Adam Ayers studied mechanical engineering and built a software technology startup after graduating. He is now the Chief Technology Officer and founder of the company, Number5, which specializes as an outsource CTO for celebrities, eCommerce companies, and internet brands. Fifty percent of their operations involve running technology, and acquiring customers, for commerce businesses and executing the data science. The other fifty percent is on custom technology where they build platforms, APIs, and high-performance software on the internet.
When Adam was a child he asked his father what inventors do and the response resonated with him. He was told the best inventors don’t just invent things, they are capable of selling what they’ve invented. That thought motivated him to make things himself, build a team, and sell the things he created himself. As an engineer, Adam has learned to think in frameworks and processes, finding that telling stories are effective ways to negotiate a mutual win and make a sale.
The biggest problem most salespeople face is the tendency to talk more and listen less. People want to be listened to, to be asked questions, and to be understood. This is a factor that other sales reps forget. No matter what you are selling, you must put the clients’ interests first. Listen to them, ask questions, and understand where they’re coming from. You learn to see their problem and present customers with a solution when you sincerely tune-in to what they are saying. This is how they make the buying decision, to trust the solution you present to them.
The ideal ratio is 80-20, where 80% is spent listening to the clients’ story and asking them questions while 20% is spent sharing a story about how you’re going to help solve their problems.
The book entitled, You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar emphasizes the Sandler sales submarine, with the initial point being we need to bond and build rapport with our customers. Showing compassion and kindness and asking people who they are and what they need is the first step to negotiate a mutual win.
It’s a trait that many salespeople need to master to negotiate a mutual win. Being who you are is important because that’s how you connect with people. While compromising is a good thing, you also want to be authentic. Your flaws as a salesperson will make you more human and more relatable to others. A corporate approach in sales is uncomfortable because ultimately everyone is just looking for a smart friend with whom they can make a connection when they’re being sold to.
Adam sells software development, customer acquisition, and data science. These are products the average person doesn’t understand but they know they need it to grow their business. He understands he needs to nurture confidence in his potential clients, that they want to feel good about hiring him. Adam highlights his previous experience, his background, who he’s already worked with, their integrity and what he’s already delivered.
Adam’s team doesn’t sell. Instead, they connect with people – they talk, dine, and get drinks.
While the sales process and negotiations are pretty straightforward, the reality is that it works for his team. When Adam knows that his services aren’t going to fit what the client needs, he is upfront and honest about it. Adam knows his customers need someone who can execute the tasks and if needed, communicate to the stockholders and investors what’s going on.
This approach of combining tech expertise with a personal touch is the core of, Number5, a company name inspired by the1986 movie, Short Circuit. Sometimes, people are hired based on relationships and not on their knowledge about technology.
Their process on how to negotiate a mutual win is shaped around helping clients understand their needs and what their role is to make meet the company’s goals. Adam shows them how his team uses technology to deliver the solution efficiently and effectively.
One company Adam was an engineer for, had the Five Four Club, a men’s clothing line subscription, that quickly rose to popularity. The company needed the technology to keep up with its growth. Adam not only offered the tech to support the growth but as a leader, helped offer resources to build up the existing team. Adam didn’t have to explain how the tech worked but still offered suggestions on how employees could support it within their roles.
Clients say that Adam’s approach is abrasive and shocking until they get to know him. Once they see his process and his ability working for them, they’re on board.
Many salespeople aren’t just selling, they’re also doers. Sales grow with a better job of doing and executing.
Adam is always looking for different tools that will help from a market broad perspective and a sales perspective. For example, CrystalKnows is a plugin that helps you analyze the personality type of anyone’s LinkedIn profile. The results will give you an idea of how to communicate with that person. This is an amazing way technology can start connecting people more effectively and efficiently.
Technology is also helpful for companies that are looking to expand and hire people. The Sales Acceleration Formula, by Mark Roberge, shares it’s not just the experience that’s important, it’s the coachability of the salesperson and their ability to adapt.
This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077.
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Christine Schlonski works with entrepreneurs who have a negative view of sales. She helps them redefine their view of it so they can sell with ease, grace, and confidence and also ask their price. In short, she helps them makes sales, which is simply an interaction between people, fun.
Christine points to the depiction of sales in movies, coupled with bad sales experiences that we’ve all had. Subconsciously, we don’t want to be like these people. Women especially struggle to ask for what they truly want because it feels salesy or pushy. They often assume because they’re good people that buyers will line up to buy.
It’s possible to ask for the sale in a natural way but movies never depict sellers in a positive light. It’s likely that a movie about a seller who sells from the heart and brings value would be boring. But sales truly could be like that.
Set the expectation and then make the offer. Then consider what’s a go and what’s a no-go. How can we work together?
Sales in the U.S. move quickly, while people in Europe like time. Realize, too, that Europe isn’t a single country, and sales differ across those countries. In France, for example, sales involves numerous decision-makers, and French people love meetings. Where Americans look to make things happen, you cannot simply show up with an offer and a take-it-or-leave-it attitude.
Germans exist between those two extremes because they want to be a bit more efficient. Still, though, they cannot be pushed or pressured into decisions.
Relationships are still the key to all sales. The decision-maker needs to feel comfortable in the relationship and feel as though he is making a good decision.
Typically, larger companies have more complicated decision-making processes. They often have male leaders and sometimes one of them will block the process because of politics or a need to be right.
Selling in Europe will never be a one-call close.
Christine had experiences in the past where her work with a global company selling high-ticket events over the phone was negatively affected by her American colleagues who were perceived as being pushy. The prospects assumed that her sales process would operate the same way, so they weren’t interested.
For companies who operate in different countries, training sellers to understand the cultural differences can present a challenge. Begin with the simple understanding that no two people are alike. Even without the cultural differences, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution because we’re all human with unique preferences.
Consider yourself as an example. How would you want to be treated during a call? What’s important to you?
Then, be open to cultural differences and be aware of misunderstandings, but understand that it isn’t a case of the prospect not liking you.
In Christine’s case, she learned to operate as though any “no” in the process was always her fault because she hadn’t managed some part of the process correctly.
She understands, too, that if she calls into the U.S. she needs to operate with the correct urgency because it’s what they expect.
Sellers in the U.S. are pretty good with small talk, but in the U.K., for example, talk about the weather can be important. Some people perceive that as a waste of time, but you must adjust to the person you’re speaking to.
Adjusting the conversation to your audience doesn’t demand that you be fake. Pick something that’s meaningful to you that will bring the other person into the conversation as well.
Suspend your own thinking toward the customers’ needs. Accommodate them.
In the U.S., for example, people don’t give a true answer to the question, “How are you?” Instead, they’ll say, “I’m fine.” In other countries, they’ll be more likely to answer honestly.
Approach with the desire to serve their needs.
In my own negotiations with a prospect for TSE Certified Sales Training Course, I discovered during the negotiation process that many buyers from eastern Europe want to ensure that they are getting the best deal. A friend who is also from eastern Europe told me that they’ll often expect to be able to negotiate down a bit. So even if you have a fair price, they may expect you to adjust it.
In this case, I made the adjustment because it was a win-win opportunity.
Depending on the products you sell, the price level, and who your negotiating partners are, maybe you set something in place that you can add to the program rather than adjusting your price down. Add value without dropping the price. It gives them a feeling of a win.
Businesses are always trying to get the best deal, regardless of culture.
Be true to yourself and be authentic. If you have a great product, begin with a connection. Small talk can feel superficial, so you must communicate that you’re not only interested in a sale.
You can connect with Christine at her podcast, Heart Sells, where she interviews successful entrepreneurs who have overcome sales challenges and who operate from the heart. She seeks to showcase that sales can be fun and that anyone can learn sales. You can also find her at christineschlonski.com.
If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register!
You can also connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or try our first module of TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free. This episode has been made possible with the help of TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. We want you guys to go out each and every single day to find more ideal customers and do big things.
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Establish relationships with prospects so they don’t feel as though they are simply being sold to. Instead, offer them an invitation to buy. #RelationshipSelling
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Dion Travagliante runs Madison One Consulting, a consulting practice where he solves problems for SAS businesses. He said he loves the fact that sellers have latitude in their careers and he loves the chase of finding the potential customer and then uncovering the issue and working to solve it.
People have a preconceived notion that sales is just talking with no science, rhyme, or reason behind it, but he calls it a challenging world that you can train yourself to succeed in.
Sellers often struggle to stand out against other competitors and they struggle against being viewed as simply a commodity. The key is to become the winner of the account.
Dion defines value as improvement in a client or prospect’s individual situation. That centers on solving problems. Any company that is selling something originated around the idea of solving someone else’s problem.
That means as a sales rep, you’re a steward of your company’s solution in the marketplace. That should free you to talk to anyone about the challenges they are facing.
Flip the script. There will always be people who perceive salespeople as slick operators who try to jam products down people’s throats. No one wants to have that persona.
Instead, approach every customer as someone with a pain point whose problem you’d like to solve. If you do, you’ll be better than 95 percent of the sellers out there because you’ll be thinking about someone else.
Watch for these 3 crucial signs you need to add more value.
When you’re talking with a prospect and they start negotiating price during the sales cycle. Do not go down the rabbit hole of arguing price.
The worst position you can be in as a sales rep is negotiating against yourself. If the prospect wants to lower the price, it becomes a game of limbo: how low can you go? Instead of just acquiescing, you want to push back on that. They are telling you that they don’t see the inherent value in the price you’ve determined for your product.
You can never negotiate against your own price, but you can flip the script.
If, for example, a single client averages $60,000 and your product costs $20,000, the purchase pays for itself three times over. If your product can speed up the process, the relevant issue is how much money they’ll derive from using your solution.
If the person you’re dealing with is an intermediary and they insist on dropping the price, what they are saying is that they don’t feel confident taking this solution at this price point to the decision makers.
The quicker path is to lower the price. Instead, arm them with more things so they look like the hero when they show up to present it.
When your prospect asks you for a referral, what he’s really saying is that he’s interested in what you’re selling and he wants to continue down the path, but he wants external validation.
Mike Brooks, who calls himself Mr. Inside Sales, wrote a book called The Ultimate Book of Phone Scripts where he shares 500 scripts that you can use to address objections. He suggests acknowledging that you’d be happy to connect the customer with a host of satisfied customers but then asking what sticking points still exist.
They want someone else to verify that they should buy this because we’re all somewhat tribal in nature. Get out in front of it.
Your own self-limiting beliefs can prompt you to negotiate with a client instead of seeking to provide enough value to get them across the finish line.
Practice saying that phrase so that it becomes second-nature. Because 90 percent of decisions are made with the subconscious mind, you should train your mind to respond this way automatically.
Courage isn’t the absence of anxiety or fear; it’s acting in spite of it. The people who improve are those that put themselves in uncomfortable scenarios. Human beings learn by pain.
When you’ve done the discovery call and you’re in the demo and the prospect says, “You know, I think we’re going to stay with our current solution,” that’s an indicator that you haven’t provided enough value. The prospect is telling you that it seems like a lot of work to transition to your option, so they are going to stay where they are.
They are telling you that you haven’t exhibited enough value to drive them to switch. Sales decisions are made emotionally and then justified logically.
Todd Caponi, in his book The Transparency Sale, talks about the psychology of sales and the fact that if your customer’s logic is preventing them from closing the deal, you need to stoke some emotional flames.
You must provide enough value to make switching worthwhile.
The best sales reps try new things. They put themselves into difficult scenarios that allow them to learn. They also end up selling more.
Always think about the prospects and their solutions. Get out of your own way and help your prospect solve a problem and better his solution.
Ask pointed questions. Figure out the plight. You’ll come off as more genuine than if you toss around buzzwords.
You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.
You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.
If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.
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Many sellers are scared of getting objections. Worse, they don’t do something to overcome them. They think that getting through one sales call after another can make you get better at it. Well, you won’t!
Today, Jim Brown is going to teach you how you can overcome objections for you to be able to handle sales conversations with much confidence and have better chances at closing.
Jim Brown is a sales coach, a sales trainor, and a sales consultant. He has worked with many large organizations and has closed some significant-sized deals including that $1.2 million deal with Sears. He had almost every objection in the world that was thrown at him.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Jim:
Lessons from Jim’s coolest sales experience when he was a customer:
What is an Objection?
Why do sellers have a hard time overcoming objections?
Takeaways from Jim’s deal with Sears:
Jim was at that time selling SEO and online marketing services. He thought they had all in tact but it turned out they needed a lot of help.
Jim spent ten hours preparing for a 30-minute meeting. He knew everything that was going to be said and what could be thrown at him.
Jim asked for a whiteboard and projector, none was there. But he anticipated that so he came in with the entire PowerPoint, printed out, and bound for everybody who was going to be in the room.
He started asking questions to get him to reveal the context in which he was going to make the decision.
When you’re in a high-dollar negotiation, once you speak and you’re the first person who throws out the number, the next person who talks loses. So they tapped into the power of silence. And the decision-maker then signed the deal.
No Time to Prepare?
How to practice overcoming objections:
This allows you to re-evaluate and what work needs to be done.
Steps to Effective Negotiation:
The first goal of a cold call is just to have a conversation. Have a goal at very single appointment, every touch point, every meeting that you have.
Think through every single scenario where your prospect may go and the things they may bring up.
Imagine you were in their shoes and figure out the things you would be concerned about or you would try to accomplish if you were them. Understanding that situation allows you to have empathy of that buyer so your answers and responses can align with what they’re trying to accomplish.
This is very frustrating and a lot of sales reps are not comfortable with hearing and saying no. If you don’t have a walkaway point, you’re dead in the water. You’re going to get destroyed in the negotiation. Have a hard walkaway point. Know what your bottom line is but also know why that is your bottomline
Create a mutual context throughout the entire playing. This is the best way to start the process to have an effective negotiation. Jim recommends this book on negotiation: Never Split the Difference by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz
Understand what would allow the prospect to go from one stage of the buying cycle to the next stage, how they need to get the deal done, and what that means. This way, you know where you are in the process.
Jim’s Major Takeaway:
You will never get anything in life that you don’t ask for so start asking. The absolute worst thing you can be told is no. You can’t lose anything that you never had. So if you get told no, so what? You didn’t have it to begin with.
Download Jim’s workbook to help you break down the individual goals you need to get to where you want to go. Get it at www.SalesTuners.com/roadmap for free.
Follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_Brown
Learn more about Jim on www.AskJBrown.com.
Never Split the Difference by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz
The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld
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Do you really appreciate the things you get for free? Not often, I don’t think so. Personally, I have wasted so many great things because I got them for free. There was no value tied to them. Is your prospect doing this same thing with you?
Today, we’re talking about VALUE and why you should not give away everything for free. I’m also going to share with you some things about negotiation and how you can make sure you can effectively negotiate with your prospects.
As sellers, sometimes we become to afraid to lose our prospects that we tend to give away everything for free. Unfortunately, people are not going to value those things that you give for free. Now, the relationship has a bad start. So here are a couple of principles to help you get a good head start.
Ex. If I were to give you a free license, you will have to give us a referral.
Ex. McDonald’s sells us burgers at almost no profit but they are making a huge increase on their fries and soda so they consistently have people coming back over and over again.
Now let’s bring this back to you…
Do you have an after sales process?
This means having something on the back-end to recuperate that loss or cost. For example, sell your product at a cheaper rate to get into one department of a company and as they grow, they would purchase more from you.
Today’s Major Takeaway:
Make sure that there is value attached to anything you give away for free. Do not just give it all away.
This 3 part video training will teach you step-by-step how to DOUBLE the amount of customers referrals you receive this week!
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As a salesperson, one of the major responsibilities you have is to CLOSE business! As you’re closing more business, inadvertently you will find yourself in many negotiation meetings. To prepare you for these meetings, here are some ideas you need to implement to guarantee maximum success.
Here are seven main points you need to take away from this episode:
Want to be a better negotiator? You will enjoy this episode.
During this episode I interviewed Matt Hallisy. Matt is the founder of “The Playbook Negotiator”, which is an organization that trains educated sellers, entrepreneurs and business leaders. With over 20 years of selling, going through all the traditional training method, Matt says he had very little results. It wasn’t until he was introduced to a very interesting group of negotiators and implemented what he learned from them, that he started to see greater sales results. Come and listen and learn more about Matt’s methods.
Here are some of the major takeaways from our discussion:
You can stay connected with Matt Here: