Many sellers rely on old ideology to engage their customers without realizing that if they flip the script, they can set the rules for the sale instead of conforming to the buyer’s rules.
Oren Klaff is the author of Pitch Anything, a required reading throughout Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Fortune 500 companies. Oren is the world’s leading expert on sales, raising capital, and negotiation and has written for Harvard Business Review, Advertising Age Entrepreneur, among others. He is also an investing partner in a $2 million private equity investment fund and loves motorcycles. Oren is about to release his follow-up book entitled, Flip the Script.
There is very little flexibility in most meetings, in that what happens in the first few minutes determines the outcome of the whole thing. The pitch is very important because there are high stakes in every presentation. It’s expensive to travel to presentations, so you have to get everything right the first time.
Making a pitch is like a surgery. There’s no room for error.
A pitch is a pitch regardless of the value: $1,000, $5,000, $100,00, $10 million, or $15 million. An account is an account.
This is what Oren does. He invests in companies, buys companies, and he trains the salespeople in these companies to raise money. He knows this works because companies tell him that their sales averages have doubled, that they’re closing deals, and that they’re raising money effectively. He isn’t an academic who dives into the numbers and writes a study about it. He is the one who dives in and takes action.
You walk into the boardroom where there is a lot of money at stake and you give the pitch. The next five minutes determine the outcome of the meeting. In sales, if you don’t win the deal, you just go to the next one. In a given fund-raising project, you might be trying to raise $10 million for a company and have only 10 pitches to do it. You have to learn it, give it, and raise the money. If you don’t, it’s a catastrophic failure.
You do what you can to give a pitch that will help you win your sales situation.
Pitch Anything shares all the things Oren learned from all the pitches and high-stakes situations over 20 years and teaches how to apply the exact same rules to everyday business. Whether you’re taking part in a sales meeting, doing sales over the phone, or recording presentations for a webinar, the book teaches how to win in everyday sales situations.
Oren has seen people put his concepts into practice: how to open a meeting, how to raise your status, how to control the frame, and how to lead the buyer to a purchasing decision, and how to build your status so high that people will be desperate to buy your product. Even when people are trained, we still make mistakes. This is what Oren has seen and he believes that the follow-up book is going to change the world.
Oren said that most people wouldn’t recognize his techniques as the way to conduct sales. For example, Oren met with a guy who wanted help in selling his company. They discussed the terms and proposals for 45 minutes. After that, he left and then came back 90 seconds later, which usually isn’t good. You don’t want people to leave just to walk back into the conference room. But when he came back, he had a check ready for $15,000.
When someone decides that even with no contract, no agreement, and no terms, he’s committed to working with you, this is inception. It happens when the buyer decides internally to do business with you and starts taking things forward. It doesn’t demand price negotiations, because you’ve positioned all the information in such a way that the decision to work with you bubbles up inside them.
Buyers are cold and digital. They want information, pricing, and a cheaper and better version. There’s no buyer loyalty and they are never satisfied.
When you order food for a group who’s working late in the conference room, you open the door wide enough to grab the food. There’s no tip and no humans involved. This is what buyers are today.
The conspiracy suggests that you can take that kind of buyer and try to close them by overcoming their objections and selling them, but people aren’t sold.
We should forget the thought that we can sell to people because that’s not the truth today. People don’t want to be sold, they want to buy.
Begin by buying the book because it’s where you learn about how to get a buyer to inception. It’s where you are setting up the framework, and leading them through it.
Next is to recognize that the videos, books, and all the standard knowledge today that are out there represent 40-year-old technology. You aren’t using a 40-year-old phone or a 40-year-old car because life is totally different than it was 40 years ago. Buyers needed you then but they don’t need you anymore because they have the internet. and know that it’s not your fault that you’re being trained on information that is decades old.
Ask yourself who benefits from the notion that you can overcome objections by selling features and benefits and by providing discounts.
There is a trend, a recurring theme in the market that says “I deserve to get what you sell for free.” Recognize that this trend is out there. Flip the Script will walk you through specific steps that will help you recognize why these concepts don’t work.
Features and benefits don’t matter until your prospect understands three things:
You have to make sure that you are an expert and that you speak their language. They must believe that this is incredibly hard and that nobody else can do it at the level you’re doing it. Lastly, you need to put in a survival context or you change the context.
There is no point in explaining the features and benefits until all that is baked in., you try to establish all those three things mentioned earlier then you explain the benefits.
There are probably other vendors who will be pitching the same things and they’ll start with the benefits and the features. You need to be different by coming in and showing that you’re an expert in the industry. Build your character and the character of your business then you go to the features and benefits.
Oren likes to commoditize everyone. Among Microsoft, Oracle, Google Services, and Amazon, they’re all the same stuff. The offerings in the market are plain vanilla, and his company offers the same stuff, too.
Once you commoditize everybody, you can build the “power of working with me.” Everybody in the industry that you’d be looking at offers nearly identical services at the baseline. Avoid the confusing comparison of features and benefits. Commoditize the competition so that you don’t have to deal with them. You can commoditize your competition and build on that.
Flip the Script includes only new sales information that isn’t available in any other sales book. If the information was presented elsewhere, Oren didn’t include it in his book. As a result, though, there’s a sense of anxiety because it’s all too new.
Take a driverless car. It’s new, it’s cool, and it drives you from your home to your office and across the country. It’s interesting, but are you really going to buy a car without a steering wheel or brakes? Maybe you’d wait for other people to buy it and use it for a year and see what happens.
The highly differentiated features and benefits may also trigger anxiety. The same is true in this industry. We offer additional features that may create anxiety. There is reluctance and we shouldn’t forget that people are like sheep sometimes: we want to follow right behind others.
In today’s complicated world, if you create something new, people would be interested and at the same time, be anxious.
You must learn how to position things on a trend. For example, the trend today is gearing toward AI and machine learning and security hacks.
Winter is coming. There’s an event in every industry that changes the trend of that particular industry. In real estate, it’s tax and regulation. In consumer devices it’s privacy. You should know that to be able to ride the changing waves.
For example, when stadium seating came to theaters and stadiums, it wiped out every normal theater. Oren calls it the “nuclear winter” for typical seating. If you were selling anything to a theater during that time, you’d say, “stadium seating is coming, and if you haven’t made that adjustment before then your business won’t survive.”
Similar to Game of Thrones, when they say Winter is Coming, it means something is coming that is going to change the world and people must believe it and act in order to survive. The same is true in business. Believe that something is coming to your industry and know how to operate on the other side of it.
Buyers have a formula that they impose on you. Flipping the script means you are showing the buyer how they get to buy from you. You are giving them the formula by which they’re allowed to buy from you.
You don’t control your buyer, you give them options. You flip the usual “do this and do that” speech and instead, sit down with the buyer and present options of how things work. Set a sandbox that the buyer is allowed to play in.
This is why it’s important for them to know that you speak their language. that you’re an expert, and that what you do is incredibly hard to do. It is important that they know that you have the value or the product or the idea that when the change is finally settling in, you are the one they want to work with. You are setting up the formula that they’re allowed to buy. But you only work with a certain kind of people.
If they end up not buying from you, it means they weren’t right for you. They weren’t going to pay that price where you could have margin, they weren’t going to do reorders, and they weren’t going to be easy customers.
When you control the formula, it becomes incredibly obvious that they were never going to be a good account.
Sales leaders can go to FlipTheScriptBonus to see Chapter 1 and get an example of how to do inception. There are basic rules there that are also discussed in this episode.
Check the TSE Certified Sales Program while you’re at it, while the first two modules are absolutely free. We want you to find the right customers, close deals, and go out every single day doing big things.
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The most financially profitable way to do business is to shift your focus from getting to giving, and by developing a Go-Giver strategy, you’ll constantly provide value and good things will begin to happen.
Bob Burg is a salesman who has written a series of books about the Go-Giver, a parable about the principles behind the kind of success most sellers are hoping to achieve. Through encounters with a series of different people, the main character, Joe, discovers that his focus has been in the wrong place.
Giving means providing value to others. Though it’s typically not possible to provide too much value, begin by determining whether your focus on providing value will set you up to be taken advantage of. There are plenty of people who are takers and who focus only on themselves. They feel entitled to take without giving anything back.
If you’re providing value to someone like that, there’s a good chance things won’t work out. Realize, though, that there’s no natural connection between being a go-giver and being taken advantage of. Understand, too, that if you’re being taken advantage of, it isn’t because you’re too nice; it’s because you’re allowing it to happen.
Being a go-giver doesn’t mean being a martyr or a doormat. It simply means your focus is on bringing value to the marketplace and to others.
No one will buy from you because you need the money or you have a quota to meet. They’ll buy because they will be better off buying from you.
The only reason people should buy from you is because they’ll be better off after they do. That truth allows the salesperson or entrepreneur to focus on bringing immense value to the marketplace and to the prospect’s life. When that happens, the prospect will prosper greatly.
Money is simply an echo of value. Focus on the value rather than the money. Value comes first and the money you receive is a natural result of the value you provided.
Human nature is self-interested. It allows us to create more human beings.
Successful people deal in truth. They don’t deny inconvenient things, but rather they acknowledge truth and then work within it to make things better.
Start by acknowledging and understanding self-interest. Then put it aside with the understanding that we’re better off dealing with others when we suspend our self-interest. The other person is only going to buy because of their own needs.
Although people often suggest you should give without expecting anything in return, Bob doesn’t exactly agree with that. Instead, give value without attachment to the result. We want people to expect good things. If you’re in business serving other people, you should expect to profit greatly because you’re bringing value to the marketplace. Just don’t be attached to that result.
Give value because it’s who you are and what you do. When that happens you create a benevolent context for success. You develop great relationships with people who feel good about you. They know you, they like you, and they trust you, and they want to be part of your business.
Develop an army of personal walking ambassadors who will refer business to you.
Imagine you decide at this point to change your ways. Start by asking who the people are in your network and what you can provide to them that will help them by bringing value to their lives. Then make a plan for meeting other people that you can develop know-like-and-trust relationships with.
We’re human beings and we’re different types of people. The reason the Go-Giver took off is because it allows you to be yourself. You can be the person who wants to bring value to the marketplace.
Most people choose a certain line of work because they believe in the mission. They believe in what they’re doing. We’re happy when we’re living congruently with our values.
Bob recalls his parents working to make people’s lives better. Then, when he started in sales, he found himself selling a product that offered great value, but he was focused largely on the sales process. Like Joe in the book, he was a seller who wasn’t living up to his potential.
He returned from a non-selling appointment one day to hear advice from a guy in his organization. The typically-silent guy told him that if he wanted to make a lot of money in business, he should establish a target outside of making money.
Target serving others, so that when you hit your target, you’ll get a reward in the form of money. Great salesmanship is about the other person and how he’ll benefit from your product or service.
Bob heard from a roofer during an economic crisis who recognized that his approach had been wrong. He was trying to save money during the downturn, but he realized that instead of trying to give the least he could for the money, he needed to focus on giving more value.
It didn’t necessarily mean spending more, but rather creating a better experience. His business took off as a result.
Technology has leveled off the playing field. We live in a commodity-based society which isn’t necessarily bad. It does mean that you must distinguish yourself. If you sell a widget that your customer can’t distinguish one from the other, it will always come down to price. If you sell on low price, you’re a commodity. If you sell on high value, you’re a resource.
There are likely hundreds of way to communicate value, but Bob boils it down to five elements of value.
To the degree that you can communicate these things to your customer, that’s the degree to which you take price and competition out of the picture.
Begin with leadership, and with a leader who is totally committed to making this part of the culture. Anyone can lead from anywhere but culture trickles down from the top. If the leader invests in this and gets buy-in from other leaders, it becomes part of the culture.
Bob Chapman of Barry-Wehmiller wrote a book called Everybody Matters in which he recalls running a profit-focused company. Though there is nothing wrong with profit, it must be sustainable, so it must be the result of the value you provide. Bob attended the wedding of his best friend’s daughter, and the father of the bride made a toast. He acknowledged that the groom was marrying a treasured daughter. Bob took that same concept to his business.
Barry-Wehmiller has thousands of employees, all of whom are someone’s treasured sons and daughters. When the economic downturn emerged, rather than lay off any one employee, they came together as a company and traded work days. They stopped putting into the company savings account until the crisis was over. The corporate family came together in a crunch.
Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines understood the concept and he restructured the organization to focus first on allowing employees to thrive, learn, grow, and have fun. His team had a higher sense of purpose in their jobs.
As a result, the team takes care of the customers and the customers take care of the shareholders.
Until you know there’s a problem that needs to be fixed, you’ll never take the steps to address it.
Be willing to shift your focus.
When Bob’s business partner sends a sales letter, he makes an effort to take the “I,” “me,” and “we,” out of the letter. We’re self-interested human beings and we write in terms of how great we are and how great the product is.
We aren’t denying self-interest. We’re acknowledging that you have to work at placing your focus on others.
You can find Bob’s podcast, The Go-Giver Podcast, at his website. You can also grab samples chapters of his books before you buy them. Consider subscribing to his list to get a copy of a written resource called Endless Prospects.
The Go-Giver way teaches you to build relationships with solid step-by-step information.
Connect with me at email@example.com.
This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.
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