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The Digital Utopia Podcast Episode #14

Effective Selling and the Power of an Introductory Call

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About the podcast

The Digital Utopia Podcast is for SMB Marketers and Business Leaders looking to align their Marketing, Sales, and Service departments so they’re part of one powerhouse growth team.

Each episode will dive into the strategies, philosophies, and tools that will change your approach to organizational growth, give you renewed focus and clarity, and allow you to build a brand that not only helps you stand out—but win.

The Digital Utopia Podcast is produced by Digitopia and hosted by Frank Cowell and Joseph Freeman.

Episode transcription

Frank: [00:00:00] The goal is to actually help them get where they need to go. This is a huge mindset shift because as a salesperson, if your goal is to get them to the next stage, get them to the next call, then that means your goal is to get them to do the next stage with you instead of you being so concerned about them, that you're trying to help them get where they need to go next.

DJ: [00:00:21] Your listening to the Digital Utopia Podcast. He resource dedicated to helping B to B leadership and executives gain clarity and focus in a chaotic marketplace. 

Frank: [00:00:31] Hey gang. Welcome to the Digital Utopia Podcast. Episode 14. I'm your host Frank Cowell. Joined by my cohost,

Joe: [00:00:38] Joseph Freeman

Frank: [00:00:40] Joe! Let's get into one of my most favorite topics today. I hear you've got teed up for us, sales.

Joe: [00:00:48] Sales. 

Frank: [00:00:49] Sales. 

Joe: [00:00:50] So last week we talked about marketing and sales and 

Frank: [00:00:54] Sales is like a box of chocolates. Remember that episode from the office? She always, always forget 

Joe: [00:01:01] Are you talking about Forest Gump?

Frank: [00:01:04] Cause Michael Scott has a bit about weaving in sales and yeah, 

Joe: [00:01:08] Is Michael Scott, your spirit animal? You do reference him a lot. 

Frank: [00:01:11] You know what I think I kind of am the older I get, I just get like goofy or like him and like big heart and well-intentioned, but sometimes you're like, geez, did you just say that? Like, what is wrong with you? Yeah. Sometimes.

Joe: [00:01:22] Instead of thinning hair, it starts to actually get thicker from episode to episode.

Frank: [00:01:26] I do have a great head of hair for my age. Don't I, it looks pretty good. Let's jump into this. 

Joe: [00:01:31] So sales and marketing alignment, that was last week. And actually Frank, for being honest, she kind of crapped on both teams a little bit. 

Frank: [00:01:38] Yeah. I like really gave it to marketing and sales. 

Joe: [00:01:40] You did. Yeah. And maybe we can rectify that a little bit here.

Let's jump into sales and let's talk about all the good things about sales. Let's talk about the sales process. In fact, let's use Digitopia as a case study, and I want to talk a little bit about it. The process that we use, and it may not be the best process. 

Frank: [00:02:00] It is the best part. 

Joe: [00:02:01] It may not be the best process.

It may not be the only process. It certainly isn't the only process, but it's a process. And I think what we need to get to the bottom of here is how do you put a process in place? And then even more importantly, how do you stick to it and execute it? 

Frank: [00:02:15] Well, I want to sum up something that, my esteemed associate Ariane brand just said before we started this, which is. Look, if you don't listen any further, the nugget is this have a great sales process and then just do the freaking work. 

Joe: [00:02:31] Cue the music. 

Frank: [00:02:32] Yeah, that isn't that great. No, but that's really that's at the heart of it before we get into the details of anything else. If, if we could teach sales process all day long, but the other side of that equation is just putting in the work, making the calls, sending the emails, dropping by the donuts. Whatever it is, that's in your process and that you do, you have to do the work and you have to do it at a high quantity. Right? You have to go at it HARD. That's just sales. So there's no magic today. We're not going to talk about anything. Like, you know, if you do this, like you can really cut down the amount of time that you're spending. Like, no, this is not like a hack, a time savings thing. You just have to put it in the freaking work. Yeah. 

Joe: [00:03:14] And if you know anything about us, Frank, Joe, Digitopia, you know, that we love systems, you know, that we love process. and I think that's really, to me, that is the secret sauce, it's systems and process.

I can't tell you how many times we have, started working with actually, I could tell you it's pretty much every single time we start working with companies. That may be making sales in a good way, but as we start to interview the different salespeople on the sales team, it's very clear that there is no cohesive process.

Frank: [00:03:42] Right.

Joe: [00:03:42] They might have a pipeline defined in stages, you know, deal stages defined in their, you know, in their sell software. But. Most often everybody's a little bit shooting from the hip. Everybody's doing it their own way. Some of them are using a Rolodex. Some of them are using, you know, a digital CRM. Some of them are not doing any of that and understanding how to train a new person on sales.

It, it really just comes down to whoever happens to be the trainer that week. Um, and so, what we want to preach is putting in place an actual process that the whole company adheres to and what's beautiful about that is once you have a process, then you've got, everything standardized in such a way that you can actually measure it. You can monitor it, you can create leaderboards, you can do all kinds of cool stuff with that data once it's standardized. 

Frank: [00:04:35] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Systems are where it's at. I'm going to talk a little bit then about our system and some key points in the process. 

Here's the thing. I'm not going to go into a ton of detail on every single step because in your organization, some of the steps may vary, but I want to talk about a couple of critical steps and why you're doing what you're doing, because one of the things that I find, and maybe you find this too, Joe, when you talk to companies is I find most sales pipelines are like this popular phrase called "fake news", meaning.

There's not a lot in it. That's real. Right. It's usually filled with a bunch of like stuff. That's fake, meaning there's a deal that's been in there for 97 days. There's a deal that's in there that really isn't qualified and it's so unreliable. 

Joe: [00:05:28] Why is that happening? 

Frank: [00:05:29] One of the reasons that's happening is there's not enough of the effort being done to just simply go get the right leads to go get in front of the right people.

And when you don't have the right level of effort to get yourself in front of the right people, the right kinds of companies that fit the profile that, you know, you're a good match with. Then what ends up happening is you end up having to cater to whatever comes to you. And so then you end up putting people in your pipeline that aren't a great fit, but that's the deal you have in front of you.

Does that make sense? Yeah, that happens all the time. So step number one is just go back to what we said, you have to put in the work, and so that's a combination of both marketing team and the sales team. Today we're just talking about sales, so marketing has its job to help facilitate that process and to whatever degree based on your sales volume requirements.

But today, when we talk about sales, the sales team has to put in the effort to get themselves in front of the right people. So it starts with criteria. So first and foremost, you have to have documented what is your criteria for an ideal customer? 

Joe: [00:06:36] Right, which we've talked about in previous episodes, right?

Frank: [00:06:40] And this we're not talking about buyer persona per se, but we're talking about just the high-level parameters. You know, they are in this industry, they are this size, this is the contact. This is the pain point. They've indicated that they're going to do something about this particular problem in whatever those characteristics are.

You need to have those in a checklist. And so. You can then use that to define who you're going to go put yourself in front of to build your list. Or if someone comes to you, you can bump them against that criteria. Okay. So the initial criteria is critical now it's it's high level, so you're not going to know everything before you start engaging this person.

So you just have to have that high level criteria. So that's step number one. And then you have to do the work to get yourself in front of those people. At a high degree to a high quantity. So that way you have enough opportunities, enough conversations that your pipeline is real and it's filled with quality stuff.

Again, if you don't to do that, you're left to kind of just take whatever opportunity is in front of you. And that's where things start to come off the rails. Right. Okay. So that's number one. 

Joe: [00:07:51] Maybe furthermore, you've got some sales teams have been diligent enough to put in place metrics and KPIs. Right? You've got to make so many phone calls. You've got to act, you know, they're doing this and just to hit those numbers, they throw trash in there.

Frank: [00:08:04] Correct.

Yeah. Right. So that's why, yes. Those activity numbers are important, but ultimately what you have to look at is the trend of an individual salesperson and see what kind of clients they've been bringing.

Over over a period of time. So yes, the monthly KPAs, the key producing activities are important to track and the most immediate KPIs like sales volume, this month sales volume, this quarter, those are important to track, but you need to step back and look at the trend of this individual. And if they've been hitting their numbers, but lo and behold, every one of their clients, or most of their clients are just not great fits.

They're sold at the lowest price points. They're the ones that have the discounts. They're the ones that ask or YouTube bend your process. Those factors, those characteristics are important to look at, right? So you just have to step back. Okay. So one we're talking about criteria. You have to have your criteria upfront.

You have to put in the work to make sure you're in front of enough people. Okay. When you have your very first call, the intro call, this is a really, really critical part of the sales process. That very first intro call and I recommend an introductory call, not one that gets into full discovery, an introductory call where it's 30, 45 minutes tops.

And you aim to just get to know each other a little bit, because what you're trying to do is your ultimate goal with the intro call is to help them get where they need to go. And the first mindset that I teach people is that intro call the goal isn't to get them to the next stage in the sales process.

That's not the goal. The goal is to actually help them get where they need to go. This is a huge mindset shift because as a salesperson, if your goal is to get them to the next stage, get them to the next call, then that means your goal is to get them to do the next stage with you. Instead of you being so concerned about them, that you're trying to help them get where they need to go next. 

Joe: [00:09:59] Which may not even be with you right more times than not.

Frank: [00:10:02] It's not with you. If you've done your proper targeting, there are many, many reasons why they may not be ready to do business with you. Maybe they have problems that your company doesn't solve. We see this all the time when selling, you know, consulting, marketing, digital services. We see it all the time.

There are people we think like, look like a good fit, and we have the conversation. It's like, Oh, you have a PR problem. You have a product problem. You have a branding problem. You know, there are lots of things 

Joe: [00:10:32] None of which we actually address 

Frank: [00:10:34] We don't solve those. 

Joe: [00:10:35] And if all we are doing is trying to get them to the next stage, then we'll actually push them through just to hit that number.

Frank: [00:10:40] Correct. So numb job. Number one, your goal of the intro call is to help them get where they need to go. And we actually put that in our deck. So by the way, for the intro call, we have a deck that we put on the screen. And so we actually say, Hey, Hey, mr. Mrs. Prospecta, it's great to meet you before we get into anything.

I just want to let you know what our goal is for today's meeting. And I just want you to know our goal isn't to actually push you to the next step of our sales process. Our goal is to help you get where you need to go. And we explained that so many times, people don't need what we offer. They have other problems we're going to help you figure that out.

And if it's not us that you need, we're going to help make that connection as well. 

Joe: [00:11:24] And people appreciate this. I'm assuming 

Frank: [00:11:26] This is amazing. Yeah. You immediately bring the guard down. You immediately go into that meeting. Not trying to like, get something from them, you know, it's, it's like if you've ever been in a relationship and it feels like, man, I don't know what it is.

I just have this weird feeling about this person. It kind of just feels like they only want something out of me. Those feelings go away, because if you're there to genuinely help them figure out where they need to go next, then you start to create, you start to put the relationship, uh, started off on the right foot.

Right? So now we're in that meeting, right? There's a few critical things that you have to do in this first meeting. If you don't do this, this is where your pipeline gets filled with that fake news. I mentioned, right? If you don't do this, you do not want your pipeline filled with that. Trust me. It's no good because in your pipeline is unreliable, and your conversion rates start to dewindle, or you hand over to your service team terrible clients. 

Well, that too, which is, which is not good. It does more damage to your organization retention rate or your employee sat score goes down. 

I mean, this is like, it just, there's so much cancer that happens as a result of that. So this believe it or not in the entire sales process, this intro call is one of the most important parts of it.

Okay. So you set the stage. Here's my goal. Here's what we're trying to do together. And just so you know, no, I'm not just trying to push you to the next stage. Okay. 

You know what? This reminds me of science because in science, right. When you have a hypothesis, you state it and then you set out to disprove it, to prove it wrong.

And if you can't prove it wrong, then it's a good chance. It's probably right. So you're almost trying to disqualify everyone who gets on the phone. Right? 

Actually the point of the first intro call is you're trying, trying to disqualify them. Whereas instead, what most salespeople do they go into first conversations with what's called happy years.

Joe: [00:13:22] Is it called? 

Frank: [00:13:23] It's damn. This is like Disneyland. Yes. It's happy ears. Meaning everything they hear. Sounds good. Oh yeah. We can make that work. Oh yeah, this sounds great. This is great. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Keep telling me more happier. Right. And so your point of this meeting is to disqualify them. Okay. So we have a few points in this meeting that you want to cover.

The first set of line of questioning that you're going to go through with your prospect is to qualify them. Okay. Now this isn't, this doesn't mean you start off with, tell me about your budget, that, that, that doesn't do good things for starting off a relationship. What you want to find out about is. Is this a problem we solve, do they have?

And so you have to dig into that. And so when I say qualify them, it's not just find out their budget. It's find out about their situation to see if you truly can help them. That's job. Number one, can you even help these people? And so you're going to ask that relevant questions. Why are we here today?

What started this? What are you ultimately after? What are what's causing the problems? What kind of problems are you experiencing? How does that manifest, what kind of impact does that have to your organization? Who else in your organization cares about this particular problem? Have you measured the impact of that?

What are you doing to solve this problem? What kind of commitments are you putting behind solving this problem right there? Hopefully if you just even want to play that back, take those that's. Those are the questions you ask. To really dig and push this person. This is your, is your opportunity to challenge this person.

And that's your role. If you want to elevate yourself as a salesperson, right? From the very beginning, respectfully challenge your prospect, right from the get go. And when you challenge them and make them think not only are you. Trying to find out if you truly can help them, but you're helping them process their own problem.

It's like a mini therapy session. And when they can start a process, they will actually leave that meeting and say, Oh my God, that was one of the most valuable sales meetings I've ever been. And why? Because you forced them to think through the critical things. You forced them to think through their situation.

Not just simply answer a bunch of questions that you need to check off for your sales process. 

Joe: [00:15:48] If you get to the end of that first four minutes and nothing they've said aligns with what you can provide for them. And sir, in terms of an answer or it's, you know, 

Frank: [00:15:57] let's role play this out, let's do this. So I've just asked you a bunch of questions and based on what you told me, Joe, I've determined that you actually have a retention problem.

And that retention problem is due to a substandard offering or product, or what have you, right? Not a problem myself. We actually just need to work on your product plain and simple, easy to figure out. You need to go back to the drawing board with your customers and figure out how you're gonna improve this thing once and for all.

And so I would say, I would say something like this, you know, Joe, I'm going to be honest with you. Um, I don't know. I think I can help. And here's why based on what you said. Um, your retention rate is this, and that's actually not only lower than it's ever been in your company history, but just generally speaking, that's lower than any retention rate I've ever heard for a business in your industry.

And based on some of those other anecdotal stories that you told me about clients and what they say, I think the first thing that you guys need to do is fix the product because. If you start on a program, start on an effort to try to fill your sales pipeline and fill up more opportunities for your team.

Bring more clients. You're just going to actually create a bigger problem. And you're going to overwhelm your team. That's going to piss off the new clients and it's going to mean your existing clients are going to go away because you're not able to service them. Well, either. You know, I know, I know a guy who actually works with companies on product improvement, process improvement in creating.

Client delight within their organizations. I actually think it'd be better if I connected you with that person. And so you can work on that problem. But if I were to try to sell you what we do, that's, that's not your problem right now. And I personally wouldn't feel comfortable doing that.

Joe: [00:17:48] And they appreciate this every time.

Frank: [00:17:50] Yeah. Every time I've yet to come across somebody who like, "Dammit, I wish you would have just sold me what you wanted to sell me". Like never. Right. Never. Right. And so this is your opportunity to say that right up front. I will tell you the authority that you will establish the credibility you establish will be way different than anything you're doing right now.

If you're not doing this, this person may come back. Once they have their product problem fixed, they may refer someone to you because they were so impressed with your integrity and your professionalism and your willingness to challenge them. We see it. That's that's most salespeople. Come from this place of what I call grovelling, most salespeople like, thank you for giving me 15 minutes of your time.

But if, if it's okay, can I ask you some questions is how to write? Would it be okay if I did this? It's like this, like groveling, like, Oh my God. Oh God. Thank you so much for your time. I don't know what I would do without this appointment that comes through. Instead, I teach salespeople to come with, come with your courage.

Come with your boldness, come with your unfinance and help that person with all of your experience, with all of your knowledge, help that person challenge, that person, show them that they're lucky to have your time, not the other way around. And I'm not talking about arrogance. I'm talking about confidence in the fact that you're a professional and you truly have something of value for people.

So now we're getting to something even bigger, which means if you're going to join the profession of sales. One of the things you have to work on is what's going on upstairs. You have to work on your head. You have to, you have to know your business. You have to have the knowledge. You have to be confident that you're a professional.

You have to be confident that people are lucky to spend those 30 minutes with you, not arrogance confidence. So when you have those types of conversations and you tell people, I don't think I can help you. And here's why. And what I would love to do is I'd love to connect you with this guy over here. And here's what he can do for you that, that, um, that positions you in ways that you can't even imagine.

Okay. So let's assume that they actually are decent fit at this point. 

So then that's stage one. You've, you've realized that based on their situation, you can actually help them. That's critical. You have to be confident. You can help them if they pass that first hurdle. And we're still in the first call by the way or their first meeting, 

Joe: [00:20:22] this is, you know what?

This is going to be a whole episode about the first call 

Frank: [00:20:24] I'm telling you the first call is the most important call because it does so much, it keeps fake stuff from getting into your pipeline. It sets the positioning and authority between you and the prospect. It sets the stage for the relationship. It is the most part of the sales process.

Oh, by the way, your conversion from your first call to your second call should be low because if you're properly using it as a filtering mechanism, You're going to send people away to different resources other than put them into the next step of your sales process. So that imagine that success in this actually has a low conversion rate.

This is the only part of the sales process where you expect the conversion rate to be low mind blown. Yes. Most people see they don't teach you this stuff. Right. But this is after years of seeing pipelines that are garbage. This is what I've come to realize, and this is what we do, and it works extremely well.

Okay. So that's part one of this process. Let's say then after all this line of questioning and about their situation, I feel like, yeah, we can help them. There's a transition, a very important transition that you have to go through in this call and what I would do. I'm going to role play this out. Let me say something to the effect of, I don't fully script everything.

We do have some scripts that are written out for this stuff, but I don't memorize scripts. I just, that's not how I've ever sold. It's not how I speak on stage or anything like that. But we do have some scripts. I'm going to kind of like generally role play this with you, Joe. You know what your, your situation sounds exactly like the kind of situations, problems that we solve every day here at Acme corporation.

And, uh, I mentioned to you at the top of this meeting that we would not move forward unless I genuinely felt your situation was one we could help. And, um, I'm pretty excited because this is exactly what we do every day. This is exactly why we were built here at Acme is to solve this problem. So if, if it's okay with you, I'd like to then talk about how we do that.

Is that okay if I now give you just a little bit of a presentation on how we solve the kinds of situations you're in, I'd love that. Thank you. Okay. So something extremely important just happened here. Okay. One, I showed enthusiasm. I showed enthusiasm that there's hope for you. You have to give people hope.

You have to make them feel like there's actually nothing wrong with you. You're ready to do this. This, this situation is very fixable. There's hope. And there's enthusiasm around this. That's number one, number two, you remind them. I'm a good guy who has high integrity. And do you remember when I told you I'm not going to sell you something? That's not my goal. My goal is to help you get pointed the right direction. I'm reminding you of that. 

And Oh, by the way, I think we should continue this conversation because of that reason. Okay. And then the third thing that you're doing that is really important is you get their permission to move to the next part of the conversation.

You get the permission to sell to them now. 

Joe: [00:23:40] So you mentioned earlier, like a small counseling session, and this really is all psychology. You know, I think in my experience, most sales teams attract or, you know, sales in general attracts pretty confident people, usually outgoing, you know, they, they like to talk to people.

They make friends easily and I think that there is this idea that that will take you all the way, but it doesn't. At some point you actually have to put some psychology, some science behind 

Strucutre, psychology... 

you're doing, and it's not just a great people person. It is a lot of that, right? 

Frank: [00:24:13] Correct. You have to be likable.

Like that's one of the big components of sales. Uh, it's, it's liking and trust. Those are the two big things that have to happen. Subconsciously. I'm going to go back to that. When at the very top of the meeting, when you, when you describe what the goal of the meeting was, what you're supposed to do there is then get confirmation that that's a good plan, a good approach, right?

Joe: [00:24:36] Another, another technique that they use. 

Frank: [00:24:38] It's another point of agreement. Like some people say, get them to say yes, 37 times and they'll buy. It's not exactly that tactic in that like black and white, but the psychology behind it, that we're both in agreement. We're both in alignment. There's also a psychological principle called commitment and consistency.

And what commitment and consistency says that as humans are our brains, want us to act in accordance to past behaviors and past decisions. Okay. Right. So it's why someone will come up to you a stranger when they want you to fill out a survey or donate money. One of the first things they'll ask you, if they are employing the psychology is, Hey, do you consider yourself a giving kind thoughtful person?

I do. yes, I do great. One of the things that we're doing here today, blah, blah, blah, blah, will you fill out the survey? You follow me. So that's commitment and consistency. It's a psychological principle. So at the very top, when you tell them here's the goal for the call and you say, Hey, how does that sound?

Is that okay with you? That that's the approach that, that we're going to take today? Yeah. Yeah. That's totally great. Now you get to that second part, right? And, and we've showed enthusiasm. We reflected back on our commitment to not be a sales person with them. And then finally we say, I'd like to, you know, now show you how we go about solving these kinds of problems here at Acme corporation.

Would that be okay with you? If we go through a little bit of a presentation where I can show you that and say, yes, okay, we've got now agreement and commitment at the top. We'd go through a very therapeutic, help them really understand their problem. We then show enthusiasm. We were mind them how great of a person we are, and then we get commitment for the next stage.

You with me, I'm following. Now we go into the second stage. This is where this is where the, uh, the mere mortals. Now just if they were kind of doing the questioning initial questioning part, well, this is where they really fall apart. Okay. This is where they really just like, don't do this. And they're unaware of this.

Because all, most what most sales people want to do is they want to just qualify the prospect. That's only one part of the job. The second part of the job is to allow the prospect to qualify you. Well, I can't tell you how many people don't do this. It's the most ridiculous thing on the planet because it shows your one sidedness to the relationship.

Yeah. Okay. Imagine you go on a first date. Okay. Okay. You're going to want to find out about that person. There's some, what I call big ticket items, right? In a relationship, there are big ticket items. Won't you, you gotta be into this and I love to camp. And if she doesn't love to camp, shit's over, we're not moving forward.

Cause I got to camp. Right? Whatever it is like what are your big ticket items? You know, like long walks on the beach. And if she's not about that, we can't do this. Whatever your big ticket items are in your relationship, you have them. Well on a first date, you have to be willing to share. So that way she can find out what her big ticket items are.

And if you match that, right, like that's what you have to do. You have to figure out what are the big ticket items. This first call is no different. You now need to be able to make sure that you share those big ticket items so they can qualify you and they can determine, Hey, that's a deal breaker because if you don't cover those in that first meeting, For example, what if you have contract terms that are non negotiable, there are certain contract terms.

Let's say one of your contract terms is 50% payment, upfront, period. End of story. You don't negotiate that if you know that, why wouldn't you share that as early as humanly possible, but no. What do most salespeople do? They don't share that, they get them into the sales process process only to find out that's a deal breaker.

That this particular company won't do it. Yeah. You follow me. 

I do. 

Joe: [00:28:36] I think there's a lot of things that, I mean, if you literally just list out all of those big ticket items in a first call, that could be a lot of things. 

Frank: [00:28:42] Well, first of all, let's go through the process of this second part of the call. So one, you want to give them a presentation that talks about you want to connect their problem to, why you solve that problem. So let's go into the story a bit before I talk about the big ticket items, because the second part isn't just, okay, by the way, we can help you. Are you willing to pay 50%? Are you willing to do this? That's not how it goes. That's an unnatural conversation. So now you've just discovered you discovered their problem.

Now what you're going to do in that second part is you're going to connect the idea that you solve that problem. And the first thing you want to do is. Tell the story about why and how that came to be. This is important! The story of your brand, the story of your product, the story of your company is really important here.

Not from the point of like, they need to know our brand story, but so you can connect it to that problem. So you would say something like, you know, before I get into the details of what our offering does, Joe, and, and, um, what it can do for you and the features and the benefits and the widgets and whatnot.

Well, I'll tell you, give you a little bit of a background about how this came to be and why it came to be, because I think it's really important to understand. So that way you, you know, what, what went into this. And so then you would go into this story about, you know, interestingly enough, 10 years ago, we were a company that was X millions of dollars with X employees and things were going well.

And then all of a sudden business started to tank, blah, blah, blah. And what we realized is we were experiencing this problem, Joe. It was the same problem. That you're dealing with now. And once we realized the magnet to this problem, we set out to solve that and low and hold. We came up with a solution for the marketplace that not only was great for us, but the rest of the marketplace absolutely needed.

And so the solution, the service, the offering that I'm going to share with you a bit about today was born out of that. We had that exact same problem. And so we know what it's like to struggle with X. We know what it's like to struggle with Y and Z because we were there and we were people dealing with those same things.

This is a really critical part because one humans are, humans are hard, wired to fall in love with stories. And two, it gives realism, it gives depth and credibility to your solution. It gives substance that nobody else is providing in the marketplace. And so it's your chance to then romance the, offering the product, the solution, the service, whatever it is.

Okay. So now what you do after you've done that is then you say, you tell a little bit of a story about the journey of how it came to be and what it resulted in. And now you talk about the culmination. And so the result is an offering that addresses. Now you want to talk about some of your big brand promises or the promises of the offering and some of those things, and you can just talk about highlights.

Okay. When you talk about the highlights and then you want to move into the typical result. 

Yeah. I want to stop there for a second because you said brand promises. Are we talking about features and benefits here, 

or are we talking about on the offering outcomes? It really depends on the offering of I'm selling this widget.

You know, uh, I'm going to talk maybe about some of the highlights of the features. I will almost always get into brand promises because brand promises are around. Hey, when you do business with our brand, no matter what, here are the three things that. You can expect to get from us. And we guarantee, you know, these, these three things, whatever that is.

So you just depends on what you're selling. Okay. So now you give a highlight on the offering. You talk about some of your brand promises and whatnot. Now you want to talk about, you want to transition into the kind of results. Okay. And so you're in talk about typically what ends up happening when you buy this offering is X, Y, and Z. Here are the average results. And by the way, here are a couple little mini case studies. So now you're getting into some proof. Right? Okay. And then you're going to get to a point where you've given him just that high level overview on what your offering is. The one thing you have to include in here where most people don't do it is you have to include a price.

You have to include some idea of pricing in this call. 

Joe: [00:33:00] That's not peeking behind the curtain a little too soon. 

Frank: [00:33:02] No, because then it studies show the number one thing prospects want to know on the first phone call is what's the general price. 

Joe: [00:33:10] So then why don't sales teams usually, you know, come forth with that?

Frank: [00:33:15] Cause they feel like they might scare them away. They feel like, Ooh, what if they have more budget than this general range? What if I could have gotten more out of them? What if like we could technically go down a little bit lower and we don't like, there's just all these fears, but if it's the number one thing prospects want to know, then give it to them.

Now, when I come across companies that say, Frank, I could never provide a price in the first phone call. We have to do the, the widget. What's the oddity in the, yeah, I get that to get the client's final price. I get that. But you've been doing, I tell them you've been doing this long enough. You know what the general price ranges are.

Don't tell me, you don't know what the general price ranges are. Anybody who's been selling for a decent amount of time, you know what the general price ranges are. Right? So give them the general price range. It does no good to put somebody in your pipeline to then have to go through the discovery meeting, to find out their budget.

And waste that time when you could have just set up upfront. Oh, by the way, when you provide the general price range upfront and you don't ask what's your budget as a first way to figure out that dance, you immediate, you disarm. You don't go through that. Like, what's your budget? Well, we're still figuring it out, man.

We care not to share that at this time. You just skip all that. Okay. So here's how that works. You've gone through the story. You do the highlights of the offering. You, you have to make sure you're pointing out the differentiation in the marketplace and the brand promises. And then you're going to talk about timeframes and cost.

Those are the two big things you have to include in here. Okay. So you can say, and generally, Joe. That that offering is delivered over the course of 90 days. Okay. So in month one, we do this month, two, we there's a month three. We do this. Does that sound okay? Yeah. How's that sound? Okay. So you're getting these little mini confirmations along the way, and then you say, and generally, um, the investment for that is anywhere from 60 to $90,000.

Joe: [00:35:07] That's a little steep for us. I don't know if we've got 

Frank: [00:35:10] bingo, Johnny bingo. That's exactly what I wanted to hear. Oh, tell me about that. Um, when you say it's a little steep for you, did you already have some investment range in mind? Have you already purchased services like this? Is this not an ROI that you think that would pencil for you?

Tell me about what too steep for you means. 

Joe: [00:35:29] Yeah. I'm not going to do that max, to ask you a question instead, 

Frank: [00:35:32] but do you see what my response is? I do. I do. 

Joe: [00:35:34] So is this a point where you can actually get them to open up their wallet even more than they had originally intended to? 

Frank: [00:35:42] Oh yes, you can. Yes, you can, because if you tell me that's a little steep, talk to me about what a little steep means.

Well, you know, $69,000, there's a lot of money now. It's just a knee jerk reaction to 60, $90,000. It is a lot of money. However, Joe, when we talked a few minutes ago, I thought you said you guys were losing $150,000 per month as a result of this issue. 

Joe: [00:36:05] Okay. So now you help them climb that ladder back to why it's a justified price.

Frank: [00:36:10] To me 150,000 a month over the course of three months, which is close to a half million dollars. That sounds like a lot of money. So help me understand that. In fact, maybe a better question, Joe is for your hundred and $50,000 per month problem, what is it worth to make that go away?

Joe: [00:36:30] I'm sorry, you're waiting for an answer for me. 

Frank: [00:36:32] You get what I'm saying? You sit in the awkward silence, right? And you're challenging people. Yeah. Okay. So now you've told them the highlights, the timeframe, and the general cost. You have to do this, you have to do this because if they don't like some of the features you just described, like, Oh, they don't have the, like the auto call back Watsi.

And you know, that's the thing I'm looking for. Well, you don't have it. Why are you going to move forward? You don't have what they want. The timeframe I really needed this done in 30 days. Sorry, we do it in 90, you know what? 60 to 90,000, I was looking for a solution right around 30,000. Sorry. So those are the three big, you have to cover those things you have to.

Okay. So now when we come to the end of that, if they haven't said much, here's what you do. You get another confirmation you say, Joe, so that that's my overview on what we do, how we solve it. Uh, kind of the, what it takes to make it happen. What are your thoughts on that? How did our solution sound to you?

The timeframe and the commitment from, from you and the investment required? Did all of that match with what you're looking for? Yes. So do you see what I did there? I got confirmation right then and there it does all of this work for you. Does that, does that investment range work for you? 

I mean, realistically people are saying, 

yeah, that could work, but I got to talk to some people, right.

Joe: [00:38:03] I mean, I'm sure there's not a lot of black and white in this first call. 

Frank: [00:38:06] If they say that here's here's what weak salespeople do. Oh yeah, I get that. No problem. Happy ears. Let's move it to the next stage. Oh, we've got something in the real pipeline now. Okay. By the way, this first intro call, we don't, we put a probability of like 10% on any dollar values in here.

It's a really low, almost nonexistent. Where it starts to become real value added to our pipeline is when they move to the second stage. And then it starts to move up to like 40 and 50%. So that's why salespeople want to get them move to the next stage, because then it starts to increase probability in their pipeline, according to their past history.

So if someone were to say to me, Oh, I've got to talk to somebody again. If you're professional, say, Oh, tell me about who you need to talk to, which, by the way, if you do your line of questioning right in the first part, you will find that out. You shouldn't get to this part of the sales conversation and find out they got to talk to somebody like you need to find out upfront only.

Remember when I said earlier, one of the questions is who else cares about this problem in your organization? Who is, who is asking this of you who's requiring this? What kind of result needs to be driven if you don't drive this result, what happens to you in your job? See if you ask these questions, you'll find out.

What the cohort is, you'll find out where they sit in that dynamic. 

Joe: [00:39:26] So that's important to cohort let's suppose that there is someone else who is a major decision maker here. Do you stop the meeting and say, let's redo this with them on the call as well? Or do you move forward? 

Frank: [00:39:37] Absolutely. They have to, get that person involved now, depending on the situation.

And depending on your criteria, you might say, you know what? This person is, has enough authority. And I got enough information to feel like this is real, that yes, we can move to the second call. The second meeting, we call it discovery. We can move to that, but, and we can talk about this next, in that second call.

One of my requirements is that's the call where all the relevant stakeholders that you require must be present. Non-negotiable end of story. In that first call, oftentimes it's not. All key decision makers and that's to be expected. Right. You know, that's to be expected. Right. But the way you describe the way you like put insurance on this is when you, okay.

Let, let, let's actually finish this call because you'll see how I get that. Perfect. Okay. So now we've just said, how does all that sound to you? You know, D did the way we do it, you know, where does that sound like a good approach? Does that sound like approach you could get behind the timeframe? Did the timeframe work for you, Joe?

Right. Um, I confirming the timeframe and the investment range is that investment range, what you were expecting, and you're willing to commit. I'm not asking you to commit to me, Joe, but in general, are those the kinds of investment dollars you folks are ready and willing, willing to commit to solving this problem?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Okay. Yes. Great. So now before we move forward, there's a couple of other real critical things. And what I want to do is I'm going to tell you about if we were to move forward in this process. Oh, by the way, let me back up here. Once I got those yeses, I show more enthusiasm. Okay. So not only did I show enthusiasm after the first section where it's like, there's hope for you.

This is, you know, you guys can solve this. You really can. Now I'm going to show enthusiasm. Hey, well, Joe, this is great. I think we could potentially be a great match together. You know, your situ, your re, your Ritter reiterate their situation, something you could solve, you know, that, you know, we sound like a match from how we go about doing it from a, you know, what we deliver in a timeframe and investment.

You know, this is pretty exciting if it's okay with you. I'd like to talk about next steps. 

Joe: [00:41:48] Sounds good. 

Frank: [00:41:49] Okay. Third or fourth, one, two, three fourth confirmation in this meeting. Sounds good. Okay. Um, Joe, and then what we do is we show them the actual sales process and visually say, so here's how we go forward.

These are our next steps. So I'm going to talk about what our next steps are. What's required of you and your team and what we'll be doing in this process. So today we just completed this first intro call. So check, congratulations. We got that done. And we literally show a green check Mark. We're now 20% of the way through the process.

They have progress in the next call. Here's what we do. And you describe what you're going to do in the next meeting or call. And then you describe how long it's going to be. You have to tell them how long that meeting is going to be. And then here's the other kicker. You have to tell them who's required to attend.

Hmm. And for every step in your sales process, you have to tell them those things. Okay. Then after that meeting you and I are going to then go off and we're going to do this together. So you tell the story of what it's going to, what the experience is going to be. 

Joe: [00:42:54] So this is literally at the end of the episode, and it's next week on Falcon crest, 

Frank: [00:42:59] you tell the story of the experience.

And in there you talk about what's required. The timeframe and who on their team needs to show up. And this is critical. This is really critical because if you get to a point in there and you say, Hey, uh, you know, we require your, your CEO, your whoever, and your, whoever at this meeting. And it's two hours long and whatnot.

And you get to that at the end of that. And you say, how does that sound or does do those, does this process work for you? And are you going to be able to meet those commitments of time and stakeholders? 

Joe: [00:43:41] Yes. Yes. Yes. 

Frank: [00:43:43] Okay. That's important because then you say great, because you're going to need to get multiple people involved after this immediately.

I'm going to do a couple of things. I'm going to send you an email and we're going to set up, I'm going to propose a couple of times for that next meeting. Cause I also have a few people on my team to coordinate and that are going to join us in this meeting. And, uh, if you can let us know the time that every one of those people can attend.

And then I'm also going to send you some links for some videos to watch and some things to read and whatnot, right? So you set the stage for what's going to happen next. So that's critical. So you asked a moment ago. Well, what if, you know, they won't show up to the, to that meeting or whatnot. You get the commitment in the first call that the appropriate stakeholders are going to be there.

Right? And then no questions, no questions, negotiable. And then guess what? The day before the meeting, that next meeting, when those stakeholders need to be there, you confirm, Hey Joe, just confirming our meeting for tomorrow. Want to make sure that you've read the, uh, the, the book I sent you, you've watched the video, whatever your homework items were, give them homework, by the way, they didn't even touch on that.

Give them homework. This is how you ensure that they're in the process. They're committed. To this, the worst kind of client to get is a client who thinks they can just write a check, throw it over the fence and you solve all their problems. That is the freaking worst client. So I like to make sure get their confirmation on all these things along the way.

They're going to be committed to the process and then give them homework. So you might have them. Hey, before our meeting, I'm going to need an audit of this. I'm going to need this log. From your machine or whatever, I'm going to need this audit report. I'm going to need access to this analytics or whatever, whatever that homework is, give them homework.

And so the day before you're going to follow up and confirm that, yeah, you got the homework that they did it, that we're on for this day and time at this location, you know who who's bringing coffee or whatever. And then you confirm those stakeholders. You confirm those takers and just want to confirm that bill Sally and Mary are going to be there.

If they say, Oh, you know what, bill can't make it. He said, we can keep him up to date via notes, Joe. Yeah. That's a bummer to hear, uh, as a requirement for us to have this meeting, it's actually critical that we get firsthand conversations with bill. So we're more than happy to reschedule and accommodate, um, when is a good time that we can regroup.

Joe: [00:46:21] Yeah. So you'll actually call the meeting. 

Frank: [00:46:24] You, you just, you don't do the meeting. Yeah. If they can't meet your requirements of stakeholders. If that's required in your business, by the way, it may not be required in your, in your business. Maybe the one person you got on the phone is the one person who can buy and that's great, but whatever your rate, my point, being, whatever your requirements are, stick to your requirements.

Now you need to know which requirements are real requirements and which ones aren't. So don't put a bunch of requirements into this process just because, right. It's the same. And we're going to talk about this in another episode, by the way, we actually get to contract negotiations. You need to know upfront before you even talk to a client, which points are negotiable and to what degree and which points aren't negotiable.

Because the worst thing is to get into contract negotiation and go, well, will we go 15 days? Like if you're asking that question during contract negotiations, shame on you, you should already know your willingness to negotiate on specific points. Same here only put the requirements in that you know, are non negotiable.

So if you need stakeholders there. And it's going to be a certain kind of meeting and you need certain homework, then know that and state that upfront. If you do these things and you run this first meeting this way, I promise you the nature of your sales conversations are going to radically improve. The quality of your pipeline is going to radically improve.

Joe: [00:47:42] I love it. So we took a real dive into the deep end here. It was a delightful little plan 

Frank: [00:47:48] by the way, this, this, I think what needs to happen is. I've talked about this for a long time, just for our listeners to know I've taught this one call for a long time, and I've been meeting to put this in like a course.

So one of the things that we're going to put into Digital Utopia Academy, when it launches a promise, we'll do this course. We'll do a video just literally on this call, because if you just incorporated this one call into your sales process, it's going to radically improve the performance of your sales team and the quality of what's coming over to your side.

Joe: [00:48:20] I mean, I've learned something today. 

Frank: [00:48:22] Good. I'm glad. Hey, look, we're, we're already way over time for our, you know, a targeted time. So if you want to hear about the next stages in the sales process, I think we should cover that. 

Joe: [00:48:33] Can you just rattle them off real quick? The names of them? 

Frank: [00:48:35] Yeah, but remember they will vary based on the organization and what they sell.

I'll tell you what mine are. And then, uh, you know, what goes in between the first and the last one will vary by organization. So mine goes from intro call, which we did, which we did today. Then we go to discovery and that's where we have to have all those stakeholders there. Okay. Then we go into planning.

That's where we then circle back with our main point of contact who may not be the head honcho. And that's where we do planning to gather. We call it collaborative planning. Then we go to presentation. Now that all the stakeholders have to be back present. Okay. That's another requirement. So in our process, we require the two points where the stakeholders have to be present.

Okay. So then presentation. And then from there, if everything's a green light and they say, yes, let's do business. We tell them that they would request an agreement. If they're ready to do business. That's how we close when we present. And we're going to get into this at another call, but we actually don't present contract level at the presentation.

Okay. We make them request the contract. Cause that's, uh, that's, I'm going to go into the psychology of that. Then that last stage is agreement. So those are the five. So we've got intro discovery, planning, presentation, and agreement. Those are our five stages. Okay. 

Which we'll cover on a future episode or episodes?

Um, one last question here. Yeah. Somebody who is kind of a natural born sales person. We touched on this earlier and wanting to up their game. Do you have any resources that have you found valuable books, podcasts, videos, anything that somebody could just start to? 

Dabbling. So I'm not gonna, I'm gonna try not to sound arrogant here, but I have yet to come across someone who teaches process like this.

Now there are organizations that teach like Sandler Institute. They teach sales process. They're really well known for that. I believe Carnegie's got some sales stuff too. 

Joe: [00:50:29] I meant more of the psychology though, 

Frank: [00:50:30] taking it for, I teach that kind of stuff. Yeah. But, uh, To me, this like diving into the intro call and the psychology.

Why, how you structure it. I've never heard anyone structured that way. This is over many, many, many, many years of selling. And so, um, again, I would just say to our listeners, go investigate those other places, but be patient we're going to put a training on this in our Academy offering that that will be coming soon.

Um, the other thing I would say is as cheesy as this sounds listen to like motivational people. I know it's really cheesy, like listen to Tony Robbins and stuff. Um, and I'm not generally one who like pushes motivational speakers, but I will tell you as a salesperson, you need to get your head, right. That is the number you got to get your head, right?

If your head's not right, like sales is not the game for you. 

Joe: [00:51:20] Most speakers are salespeople. 

Frank: [00:51:22] They are, but they, one of the great things like someone like Tony Robbins does is you can listen to him and you're just fired up about life. You know, I'm not saying you have to go to like the $5,000 seminar or anything like that, but, but, you know, get the audio book, spend 15 bucks on yourself, 20 bucks in herself, get the audio book, like, get your mind.

Right. You know, listen to a spiritual book, like whatever you gotta do to get your mind. Right. Because I will tell you in sales, If you don't come with the utmost confidence about your being that is going to affect your performance in sales is not a place where you can have those kinds of things.

Creeping, look, you can do a lot of other jobs and kind of like tune out. There's a lot of jobs in the world. We can kind of tune out and just like, get, get it done and plow through, get the task done. Sales is not one of those. You have to get your mind. Right? So that's one of the biggest things I recommend to people is like, figure out how you can be so confident and in love with yourself in a positive way.

Again, remember I said, confidence, not arrogance and radiate that to the world. Then you can start to like, be really effective in sales, but I'm going to reiterate what Arianne had said, which is, follow a good process, doesn't have to be the greatest one in the world. Follow good process. And then work your tail off.

That's the magic. And with that, join us for our next episode. We're going to dive deeper into the rest of this sales process. It's been fun doing this with you together today. You guys have an awesome one.


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