This week, we had a great conversation about sales strategies on our weekly Small Business Owners Mastermind Call. I’ll start by telling you my story as a salesperson.
My experience as a seller
My attitude towards salespeople was reluctant; I didn’t believe in that. I always thought they were good people to lie. Unsurprisingly, my first business failed miserably because guess what? I lacked sales.
I got stuck at a certain point. I couldn’t go beyond where I was because I didn’t know how to sell. Some experts kept telling me to go to someone, and I kept repeating: no, no, no, if they are interested in my work, they will come to me.
Learn to sell
Indeed, you have experienced this situation: you give a budget to your potential clients, tell them about their deal, and ask them to buy. They said: Let me think about it, I’ll answer you; you said, okay, I’m going to let you think about it.
However, a week later or a couple of days later, you made a phone call, and they sent you directly to voicemail; you left a voicemail. You know, you and I talked the other day, and you said you were interested. I just needed to think about it. I’m just calling to see if you can call me back. Here’s my phone number. You leave that voicemail, and here we are a week later; they still haven’t called you back; you say, well, if they were interested, they would call me back. That’s your deal.
Then only 19% of you will email, text, or make another follow-up call to say, hey, hey, it’s me again; I left you a message. Last week, and we spoke two weeks ago if you were interested, you wanted to consider it.
Now I want to say: Are you ready to go now? Surely, you hang up the phone and update your CRM because your boss told you that’s what you had to do, or as a business owner, that’s what you do.
You update your CRM, and that’s the last time it will follow up. Because, after all, you followed up twice, and you don’t want to be aggressive. This is the dialogue that runs through our minds.
Real stories of the sale follow-up
You should know that most sales occur between the fifth and twelfth follow-up. That’s where most of the sales magic happens. I will tell you a couple of honest and real stories.
I went to work; I signed a contract with a sales trainer friend. I represented his brand, and he gave these free sales training talks. In the model, I would do free sales training about the introduction results, dividing one part into three calls to action. I then presented his sales training program at the end of my talk and showed him how to schedule the appointment. I was good at it. I don’t boast that I love public speaking.
It happened that I was sitting there at a Christmas party in December 2012. That would have been about nine years ago, my friend Sean Curry tells me: You should contact my boss Mike, our CRO. He is the sales manager for Comstock Mortgage in Roseville. We have 45 providers that meet every week. They are always looking for a great speaker like you.
I pick up the phone, call Mike, and say Hi, Mike. John Pyron is a great speaker. I would love to come and do a free sales training for you and your team. He told me to send him the information. I sent him some information.
Then I called Mike; Voicemail. I left him a message saying, hey, I want to go out and talk to you for free. I sent you some information. You said you are interested. My calendar is open next Tuesday and the following Tuesday because I know they will meet then. Yes, call me back. No response yet; I sent a text message. Nothing, I sent an email, nothing. I kept up with that guy in January 2013 49 times.
It wasn’t until I spoke to that team that March. It wasn’t until the end of February that I sat down and left; the guy said he was interested, they didn’t send me, he wanted me to come in and speak, he asked me to send you information.
Here’s my first sales tip, the essential thing in all sales. If you can master this, you will make a lot of money. How do you follow up on someone? When do you stop following up with someone? And the answer is this. You follow up, follow up, follow up until they buy or die.
I kept following up and finally said, ” Okay, why aren’t you interested? I mean, I do a great job. I have done about 35 talks since I spoke with him. You know what? There is no one. There is no video online that has anything about me being a speaker; he might think I’m a buffoon, and he might be embarrassed if he came in and spoke. I didn’t realize you could buy a tripod and put your webcam on a tripod. Okay, I put my laptop in there because I needed to get it to where I’m five foot four and get that tall. I started stalking books to take the laptop to where he was; I didn’t know how to make a video. I installed it there.
Then I said: Okay, I don’t know how to edit the video. Now I have an even bigger problem; after 12 takes, I do this; if you go to my YouTube channel, the first video and the first two videos are the results of Mike. I owe him a lot of money because he made me millions of dollars since then.
I finally take it where I don’t have to edit it because I have no idea how to edit it, and I created this video; he could start by saying that his sales team sees him speak every week, and he repeatedly takes the same thing seriously.
Here is a sales tip: you can sell to his people and share it with you people who will have a great result, and hopefully, they will help you.
After all this, I thought, okay, it won’t click the link. Then I uploaded it to YouTube and emailed him. Forty-five minutes later, I received an email from the man. When can you come in and talk? I go in to give a talk. Seven people came away with a check for $ 4,000 for talking for 45 minutes.
The most valuable principle I learned about sales at that time was this. I continued until the death of the buyer. But I took a step back and said, okay, what is my prospect interested in? What do they want? I turned the spotlight away from John Pyron. I put it on the client, saying, what do they want? What will help you make a decision? It didn’t matter if he motivated me. What mattered is that he inspired it, and since then, I’ve been in sales and business for 23 years, which was one of the most valuable things I learned.
How did I learn that? This is something called a sales mountain. Now, I need to give credit where it belongs. My former mentor, Eric Law, shared this with me in 2012. He studied sales for many years and mastered the art of sales alongside Tony Robbins. He was able to digest all the big sales, and he finally came up with a straightforward concept because most people are scared to death by the sales. He created the sales mountain, which beautifully explains sales to the typical person, the standard business owner.
I have been working with a client for two years. They have two salespeople on staff who are not salespeople. I told him that within the first 30 days. These guys aren’t salespeople, they’re glorified order takers.
Why don’t you pick up the phone, call them, and say, “Hey, why don’t you make a deposit today so we can make sure the materials are in order? That way, we can build it relatively quickly when you need it.
The two vendors that have been there, one has been there for 18 years, and one for nine years, say we don’t do that here. This is not how we do business. When they’re ready to buy from John, they call us. That’s how it works here.
When we start, it’s okay; people come to us, we don’t go to them. I said, dude, get me 10 of those folders in that pile. I’ll call them in person, close half of them, and earn money at the door today. Because at the time, they were licensing, one day a week because sales were behind that person who was in quotes, the sales manager said: You are a cleverly speaking snake oil salesman, this will never work in our business, and he got up and stormed out of the meeting.
We got down to work on a lot of other things. Well, guess who was right? John Pyron. Because I finally got him to agree to let me train one of the other people to make sales. I said, Hey, I want you to go and grab all the folders from all the sales that weren’t closed. I’m not kidding; come in and go; we have 255. What do they call dark files, right? They are the secret files. It’s the one that didn’t close. I said: Hey, this is what we have to do.
Let’s call everyone and say, hey, you know, you were interested in buying this product. Did you say you wanted it? What happened? Now, someone said we changed our mind, and we decided not to believe that opportunity.
This is two days; out of 18 conversations, six people said we decided not to buy after all. Well, now is an opportunity. Now it’s like, hey, well, you contacted us. That? What led you to want to quote? What made you want this product in the first place? Well, you know, we wanted this or this one. Now, I am going to reactivate them.
When I did that, three said they wanted to quote again. Another person said: You know what? Glad you followed, I’m ready to buy that. Can you send me an updated quote? Another person said you know what? Please don’t cancel the listing because we’re still almost done in the construction phase. We are going to buy it. There are only 18 conversations. Yes, and it was 678. Ten voicemails were left, but this shows you, you know, what, if you don’t track your opportunities, you can’t make the month. Simple as that.
If you take nothing but nothing, this month’s tip of the month is all the quotes that he posts this year in 2021, every friend who said, no, they went dark. They stopped returning your call. You know, they made an appointment with you, and they didn’t buy everything. I want you to treat each of them as new prospects for December. I want you to pick up the phone, and I want you to call every warm one. Hey, I’m just talking to you.
We talked in February, and you said you were interested, but it was probably not the right time. I’m curious. Why didn’t you buy it back then? You know what needs to happen for you to do it now. Have your needs changed? How can I help you now? Absolutely explode your love in December. That’s my advice for today.