Start A Conversation With Yourself

A successful sales relationship hinges on the ongoing conversation you have with your customer. The dialogue starts, strangely enough, with the conversation you have with yourself. You can listen to others more effectively when you know how to listen to yourself. I first learned this years ago at my first media company job.

They sent me to a conference in Houston, Texas. I had just come out of a long-term relationship, and to be totally honest, I felt a little bit lost. I remember sitting in a hotel room and coming across an infomercial featuring a very youthful Tony Robbins promoting something he called “personal power.”

I was intrigued enough to buy what Robbins was selling. When I got back to New Zealand, there was a box waiting for me with Tony’s signature on it.

I devoured the material; it re-ignited my love of knowledge and showed me how to improve my outlook and my self-talk. I did all of the exercises and kept a journal. One skill I learned was how to ask quality questions of myself.

It started with questions recorded in a journal and culminated in a completely new focus that brought better results. The disparity in the quality of people’s lives often comes down to the difference in the questions they consistently ask.

You prime your mental computer to look for a particular type of answer. If you’re asking, “What’s wrong with me?” Your mind will come up with an answer – you are stupid or you don’t deserve to do well.

On the flip side, if you ask questions like, “How can I take this experience and use it to contribute to others’ lives?” Your brain will come up with much more constructive answers.

You will be able to see the path forward, rather than feeling like you have reached a dead end. Here are some examples from my long-ago journal:

  • What am I happy about in my life right now?
  • What about that makes me happy and how does it make me feel?
  • What am I most excited about in my life right now?
  • What makes me excited?
  • What am I grateful for in my life?
  • What am I committed to in my life right now?

Asking these questions helped me see clearly how positive questions lead to a growth mindset, which leads to better results down the road. When you think in terms of constructive, positive questions, your brain goes off and works on them even when you’re not thinking about the answers consciously.

For example, consider the difference between “Why does this always happen to me?” and “How can i learn from this experience?” They are simply worlds apart in terms of choosing your next step.

Develop a pattern of questions that empower you. If you seek a shift in your life, make this part of your daily routine. Over time, asking these types of questions changes how you question your clients. Here are some sample business questions that evolved from my personal questions:

  • What am I most happy/excited about in my business?
  • What am I most proud about in my business?
  • How does it make me feel to employ other people?
  • What am I committed to doing to improve sales systems?
  • How/why do I value my customers?

Set up systems to formulate these questions for your sales team, so their conversations with customers flow more naturally from a foundation of self-knowledge.

If you love this video please make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

 

Mike Brunel started mikebrunel.com after being a successful entrepreneur and founder of NRS Media.  He co-founded NRS Media in Wellington, New Zealand, expanded it into a global powerhouse in media sales and training, and was eventually responsible for opening offices in London, Atlanta, Toronto, Sydney, Capetown, and Bogota. His products and services are now sold in 23 countries and in 11 languages generating $350 million annually in sales for his clients. Mike sold the company in 2015 and now spends his time following his passions which include rugby, travel. His promise: “I can find thousands of dollars in your business within minutes – GUARANTEED”  TRY ME!

On The Path: Evaluating Clients’ Needs

In my last blog, I talked about the importance of knowledge, of knowing your products and your clients’ products strengths and weakness better than your competitors.

If you did the exercise, you will now be armed with more tools to sell your product or service.

So far, in the selling journey we have had Mindset, Insight, and now the Path-Evaluating clients’ needs.

The next stage in the selling journey is the Path.

Every sale involves some type of discovery. At this point, you have adjusted your mindset and achieved solid insight into your product or service. You are now ready to get on the path to a sale.

The next step is discovering what your clients’ needs and wants really are. You are not ready to seal the deal, but you are looking down the road ahead of you, mapping out the territory that will lead to the sale.

You will cover this ground alongside your client, by focusing on your clients’ needs and how you can move together down the path toward fulfilling them. Think of “the path” as the discovery process behind every sale, where we find out how we can match up our product with the needs of the customer.

I sometimes put it another way – “Stop selling your solution, and find out their problems.”

We should understand that the intersection is not reached all at once, and the journey is seldom the same twice.

Clients’ needs differ depending on many variables, including timing and general willingness to buy. Our job is to discover the underlying need or want, and to be there when the timing and willingness converge.

We can do that by creating events and taking actions that position us in the clients’ path, so we are there when they are ready to buy.

You can only be truly ready to provide solutions to your clients’ problems if you develop a deep understanding of their wants and needs.

In the first instance, you do this by asking questions. We’ll explore that some more in the next blog.

Evaluate emotional needs

Remember this: Every one of your clients has a need for your product, usually at an emotional level.

What I want you to do is a simple, quick exercise.

Either spend some time with a notepad, or just answer these in your next sales meeting, or do them now on your own.

  1. Why do my clients buy this?
  2. What result does it give them?
  3. What does it do?
  4. What am I really selling? (Are you fulfilling a pent-up desire?)
  5. How do they feel when they buy it?
  6. What emotions trigger a sale?
  7. What are the motivations for them buying your product or service?

There are several more exercises you can do to construct valuable tools and these are found in Chapter 5 On the Path: EvaluatIng Clients’ Needs (Link). Selling is not optional – How to master the most important skill in business and life.

If you love this video please make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

 

Mike Brunel started mikebrunel.com after being a successful entrepreneur and founder of NRS Media.  He co-founded NRS Media in Wellington, New Zealand, expanded it into a global powerhouse in media sales and training, and was eventually responsible for opening offices in London, Atlanta, Toronto, Sydney, Capetown, and Bogota. His products and services are now sold in 23 countries and in 11 languages generating $350 million annually in sales for his clients. Mike sold the company in 2015 and now spends his time following his passions which include rugby, travel. His promise: “I can find thousands of dollars in your business within minutes – GUARANTEED”  TRY ME!

The Knowledge

I know I talked about the importance of mindset in my last video, and how much that plays a part in the selling journey.

Insight, in the context of sales, means understanding your own product. It also means understanding your own businesses strengths and weaknesses.

For example, London’s traditional black cab drivers rely on what they call “The Knowledge” to set them apart from other transportation services. Pay a visit to London and a black cab will probably be one the first things you will see. London taxi drivers are almost as famous as the black cabs they drive.

Their fame stems from their incredibly comprehensive knowledge of the city. Hail down a black cab in London and you can be assured that the driver will find the shortest route to your destination without the aid of any technology.

London taxi drivers go through stringent training to obtain their licenses. They need to pass “The Knowledge” test; and studying for it is often likened to having an atlas of London implanted into your brain.

To become an All-London taxi driver, you need to master no fewer than 320 basic routes, all of the 25,000 streets scattered within the basic routes, and approximately 20,000 landmarks and places of public interest within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross.

It takes the average person between two and four years to learn “The Knowledge”. This education is a big investment, but the training sets this service apart from the competition, whether they are taxi drivers or Uber drivers, utilising GPS gadgets.

In fact, on the ground, a black cab driver will always out-perform the Uber driver. Their extensive, specific knowledge actually offers an opportunity to re-position themselves as the ultimate experts.

Customers are willing to pay for a service this good, and the only way to make it this good is to have true insight into the product you offer.

Swot Analysis

The question for your business, then, is how do you know what you—and your salespeople—don’t know?

One way to develop insight into your own company is to use a swot analysis on your products and services.

The swot framework comes from Albert Humphrey, who tested the approach in the 1960s and 1970s at the Stanford Research Institute. Developed for business and based on data from Fortune 500 companies, the swot analysis has been adopted by organisations of all types as a decision-making tool. As its acronym implies, a swot analysis examines four elements:

  1. Strengths: Internal attributes and resources that support a successful outcome.
  2. Weaknesses: Internal attributes and resources that work against a successful outcome.
  3. Opportunities: External factors the project can use to its advantage.
  4. Threats: External factors that could jeopardise the project.

Questions to ask during a swot analysis of your sales process:

Strengths: What are you the best at? • Why do customers buy from you? • What are your competitors’ benefits?

Weaknesses: Where do you need to improve? • Are there any gaps in product lines? • should you add a guarantee? • What’s preventing you from making more sales?

Opportunities: How can you take advantage of your new knowledge? • Is there something unique you have to offer? • What do these facts tell you about the future?

Threats: Is this the right product or service for the current market? • What happens when the market changes? • Do you need to evaluate your clients? • Do you have a sales mindset? • Do you train well and consistently? • Does your team believe in your mission?

Evaluating your offerings this way helps you develop the insight necessary to sell them. Let’s look at one example of how insight, or lack of it, affects everyday sales interactions.

Imagine someone comes to your store, intending to buy. They already have an interest in the product. They quite reasonably make an inquiry with the salesperson. This is where the relationship between seller and buyer can quickly break down.

If the customer expresses interest in an item and the person who can sell it to them doesn’t demonstrate enough insight, the sale will drop dead right there.

The once-promising customer will walk right back out that door. For instance, suppose an appliance store supervisor has only trained the sales staff in the bare minimum product knowledge.

The salespeople on the floor know that a washing machine has a lid at the top, and it opens when you press a button, and that’s it. Chances are, your customers already know more than the salespeople.

The internet now allows people to research your product thoroughly. if you are not careful—if you don’t always have some sort of valuable knowledge to add—you will lose the sale.

Work out ahead of time what your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities are, and try to match them up against your competition. You want to be able to convince the customer of the benefit of choosing your product over any other.

If you love this video please make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

 

Mike Brunel started mikebrunel.com after being a successful entrepreneur and founder of NRS Media.  He co-founded NRS Media in Wellington, New Zealand, expanded it into a global powerhouse in media sales and training, and was eventually responsible for opening offices in London, Atlanta, Toronto, Sydney, Capetown, and Bogota. His products and services are now sold in 23 countries and in 11 languages generating $350 million annually in sales for his clients. Mike sold the company in 2015 and now spends his time following his passions which include rugby, travel. His promise: “I can find thousands of dollars in your business within minutes – GUARANTEED”  TRY ME!

Mind Your Mindset

In many of my blogs I talk about recognising steps needed to navigate the sales journey successfully. I am going to share in these upcoming blogs, the steps of that sales journey.

These are taken from my book –Selling is not optional 

Before we get more deeply into those steps, let’s look in detail at how our perception of sales informs our understanding of that journey from the start. Sales is shaped more by how you think about it than by what you do.

We are talking about your mindset: your core beliefs about yourself as a salesperson and about selling itself.

All too often, these beliefs are negative and limiting. When you change your perspective, you also change your results.

People think selling is hard and assume that the ability to sell is an inborn trait.

They tell themselves, “I can’t sell. I tried it once and it didn’t work. I will look really stupid if I don’t close the deal.”

They think that in order to succeed in sales, they have to win every time. This leads many talented people to conclude, “I hate sales. I really hate it. I’m not interested. I will never be any good at it.”

People who have a more productive mindset around sales tend to instead think, “Sales is easy. Salespeople aren’t born with something I don’t have. I can actually do this stuff, if I have a great product and I provide excellent service, then I should be able to make a sale. After all, the customer gets a real solution to their problem from me.” A positive sales mindset always comes from understanding that the customer is a person with needs, wants, and desires that you can help them fulfill.

When you think about a sale that way, you will find it much easier to talk to that person about their problems and ask how you can make those problems disappear. The trick is to talk yourself out of the limited mindset and into the more expansive perspective.

When you don’t get a sale, do you think, “I knew it! I told you so, didn’t I? This is impossible.” Or, do you think, “Well, I tried one thing, and it didn’t work, but what did I learn? What could I do next time?” Here’s a story (author unknown, recounted by Jack Canfield and many others) that shows how important perspective is when you’re trying to make the seemingly impossible, possible. Here is a story about how mindset and looking at things differently plays a big part, when you go to sell a product or service.

The newspaper story

A man is busy working at home when his five-year-old son comes into his study. With the enthusiasm that children have in abundance, he asks his dad if they can go to the park.

Dad, in the middle of his work, tries to resist his son’s requests but the child persists. Frustrated, and hoping to buy some time, Dad looks around, lifts up a newspaper, and opens it to a double-page world map.

He pulls out the map, tears it up into small pieces, and gives them to his son. “After you put together this map of the world, then we will go to the park,” he says. The boy takes the pieces of the newspaper in both hands and scurries eagerly over to the other side of the room.

He sets to the task immediately. Dad knows that his son has no idea what a map of the world looks like; he thinks it will take ages to put it back together. Dad goes back to his work. Five minutes later, his son runs over. “I’m finished,” he says, “can we go to the park now?”

Dad thinks his son is making it up, but on the floor is the finished puzzle of the map of the world. “How did you finish this so quickly?” he asks his son. “It was easy, Daddy,” says the boy. Then he turns over the pieces of the jigsaw one at a time, and on the other side of the world map is a photograph of a man. “You see, when you put the man back together the whole world falls into place.”

If you love this video please make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

 

Mike Brunel started mikebrunel.com after being a successful entrepreneur and founder of NRS Media.  He co-founded NRS Media in Wellington, New Zealand, expanded it into a global powerhouse in media sales and training, and was eventually responsible for opening offices in London, Atlanta, Toronto, Sydney, Capetown, and Bogota. His products and services are now sold in 23 countries and in 11 languages generating $350 million annually in sales for his clients. Mike sold the company in 2015 and now spends his time following his passions which include rugby, travel. His promise: “I can find thousands of dollars in your business within minutes – GUARANTEED”  TRY ME!