The Art Of Selling Without Selling

the coaches corner Mar 17, 2018

Selling is the bane of almost every coaches existence. As a coach myself, it’s given me anxiety, panic attacks, and has resulted in me speaking many different languages – all of which seem like gibberish the moment that client walks away and says, “Great, I’ll think about it.”

I’d shake my head and say “what the f*ck just came out of my mouth – why didn’t I just say the goddamn price!” Or, “why did I just discount myself by 40% in that moment – what the f*ck happened there?”

The moment it gets to talking about making the sale – confidence is thrown out the window, and we try and work our way around the topic of cost and commitment for as long as possible. When we finally have to address it, we babble, discount, offer unique special offers, tell them to pay us next time or whatever avoidance strategy seems right in the moment. It’s like we immerse ourselves in the Harry Potter story where we can’t talk about Voldemort.

Asking for a commitment and making the sale is the man who shall not be named.

But I don’t blame any of us, because I know where this comes from.

It comes from the dirty used car salesman who stands at the door and doesn’t let you out. It’s the comment that says “If I get this price down to ‘x’ for you, are we going to do business?” It’s the slimy membership consultant who shoves the contract in your face before he can pronounce your name. It’s the online products that promise the world and deliver a crap, underwhelming video series.

We are all so conditioned to hate the sales process, from experience or insight, that it stops us doing what we’re best at – actually getting results.

See, making a sale and getting a new client is just a step in the process; a necessary step to do what you actually want to do – which is change their life. If you can’t make the sale, you can’t change their life, and then you’re not really doing all that much good.

So we need to reverse how we think about sales, and realise it can be a genuine, authentic conversation that is simply a stepping stone to the real deal where you become their coach and change their life.

By you having confidence and courage through the sales process, you can actually do more of what you love. So is it time to start thinking differently about sales?

In this post, I run through a sales conversation formula that I got from Matthew Michaelwicz. He is an author, incredibly successful businessman, and pitching expert. He is internationally recognised and an absolute genius at getting through the sales process easily and authentically. You can find out more about him here

At one of Matthew’s events, he presented a step-by-step formula to the sales process, where the outcome that you want to achieve from step 1, is only to proceed to step 2. Step 2 asks to client to take the next logical step, which naturally, happens to be 3. Having this perspective that the sales process was in fact a relationship building process immediately released all the anxiety that most direct sales marketing teams suggest. But before I show you that process, let’s have a look at the direct sales strategies that a lot of gurus suggest, which leave us feeling like we’re an imposter.

1) Pattern Interrupt – some crap like, “You must be someone of great taste and distinction because you opted in to our content.”

2) Find Their Pain Point – “keep digging until you get to what makes them feel like absolute SHIT!”

3) Tell them there are only 3 people you want to work with – good, better, best… “so, which one are you?” They call this the ‘triplicate’

4) Get 3 Yes’s – “so would you like to stop feeling this way?” Followed up by “if I could solve these problems for you, would you want to get started asap?” Then get the third yes, “do you want me to help you with that?”

5) Tell them how you’re going to do it, and then tell them that “if you’re going to get results and be a person of commitment and discipline, that you’re going to have to commit today.”

6) Don’t worry, if they say no, just ‘objection handle them’. Here is an example’: “I’d like to remind you of what you said you wanted today, reward you for your honesty, and realign you to your goals. You said you don’t have the time, but with that attitude, when will you ever get what you want? You said you want to speak to your partner, but do you ask him/her about every decision in your life, or is this just an excuse? You said you don’t have the money, but are you just lying to yourself so you can stay in the shithole position you’re in?’

7) Get their details, because you’re ‘committed’ to their results: “Now that I’ve realigned you, i’m going to teach you that I am a man of commitment, and because I’m committed to getting you results, I’m going to ask for your credit card details now.

In the state of confusion, fragility and bafflement, the poor client (who you’re meant to be helping, because you care about them), hands over their credit card details.

THIS, IS WHAT SUCKS ABOUT THE SALES INDUSTRY BECAUSE THIS STUFF IS GETTING TAUGHT EVERYWHERE.

Instead of building a relationship, we’re building up a state of fear and confusion. This isn’t right, and it’s perpetuating our problem – coaches hate making sales, because “god forbid I ask for your money like all the other douches before me”.

This has to change.

That’s where Matthew’s process comes in. Here are the 4 big ideas, including  an adaption of his step-by-step process, which can hopefully help you serve more clients.

1. Every Commitment You Ask Of Your Prospect Must Be An Exchange Of Value

Time is now more important than money. In a time where we expect to digest information immediately and on demand, asking someone for 20 minutes of their time on the phone or in person is a big ask. It’s important for you to demonstrate value in this conversation, but also tell them to expect value, too.

“Hey John, I’d like to grab 20 minutes of your time, and I’ll make sure that you have a 90 day step-by-step blueprint to help you turn your life around, regardless of whether you decide to work with me. How does that sound?”

During this conversation, you need to be ‘other-orientated’, a term coined by Anthony Iannarino, founder of B2B sales. This conversation is not about you, or how them working with you helps you. It’s about them. All about them. It needs to be solely focused on adding value to their life. This is called ‘front-loading’ or ‘future’ value.

2. Stop Trying To Close The Deal, Start Trying To Close The Next Step

So many people rush the process, so much so that they lose sight of the process itself. You’re in the game of relationship building, so don’t rush that. Some people take a long time to buy, need to have all concerns addressed, and need to have been given a compelling reason to take action on the risk/reward. The process, is much more important than the destination.

3. Objections Don’t Exist, They Actually Represent Genuine Concerns

If a prospect says they don’t have the time, what they actually mean is they have an underlying concern that there time with you will be poorly spent. That’s not an objection, that’s a concern. You need to be willing to address that. by treating objections as concerns, you’ll reframe your thinking to consider it more of a coaching process, not a sales process. You need to coach and give them confidence that the risk/reward is in their favour.

4. Be In Control Of The Process

When you’re aware that sales is a process, it allows you to work through it, authentically and genuinely. If a client/prospect wants to jump ahead, you can honestly remind them that you’re there to build a relationship, and asking for the price before you establish a great relationship is like asking for the price of the car, before you find out whether it’s a Hyundai or Maserati. There is value in every step of the process, from building a relationship, to addressing the concerns off all parties, and finally, asking for a commitment. Don’t rush this, be authentic in addressing their concerns, because you actually want to help.

5. Step 1: Build The Relationship

Relationships take time. Even if you meet the love of your life on the first date, you don’t ask her to marry you then. Even if you meet the ideal client, you don’t ask for their business straight away – you build the relationship first. You’ll know when the relationship has been built when the following criteria have been met:

– They trust you, your advice and your solution

– You understand them, all their concerns and reservations

– You’ve addressed recent setbacks, failures, or reasons why they haven’t started earlier

– You’ve presented an undeniable risk/reward in their favour – whatever is in it for you as the coach, there is 10x more in it for the client

Step 2: Involve Everyone Who Makes The Decision

If the prospect has a partner, spouse or parent who is involved in the decision making process, invite them to the conversation. They will have unique concerns that you can address. “When is a great time to have a conversation with yourself and Jane so we can be sure that this is going to be a good fit?”

Step 3: Ask Them For Their Business

If you’ve gotten through every step of the process thus far, it’s appropriate that you ask if they’d like to take the next step and do business. Be sure not to be presumptive by saying, “so, when did you want to get started?”, and preference natural language like I’d like to take the next step with you and ask for your business, how does that sound?” It’s disarming, honest and natural.

Step 4: Now, The Real Work Begins

By getting this far, they believe you are the difference between their problems and the solution at the end of the tunnel. You must BE that solution, you as a resource is much more valuable than just your product or service alone. At every possible opportunity, over deliver. If you’re always thinking about helping them with their next step, they’ll always be able to see the value you’re bringing to the table. If you let things get stagnant, they’ll feel it ten-fold.

Don’t Forget…

  1. Proceed slowly. Give your clients the time and respect they deserve to make the right decision for themselves. At every opportunity, provide solutions to their concerns – they are real!
  2. When you’re client succeeds, so do you. When you collaborate with your client to solve their problems, you become invaluable to them. Always be adding value to the relationship, and helping them with the next logical step.
  3. It’s your job to be the expert, when it comes to asking for the sale, you must believe you are the best person to help them, because by this stage, they believe you are.
  4. If the client wants to rush the sales process, don’t let them. Remind them that your intention is to add value and build a relationship, and you can’t rush that.

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