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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Optimal Sales Mindset Webinar sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales and hosted by Fred Diamond on October 12, 2020. It featured sales expert and consultant Art Sobczak, author the best-selling Smart Calling (Third Edition).]
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EPISODE 312: Well-Known Sales Prospecting Expert and Author Art Sobczak Says Sales Professionals Are Doing Customers a Disservice By Not Doing This Right Now
ART’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “If you really believe in what you have and you feel that there are people that could take advantage of it, you are actually doing a disservice to people by not being a strong sales professional. The world needs professional salespeople, especially right now, to lead and they need to hear your message. If it’s just not a fit today, no problem, at least you found out. A decision is better than no decision so again, you can do this, go out there, give it a shot. Let’s make things happen. You can make 2021 your best year ever.”
Art Sobczak: Fred, first of all thank you for having me on and hi to everybody out there that are followers of mine already and for those of you who’ve never heard of me, I’m going to share some information with you today that’s going to make your prospecting easier, more fun, help you get more yes’s and fewer no’s and help you never be rejected again. Normally people get a little skeptical when I say the no rejection and I know in your promotion for this, Fred, you were talking about, “Are you afraid to pick up the phone?” The thing is today there are so many people that are afraid to pick up the phone because of rejection. Let me just ask you, what are you hearing from your members as it relates to rejection and the phone?
Fred Diamond: We’re telling people even today, you’ve got to pick up the phone, you’ve got to connect. Like you said in the book, sales is talking to people, it’s a verb so we’re telling people, “You’ve got to be talking to people and you’ve got to overcome the fear of the rejection.” We hear that all the time and it’s probably one of the top 5 things that we work with sales professionals on, we work with a lot of B to B complex sales professionals but a lot of it comes down to just picking up the phone and making that connection.
Art Sobczak: Let’s address that. I believe that in sales probably about 95% of what we accomplish is due to this and that is our thinking, because if our thinking isn’t right, nothing else matters. The other things we’re going to be talking about today will be the messaging, will be the mechanics and I’m going to give you the mechanics but we really do need to focus on this rejection thing. Now, whenever I’m doing live programs out with people in person – hopefully that’ll come back shortly – I always ask the question, “Who here’s been rejected before on a phone call?” and of course people are falling over themselves putting their hands up. I say, “Sure. Now let me ask you, how do you know?” and people are going, “Well, I hear a no, or they say don’t call me anymore or we’re all good or it’s their dial tone when they hang up.” I say okay, fine.
Anybody that’s every placed phone call before, sales or prospecting call, probably has experienced those things but that’s exactly what it is, it’s all an experience. Now, is rejection an experience or the way you define the experience? It’s always the definition, it’s just a thing, those are things that happen to us and if you have a choice to define what happens to you, why wouldn’t you define it as something positive as opposed to something negative? If you continue to tell yourself that you’re a horrible person, you’re eventually going to believe that. If you keep telling yourself, “I got rejected” you’re going to start avoiding the behavior that is causing you to get the feeling that you’re mistakenly telling yourself. You’re telling yourself a wrong story and it’s kind of absurd because if you look at other professions, if something doesn’t work they don’t say, “I got rejected.” An accountant spreadsheet didn’t add up, “Oh, I got rejected by that spreadsheet.” A mechanic, something doesn’t work with the engine, “Got rejected by that engine.” Of course not, that’s just crazy, so why would we choose to call this rejection? It’s just something that didn’t work.
Here’s something else about rejection, it’s really pretty selfish if you’re choosing to not place calls because you fear this thing called rejection. Let’s get our values straight here, what do you mostly value? I would assume that most people are in sales because they want to make money, that’s normally the #1 driver for salespeople and also, we want to help other people. If we’re putting our silly little fear of getting a no in front of really what we should be valuing which is making money, providing for our family, helping other people out there, we’re putting that ahead of those other values. Let’s put this in perspective, many people also say, “That’s all well and good but that’s just words.” That’s right, our actions follow our words and our thoughts so what can we do to never be rejected again? How about this: instead of calling whatever happens to us on the phone ‘rejection’, let’s find something positive that we can apply a positive label to. As a matter of fact, let’s be proactive with what we’re doing on our calls.
I always suggest that salespeople have a secondary objective for every one of their calls, the primary is going to be, “What do we want them to do as a result of this call?” which could be set the appointment or go with our proposal, whatever that might be, that’s action-oriented. The secondary objective is more for our attitude than anything and it’s defined as this: what can I attempt at minimum on every single call? Because now that doesn’t rely on the other person’s reaction, it’s totally in my control. If I can say that I at least want to ask this question or at least I want to keep the door open for a future call, we call can accomplish something every time we pick up the phone so at the end of the day we can say, “I accomplished my primary objective two times and I accomplished my secondary the rest of the time.” That’s a pretty good day contrasted with the person who said, “I got rejected 40 times today, can’t wait to do it again tomorrow” – said no one ever. [Laughs]
Let’s just put things in perspective here and here’s the thing, we’re all professional salespeople – I assume that we are – we have picked a profession where every single day proactively we’re going out and playing in heavy traffic on the interstate. When you do that, when you put yourself in harm’s way, occasionally you’re going to get nicked and sometimes you’ll take one head-on but how we react to that is going to determine how we’re going to do the rest of the day, the week, the month and the year. The people who have excelled at this game – and there are many of you out there right now nodding your head saying, “Yeah, that’s me” – you’ve done this, you do this. There are people that say, “So what? No big deal.”
One of my first corporate sales trainers way back in the day said, “When you’re prospecting, you need to react like the barber does.” What does the barber say? “Next.” [Laughs] we just move onto the next one. I could talk for hours about this, there’s more material on this in the book but we’ve got to get our head on straight and also, by the way, here’s one more thing. Fred, one thing that I’m seeing out there now and I’m perusing these things on LinkedIn where all of a sudden all these experts are suggesting what you should be saying on your sales development prospecting calls. People are suggesting these gimmicky things like, “Start out with, ‘I just want to let you know this is a cold call’ or, ‘You’re not expecting my call and I just want to take 15 seconds of your time and then you can hang up on me if you want’.” I’m looking at all this stuff going, “You’re apologizing for contacting somebody.” As a matter of fact, I got one of those calls and somebody said that to me, they said, “This is a cold call and you can decide after 10 seconds if you want to hang up or not.” I said, “Let me ask you a question, are you that unconfident in what you’re selling that you don’t think you have value, that you think I’m going to hang up on you? Where are you coming from?”
You need to feel like what you have is so valuable – and again, assuming you’re calling the right people – that everybody should have a need for it. Again, with our messaging we’re not going to say that but we’ve got to have that mindset. Let’s assume you’ve got that mindset, let’s get into the actual messaging and process here. I’m going to give you an example of one of these dumb cold calls. “Hey, Pat, Dale Stevens with DS Associates, we do virtual sales training and I’d like to get 15 minutes on your calendar to introduce our programs to you.” Fred, have you ever gotten that call or something like it?
Fred Diamond: I get them 50 times a day on LinkedIn to be honest with you. The connect-and-pitch type of a thing.
Art Sobczak: Right here in this brief little opening, this person made about 7 mistakes. For example, a huge one, “I want to take something from you that’s more valuable than money, which is your time, and I haven’t given you a reason to do so. Now I’m talking about my thing, my thing are my programs.” They don’t care about your programs and there’s absolutely no reason for this person to even stay on the phone with you right now, let alone give you 15 minutes. Again, these are also me-oriented and there’s so many different versions of this plus, the person hasn’t talked about me, what’s going on in my world, hasn’t given any indication that they know something about me. Here’s the thing today, like you mentioned, Fred. You’re getting all of these messages every day, we’re all bombarded with anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand messages per day of all types whether it be phone, email, banner ads, whatever. As a result, we’ve become professional ignorers, we have to ignore most messaging that we get because we just simply can’t respond to most of it. Which ones do we listen to? The ones that are about us, the ones that cause us to lean in, the ones that may have something to do with something that’s going on in our world right now that’s relevant.
Let me give you an example of a smart call. “Hey Pat, Art Sobczak here, President of Business by Phone. I saw your post on LinkedIn about looking for a prospecting workshop for your virtual national sales meeting. I specialize working with sales teams whose pipeline is dried up and they find they now need to prospect but hadn’t had to before. What we do is I help them avoid call reluctance and rejection and use a proven conversational process to get appointments in sales and this results in reps being confident in their calling, having a consistent predictable pipeline. I’d like to ask a few questions to see if it makes sense to have a conversation.” Let me break this down, what did I do here? #1, I’ve got a connection right at the beginning. We’re going to go through this step by step and I’m going to give you guys a template, we’re going to fast-forward right to the good stuff so as soon as you get off this call, you can plug this into your own template and start making successful calls. The connection here is I know something about you and now I’ve really set myself apart from about 98% of the salespeople out there. Now I’m also addressing something that’s going on in your world and now I’m saying, “What we do is we specialize…” and everybody likes to work with a specialist as opposed to a generalist, “working with sales teams whose pipeline has dried up.” Now I’m framing this in terms of something that’s going on in your world and I already know this because what I’ve also done is I’ve done some social engineering. Social engineering is talking to someone other than a decision maker for the purpose of gathering sales intelligence. Who I would have spoken with here is a salesperson on this team because I would have called into the organization – which I do, by the way – and ask salespeople questions, because we all know salespeople like to talk [laughs]. So, I know they’re having some problems because their pipeline has dried up, so I’m describing and framing what’s going on in his world so now he’s thinking, “Yes, that’s me” and starting to lean in a little bit.
Now we have what I call the possible value proposition, “This is what we do”, I help them avoid call reluctance, rejection, I’m giving a little bit of credibility here and then I’m talking about the result, “Being confident in their calling, having a consistent predictable pipeline” and if you want to add some numbers here, sometimes I’ll say, “With my most recent client, this has increased their closed appointments by 75%”, that’s more social proof. Notice the ending here, I’m not saying I want to get on your calendar, I want to take 15 minutes of your time, I want to have you come to a webinar. All I want to do is earn a few more seconds with you, so the hardest decision you have to make at this point is to answer a couple questions. Notice how I say, “To see if it makes sense to have a conversation” which is a little ninja trick there because we’re already having a conversation [laughs]. That’s all we’re trying to do here, and the answer that I’m looking for at the end of this is, “Okay, sure. What do you want to know?” Notice I’m not apologizing, I’m not saying, “This is a cold call”.
Here’s the thing, we’ve got about 15 seconds to put somebody in a positive receptive state of mind and then move them to the questioning, those are the two objectives for a prospecting opening. By the way, I never use the term ‘cold call’ except in a derogatory sense because there’s absolutely no reason for anybody to ever place a cold call today and the people that do it, I say they’re just dumb. Within a couple seconds, a couple key strokes we can have so much information about people, organizations and situations, things that are going on and frankly, it shows tremendous disrespect if we haven’t’ taken the time to find out about the people we’re calling because we’re trying to take up their time but I haven’t taken any of my time to find out about you, to even see if what I have is going to be of value. It is mind-boggling and by the way, the people that say, “We don’t have time to do research, we need to place calls”, that’s just ridiculous because this is not just a numbers game.
We use numbers to measure activity and placing a large number of calls and placing quality calls are not mutually exclusive. How many attempts does it take to actually get somebody on the phone? The numbers are all over the board, 3, 5, 10, 15, pick a number. You’re not having to do all that research before every call, you’re doing it in a major way the first time, then you’re putting it in your notes, you’re creating your opening and voice mail and then you’re reviewing it before the next calls.
I’m getting off on a ramp on that, I’m passionate about this, can you tell?
Fred Diamond: Art, two quick comments. Nathan says it’s not really the rejection, it’s knowing what to say to continue the conversation to entice the customer. There’s two particular things that I love about this, one is, “I saw your post.” You’re paying attention to the prospect, you’re seeing something that he or she has said they are in need of as compared to you starting off with, “Here’s what I offer.” I also like the way you say, “We specialize in working with sales teams whose pipeline has dried up”, call reluctance and rejection. You’re not talking about some wide, broad, “We help with sales performance” because no one’s going to respond to that, but if the VP of Sales or Director of Sales knows that, “My people are struggling with call rejection and we don’t really have a great conversational process”, those are very specific things that you help them achieve. This is obviously light years ahead of the first example that you showed.
Art Sobczak: Obviously this is one of my examples, but everybody out there, you have results, you’re selling results. We’re not selling our things, we’re selling our results and I would suggest what you do is an exercise, if you haven’t done this already it’s actually relatively simple. You sit down, take your 20 best customers or clients and interview them, ask them, “What tangible, specific results are you getting by working with us?” Now you have a list of possible value propositions you may be able to use with your other customers based on the criteria that we’re going to find out in doing our research.
One thing I’m hearing today, you might be hearing this too from your members, is that, “Nobody’s picking up their phone anymore, we’re in a pandemic, nobody’s buying.” The fact is that people are still buying and I understand that there are certain industries and businesses that have been decimated by this, unfortunately. But many people have pivoted and some people are actually thriving. One of my coaching group members the other day on a call said that he is at 135% of quota where the rest of his team are at about 60% to 70%. I said, “What are you doing?” he said, “I’m being more innovative, I’m making more calls, I’m fine-tuning my approach, I’m staying connected to people, I’m sending out more emails with their targeted emails because I’m just not smiling and dialing and throwing it up against the wall. I’m being more strategic but I haven’t stopped my activity and my mindset is people are still buying, may as well be from me.”
But the thing is they’re talking to fewer salespeople, the one who they see have some potential value so smart calling was relevant before and it’s been successful for a long time, it’s even more relevant today and basically, it’s simply knowing something about the people, the situations and the organizations that we’re calling into so that we can tailor, customize and personalize our messaging to that individual to set ourselves apart from everybody else and to get them to lean in and say, “Let’s talk.” What we’re going to do here is we’re going to get right to the good stuff.
It’s funny because I’ll get emails almost every day, “What’s that one voicemail that’s going to get me put through” or, “What’s that one thing I can say, that secret message?” and secret sauce, I always say, “If you ever find it, let me know because I can probably sell it for a lot of money.” The thing is that this is a process, however I’m going to get right to the messaging for the smart calling process that if you just did this and you just filled in the blanks, you’d probably be able to have a passable call. I would encourage you, go download the template, there’s also a training video there that’s about 45 minutes or so that actually walks you through all the other things I was talking about. Social engineering, setting your objectives, asking some questions, we’ll get into voicemail, working with assistance. By the way, I don’t call them gatekeepers because that’s negative and we want to treat them with respect. I’m just going to go through the template with you, we’re going to fill in the blanks, I’m going to show you how easy this is and then we’ll open it up for questions.
This is a fill-in-the-blank template that follows the smart calling process. Step one in the process is pretty easy, it’s introducing yourself and your company. Then we have this thing called the connection, so when I gave you the example before I said, “I saw your LinkedIn post.” A connection could be anything you know about them, you were talking to somebody else, you’ve seen something on their website, you saw an article, you saw their post, maybe you heard something, you saw a news item or you can just say, “I know something about you, I understand your organization is in the process of expanding, opening up five new locations.” Again, what this does is sets the tone, sets yourself apart, I’m different from every other sales rep who’s pitching their stuff, I know something about you. Now again we’re starting to peak a little bit of curiosity and attention here. “I saw your post on LinkedIn Inside Sales group we both participate in about looking for a prospecting workshop for your 2020 meeting.”
Next, specialize. “We specialize in working with…” who or that. Let me explain this, and by the way, you can be a specialist in a lot of different things. You can say, “We specialize in working with…” you can say the title, type of organization or for example here what I have is dental practices, family owned businesses. “We specialize in working with…” who or that and now we’re describing a situation that they are encountering. People are looking for more targeted web traffic that needed 24/7 option for the security monitoring. Again, we’re just framing the situation that they are likely in and again, describing it in terms of the problem or a desire. Again, now people are saying, “Okay, that’s me.” They’re putting themselves in that box, “This guy is somebody that specializes in working with people like me” so there’s a lot of psychology going on in what we’re doing here. This is mine, “We specialize in working with sales teams who have new business quotas, might not be as confident in their prospecting as management would like.” This was a pre-pandemic one.
Next step, this is where we get into our possible value, this could either be pain avoidance or something they desire, a gain or result, again just simple psychology here. This totally comes from your prior pre-call planning and your research, your list of possible value. Notice I always call this possible value because we never know if it’s actually going to be of value until they tell us, so we have to have this thing called a hypothesis of value and that’s a huge word for me. Hypothesis of value is I can surmise that this may be of value based on what I know about them, based on what somebody else told me in their organization.
In the template I’ve got a lot of different idea starters here and again, you need to customize these things for your situation. We’ve got minimization, things they don’t want, maximization, things they might want and of course, you absolutely have to customize this to your business. What we do is we help them avoid call reluctance and rejection and also increase their numbers of quality calls, appointments in sales using a proven conversational prospecting process. That was similar to the example I gave earlier and then, we like to give an end results here. What’s interesting, Fred is that I’ve been in the sales training business for over 35 years now and I know a lot of you are thinking, “He must have started when he was 12.”
Fred Diamond: Someone just said, “We were not thinking that.”
Art Sobczak: [Laughs] one thing I’ve found is that as salespeople, sometimes we’re afraid to be obvious and don’t assume that people are going to derive the benefit or the result out of what you’re describing, so don’t be afraid to be obvious with saying what that means. Let’s paint a picture for them, an example here is, “For our clients, this has resulted in gains ranging from…” “The final outcome is the workforce is more motivated and productive.” Now, again we’re talking about the results. Notice what I haven’t done here is I haven’t said, “I want to talk to you about training” because who needs more training? “I want to sell you some webinars, I want to sell you a virtual program.” Exciting, right? No, let’s get to the end result. This results in reps being more confident in their calling, having a consistent, predictable pipeline and I want to use language that they’re familiar with. Again, I can pick that language out of their posts, off their website and especially when I’m talking to somebody else in their organization.
When I’m talking to salespeople doing this social engineering, I’m asking about what’s the biggest problem preventing you from doing your prospecting? Call reluctance, fear of rejection, not having a process, we don’t know what to say. Now I’m writing all that stuff down because I’m putting it into my messaging that’s going to resonate with them. Now what we want to do at the end again is not ask for a decision, we don’t want to ask for their time, we don’t want to say, “I want to become your vendor”, we just simply want to move to the questioning. What I like to do is review what you’re doing now for your whatever, “I’d like to ask a few questions to see if I could provide you some information, to see if this might be of some value to you, to see if it might be worth it having a further conversation.” Again, if I’ve done a good job up to this point where people are now leaning in going, “This all sounds good so far, sure, what do you want to know?”
So now, where are we? We’re in the interactive questioning phase of the call. By the way, there are many people out there who generally state, “The first phone call is only to set up an appointment” which to me is idiocy because I’m going to make a phone call and get you on the phone so I can set up another phone call to get you on the phone? [Laughs] if you’re already talking to me and if the music is still playing, I’m going to stay on the dancefloor. If they are indeed to busy to speak with you, they’re going to let you know but they picked up the phone so they must have some time now. They’re still on the phone with you, if I provided value that you want to know about, I’m going to ask you some questions. Now, how far you take it really is a matter of your sales model but my feeling is I’ve been teaching inside sales for over 35 years and I’ve always been a big believer in this new thing called remote selling. This isn’t new, folks, it’s been around forever and everything imaginable has been sold by phone and will continue to be, so don’t ever say that we can’t do this by phone because for every person who says you can’t do this by phone, there’s somebody doing it right now. You may as well tell me electricity doesn’t work, because it does work. There’s the template.
Fred Diamond: Thank you so much. We’re getting questions flying in here, by the way, Dan in Virginia says, “When the value is clear, the decision is easy”, one of the best quote I have ever heard and that goes exactly with what you are saying. I want to have you dispel a couple of myths as well, in your book Smart Calling you go into what’s real and what’s not real and you just started hitting on a couple of them that you can make phone calls today. It’s October of 2020, people are picking up the phone and we have some members of the IES whose industry has been shaken, people in the entertainment, hospitality space, but we have people in professional services and government space and healthcare who are having their best years ever.
Call length, you talked about this in the very beginning. We had a session a couple weeks ago with a guy named Nimit Bhatt who’s with a company called memoryBlue, he said his biggest myth is that people think they have to be so fast to get their message across in 15 seconds, or else the customer is just going to hang up on them. You’re obviously a fast-talker, but talk about that, is that a myth? Obviously you don’t want to waste their time and talk about things that are totally insignificant, because if you’re good in sales you’re going to be selling to people who can make decisions. You are selling to people whose time is important but talk about that, the quickness of a call, the length of a call.
Art Sobczak: That boggles my mind because if somebody goes in with this mentality of, “I’ve just got to puke out my presentation or opening in 10 seconds”, that’s just simply a story that you’re telling yourself. Why would you think that? Because if somebody was too busy to speak with you, they wouldn’t have picked up the phone and the other thing is, do you have something of value that is going to help that listener? If you have a strong belief that you do, then of course you need to be calm so that you’re going to be able to communicate that in such a way that the person is going to lean in and take some interest in it. By the way, when you looked at the example that I gave, there might be some people out there going, “That’s a lot of words, that’s too long.”
In all my years of doing this, here’s what I found about something being too long, too long is not a function of number of words, too long is a function of too boring. For example, I’m not interested in opera and if somebody started talking to me about opera, the first three words are too long, it’s too much time. But if somebody was talking to me about a brisket recipe that helped them win a competition in a barbecue contest, I would spend a half hour listening to them because that’s what I’m interested in, I’m a competition barbecue cook. You see some of those barbecue shows on TV? I’ve competed against some of those people and actually beat some of those people.
Anyway, that’s what I’m interested in. By the way, that’s why your messaging is so important. I would encourage you, when you create your opening statement – and by the way, your voice mail should almost be identical to that opening – then what you want to do is go through the editing process. When I’m reviewing openings from clients and people that go through my programs, I put them through two tests. #1 is the length test which is, “Is every single word in this adding to what I’m trying to accomplish?” and that is put them in a positive frame of mind and move them to the questions. If I have words that are just taking up space, we’re going to cut it out and this is actually one of my superpowers because I can review an opening and I can cut out a word or two here or there and even make it stronger and make it shorter. With that being said, something that has a lot of words, every single word could still be something that’s adding to what we’re trying to accomplish.
My other test is the resistance test. Is there anything in there that could cause somebody, anybody, to put up some resistance right at the beginning? If there’s a chance of that, why have that in there? I’ll put in that category all these people out there that are saying things like, “This is a cold call and you can hang up on me if you want” or, “You don’t know me, we’ve not met before, you and I are not acquainted” and it’s like okay, Captain Obvious, no kidding. [Laughs] we’re giving them an opportunity to create some resistance. If your messaging is tight, present it conversationally and confidently like you’re talking to a peer. Business people do not want to talk to somebody who places themselves beneath the decision maker, why would we want to talk to somebody that doesn’t view themselves as being worthy of speaking with us?
Fred Diamond: We have a bunch of questions that are flying in here, let’s take Janice’s question here. We talked about LinkedIn and I talked before about the LinkedIn connection and pitch which is the worst sales tactic in the history of sales. Talk about LinkedIn for a little bit here, let’s not talk about LinkedIn from establishing yourself as a thought leader or making connections, but what are your suggestions right now? Talk about LinkedIn from a prospecting perspective and what are some of your best practices to get to the next level? Thank you, Janice for the question.
Art Sobczak: LinkedIn is so powerful, you need to become an expert and become proficient at using LinkedIn. I’m not the expert and I’ve actually partnered with an expert, Crystal Thies, the LinkedIn Ninja, we actually have a LinkedIn course which she is revising. What we don’t want to do and I’ve heard this term, I can’t take credit for it, but you don’t want to do the pitch slap which is after somebody accepts your connection request, immediately pitching them on, “Here’s what I want to do.” LinkedIn is a great way to get yourself in front of the people that you want to speak with.
As a matter of fact, I’ve had Phil Gerbyshak on my inner circle group the other day talking specifically about this and he said, which I agree with and suggest as well, “You want to comment on people’s posts, you want to like their posts, you want to get your name familiar with them before you start contacting them. When you reach out to them, always personalize your message and you want to have some kind of common connection or add some value.” You could talk about what you do, “We specialize in working with ___ helping them to ___, thought it might be worthwhile for us to connect here.” Don’t ask for a decision here and then what I suggest is you can send them something, email them something and again, we’re using multimedia approach which I am a believer in because we communicate in a lot of different ways. Then when you do place your phone call, you’re referencing all these other things but we’re still going to have some possible value there, but now I’ve got the opportunity to mention the fact that we’re not strangers. We’re connected on LinkedIn and I still got to have the value.
Fred Diamond: We have another question here from Bruce, he’s talking about gatekeepers, the front office, you said that’s not a word that you like to use but nonetheless, what are some of your strategies? Because if you’re calling most cases the VP or above, in a lot of cases there is someone who is taking their calls and managing their schedules. I believe you can get to those people but nonetheless, let’s talk about navigating through that channel to eventually get to the right person. Bruce, thank you for the question.
Art Sobczak: First of all, get rid of the terms ‘gatekeeper’ and ‘screener’ because those are negative and if we call them that, then that assumes there’s an adversarial role here. By the way, those people are much more proficient and better at getting rid of salespeople than salespeople are, regardless of how clever they are, at trying to go past through, under or over them. These people are the most important people in the world at that moment that you’re attempting to get through to the decision maker and actually, we have the same goal. As an assistant – that’s the new name – we have the same goal as they do, which is to protect the decision maker’s time. We don’t want every single salesperson talking to them and they couldn’t possibly do it, but you have some value. What we’re going to do is we’re going to work with the assistant, I suggest that you do some social engineering with them. The social engineering script or process is introduce yourself and company, “Art Sobczak here with Business by Phone, I’m going to be speaking with Fred Diamond” and notice what I’m doing here is I’m using an assumptive statement, “And I really want to make sure that what I have would be of some relevance to him.
There’s probably some information you could help me with.” Notice what I’ve done here, I’ve used the magic H word and then I’ve used a justification statement which has given a reason why I’m going to do my next thing, which is asking you some questions. “There’s probably some information you could help me with.” Now what I’m doing is I’m setting myself apart from every other salesperson who’s probably trying to use some stupid goofy technique of, “Yes, Fred Diamond, please, please put me through” or if they say, “What’s this in reference to?” “It’s a business matter, will you please put me through? It’s in relation to one of your competitors.” All this goofy crap that has been talked about over the years, they see through that, they’ve heard it a thousand times. What they’re doing is they’re asking themselves this question, “Does this person have anything of possible value that the boss might be interested in?” and unless we’re able to communicate that through both our words and our actions and our attitude, we’re going to get brushed off. They’re going to do what many salespeople think they do which is guard the gate, they’re screening things out. What does a screen do? Lets in the good stuff, keeps out the bad stuff.
Fred Diamond: Art, can we have you back on the show at some point? Because I could talk to you for 4-5 hours, I’m getting so many great questions here but we need to get to your final thought. I’m going to take one more question, then I’m going to ask you to tell us how people can get in contact with you. We have a number of people here who are asking for some of your resources, Adelle asks if you could put up the slide with the action words, I presume that most of this stuff is on your website, they can find a lot of this stuff already. I’m going to take one last question here from Pierre and then I’m going to ask you for your final thought on what people should do today. We’re recording today’s webinar October 2nd, it’s the beginning of Q4. This question comes in from Pierre and Pierre is just north of us in Montreal, he’s actually a reader of your book so that’s good. “Art, I’m currently reading the book, so far my favorite chapter is chapter five, secondary objectives can pay off in the future. Can you elaborate a little further on how the secondary objective can be a seed for later harvest?” Pierre, thank you for that question and thank you to all the people who submitted questions that we didn’t get to, we will get your questions to Art. Let’s take that one, the secondary objective and then we have your website, and then give us your final thought, your action step for people watching the show today.
Art Sobczak: Pierre, thank you so much and actually, thank you for bringing that up because I forgot to mention that. The secondary objective is again, what can we accomplish at minimum or what can we attempt at minimum? That’s for our attitude but the second part of that is we can plant a seed on every single call. Let’s say for example we’re having a conversation with somebody and they decide that we’re not going to do business today, but maybe I found out something about them that’s a problem or a pain, so instead of saying, “Keep us in mind” or, “I’ll send you some stuff” I’m going to say something like this. “Fred, I understand that this may not be a fit for you today but if you find that your salespeople aren’t really hitting quota, they aren’t making the calls and they’re telling you they’re just not confident with their messaging, keep in mind that I’ve got this process that we’ve implemented in thousands of companies that will help them do just that.
If you find that happening as you move forward, you’ve got my information. Will you give me a call?” What I’ve done there instead of saying keep us in mind, I’ve framed this in terms of, “Here’s the situation. If you experience that, give me a call.” Here’s the thing about that, all of us get the blue birds that fly in that we’ve written off that say, “Things have changed, we reconsider, we want to do business now.” Why was that? Because they thought about you, something happened. Now I’m just giving them something to look for. Pierre, thank you so much for sharing that, email me and I will send you a personalized label to stick on the inside of your book so you’ll have a signed book. Here are other ways to get in contact with me and Fred, you asked for my final thought here.
I’ve got so many thoughts – which some people might find unbelievable – but you can do this. Even if you are afraid of picking up the phone, you’re afraid of no’s, I encourage you. Reconsider, go through the material, you don’t even have to buy the book – I would encourage you to buy the book because I make about a dollar on each one – but just go to the site, get the template, go through the training and I think you’ll find that this is not that difficult. It’s talking to another person. If you really believe in what you have and you feel that there are people that could take advantage of it, you are actually doing a disservice to people. The world needs professional salespeople, especially right now, to lead and they need to hear your message. If it’s just not a fit today, no problem, at least you found out. A decision is better than no decision so again, you can do this, go out there, give it a shot, let’s make things happen. You can still make 2021 your best year ever.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo