On Qualifying Leads and Customer Sale Cycle With Aaron Prickel

Aaron Prickel, Vice-president/Owner at Lushin, discusses how to tell when you’re wasting time on leads. He also goes into depth on the customer sales cycle.  Listen to the conversation or read it below. If you haven’t joined Smartups sign up here and come out every third Tuesday to the Speak Easy to grow your marketing knowledge and connections.

Aaron Prickel On Startups Sales: Smartups June 2014 by Smartups on Mixcloud

Full transcript below the jump.

[Side conversation]

So here’s what we’re going to do. You’ll see a list of some common sales problems and sales management problems. There was one or two of you that actually submitted a question to, I think, Tim, and, yes, I am filling in for Brian.

Does anyone here know who Brian Kavicky is? You guys don’t even know if I’m – of course you know who he is. Of course you guys know who. So I didn’t know if you guys came for Brian or if came for the topic. So sorry to be disappointed if you’re stuck with me. So I always like to start any of these types of talks off with a couple of things. Here’s the first one.

One, is I’m a Ball State guy. So anything I write on the dry erase board will be very sloppy and may be very incorrectly spelled. That’s my Ball State nature. Two, I have a tendency to talk fast. I’ve been around this for 11+ years now. So I have a tendency to go through some pieces.

If at any point in time you guys or gals have questions just stop and we’ll back up and go through whatever. Here’s the other thing. I’m not going take the next 40 minutes and just cram things down your throat and give you fancy closing moves. Does anybody know why I’m not going give you fancy closing moves?

Lawrence, take a guess. You seem like a smart guy. Why do you think I’m not going to give you fancy closing moves? Thank you. Amen. So it’s not about the last five minutes. The last five minutes of a conversation are going to be totally irrelevant if you didn’t set up the first 55 correctly. Snuck up on me. This is awesome.

Very intimate. So I hope your neck’s okay. You can see? Good. So I’ll talk some rules and process stuff. I’ll help bring clarity to whatever you want to bring clarity to, but since this is a nice intimate group and we’re all just right here, here’s how we’re going get started off. And I know right now I’ve got zero credibility and you guys are like okay here’s this random guy speaking up here.

So before we can get started just with whoever you’re sitting next to, because most of you have a friend who you’re sitting next to, if you were to say there’s one thing I want to get out of this from a sales perspective, what’s something I’d actually want to learn today? So I gave you a cheat sheet. You can steal something right off of one of these two sheets, or you can make something up.

So I’m going to give you about 45 seconds, and we’re going to put some things on the board and I want to bring some clarity to some pieces for you. I am not going to change your life in 40 minutes. No one’s going to have a line to hug it out on the way out. You’re not going to call me tomorrow and say that was earthshattering and my business is up 9,000 percent. It’s not going to happen.

So my goal is that each one of you in here take or two little things out of there that you go, “Oh, that makes sense. Now I know how to apply it in my work.” Cool? How’s that? I can’t get any more blunt and up front than that. So if you can, with whoever you’re sitting next to, come up with your one thing that you’d like to get out of this.

I’ll give you 45 or so seconds and put some things on the board and we’ll start hammering through this. Ready, set, go. It’s okay. I know our moms and dads said don’t talk with your mouth full, but you can talk with your mouth full. I said it’s okay. So don’t worry about your mom and dad. Go. Talk to the person sitting next to you.

If there’s one thing you’d want to get out of this, what would you like to get out of it? Jeff will tell you something. He’s good. Here we go. Peter, can I ask you a question? Pick a number between one and five. Seven? Awesome. You start. If there was one thing you could get out of this today what would you like to get out of this?

Pete picked seven. So that means it’s you because if you look at it it’s one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Okay. Sorry, first name. Adam. Who in this room could agree that we have a tendency to spend too much time with people who don’t buy from us? Right. So here’s my first question. How do you know if somebody’s a good prospect for you?

How do you know if they’re a good, prospective client? If they do what? And what does that look like? Asking questions. They show interest. How do you know if someone’s a good prospect for you? If they do what?

This is the interactive part. Huh? Fair, but let’s pretend we’re to the point that’s before buying. One more. How do you know if someone’s a good prospect for you, if they do what? Okay. If they share information they don’t have to share. There it is. If they share information they don’t have to share.

It’s not if they ask questions, because I could ask you a million questions just to get all your ideas and go down the street and get it done for les? Fair? So one trigger to understand, man, is this person worth my time? Are they sharing information or am I giving it all?

So what we have to understand, and it’s to your point, this is a two-way street. I’ll be happy to share info too, with Lawrence, but you’ve got to share some things with me. What’s even going to compel you to do business? Why do you even want to have this conversation in the first place?

So this is a good point where how do we know if we’re spending too much time with people? One is are they sharing info? If it comes to a point in time where they’re not sharing any more information back, then don’t share the info anymore. I’m not going to go any further. You’re not telling me anything.

So here’s my other question to this point, because this is a good one, what’s a good way to test someone’s commitment to do business with you? How can you test someone’s commitment? Mr. Sullivan? How do you think you can test someone’s commitment? If they want to meet again. Good.

How else do you think you can test someone’s commitment? Pretend you knew. You’re smart. You’ll give me an answer. He’s channeling Yoda. How can you test someone’s commitment, if they do what? If they what? Fill in smaller commitments. Here’s the number one way, and it goes back to this point.

Have them do an action for you. They have to do something that’s a behavior. Just when people say, “Yes, I’m committed to doing business with you,” that’s verbal. Right? It doesn’t take a lot of effort to say, “Yes, I will do business with you,” but if you go, “Hey, I need you to send me this information about this, this, and this so I can put something together,” if that action doesn’t hold true then that’s also my other trigger to say I may be wasting time with somebody who I shouldn’t be spending time with.

There’s a great one-liner or rules that floats around out there which is a person’s values are defined by their behaviors. Who’s got kids in this room? Who’s got kids? One, two, five, seven, three. So if Tim told me that he loves his kids, and his kids are his life, yet his behavior was he went out every night and golfed and drank and did this and did that and never spent time with them, I’m sorry. I would challenge your value that your kids are your life because you behavior demonstrates something differently.

The same thing holds true in dealing with prospects. I know you’ll value me as a potential supplier if your behavior demonstrates actions that I need you to do to get there. Good? Number seven, pick somebody to go next. Ten, that’s you. I love this fake number system. This is phenomenal. Rich, ten, go.

Who in here actually makes any type of cold call? Does anybody here actually make cold calls? A couple? Is there anybody here who should be making cold calls but they’re not? There you go. Let me ask you this question first and then I’ll go into this gatekeeper. This is just my internal note. Here’s my golden rule of thumb.

Don’t complain about cold calls if you don’t ask for referrals. Don’t complain about cold calls if you don’t ask for referrals. So my guess is every single one of you in here has some sort of client base. My question to you is in the last month how many referrals did you actively ask for? So we can talk about prospecting all day long, but the number one thing we see missed from a prospecting end is people just don’t ask for referrals. Here’s an interesting stat. Write this down.

Type it in. Do whatever you want to do. 20/60/20. So 20 percent of your clients will give you a referral without you asking. They’ll go, “Man, Rich. You’re good. Here you go. You should talk to so-and-so.” 20 percent. 60 percent of these people will give you a referral but what must you do? You’ve got to ask for it. Guess what this last 20 percent is? Ain’t going happen. You can take their kids to Disney – I could take Tim’s kids to Disney World, repaint his house, clean his bathroom, and it still ain’t going happen, and that’s fine.

So one thing I will challenge you on is if you’re still making a lot of cold calls or doing a lot of cold calls you may need that to start to generate business, but with the people who already love you, are you getting referrals from them? There’s a lot of head trash that goes around referrals that I won’t get into because we have 40 minutes tonight. So let’s talk about the gatekeeper. How do you handle gatekeepers?

If you make cold calls you run into them, right? Just started them. You don’t have callouses on your fingers yet from making a bunch of dials? What gatekeeper part throws you for a loop? Tough. So he was giving the example of calling into a lot of veterinary – perfect. He was talking about calling into veterinarians’ offices. Let me ask you this.

When you call into that veterinary office, how do you ask for the doc? So here’s the first thing about getting through gatekeepers. Ask in the negative. Ask if they’re not in because people love to correct you when you’re wrong. People want to correct you when you’re wrong. Plus, do you know how many times they get asked that question if Dr. Smith is in? Like a zillion times a day.

So what happens is you get right into their normal pattern. “Is Dr. Smith in?” “May I ask who’s calling?” “Is Dr. Smith in?” “Who are you with?” “Is Dr. Smith in?” “Why?” So you fall into a natural pattern. So ask in the negative. “Hey, Dr. Bob’s not in today, is he?” “Oh, yeah. He is.” “Okay. Put me through.” Literally I was, “Okay, well then put me through.”

And please don’t be upset at this next comment. So I told you don’t be upset, so you can’t get upset. But with gatekeepers you should be very literal. So we have to make a lot of cold calls in our world to build our books of business. So when people would say, “May I ask where you’re calling from?” I go, “Sure.” “Where are you calling from, Sir?” I go, “Oh, Indianapolis.”

Because that’s where I was calling from. I know they wanted the company name, but I was just being very literal. “Are you with a company?” “Do I have to be with a company?” “No.” “Okay.” And when in doubt I just shout my last name. My last name’s Prickel. I’m a German. So I would just keep shouting my last name.

“May I ask who’s calling?” “Yeah, last name Prickel. Last name Prickel.” And they’re like, “Okay.” The more you interrupt people’s patterns the less likely you get treated like everybody else. I don’t mean to be an a-hole. Pardon my medicine-induced French, but it’s okay to be literal and play stupid. Exactly. So you can be literal.

You can ask in the negative, and you bring up a very good point where you have to find what’s you. The biggest – Peter, can I ask you another question? Can I ask you a question? Thank you. Was one my limit? I have a one-question limit with you? What’s the difference between assertive and aggressive?

Aggressive people are assholes. Oh, I thought you said [inaudible]. So aggressive people get what they want. What about assertive? Okay. So they don’t stop. What about assertive? So let me ask you a question. First name? Cameron, have we met each other before? If Cameron was in here today and I walked up to Cameron and I said, “Hi, I’m Aaron.” And he says, “Hi, I’m Cameron,” and I just punched him right in the face that would be very aggressive. Fair?

That would be very aggressive. It’d be a little violent, yes. But now let’s pretend Cameron comes in and I said, “Hi, I’m Aaron.” And he says, “Hi, I’m Cameron.” I say, “Hey, Cameron do you mind if I punch you in the face real quick? I’m not feeling very good today and that would just kind of lighten my day a little bit. Do you mind if I just crack you one in the nose?”

And he goes, “Sure, Aaron, why not?” And then I punch him in the face. That’s assertive. What’s the biggest difference in those two examples? We got permission. So to your point, one thing I want us all in here to remember is you should not be that aggressive, pushy, sleazy, greasy grimy salesperson, but you have earned and deserve the right to be very assertive as long as you get what first? As long as you get what first? Permission.

You want to ask somebody a tough question. “Hey, is that okay if I ask you a tough question?” If they say no, like Pedro did here a second ago, then fine. I’m not going ask you the question. Right? If I went ahead and asked him, even after he said no, that’s aggressive. I don’t ever want to be aggressive.

But I will be very assertive, and if you say it’s okay to go there then I’m going go there. If you say it’s not okay to go there I’ll find somebody else. That’s fine, but the same thing holds true with dealing with clients. How many times would you like to have really tough conversations with clients who aren’t doing all the things that they should be doing on the back end to make things successful?

But yet we go, “Oh, we don’t want to jeopardize this relationship.” Well, get permission to go there. “Can I have a really tough conversation with you without you getting mad at me?” So many times we let our own head trash get in the way, but just throw it out there first and get their permission. People are typically pretty darn forgiving.

Looking at the time. 20. 20. I’m bad at math. Let’s do one more and then I’m going do something with you guys. Number 10, pick another number. You can’t do [inaudible]. Peter picked that one. Pick a high one like 112. 114. Go, Lawrence. Give me one thing? You’re here. You saw something on the sheet that resonated with you. What is it?

Who in here has got a pen or they’re going write something [inaudible]? You guys all have either a pen or a phone that you can jot something down real quick? Here’s what I want you to do while I continue to hack in this microphone. Will you type in or write down your current sales process real quick? Just type in or write down your current – just the big picture steps like you build rapport, you ask permission, just big picture.

If you look at me cross-eyed that means you don’t have a process and you just wing it, and that’s okay too. Just write because Lawrence brings up a good point. This will be the last thing I’ll work us through because it will take 20 minutes and we’ll be done. Jeff, are you okay? I just want to make sure. I’m nervous.

This is the first time I’ve ever done this, can you tell? Sarcasm. It’s okay. I’m sure this is going to be the worst recording, Tim, you guys ever had between the coughing and all the [inaudible]. This is why Brian is supposed to be here. Because after 5:00 it goes downhill really quick. That’s why I stay away from [inaudible]. I love interrupting people’s patterns, if you can’t tell.

Why would I want to be the traditional boring guy that flips through slides and just preaches to you guys for 45 minutes? I figure I’d make it interesting. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. Who’s going to bail me out real quick and give me their sales process? Not three people in here do I know? Lawrence, what do you go? How do you do that?

Good. You research and then what? Who else in here does demos? Does anybody else in here do demo stuff? What’s that mean? Why do you think you have to demo in the first place? So why do you do it? I’ve sold software in my previous world. You don’t have to as much as you probably think you do. It’s not you. It’s them. It’s always them.

It’s like it’s not me. It’s my wife. This problem’s not me. It’s for my wife. It’s my wife’s problem. It’s my wife’s fault. So I know this guy. All right, Lawrence. You just substitute this guy with Lawrence, no, that’s cool. So you’re face to face and then you do demo light and then what? How long is your sales cycle?

Okay. So would you it be fair to say you’re just in a situation where you don’t know what you don’t know? Okay. And is that your fault? No, hold on. Is that your fault if – if somebody doesn’t know what they don’t know, is it their fault? On. So there’s a difference between ignorance and arrogance. It’s not your fault is the short answer.

If I came to work at whatever business you have, day one I’d be like, “I don’t know what this stuff is.” It doesn’t mean I’m stupid. It doesn’t mean it’s my fault. I just don’t know what I don’t know. So one thing we have to understand no matter who we’re talking to from a perspective client end is if somebody, a prospective client, is ignorant I can help that person all day long. Now, if you’re arrogant, going back to your are they a good prospect or wasting too much time with them, bye-bye.

I can’t fix stupid. So right to your point. So if they know better but still choose not to do it, then that’s a – six weeks in, Lawrence, don’t beat yourself up. You don’t know what you don’t know. But now here’s my – that’s fair. Here’s my one biggest piece of advice. How do you view failure? Okay. So thank you. So one of the biggest problems we see from people is they avoid failing.

Instead, will you fail fast and just learn from it? People have prolonged failure. They just refuse to fail. No. Just go out and scrape your knees. Screw things up. Take your lesson learned on where you can improve, right, to your point. And then just don’t repeat it. So I always mention to people, especially clients with newer reps, early on just go out and screw stuff up.

Just scrape your knees and take your lessons from it. You’re not going to be perfect. Nobody ever is. So go out and learn the hard way and take your lessons from it so you know where to improve. So then you follow up with some high-tech fancy [inaudible] cycles long. Then how does this thing end, Lawrence? How does it end?

What’s the last step in your 98 step process? There should be some what? Where’s he go? Kids. Who else had kids in here, again? A couple of you. Does anybody in here know what gestational diabetes is or by any rare awkward offhand, gestational diabetes? Do you know what it is by chance? What is it, Sean?

Type 1. What’s that mean? Did you just throw out a diabetic term? Sorry. Gestational. So I’m getting ready to tell you how buyer buys, but I’m going to tell you a story as I go through it. So with all three of our perfectly happy, healthy children, my wife has extreme levels of gestational diabetes. She’s not diabetic, but during pregnancy she’s diabetic. Hence, gestational diabetes.

She has very high levels of it. She does bed rest starting around week 5 or week 6 and she’s pretty much couched out till that lovely baby comes. So we live on the south side. Don’t judge me. Our office is on the north side. So I usually get in the office very early because I usually leave very early. This is a very late night for old Aaron. So I usually get in early and leave early.

This has been years ago. I knew I was going to be late. I called my wife and said, “Hey, babe. I’m going to be late,” and she says, “I’m starving.” Well, with gestational diabetes you have to eat a lot of protein because you need to keep your sugar levels at a specific rate and you have to eat at certain times of the day. And she says, “I’m starving, and I want steak.” “Fire up the grill. I’ll get there as soon as I can.” 6:15, 6:30 rolls around.

I go barreling in my neighborhood. I see a bunch of smoke coming between our house and our neighbor’s house, and I go to sit down – and this is about perfect – I go to sit down and what used to be these beautiful rib eyes are now these very hard, black charbroiled pieces of meat, and I’m not stupid. I’m not going to say anything. She’s seven months pregnant. She just busted her butt to get this meal made.

So the phone rings, and you’ve got to keep in mind this is, shoot, six, seven years ago now when people still had landlines. But the phone rings. Who used to call a lot at night at dinnertime? Huh? Salespeople, right? Telemarketers. I like salespeople. I work with them on a daily basis. They provide for me, the family that I have. I love salespeople.

So I answer the phone. This was in the spring, and I see it says Lawn Pride on the caller ID. So I answer the phone. “Hello?” And I hear, “Mr. Prickel?” “Yeah.” She goes, “Hi, it’s Stephanie at Lawn Pride.” I said, “Hi, Stephanie at Lawn Pride. I’ll tell you what. I’m just sitting down to eat with my wife. Call me back in an hour and I’ll spend as much time with me as you want me to.”

And then I hear this in the background. [Papers rustling] What is she looking for? The caught them in the middle of dinner script. So she goes, “This will only take a second, Mr. Prickel. I only have a couple of quick –” I just cut her off and said, “Stephanie, I don’t think you understand. My wife has gestational diabetes. We’re already running behind schedule. Call me back in an hour.”

Then I hear [papers rustling]. I’m like you’ve got to be shitting me. She’s got a gestational diabetes script here. This sales manager has got to be the best sales manager that I’ve ever – this guy’s got everything taken care of. You’ve got a gestational diabetes overcome objections. So I said, “Stephanie, I’ll tell you what.” I said, “Have you ever heard of a rock yard?” She says, “No.”

I said, “My wife and I just moved here from Arizona about a year ago, and Arizona it was too hot to have grass. We just had rocks. And she loved that idea so much that when we moved here to Indy we just tore up all of our grass and put rocks down.” A telemarketer does what? She’s working for a landscaping company. I just told her we only have rocks. What does she do, Rich?

What does she do now on that phone call? She bails out. She says, “Thank you very much.” She was very polite and she hangs up the phone. So I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I’m like how in the hell did I come up with a rock yard idea from Arizona? And my wife looks at me with that very traditional pissed off wife look you guys give every eight minutes.

She goes, “Ahh.” And I’m like, “Ahh, what?” She goes, “I can’t believe you did that.” I said, “Did what?” She goes, “You completely lied to her.” I said, “Honey, here’s what you got to remember. It’s okay to lie to salespeople because you will always still get into heaven.” I am going to walk you through a very quick buyer process. First step in a traditional buyer process is lie.

So type it in. Write it down. Do whatever you want to do. Before you start making judgments on me let me help build some context. And my wife has heard this story nine bazillion times and she doesn’t get upset. She’s smarter than I am and went to a real school and got a master’s, yada yada yada. So I’m not making fun of her.

My wife used to be a buyer at a company that rhymes with Snitushisihi. I’m not allowed to say who it is, but it rhymes with Snitushisihi. So a buyer’s job in the corporate world is to do what? What’s a buyer’s job in the corporate world to do? Best deal. Best timing. Best service. Best deal. Have you ever want something bought or purchased, call her. She’s good.

She’s saved us a lot of money over the years, unlike her husband who just buys stuff on a whim and I’ll pay you whatever you tell me it’s worth, and that’s fine. So she says, “I want a new kitchen floor.” And I said, “No. I don’t think it’s a good idea.” And she goes, “Honey, I want a new kitchen floor.” And I said, “No, I don’t think you understand. That’s not a good idea.”

And she goes, “You know I’m going to get a new kitchen floor.” And I was like, “I know you are, babe. I’m just trying to put some authority here for half a second. So that’s cool. Let’s go get a floor. But, Babe, I just have two small requests of you. One, can we only go to one store?” I’m not a shopper. I don’t like to go. “Just go one place and get it done, and can you keep it under $5,000?”

She says what to me, on those two things? What do you think she says? “Sure.” What do I know is not going to happen? You know the game. Good. You’re a smart guy. So I knew neither of those things were going to happen, but I tried to insert a piddle of authority into this relationship that I don’t have. So long story short, does anybody here live on the south side by any chance? Just one cool, smart person? You do?

God, people need to get with the times. You shoot stuff out your back window and you can pee in your front yard, yeah but people make judgments on You. So we go to said floor store. We quickly go into said floor store. We walk in, and keep in mind before we walked in I said, “Honey, this is the only place we’re going to, right?” “Yep.” “Keep it under $5,000, right?” “Yep.” We walk into floor store.

Sales guy says, “How can I help you?” She says what? “Just looking.” Is this lie meant to be malicious? No. Why does it happen? Why does this initial lie happen? Oh, yeah. People don’t like salespeople. Right? I’m going to go to multiple places, too. So it’s not meant to be malicious. It’s rare that somebody – my guess is that it’s very rare that somebody walks in that floor store and says, “Hey, I’ve got 5 Gs to spend. Put me to a floor that I need,” because if you tell somebody upfront they have $5,000 what’s that floor going to come back and cost you? $4,999.99.

What’s this lie sound like in your world? “Not in the budget. We’re happy with our current provider. Now’s not a good time. Call me in the spring.” We call it seasonal selling. “Call me in the spring.” You call them in the spring. “Call me in the summer.” You call them in the summer. “Call me next fall.” Seasonal selling. Some lies are not meant to be malicious.

So she gives him the old, “Just looking.” Do you know her? Just making sure. So she gives him the classic, “Just looking.” And I grab the kids and I said, “We’re going across the street and get a McFlurry. Call me when you’re done, Babe.” So about 45 minutes later she calls me and she’s like, “Hey, I’m finished. Go ahead and come on back.”

So now I come on back and sitting in front of her are three what? It’s her and the sales guy. What does she have three sitting in front of her? Three samples, right? And she’s going, “What’s the difference between this one and this one and what’s the warranty of this one?” Now let me go back to your point of asking questions.

She’s asking a whole bunch of questions, right? A ton of questions. Well, here’s where the second step of a buyer process happens. Second step in that traditional buyer process is that they steal. What’s the number one thing they steal from us? Information. Now, again, it sounds harsh but let’s not make it harsh.

Are they really stealing in the first place? Why not? You’re absolutely correct. Boom. We’re giving it to them. Nobody’s cutting open your brain and stealing stuff out of your laptop or your head. I’m sorry, but they ask the question and we answer it. Here’s where we get caught in this lovely trap called unpaid consulting because, man, we think we’re building credibility, showing them how smart we are.

Let me tell you how this works and here’s what you should do here. “Yeah, I’ve been doing this for 15 years. Yeah, I do this and here’s how I fix that and I do that.” And they ask all these questions and we go, “Man, we’re building some good credibility.” I’m sure it doesn’t happen to anybody in here. Sarcasm. One of these times I’ll get him to smile, too. So she’s got the three samples in front of her, and she says this, “You know, apples to apples, all things considered, Jeff, I’m pretty sure” – listen to her words –“I’m pretty sure this is the one that I’m most likely going to get.” My wife’s favorite comment is it’s a definite maybe. A definite maybe.

I was home the first half of today and my five-year-old came up to me and said, “Mommy said we might be going to the zoo on Friday.” I said, “Claire, that’s a no. Maybes are a slow no in disguise. Take it as a no. Make some other plans. Your mother gave you a positive maybe just to get you out of your hair, but Daddy is going to be very blunt and I’m going to talk to you in yes, no terms. That’s a no. You are not going to said zoo. Just FYI. Sorry to make you cry, but Daddy doesn’t feel well and you’ve just got to get over it.”

So this is the sample. She says, “I’m pretty sure that this is the one we’re most likely, positively going to get.” She’s very excited. Pretty sure this is the one. “Do you mind if I” – what does she want to do with the sample? My gosh, you know her too. Do you do this? Look at her. She’s like, “Yeah.” “Do you mind if I take it home?”

Here’s where the third step of traditional buyer process kicks in. This is where I lie again, but it’s a positive lie. “Hey, Rick. Wow, great presentation, Lawrence. That demo was phenomenal. Where were you six months ago? Man, that’s great stuff. Great PowerPoint. That must have taken a lot of time to put those animations in there. That’s phenomenal. Good stuff. I can really see how this can help.

This is looking good. We’re probably maybe going to do something someday soon. Second quarter after never, I think this is lined right up perfect. This is good stuff.” Why does this positive lie happen? You can’t answer all of them. You’ve been helping me too much already. Perfect. They don’t want to let you down.

And why do they not want to let you down? What did you just do for them? You just helped them out so much. You gave them so much stuff and now they go, “Crap.” I don’t want to tell this guy no right to his face because, man, you just really helped me out. What do you do? This isn’t a trick question.

[Inaudible]. What are the top three reasons why people should buy from you? What else? These are actually pretty good. I’m sick so I don’t want to shake your hand. 85 percent of the time when I ask that question of top three reasons why people should buy from them do you know what their most common answers are? “Our service is top notch. We’ve got quality products and services. Prices, yeah. We’re competitive.”

Here’s how you get commoditized, kids. Prospect A goes and talks to Company A and Company A says, “Man, we’ve got great service. We’ve got great quality and prices. Yeah, we’re competitive.” They go to Person B and Person B says, “Yeah, we have great service. Yeah, we have great quality prices. Yeah, we’re competitive.” Company C says, “We have great service. We have great quality. Great product or great prices.”

Uneducated buyer says, “Oh, they all have great service. That’s what they all say, right? They all have great quality.” Have you met a salesperson yet that makes a sales call on you and goes, “I want to be upfront. Our service just blows. We’re probably going to be two to three weeks before. We’re way overpriced, and our quality, it’s going to fall apart in three weeks.”

Everybody’s got great service. Everybody’s an industry leader. Anybody can put anything on a website. So when you look at this, everybody had service. Everybody had great quality. They want to bring this person up, this person down, this person down so they can make it all about what? And that my friends is how you get commoditized.

So that positive lie happens for two reasons. One is that they don’t want to say no to you, and, two, is they’re going to go to possibly Company B, like you mentioned. Now they can get that info and now start comparing apples to apples. It’s a phrase that makes us all throw up. So here’s how this thing ends. We get ready to walk out of said floor store and sales guy says, “Hey, Jennifer. If I don’t hear from you when should I call you?”

I’m going, “Oh, wow. This is going to be good.” So she jots down our number and hands it to him. She goes, “Tell you what. If you don’t hear anything by Friday go ahead and give me a call.” So Friday goes around. I’m sitting in the office and my cell phone rings. So I go, “Hello?” And I hear, “Hey, is Jennifer there?” And I say, “Who’s this?” I look at the number. I’m like, “Who is this?”

He’s like, “Hey, it’s Chris at Floors to Go.” “Hey, Chris. What’s going on?” How many times have you guys and gals said this next phrase? “Following up on that quote. Just following up on that quote.” I said, “Man, Chris. I’ve got good news for you buddy.” He says, “What’s that?” I said, “You’re already in step four with her.” And he goes, “Awesome. What’s step four?” I said, “She’s hiding from you.”

Isn’t it amazing? You have such good conversation, and they’re all excited, and then you’re supposed to follow up with them by Friday if you don’t hear from them. And then you call and then it’s like voicemail after voicemail because the one perk that does happen here [sound breaks off]. We get unlimited access to voicemail. That’s the one perk that comes out of this stage four.

We get unlimited access to voicemail. Go ahead and just fill it up. Then doesn’t that seem like you’re in the witness protection program and you can’t find these people. It’s like what the hell happened to these people? And then you actually get a hold of them because you use your Grandma’s cell phone in Oregon and Google voiced them with a different number. And then you actually get a hold of them and guess what happens?

It starts back over. “Oh, I’ve been meaning to get back with you.” “Hey, well I got you. Let me ask you a couple of quick questions.” “Hey, I think we’re still on track. I just got to run it by my priest’s rabbi’s brother’s sister’s cousin’s husband, who I never told you about. Call me next Friday if you don’t hear from me.”

And now we get all excited again and go, “Yeah. We still got one.” Then you call them back next Friday and then you’re stuck in this again. So, I told you I wasn’t going to change your life in 45 minutes? That expectation is too harsh on me. I’m not feeling well. I can tell you how you fall into this. [Humming] I steal some more [inaudible] and then they hide. So that’s how. Show of hands, who sees this? Let’s be real. We all do, right? Let me ask you this question. You don’t have to raise your hand. We already know your answer. Who would openly admit that they may buy this way too? So change your own personal buying habits and you’ll start to change the way you sell.

I am that guy that goes in and says, “I want this. Do you have it?” And if they say, “Yes,” then I go, “Here you go.” “Thank you for exchanging my money for something that you have that I want.” That’s why it blows my mind when people don’t share info with me because if it’s something that I’m interested in I will tell you anything you want to know. I feel like a doctor’s visit.

My doctor asked me a bunch of questions this morning. I didn’t go, “No. No. No. I need three references of other people that have had fevers in the past three weeks that you’ve helped and how you’ve helped them, and I want you to put a proposal together for me, and then I’ll decide what I want to do from here.” Wouldn’t that be cool? Don’t do that. I actually like my doctor. So let’s summarize this today.

When you look at the gatekeeper thing, Rich, your point. You’ve got to be yourself. Here’s the rule I’ll have you follow. Just interrupt their patterns. However you choose to do that, as long as it’s you, is great. Just get out of the standard norm because you’re going to fall into the normal routine. So if you want to dress up in a clown suit to interrupt their pattern, that’s fine. Just be you and interrupt their patterns.

Your point of long sales cycle or spending time. We’ve got to go back to are they sharing information? And we can test people’s commitment by actions or behavior that we ask them to do. I can’t remember what the third one is because I have 1800 milligrams of something white that my wife gave me pumping through my body right now. That’s why I can’t drink, either. I don’t want to die. Don’t judge me. It’s okay. I’m not easily addicted to things besides helping you.

Here’s our ticket out of here. With your new best friend who you really didn’t want to talk to for the last 45 minutes, can you share with them the one nugget you got out of today with each other and then I want to pass out a feedback form and then I’ll walk you through the feedback form and then I’m going to leave. Cool? Go. Share with your friend what you got out today. [Group activity] [Inaudible closing remarks] [Applause]