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Whispers in the Airport Lounge

airport lounge

I’m just sitting here in the Qantas Business Class lounge waiting for my flight to leave from Sydney to Los Angeles.

It starts boarding within an hour or so.

This is my bi-annual 2-week trip back to the US each year that I take to upgrade my direct marketing skills and to visit my sister and dad in Los Angeles.

When I moved to Sydney a few years ago, my wife Michelle agreed my travelling back to the US twice a year made sense as a way to consistently invest in my long term marketing skills.

I’m going to be attending Yanik Silver’s Underground Online Seminar in LA and then Dan Kennedy’s and Bill Glazer’s GKIC Superconference in Nashville.

Now what prompted me to write you this is the conversation I mistakenly overheard by two guys sitting about three sofa couches away from me.

I was sitting here catching up on some personal reading  that I set a aside for this trip and my ears perked up when I started over-hearing their conversation — which wasn’t hard to do since it was particularly quiet in the lounge.

They were clearly both in sales because they were discussing a deal they were trying to close and most likely were partners in a business or worked for the same company.

They were saying things like “We need to make a stronger pitch…”, “We need to show them more value”, “We’ve got to figure out how to be more persuasive” — in other words, we’ve got to sell better.

You could sense the frustration in their voices.

It was a feeling like they weren’t doing enough to make their potential client see things their way — and they were blaming themselves.

And you could tell they probably invested a lot of money and time in this deal.

It’s almost like they pulled every trick out of their “sales hat” — but from their view, which clearly was about changing their potential client’s position to theirs, they were stuck.

Now you could imagine as I was hearing this, more than a few opinions entered my mind about their situation — that if implemented, could probably help them see the truth of why they were stuck and what to do about it.

And boy did I want to step in and hang out with them for a while, but there wasn’t enough time.

Because in the next 15 minutes or so, my flight was going to be called and I wanted to get this out of my mind so it didn’t stir inside me the next 13 hours on the plane.

So what I’ll do here is briefly share with you why I believe they are “stuck” and why most likely, it’s their own sales mindset that’s the culprit.

You see, their mental view of selling is clearly focused on getting their prospect to see things THEIR way.

When you think from that position it disconnects you from your potential client’s view of the world, which IS more important than yours.

Because your ability to draw a short line from your thinking to theirs is the quickest route to determining if you’re a fit or not.

If your line is long and going in different directions, your prospect is going to feel you don’t truly understand their needs from THEIR perspective.

And if there is one thing I’ve learned from coaching thousands of sales people and business owners over the years, it’s that the most direct route to building trust with a prospect — getting to the truth of whether the sales really exists or not — is connecting directly to their current problems (not future ones) so they feel understood.

And by getting to the truth early on in the sales cycle, you completely avoid feeling “stuck” and blaming yourself that you should be better at selling.

NEW SHIFT: The sale is lost at the BEGINNING of the sales process and not at the end — contrary to the mantras of the traditional sales gurus.

Things those guys most likely did:

1. Entered the deal focusing on THEIR goal of trying to “close the sale” for their purposes of “winning” a new account

2. Focused on presenting, pitching and telling the benefits and features of why the prospect should choose them

3. Never thought of converting their benefits and features into “problem-statements” that their prospect could connect with  and directly relate to

4. Followed a linear traditional sales model that assumes if they take the next step, their prospect will follow

5. Unknowingly applied a level of sales pressure along the way triggering their prospect to put up a “wall” to protect themselves from being sold to

  Things those guys could have done:

1. Entered the relationship not making any assumptions and conveying that their goal was to help solve specific problems and not to persuade them to make a decision (this takes the pressure off)

2. Focused on going deep into the world of their prospect, almost as if they worked side-by-side, so that they could see the world from their prospect’s point of view

3. Used languaging and phrases that replaces pressure-based sales and abstract language like “follow-up” and “value”

4. Allowed their prospect to create the “next step” so they don’t feel taken down the road to be “closed’

5. In every conversation with their prospect, being sensitive to subtle pressurebeing conveyed over the phone or in-person, prompting acknowledgement by saying “does that make sense?”, and listening closely so that they feel sincerely cared about

The world has changed, trust is a rare commodity — learn how to create it and you’ll never have to worry about being “stuck” on a deal again.

Gotta catch my flight…

Feel free to post your comments below.

To your success,

Ari Galper

Ari Galper

Ari Galper is the world’s number one authority on trust-based selling and is the most sought-after sales conversion expert for Business Owners. His newest book, “Unlock The Sales Game”, has become an instant best-seller worldwide. Ari has been featured in CEO Magazine, Forbes, INC Magazine and the Australian Financial Review. He is considered a contrarian in the sales industry and in his book, everything you learned about selling will be turned upside down. No more chasing, no pressure, no closing.

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8 Comments

  1. Mark Keating

    Another great article Ari! The most important thing is to “get to the truth” on their true buying motives and how can they be better off around their requirements, not the sales persons reasons for selling. I am a huge fan of your sales “philosophy” of creating a buying atmosphere as opposed to a sales one.
    Looking forward to your next article.
    All the best, Mark

    Johannesburg, South Africa

  2. Darrin Blevins

    Morning Ari…
    GREAT INFORMATION!!! As I sat at my desk this morning pondering life, work, my kids and many others things it occurred to me that trust is the key to it all!!! I have an extensive sales back ground from selling homes to vaccume cleaners, but I always believed that it was my excitment and energy that was putting the big numbers up on the board for me. I was mistaken! Although my clients loved the way I brought the “Fun Factor” into my demo’s it wasn’t that at all. It was the fact that I always told the truth and really listened to what there problem was and how I was able to fix it without strong arming them into buying. You are an amazing mind and the world is better for having been given it to us!!! Thanks Alot

    Hagerstown Indiana USA

  3. Alain Mokbel

    I agree with your philosophy Ari. I just started my own business and I’m working on a couple of deal.

    One project was getting complicated and my client and I couldn’t communicate properly. This resulted in frustration from my part and I’m sure some on his part as well.

    I decided to do some digging. I felt awkward asking a grown man with more experience than I do if “he has done this type of project before”. Oddly enough, he said “no” and I was expecting him to be completely offended by the question.

    Since he had no knowledge on what I do, I realized that maybe, it’s time for a crash course. I suggested a face-to-face meeting and discuss the project with the client. Due to the situation, I brought pictures, illustrations and some videos I found online of the type of equipment I sell. So, with these illustrations, I went to visit him and one of his technician and within 15 minutes, I cleared up the mud between us.

    We both agreed that on future projects, we’ll have a sit down and discuss the project first before I move on to send him a proposal.

    Thanks for creating such an amazing product.

    Alain Mokbel
    Group AkvoTek, Water Management Solutions
    http://www.AkvoTek.com

    Water Management Professional, Mexico City, DF, Mexico

  4. Namal

    Hi Ari, great article again! Maybe you could have said to them, “maybe you can help me out for a second, I’m looking for flight ____” or something like that, just even as a humourous way and maybe given them your business card. Hey it could have helped them?

    Keep up the great work,

    California

  5. David

    How right you are. Customers don’t buy benefits they buy solutions. If you don’t get the customer to tell you his needs you’re not going to build a relationship and develop trust

    London England

  6. Derek Naylor

    This was great Ari. Although I’ve come to expect that from you lately. I loved the part that pointed out that “sales are lost at the beginning, not at the end”. One of my favorite sales books was written by Napoleon Hill called “How To Sell Your Way Through Life” in the early 1900’s. When he writes about closing a sale, he said that there is no way to “close a deal” rather a deal just closes when everything else leading up to whether or not people should do business together makes sense. It’s also interesting how little he talks about techniques and other BS that goes around these days…it’s all about connecting, seeing if there’s a fit and doing what’s best for both parties. Anyway, it’s good to see proven, age-old principles resurfacing from great people like you.

    Utah

  7. Pete Moring

    Great posting with useful tips for all.

    Maybe you should carry a small amount of postcard sized ‘introductory speel’ that you could just hand out to others you come accross in similar situations.

    I know you don’t need the extra contacts to that degree, but as they say; “You really DO never know who you’re talking or listening to”.
    Could’ve been future Bill Gates’ sitting near you. Then what??

    Could’ve been a profitable card exchange.

    Reading, Berks. UK

  8. Jeanette

    I loved the piece about following the potential client’s lead. Discovering their business, letting them “show you around”, letting them build the next steps. All of that resonated with me.
    I think this is a whole different mindset in sales and it will be interesting to see it evolve.
    The piece about using “jargon” is one I am guilty of and I will be more concious of it.
    Thank you.

    Success Coach, Ontario, Canada

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