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Even if we have the right process or the best mindset, every seller is going to encounter difficulties, so we must figure out how we’ll stick to our mission and achieve greatness in the face of adversity.
Weldon Long has plenty of personal experience dealing with adversity in the form of 13 years in the penitentiary, homelessness, and dropping out of high school. He had what he calls a dysfunctional life, but he learned the ability to thrive in the face of difficulty.
Difficulties are coming
The truth is that difficulties are coming. It’s easy in personal life or in sales life to feel overwhelmed and tempted to wave the white flag of surrender.
Weldon was in federal prison when his dad died. He got a note to call home from one of the prison guards. He remembers realizing that his dad died with him in prison again.
He had a three-year-old son that he fathered while he was out on parole. He realized that he wasn’t being a very good father or son.
He made the decision to change the course of his life but he had no idea where to start. He still had seven years left in prison, so he started reading.
Copy successful people
His master plan was to figure out what successful people were doing and copy that. Seven years later, he walked out of prison and lived in a homeless shelter at 39 years old.
He learned how to sell reading books and he started knocking on doors looking for a sales job. It took about six months to find a job because he was a convicted felon living in a homeless shelter.
He got a job selling air conditioners and had a great first year. The next year, he used his earnings to open his own air conditioning company. Though he knew nothing about air conditioning, he knew how to sell air conditioners.
He hired the operations people and grew the company to $20 million in five years. In 2009, his company was selected as one of America’s fastest growing privately held companies.
His life has been a study in overcoming adversity, and the lessons are useful for anyone because everyone will eventually face challenges. Learning to face them is the key to achieving greatness in the face of adversity.
Weldon points to the sales process as the secret to building a successful business.
The prospects are 100 percent in control of the result. They get to decide whether they will write us a check or not. The sellers are 100 percent in control of the process. Far too many sales professionals focus on the outcome rather than focusing on what they actually control, which is the process.
Weldon quickly learned all the difficulties of selling and he said he was amazed by the number of honest people who would promise to call him to follow up but who never did.
Buyers will say one thing and do something else, perhaps largely because they fear getting ripped off or misled. They put a lot of protective mechanisms in place.
In his book Consistency Selling, Weldon introduces a concept he calls the sales hallway. He and the prospect are at the beginning of the hallway together. At the other end of the hallway is the door he’s hoping to get the prospect through.
As they walk together, the prospects have a lot of questions about products, services, and guarantees. Most importantly, prospects have questions about price.
When they have all the information, they tend to want to postpone the decision. They try to leave little trap doors or escape routes along the hallway.
- “I’ll think about it.”
- “I’ll call you next Tuesday.”
- “You’re too expensive.”
When Weldon learned to address those obstacles before they came up, it was the turning point in his sales career.
Influence and persuasion
Weldon read an article by Robert Cialdini, author of the book Influence. It was all about the consistency principle, which says that public declarations dictate future actions. The idea is that if you can get someone to make a public declaration, he becomes more likely to take actions that are consistent with that statement.
He determined which objections he was facing most often, and he structured his conversation so that the prospect didn’t struggle with those fears. When he did that, he found way less resistance at the end of the sales process.
When he started selling, it was “kitchen-table selling.” It was residential air conditioning to families who were mad that they were having to spend the money. He was on their turf and they had other bids that were half his price. Weldon learned to prosper in that situation.
How do I deal with price objection?
The problem is that most people don’t bring up price until the prospect does at the end of the process. Once the prospect brings it up, he’s in a super defensive posture. They know you’re going to try to sell them on why you’re worth the extra price.
The heartbeat of his whole process is addressing those concerns. When he helped Farmer’s Insurance address the price objection, he recommended looking on the Internet for considerations when purchasing insurance. He found a thousand different articles that all said that price isn’t the most important consideration.
Now when he’s sitting with a prospect, he’ll address the fact that price is a valuable consideration when purchasing insurance. But then he’ll ask the prospect whether he agrees or disagrees with the fact that there are other considerations that are equally as important as price.
Weldon shared the example of a company that canvassed a neighborhood by telephone to find out whether residents believed it was important to fund research for childhood disabilities. The following week, when the canvassers came to actually collect money, the donations doubled because the people had previously made a public declaration that it was important.
Weldon realized that if he could get his customers to acknowledge that price isn’t the most important, and if he could get his customers to declare publicly that they would call him tonight with an answer, he was less likely to struggle against those objections.
Sellers tend to focus on the door at the end of the hallway and they try to close. The key is to prepare yourself as you’re moving through the hallway.
The way to help the prospect get back into resonance is to take action consistent with the words you said earlier.
There are those who will point out that this approach won’t work every time, and that’s true.
But if you’re closing four out of 10, my job is to show you how to get one or two out of the six you’re losing. You’re already getting the four. I’m going to help you get better margins.
Everyone loves the idea of making twice as much money but no one wants to work twice as many hours. The key is to increase your productivity with your raw materials. Your raw materials are time and leads. How do you produce more output with the materials you have?
Anticipate the objections
If you’re selling air conditioners, it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that your price is too high. You should anticipate that objection. Lay the groundwork so you can have the right conversation.
By the time you get to close, the time for debate and argument is over. Your only hope is to remind them what they said earlier about price.
If I say the price isn’t the most important consideration, I’m a salesman. If they say it, it must be true.
Create the prosperity mindset to prosper before you face adversity. Get clear on what you want so you can achieve greatness in the face of adversity.
Remember the FEAR acronym.
- Emotional commitment
Build a plan that anticipates objections and create a sales process that addresses those objections.
“Greatness In the Face of Adversity” episode resources
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