of the things that I hear. People are, I don’t know why but there is this fear of picking up the phone. When I ask them why they say, “I just don’t know what to say,” and you’ve got a fabulous framework in your book Fanatical Prospecting.
Jeb: Absolutely, so if you think about it when you’re calling people you’re interrupting them, and no one wants to be interrupted and most people don’t want to interrupt. If we just are honest with ourselves, if I did a survey of entrepreneurs and small business people and said, “How do you feel calling strangers and interrupting their day?” Most of them would say, “I’d prefer not to do that.” If we did a survey of the people that you’re interrupting most of those folks would prefer that you not interrupt them. The problem is, if you don’t interrupt, you’re never going to get their business because they’re not going to call you I promise you, that’s not how it works.
This is not a build a dreams moment where you build a business and then they all come. You know that to be true because you have to struggle every single day to get your pipeline full. So, if we’re going to interrupt people, especially business people, what we need to think about is, how would you want to be interrupted? So, I don’t want to be interrupted but if I have to be interrupted I prefer for it to be short, sweet and to the point and relevant to me.
One of my CEO friends calls it “The 3 Bs,” be brief, be bright, be gone. So, you want to do that, and what are you asking for? Most cases you’re asking for an appointment or you may be asking for information about future projects they may have coming up or whatever the case may be, so you’re looking for buying windows. So, to do that we’ve just created a simple framework. So, let me give you the wrong way of doing things.
Most phone calls start off, the reason you don’t know what to say is because it started like this, you make the phone call and you say, “Hey, how are you doing?” Then there is this awkward silence because you just interrupted their day and then your heart starts beating really fast because you don’t know what to say and they’re like, “Hey, who are you and what do you want?” Then the whole thing’s a train wreck, you’re embarrassed and that was the one call you made this morning and you said, “I’m never going to do that again because that sucks.”
So, instead of doing that we have to think about how the human brain works, and it’s a five-step process and it begins with getting their attention and the easiest, fastest way to get someone’s attention is to say their name. Next you want to tell them who you are and what you want because the human mind abhors the unknown.
When you call up and you say hello whatever and you get them on the phone they’re thinking what’s going on here, so I say the reason I’m calling, “Hi this is Jeb with Sales Gravy and the reason I’m calling is to set an appointment with you,” just pretty simple. So, “Hi Dylis, this Jeb from Sales Gravy, the reason I’m calling is to set an appointment with you,” simple, that takes two seconds, so I’m being fast.
Then I want to give them a reason why, this is the relevance, because, “Because we’ve been really successful in helping people who sell chocolate move into the corporate space by creating logoed items that generate a lot more profit than their consumer-based sales. And I thought you might like to learn some of those best practices. How about we get together on Thursday at 2?”
So, I give you a because and then I ask for the time. So, it’s really simple, get their attention, the easiest fast way to get their attention is to say their name and then I will tell them who I am and why I’m calling and then I want to give them the because, I’m going to give them a reason to meet with me and then I’m going to ask for them to meet with me.
It may be because I like to learn more about you and I was wondering if you have a few minutes to talk right now. So, we may be able to move directly into a phone call. But the whole point of it is to get there fast. So, that should be 20 to 30 seconds max before you ask.
Now, the key in this is asking assumptively because emotions are contagious. So, when you ask with assertion, with assumption, with confidence, with relaxed confidence, reduce resistance and you’re more likely to get a yes. To prove this out I was working with a group of inside sales reps two weeks ago. We spent an hour with them just teaching them how to ask with assumption; ask and assume they’re going to say yes, we spent an hour doing that.
We put them back on the phone, 17 people, we had a 600% increase in their sales over a 30 minutes period from teaching them how to ask with assumption to before when they were beating around the bush, they were like, “Hey, would it be okay if maybe we could get together? When would you like to buy my things?” So, this is the real key and when you roll through that process and you do that consistently what’s going to happen is you’re going to get more positive outcomes.
Now, you are going to run into some objections and we have a framework for dealing with objections. But in most cases because you are a small business and it’s a low risk conversation they’re either going to say, “Yes, I’ll meet with you now,” or “I don’t have any projects right now,” and then you can say, “Okay, when are you going to have projects,” or “When do you have something coming up?” You can put that into your CRM or into your database and you can create a trigger for yourself to call them at that time.
Dylis: Fantastic and the “because” bit is so important isn’t it? You can use either a generic like you’ve just given an example there or you could put prospects into Google alerts, for example, where there are trigger events, there might be a merger or an acquisition or maybe some redundancies or a new CEO and you can bring that in can’t you; into your “because” which makes it a very powerful thing.
Jeb: Yeah, absolutely sometimes we’ll call and say, “Because I noticed in the news that your company has just been purchased by boom, boom, boom and I work with companies who are going through these transitions and I have a couple of best practices I thought you might like to learn about, or we can do a specific thing.” In some cases, now this doesn’t really work well with big business but as you work down the scale if you’re working with a smaller business one thing that works really, really well, especially if you’re dealing with a founder, is I’d like to learn more about you and how you created your business.
If you get bigger businesses that does not work but small businesses, it definitely works because the thing that founders like to talk about the most is how they created they business. So, what you have to do is start thinking about, and I love what you said, it could be a trigger event, it could be a particular vertical. So, if you’re dealing with an industry vertical, there are particular issues the industry vertical is facing. It could be a competitor, we’re working with your competitor on this particular issue and this is an issue that you face as well.
The key thing here is getting to “Yes” “No” or “Maybe” as fast as you possibly can and being assumptive in your ask; we’re doing a couple of things and most of this is happening at a subconscious level with the prospect. So, but mostly if you work on those because statements and you test that out, just come up a few of them and try them, you’ll find what works and what doesn’t work.
When I say works this is a probability deal if you make 25 calls, you’re probably going to get a couple of appointments, you’re not going to get 25 appointments. Could you make 25 dials, 15 of them are going to go straight to voicemail. So, there’s a voicemail frame work that you can use as well. But if you think about most businesses, if you got one or two appointments every single day you’re in great shape, you’re going to have more business than you can shake a stick at.
Dylis: I was talking to a lady last week who works for a company, she’s the business development manager, and she told me how she’s going through these kind of peaks and troughs and she said, actually she said, “I’ve got quite a few in my pipeline that I think are going to come off, but they haven’t, of course.” So, she’s had the meeting but it’s exactly what you said, it’s about getting that decision. So, she’s got some maybes in her pipeline. But when I asked how she’s developing her business it’s social media and its word of mouth, and she doesn’t pick up the phone. Honestly, I’m like an evangelist and I know you are too Jeb. Getting out there, trying to get people to pick up the phone because you’ve got to give people the opportunity to say “Yes” or “No, not right now,” or maybe no forever but you know.
Jeb: Yeah, you’ve got to talk to people and what happens in this case she’s chasing deals that are probably never going to close because there’s not enough in the pipe. If you’re consistently putting opportunities in the pipeline, you don’t have time to deal with prospects who go dark on you or people who can’t make a decision. It gets really, really easy to let those go.
There are people in this audience right now who know what I’m talking about, look me in the eye when I’m having this conversation with you because were calling and calling and calling just checking in on prospects that are never going to close, because that’s all you have. If you put new stuff in the pipe, pick up the phone is the easiest fastest way to make that happen then those just go…they go away because you got three other things to work on.
We do this every day in our business. We have so much stuff in our pipeline that if something goes dark on us we just ignore it and move on. They’ll come back at some time in the future, that’ll be fine, but if you don’t have a lot of stuff it won’t work. Just working on social media and word of mouth, you’ll starve to death. Look, social media is important it’s an important element.
Dylis: Yup, I agree.
Jeb: Social media to me is not prospecting it is advertising; it’s marketing. For me, it is a pure marketing play. If it creates an inbound lead great, I love that, it’s fantastic but it’s more likely to create familiarity so people know who I am so when I call they’re more likely to take my call and take my meeting because they know who I am. It’s one of the reasons why I write books, it’s one of the reasons why I post so many videos, or I do podcast.
All of this is about creating familiarity. When familiarity doesn’t create business, picking up the phone and having a conversation because that’s how we do business, we talk to other human beings; that’s what makes money.
Dylis: Yeah, and I call this the social media bit. I call this exposing yourself metaphorically speaking.
Jeb: Okay, we could call it that.
Dylis: That you’re getting out there and becoming…become visible and creating that top mind thinking. So, before we go Jeb, just…let’s just touch on…because you’ve got your book up there, Objections, let’s say you have your phone call, you grab their attention and introduce yourself, you give them the because, you close with confidence about meeting and they say, “Oh, send me a brochure.”
Jeb: Yes, “Send me some information,” the greatest brush off of all time. What you have to recognise is in that moment a lot of bad things are happening inside of you from a neuro-physical stand point. So, your brain has been developed over the last 40,000 years to be super sensitive to rejection. The reason that were sensitive to rejection as human beings is because rejection is a good thing and that it helps us understand where the lines are drawn in human relationships.
People who were sensitive to rejection say 40,000 years ago when we were living in caves, were more likely to pass on their DNA because they were more likely not to get kicked out of the cave into the dark where they were killed or eaten by something that you know was chasing them. So, over time what human beings did as we evolved into these people that when we sense rejection we feel something called a social threat, and social threat kicks of something inside of us called fight or flight. What fight or flight does is releases a whole lot of hormones, like cortisol and testosterone and adrenaline into our bloodstream, that’s why your heart starts pondering and your stomach tightens up and blood begins rushing into your muscles and it’s the same response that you feel if you were to face, say, a physical threat, the same exact neuro-physical response happens when you face a social threat.
So, when you get told “No” which is, “Hey, could you just send me some brochures,” all of a sudden, in an instant, this whole process kicks off. When that happens, and this is one of the problems with fight or flight, blood is rushing into your muscles to get you prepared to either run or stand your ground. Blood is being taken out of parts of your body that are nonessential, one of those parts by the way is your neocortex, because from an evolutionary standpoint it doesn’t pay to think before you get out of harm’s way. You get out of harm’s way and then you think.
That’s why when people tell you “No” you don’t know what to say because your brain can’t function. So, what you have to do is create a mechanism that allows you to do what neuro scientist called “The Magic Quarter Second” which is, essential, getting your neocortex back in executive control over your emotions. The emotions happen without your consent, but you can rise above the emotions and choose your response.
So, we basically use a three-step process to do that, the first process is something called a ledge or an anchor. All a ledge is something that you say, every time, it’s rote but you say this when you face an objection and that immediately triggers your brain your neocortex to say, woah, woah, woah, woah, okay this is not a social threat we’re going to be okay and now I can get back in control.
So, if someone says send me some information one of the things I do, “Send me a brochure,” I go, “That’s fantastic. I am so glad that you are looking for more information.” That’s what I say, and I say it every single time and then I say, and this is a disruptive statement, so the second piece is to disrupt; it’s pattern painting. Your prospect is used to saying, “Send me information,” or ”I’m too busy,” and they’re used to hearing the exact say same words out of everybody who calls them.
So, I disrupt that, I go, “That’s fantastic, I’m so glad that you’re looking for information,” and then I go, “But the problem is that we have so much information and as busy as you are the last thing that I would want to do is overwhelm you with information that’s not relevant to your situation. So, I’m just curious what specific information would you be interested in.”
Now, when that happens, when I ask that question one of two things are going to happen, one is they’re going to give me another objection, so they may say, “Look, I’m really too busy right now,” or “I’m not too interested,” so we’re going to use the same process in those cases. When they say, “I’m too busy,” I go, “Well, that’s exactly why I called because I figured you would be as busy and all I want is to grab a time that would be more convenient for you, how about Thursday at 2?” That’s got about a 70% probability of flipping them into an appointment.
But if they say, “I’d be interested in blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” that’s their answer, I…my response is always the same, “That’s exactly why we should get together. That way I can learn a little bit more you and your unique situation and then I can tailor a package of information that will help you make a better decision, How about Thursday at 2?”
Now, if you think about that, all of that has to be something that you don’t have to think about because in throws of fight or flight everything in your brain is turned off. That’s why sometimes like, when you get told “No,” you go, “Aaahhhh,” you don’t know what to say. So, you have to practice it and practice it and practice it and practice it. You have to thinking about your own way of saying things, your own way of doing things so it sounds authentic and it sounds you, and it just rolls off your lips.
Now, let me be clear this is a probability game. Just because you deliver that doesn’t mean that 100% of the time they’re going to say yes. I know that when people tell me they’re too busy my “Too busy script” works about 70% of the time. If they say send me some information, that turn around I just gave you, works about 30% of the time because they’re usually going to give me another objection in that situation.
So, you have to go through a process of learning what to say, developing it yourself and in Objections we give all the frameworks and there’s a whole exercise in there that you can run through to build this. You have to understand why people resist you and the neuro-physical response that they’re having on their end as well. But once you get all that down and you get good at it, it gets a whole lot easier to know what to say, when to say it in your unique situation.
I just want to add one more thing, even though I just rolled through a couple of scripts with you that doesn’t mean that it works in your business, in your market segment, in your vertical, that’s why we call them frameworks not scripts. The framework allows you to have a set of rails to run on in context of where you are. So, you want to go through the process yourself of building out those turn arounds, those prospecting objections turnarounds based on your unique situation.
Dylis: Fantastic, absolutely fantastic. I’m a great believer in practice because you’re not going to be brilliant at it straight away. It’s like anything, if you’re learning to play golf you’re not brilliant straight away. Like when you first learn to drive you’re not brilliant straight away but the more you do it the better you get. I got this very simple three-step thing that I do with everything that I do is, what went well, what didn’t go so well, what can I do better next time. So, I’m giving myself that lift each time.
Dylis: Oh Jeb, I could talk to you, like, for three weeks and maybe we’d come back another time and we could talk about the actual appointment. So, if people want to get in touch with you, obviously, they can get your book Objections, they can get Fanatical Prospecting and there are many other books that you’ve written, they can get those on Amazon. Your website is www.salesgravy.com.
Jeb: www.salesgravy.com absolutely and there’s tons of resource on Sales Gravy that are free. You can click on the Sales Gravy University, there’s free webinars and courses that are there. If you click on articles you can get…we just have thousands and thousands of articles that are all free to look at, videos are there as well.
You pick up my podcast on iTunes or on Stitcher or on Podbay or any place that you can find a podcast, it’s called the Sales Gravy Podcast; pretty easy. Then you can…my email address is pretty simple it’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Then, I’m on Twitter @salesgravy, on Instagram @salesgravy. You can connect with me on Facebook @salesgravy or my fan page where I post most of my business stuff is Jeb On Demand.
You can catch up with me on LinkedIn and just type my name in, and then of course on YouTube I post videos every single week so there are always 50 seconds, 30 seconds video on YouTube with tips on selling or what have you. So, but I love to connect with people so take a moment and look me up on social and I will expose myself to you.
Dylis: Metaphorically speaking, of course. Jeb, it’s been an utter pleasure, thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you next time.
Jeb: Thank you so much. It really has been a pleasure, thank you.
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