Today I am excited to welcome the lovely Victoria Fleming to the podcast. We all know that no one likes to talk about sales and when it comes to money, it’s often considered a taboo subject. Unfortunately, everyone needs to be able to sell their product and service so despite it being a topic that entrepreneurs don’t like to discuss, sometimes you need that all-important advice that will help you improve your sales strategy. As a sales expert, Victoria is just the person to show you how.
KEY TAKEAWAYS COVERED IN THE PODCAST
- When it comes to marketing yourself and not your business, it can feel a lot more personal when someone says no.
- If you don’t feel 100% confident with what you’re selling, start collecting the good feedback you have. Include testimonials, projects that have gone well and compliments you receive online. Ultimately, that is what you’re selling – a bag full of amazingness.
- Entrepreneurs set up their business because they’re brilliant something, forgetting that there are lots of other things you need to consider too. Sales, of course, is one of those things.
- Not focussing on sales is like sitting there and waiting for the phone to ring.
- Being personal is important as often, when it comes to the internet, things can feel like a bit of a mass approach. If you’re more personal, your approach is always going to feel less like you’re trying to sell.
- It’s important to have conversations with your target audience.
- Think about your customer avatar in detail, including what their main struggles are in relation to your products and services. How can you solve their problems?
- One of the hardest things about sales is closing, however, there are steps you need to take in between that are just as important.
- The first thing you need to do is identify who the person in front of you is, then you need to ask them questions to find out more. Once you’ve repeated what their problem is, you can then introduce your solution.
- Don’t run away from objections, instead use it as an opportunity to ask questions. For example, if someone says they can’t afford you, you could say ‘okay, do you mind telling me a bit about the budget you do have in mind?’.
THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE…
Sales is about problem solving. Your products and services help people and solve their problems, so telling people to ‘buy you stuff’ is helping them. If you have a solution to someone’s problem, you should tell them.
HIGHLIGHTS YOU SIMPLY CAN'T MISS
- Introducing Victoria – 03:00
- Marketing Businesses vs Marketing You – 04:15
- Why Do People Hate Selling? – 14:40
- Sales Is Like Problem Solving – 20:00
- Closing a Sale & The Sales Process- 28:35
- Dealing with Objections – 41:01
Hello, and welcome to 2020. This is my first official podcast of the new year and the new decade, and I am super excited about it. I have to say I always love a new year. I love that thought of a fresh start, tidying my desk, starting things afresh, writing a new notebook. It's so sad, starting my new planner, making goals, and as you know if you've been listening to the podcast I did some work a few weeks ago about setting new goals for this coming year. I've spent quite a bit of time doing that, and I've now done it. I am all up and ready for the new years, so I'm super, super excited about it.
What about you? Have you done your plans? Are you ready? Do you feel positive? I hope so. If not, come and find me. Come and give me a DM. Let me know what's up. Let me know what I can help you with because as you know I always want to make sure that I produce content, and create podcast episodes that really help you with your business, and today's is no exception.
Today I am really, really excited to welcome the lovely Victoria Flemming to the podcast. She is a sales expert. Now, we all hate that word. None of us like to sell really, I think if we're honest. We also don't like necessarily talking about money, and also if you sell a service that is your head effectively that can be really tricky but because sometimes it just doesn't feel like that is as easy to understand your pricing as maybe a product because you can easily work out a product pricing based on what does it cost to get in, what does it cost to deliver, et cetera, et cetera. Anyway, I've actually been at a few events with Victoria. We've spoken on the same stage, and she's a very engaging, great sales coach, and I just wanted to bring her on, and talk a bit about how we can get over this horrible feeling of selling. How can we actually do it in a way that isn't yucky, and doesn't feel gross, and that we're not comfortable with? That's exactly what we talk about today.
I really hope this is going to be a really good one to start with because ultimately this is what everybody needs. Everyone needs to sell their product and service, so unfortunately whether we like it or not we are going to have to do a bit of that. I'm really hoping that Victoria can show you the way in this episode, so I'm not going to go on any longer. I'm going to hand you straight over to Victoria.
Okay, I am very excited for today's podcast episode with the super lovely Victoria Fleming. Victoria, how are you doing?
I'm doing great. I'm so excited, and I'm even more excited to see you on screen because what the listeners don't know is we can see each other.
Yes, always, and do you know I always do my interviews so I can see them. Sometimes because of quality and things you have to turn the cameras off, but I much prefer it because it's easier because you know what's someone's going to say. You know when they're about to speak. You can read their face and stuff, so yeah. I love it. All the interviews I've ever done pretty much most of them have been on camera, so I've got all these videos. I don't put them out because they're not part of the podcast, but yeah. I love being on screen, and I love seeing people, and I just have to say the day we're recording this obviously this is going to come out in quite a few weeks time, it's Halloween, and Victoria sat wearing these amazing flashing light cat ears. She's got a spider broach on, and she's held up some… What are they, Victoria? They're like-
They're skeleton gloves. They're amazing.
You've set the bar now. I feel like every time someone comes on, and I am going to have to screen shot this, which I will do, and I will put it in the show notes so that people can see how you're dressed. It's so funny. I love it. I love it. I love it.
Every day should be Halloween, shouldn't it? Dressing [inaudible 00:04:19] like this. Why not?
Marketing Businesses vs Marketing You
Do you know what? Having just come back from the States because they love Halloween, and boy do they do it well. Our friends live over there. I've got to quickly tell you this as we digress. Our friends live over there, and we stay with them in LA. They have no children. They're very grown up. They have a very nice life, and they would find anything like that, they're British, so the fact they live in the States I think they probably find that a little bit tacky. That's what they would think.
Anyway, my husband and I have often joked. If we had the money because we stay at that house, and they go off to work. We're like, “Wouldn't it be amazing if we had the money we could buy all these decorations, and they come back, and we have covered their house in Halloween everything.” When I've got loads of money, and time that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go over there-
[crosstalk 00:05:07] do that.
We're going to do that, and they're just going to be like, “What the hell have you don't to my house?” It's going to be hilarious.
Anyway, Victoria, in case my audience don't know who you are let's kick off, as always, with you telling us how you got to be doing what you're doing now.
I'm super lucky. I get to work with businesses now on how to sell more, which makes a dirty word for some people, but I love helping people sell more because I think if you sell more you can have a more fulfilled life. What's got me there is that I have 15 years in corporate. I think like so many of us you start in corporate, and actually I think we learn heaps like that because you get to move around. You get to work for other people. You get to meet different people, and I was really lucky because I had 10 years with a technology company, and in that company the last three years was actually working with individual businesses who were selling the software, so with resellers. What was brilliant was actually even at a corporate point in my career I was working with businesses on how to be more effective with their sales, and how to have more fun with them, because selling should be fun. Then I went to construction, did the same thing. Construction software, right through the recession. I was a bright spark. I thought, “This is a great move to make.” I literally I went into that business, and construction fell off a cliff, so that was really tough because you were going out talking to businesses going through really, really tough times.
They didn't have business themselves, and again, that was a fabulous industry to work in, and come through the recession with that. Then I've been out on my own for nearly six years now because essentially I just go to the point where I thought, “You know what? All I want to do is help people sell.” I want to help people address that challenge, and to be able to do that with loads of different businesses now it's pretty much a dream job actually. I know some people are just like, “Really? Why would you want to do that”, but I really love it, and I get really excited when people I've worked with are excited about selling. I like it when I get the messages going, “Had a conversation. It went great.” Or, a business comes back to me, and they say, “The team was so excited. Went back. We changed what we're doing, and this has been the result.” I just love that. I love that instant success. It's like tick, success junkie.
Do you know what is so funny because you and I are both in jobs where we have to practise what we preach because if I'm no good at marketing, and you're no good at selling then we've got to make our own businesses successful because if we can't do it for ourselves we sure as hell won't be able to do it for anybody else, will we? Sometimes it's actually really hard, like I find you give me someone else's business, and my brain goes, “Oh yeah, I know how to do this.” I literally go, “Here's an idea. Here's an idea. Here's an idea.” I sit there on my own and I'm like, “What do I do?”
Do you find that the same with you? Are you much easier telling someone else how to sell than necessarily do it yourself?
It's really interesting. When I first set up, when I very, very first went, and went, “Yeah, I'm going to have this business”, I did that thing I think we all do, which is you go, and you find some friends, don't you?
You go and find some networking groups. It was a disaster. It was just a disaster. I was just like, “What? Why am I having such a challenge with this.” In the first couple of months I really, really struggled because it's that little old me factors. I think we all have little old me syndrome, and I think that we go, “Oh yeah, but nobody's going to actually want me because [crosstalk 00:08:54] rubbish really, aren't I, because it's me.” I think we all have that little thing inside us, and it took me a little while to actually think, “What are you talking about? You're not about little old you. You are about your 15 years experience where you've delivered [inaudible 00:09:11] million pound results, where you've built and established teams, where you've made people so excited to sell that they've gone on to do amazing things in their lives, and their careers.” You're not selling little old me. You're selling that. That is your package, all that experience, all those results. That's what you're selling.
It was almost, it was quite interesting, it was almost like a switch flicked for me because up until that point I'd always sold other people, other things, other products, other services. All of a sudden I think you're right. It then becomes you, and it's personal because you think, “Well, what if someone says no?” Actually you can feel like I think somebody's saying no to you, but to you personally, and it's like if you go and ask a boy out on a date, and he says, “No.” It's like-
Yeah, it's a wounder, like literally. It's like straight in the pit of my stomach, oh my God. What's wrong with me? You're entirely right. I think that's the interesting thing because again, I had always marketed businesses, other businesses, I wasn't the business, and it was easy to do because I could see what they were brilliant at, and I could get excited about that, and I could be like, “You're amazing at this. Tell everybody.” I could come from a point of view of it's not me. It's someone else, and if it's easy for you to really see, and praise that other person. Trying to do that for yourself is inherently not what we do. We don't sit and go, “Man, I'm awesome. Geez I'm good at this.” Then feel like you can say, get an instastory, “Do you know how good I am?” We don't do that because, one, we're not very good at it, and I think maybe there's a British element in that as well. Obviously as we were just talking about [inaudible 00:10:56], and I do a lot of stuff in the States. Do you think they're better than we are at that?
But, like you said, with our worlds, because we come from corporate and other businesses, we've done it for everybody else, and doing it for yourself suddenly is then very like, “Oh, this is not feeling great”, like how do I do this where I don't feel like I'm literally saying, “Man, I'm amazing, buy my stuff.”
I think one of the things I quite often do with people now is I'm really keen. I think it's really helpful in service business is to prioritise, to actually put together, and your services into almost a product, like into a box, and say that, “This is what I do. This is how I do it. Would you like to buy it?” I think that it makes it easier for us to talk about. It think it also gives us a little bit of a degree of separation as well. I do my workshops actually. We make gift bags, so do you all know how to make gift bags, Teresa, because this is like you've got to.
What you have to do, you have to go to the shop, and the gift bag shop. You have to buy the best gift bag in the world. For me, mine's sparkly. It's got holographic things on it. Buy a really good one though that you're really excited about. Then what you need to do is you need to start and think, “This is what I'm selling. I'm selling this bag”, so every time you get a nice tweet print it out, cut it out, put it in the bag. Every time you get a thank you card put it in the bag. Every time you're thinking, “I did a great job with that client” write it down. Put it in the bag. Every testimonial, put it in the bag because actually that's what you're selling. I've even got my professional institute certificate in the bag because that's part of… That's what I'm selling. I'm selling this bag full of amazing-ness. I think that that's really helpful
It's really interesting. I was at an event, and somebody who'd been at my workshop and went, “I've got to show you.” They went in their handbag, and they pulled out this really battered bag, like all split down, all overflowing with… “I take it everywhere.”
I was like, “Why shouldn't you? This is what you're selling. This is how amazing you are”, but I think that by default we just dismiss that and move on.
Yeah, and we do. We're not very good at that because when I think about when someone has said something to you not nice, or someone has commented, or said no to your service, or whatever, we hang onto that for ages, or we can do. It's something that I think the more you do it the more you work on letting go of it, and going, “That's not about me”, or “I shouldn't need to hold onto that.” But, like you said, people say lovely things, and even in our responses we dismiss it straight away. We're like, “Oh, thanks so much”, move on. You don't even want to have a conversation about it because you don't know how to respond. Funny enough, I do have a folder on my computer. I now am going to buy a really beautiful bag to put it in. It's called Teresa Love, which sounds a little bit egotistical, but it's like every time someone does an amazing tweet, or says thank you, or sends me a DM, or anything it all goes in there because like you said, sometimes on those days where you're like, “Man, I'm rubbish. Man, what am I doing? Who do I think I am? I can't help people. This is going wrong. This is doing this.”
You need to go back and remind yourself as well as which I think's a great idea, the fact that you're looking, and going, “Look, this is what I'm selling. I'm not selling me. I'm selling all these amazing things I've done.” But, also to go back and go, “I am all right. I am pretty good at this stuff, so maybe.”
Why Do People Hate Selling?
Let's start off by talking about we need to address why do people hate selling. I remember seeing you at Andrew and Pete's ATOMICON. I think that's where we… No, I think we'd met previously, just briefly, at an event of theirs. Then we both spoke at ATOMICON this year. You sort of said, “Who here loves selling?” You must do it on every tour call. That's definitely a line that you're coming in with because everybody's, “No.”
That resounding silence.
Yeah, they're all looking at` you like, “Are you crazy?” Why don't people like it?
I think there's a couple different things about it. I think especially for entrepreneurs, I think it's a particular challenge because quite often the reason why entrepreneurs have set up a business is because they're brilliant at something. You're brilliant at marketing. Some people are brilliant at building websites. They're brilliant at doing copyright, and they're brilliant at something. Sooner or later there's been a light bulb that's gone, “Wouldn't it be amazing if I could just do that for the rest of my life?” We all go, “Yeah, that'll be amazing. Let's set up a business.” Then we set up that business, and realise it's all this other stuff we've got to do. I think some of that is a bit self-explanatory. You have to do accounts. You have to do admin, but I think the thing that people don't consider is they suddenly go, “How am I going to get people to buy my stuff?”
It's that moment, and I think quite often then people fall into this thing if they do loads of marketing. Marketing, it's a little bit more removed. You can send emails, or you can put things on the internet. It's not very personal.
Absolutely, and it can be very passive. It's like you're not really… It depends what kind of marketing you do, but if you don't want to you don't really have to put your neck out on the line, do you? You just kind of go, “I'll just send this, and if nothing happens nothing happens. That's fine.”
Yeah, it's a bit like that. You're just sitting there waiting for the phone to ring. Sooner or later I think that most people have a moment where they're like, “I've got to do more than this. I'm going to have to start to sell.” A lot of people have never had any experience of selling. Did you ever get taught how to sell at school? Of course you don't.
Of course you don't.
I think it's that whole thing that our only experience of sales is being sold to, and although we love to buy we generally remember the really poor sales experiences, and that's where I think quite often people talk to me about… At the moment people are talking all about PPI calls. You know those insurance calls?
Have you had an accident recently, they're trying to sell you on making a claim. It's the used car salesman. It's [crosstalk 00:17:13] people. None of it is positive. I think especially in the UK we've got very few positive examples of people selling, opensource I think we've got that built in. I think we have it as a challenge. I think that our instinctive emotional response is it's scary to put ourselves out there, and also yuck.
Yes, and we literally have just been talking about this, had a very honest, and frank conversation before we got on the call about selling, and about how setting I look at some of the sales tactics that are out there, and they're really… I'm not saying they're not effective because some of them are very effective, but some of them make me want to go and shower in bleach, and literally make my skin crawl when I see it coming. Therefore, and I need to tell you one of the reasons I was so excited about doing this episode is because of the fact that I went through an experience where I was on the receiving end of loads, and loads, and loads, and loads of sales. There were some big launches happening with people that I follow. Of course, when they go into launch mode boy do they go into launch mode. The emails are everywhere. The ads are everywhere. There's stories, the DMs. Literally, everywhere you look you're being sold to, which I get, and that's perfectly fine, and it's a great strategy for some people. But, the problem was this all happened in a really short space of time with loads of people I know.
Then I opened the car again to my academy. It was like the quietest car open ever because I had just been through this barrage of buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff. I just thought, “I can't do it. I don't want to do it.” I really quietly was like, “Hello. Hello everybody. If you want to buy my academy you could, but you don't have to.” Literally couldn't have done it more wimpy if I tried because I felt so horrible about it. I was like, “There's got to be another way. There's got to be a way that I can”, because people are like… They talk to me about the academy, and my husband is great. He's my biggest critic, but in a kind, lovely way, and so if he… when he… He's honest about things, so I trust what he says. He's like, “The value you're giving”, and I talked to my academy members, and they're like, “This is amazing. You're amazing”, and they're so kind, so I know the product is good. I know what I offer is good. I know that they are getting me for a tiny amount of the money that they would get me for if it was on a one-to-one basis. I know the courses are good. I know that I provide good, sensible content, and I'm not selling something that's yucky, and also rubbish, and absolute making this rubbisher.
Sales Is Like Problem Solving
I know all that's good, but yet I still don't want to say, “Come and buy my stuff.” I just, like I said, I feel like there's got to be another way, that I haven't got to just be all like, “Buy, buy, buy, buy, buy.”
Yeah, and I'll completely agree with that because I truly believe that sales is about problem solving. It's just about solving someone's problem. It's about helping people. I never wanted to be in sales. I don't know if I said that, but I never wanted to be in sales. I started my life in tech support, and I loved working in tech support, and my customers adored me. I had the biggest clear up rate in the department. You couldn't get me off the phone, but my clear up rate was amazing, success junkie. Loved it because at the end of every call people would go, “Oh, you fixed my problem. You're amazing.” I'd be like, “Yes.” I went on to a secondment into the sales area of that business, in the telesales. I hated it. [crosstalk 00:21:02], “Buy my stuff. Buy my stuff. Buy my stuff”, so it was only later in my career. People kept trying to get me into sales, but I could never work out why. Of course now, in retrospect it's because I'm a fantastic problem solver. You've got a problem I'm great at finding out what that problem is. I'm great at saying, “You know what? There's a set of solutions here, and some of that solution is what we can offer, so why don't we do that?”
Actually, offering a solution that someone had to pay for, that was my initial challenge, and it was only when, I don't know, my mid-twenties. Obviously just a couple of years ago.
Yeah, you and me both.
Really good makeup, [inaudible 00:21:42] on the screen shots.
Yeah, love it.
It was only when I was out in the field working with people that I actually got to where I realised that this is ridiculous. They have a problem. I have the solution, and I'm not telling them about it because it's going to cost money. Would they like to give me to money for the answer to that problem? You know what the answer to that question was? Yes, but in order for them to do that you have to tell them about it. I think that this is another one of those little jumps. It's about identifying that actually to me sales is about solutions, and it's about solving problems. It's about helping, and to be honest with you, there'd be nothing worse than if that whole thing I think science people say, if someone turned up at hospital with a broken arm. The doctors would look at it, and in his head go, “Yeah, it's a broken arm, but I better not tell you, you've got a broken arm, and I better not tell you how to solve it either.” Of course, we want them to do it. I think some of it is about our mindset around sales. I also think it's about getting personal because I do think that in this day and age with the internet, and everything that's out there, I think it can feel like a really mass approach where you get 5,000 emails. They all say pretty much the same thing.
You see millions of adverts on Facebook. You see stuff on Twitter. You see stuff everywhere, and it's just rammed down your throat sometimes. People have gone straight in for that buy my stuff. You're thinking like, “I don't even know who you are. I don't even know who you are. I don't know why you're trying to talk to me. I know nothing about you. Why would I want to buy your stuff?” I think this is about the fact that sales is a process. In the beginning of that process you don't know who the person that you're dealing with is. At the end of that process people agree to buy something, and you agree to sell something. I think so often people, especially online, are jumping right to the end of that. I understand, and you'll know, marketing can get you some of the way along that process, but I think the real thing about sales is the way you move from one to the other in the fastest possible way, the most effective way, is to be personal, have a conversation because then you can understand the person in front of you, and how to support them.
I think in some of what we're doing we've lost that. We've lost the art of having a conversation, of listening, which I think is a really big bit of sales.
Yeah, and I completely agree because I think for one I'm a massive fan of is finding out who you're advertier is, finding who that customer is, and not just the, “Oh, they're male. They're female. They're this age. They're that age.” It's like, no seriously. What keeps them awake at night? What do they wish happened? What's their goal? One question I sometimes ask when I'm interviewing people so that I, not for the podcast but for when I'm trying to find out what my customers need, is if I could wave a magic wand over your business, and tomorrow you could wake up and something was different, what would it be? Then you can start to get to the crux of it. Then I always ask questions around how do you feel about this. Again, those feeling questions for me are like, “Oh man, light bulb moment.” When they're like, “I'm totally overwhelmed.”
The other interesting thing that I find about doing this exercise is you think to yourself, “Okay, opensource my product and service are marketing academy where you can come in, and I teach you how to market your business.” You might be sat there thinking, “Okay, so I need to communicate with people who want to know more about marketing”, but that's not what's in their heads. When I speak to my customers what's in their head is, “Oh my God, my business is going to fail. I'm going to have to get a job.” That's seems like a really far stretch from the thing you're offering. Again, a copywriter, or accountant, or whatever. An accountant actually in my head if I was, because I hate accounts, I'm thinking, “I don't want to get in trouble. What if I miss something? What if don't pay for something? What if I mess up? I'm going to get this big charge, or I'm going to get in trouble or something.” So, that's my fear. It's not the, “Oh, I really want someone to make my receipts look nice and tidy because that actually doesn't interest me at all. I'm just really scared of that end result.
Sometimes, like I said, the jump feels like, “Hang on a minute. That seems crazy”, but actually that's what's in someone's head. That might be what they sat there thinking, and like I said, so you did a webinar recently. I sat on it and watched it because I was really interested in what you're selling. I'm interested in learning more. Hence, why I wanted it in the podcast and things. As I sat there looking at what you're doing, and thinking about it, it's not because I sat there going, “You know what? I'd really like to become make an award winning sales person.” It's because I sat there thinking, “I've got this awesome academy. I love doing it, and that's all I want to do for the rest of my life. How can I get that to more people, and how can I get more people in it? I don't want to fail at this.”
Again, it's like the jump isn't, “Oh, I just want to get better at closing” or often we catastrophize things in our head, and we're like, “UH”, but we only know that if we ask the question, don't we?
Yeah, and I think your thing is as far as it's really interesting what you're saying about what people are actually interested in. So often we're so, this sounds terrible, we're so in love with our own product, or own service, and we're so wrapped up in that we forget that actually what people are really interested in is what impact it's going to have on them, what change it's going to drive in their business, what's going to be different in their life because of what you've got to offer. I think that this is where [inaudible 00:27:22] if you are having a very one-sided conversation you won't see that, but you also won't make the sale because actually you're not really talking to what's important to them. It sounds really awful.
I'll just use the example you go into a cake shop with a master baker behind the counter. You're after something tasty, that you can put in your mouth, really exciting, for a low price point because you want to save some money for your sandwich. Whereas, what's important to maybe a guy behind the counter is at that particular shoe pastry bun is a really complex baking technique, and it's taken years to perfect it. Actually it's a special chocolate coverage he's put on it, and this, and that, and the other. What he's interested in talking about, and what you're interested in talking about are quite often two different things. I think it's about understanding that. It doesn't undermine how great your product or service is. It's about recognising that actually you really need to speak to what matters to that person in front of you. Quite often they'll tell you. They'll tell you. You just got to ask and listen. I was going to say as well it was really interesting what you mentioned there about closing as well. I just need to get better at closing.
Closing a Sale & The Sales Process
I have more requests from businesses, and from sales people, self-recognised sales people, than anyone else. We just need to be better at closing. We just need to be better at closing. No, you don't. I have yet to go and speak to any sales person, or any business that actually needs to just get better at closing. The reason they can't close is because they haven't actually got the other person bought-in in the first place. That's not to do with closing. That's to do with having a conversation, and listening what the person is saying to you, but then making an offer that actually speaks to that. If you do that you never need to close again in your life. The problem is that so often people are trying to sell. They're trying to close without having done that step in the middle.
Like you said, they're not going to be successful at that if they haven't got through those other steps. Let's just talk about that for a minute. In terms of steps, what steps do you see that people need to take if they're going to start that sales process?
The first thing is a lot of businesses don't have things. You can even do it on the back of a fag packet. It doesn't matter. It doesn't have to be really fancy, but I think it is quite important that you define where, what steps someone would need to go through between first having here and with you to actually giving you some money. But, to me a lot of that is the first thing is that you need to identify who the person in front of you is, so very simply like what's the name, what's the business, what do they do, really early stage qualification because actually that's just about getting to know that person.
The second thing is about finding out what's important to them, and I think that there's great questions that you can ask about this. People generally muck up at this stage because they ask terrible questions. They ask terrible questions. The trick is to ask really interesting questions. I like to ask people questions like who do you love working with, what excites you about your business, what do you want to do more of in your business, what does success look like in your business. These are the kind of questions that I might really focus. Whereas, sometimes people might instead ask questions like what kind of customer do you work with. Actually that's fine. You can find out what kind of customers they work with, but I'm interested in what customers does it excite you to work with. Actually, if you want to grow your business, and you want to get to where you want to be they're the people you want to work with. You might not even have any of those people yet. That's fine, but let me find out what excites you. For me, I want to be asking all the questions that gets people really, “Oh, my business is really exciting, and I love working with these.”
Like you were just saying about your academy, “I love it. I love the people in it. I love what we do.” That excites you. I suspect that's probably not where you're making most of your money.
No, not at the moment, and I want it to be that case. I want that to be my main part of my business, but no. You're right. That's not where I make most of my money. However, I honestly the first time I did a coachable because I remember interviewing Callie and Mike, the membership guys, and they said, “Lots of people like the idea of memberships because they think it's a quick win, and it's flipping not. It's definitely a long road.” They said, “The other thing is if you can't get up every day, and talk about what you do for the rest of your life then this isn't going to work.” I was like, “I'm fairly confident I can do that. I love what I do. I love talking about it.” I did my first coaching call. I have to admit that it was a late one. It was late in the evening because I wanted because I've got quite a lot of people in the States that are on the academy, so I wanted to make sure they could make the first one. It's quite late on in the evening, and I'd had a bit of a busy day.
I was like, “Oh God, I just want to put my feet up, and have a glass of wine.” Then I panicked thinking, “Oh, do you know what? What if I've got this wrong? What if this isn't what I want to do?” I got on that first coaching call. I wasn't entirely sure how it was going to go because I haven't ever ran one myself. I'd been on loads, so I was all a bit nervous. I was a bit tired. I was a bit like, “Oh God, is this right?” I got off, and I actually contacted [Biswald 00:32:43] because we talk to each other all the time. I messaged him. We do voice messages on Instagram. I was like, “Oh my actual God, I could do that all day every day and never get bored. I loved it.” The energy that came off it. The feedback I got. It was just like, “This is amazing”, like “Please let me do more of this.”
But, like you said, where I'm making other money is not necessarily the stuff I want to be doing going forward, so now it's using that passion in guess, and those emotions, and that drive to go, “Okay, how can we look at doing it more over here?”
Yeah, and I think that this is, I think especially entrepreneurs, whatever the size business that they're running, they've got a passion, and they're excited. I think that this is where, for me, you want to tap into what excites them, and where they want to be. I think that's what it's all about. I think there's other great questions you can ask, but I think that at that point in time, once you've got a flavour for what's important to them, you need to start to think, “Okay, so have I got an appropriate solution” because you haven't always.
No, that's a good point.
I think [crosstalk 00:33:58]. The other thing that we do, what happens is I think so often people are like, “Oh, I could totally do something around that. I can do something to help.” You know what? Don't, really just don't. Why dilute yourself? Why make it up as you go along? It doesn't help you or your perspective client. Actually when they fast tracks to cementing relationships can be to recommend people don't work with you, which sounds a bit crazy but there are times when I said, “You know what? I can absolutely do something here. You know what I think you need to do first though? I would really recommend you do X, Y and Z. I've got a colleague who could totally help you with that. Let me put you in touch. Have a conversation. See where you go, and then let's us have a catch up, and see what's appropriate on the back of that.” Actually that in itself can be a real fast track relationship build because you're not the answer to everything. However great you are, no one's the answer to everything and so you have got a solution, and that's brilliant when you have got the solution because you think, “Yes.”
I could definitely do something.
They're excited. They've got their challenge there. I can tell you helped them with the challenge. It's going to be amazing. I think at that point that's really where you need to match back why you're making that recommendation. I like to use a little technique, but what I do is I summarise. I'll say, “That's really interesting, so from everything you're saying, duh, daduh, daduh, daduh, daduh, daduh”, summarise it all back. It would be really helpful if you could do boom, or if you could achieve boom, or if you had boom, whatever it might be. They're going to say, “Well yeah, it would” because basically what you're saying, here is your problem. Wouldn't it be great if you had a solution to that? They say, “Yes”, because of course it is amazing, here's our problem. Get a solution to it.
Then at that point in time you can introduce what you can offer. Then you can say, “Well, one of the things that I actually do is”, and introduce your solution. The idea is with that you'd say, “I do XYZ. The great thing about that is it actually offers that solution to ABC, by doing XYZ.” In your little introduction then, by that point in time the point is those points you're matching on are very specific to the person you're talking to.
That's when that personal thing comes in again isn't it? Because, if you didn't know you couldn't do that successfully.
No, and you can, yes. I think if you look at the stuff online that's what a lot of people are doing. A lot of people are going, “Do you have this problem”, problem, problem, problem, problem. Then you're looking for this solution, which gives you dum, dum, dum, dum, which is brilliant but sometimes actually the problem that you identify is not a problem that person thought they had.
Yes, and they might not know you're the solution, so for instance, let me think. Talking to someone about let's say their yoga teacher. The problem that they might have is they don't have any time for themselves, or they don't know how to relax, or they don't know how to meditate, or whatever, but they might not be thinking they need any of those things. They just think, “God, I'm so overwhelmed, and so stressed. I don't do anything for myself. I feel like I need a break.” They have no idea that you're possibly their solution. It's not good addressing from a marketing or sales point of view going, “Hey, come to this yoga studio because I've had 20 years of yoga experience. I have the best yoga mats going”, because they don't even know they need it yet. Addressing the problem of struggling to find time for yourself, relax, those kind of immediate issues. Like you said, that's exactly where you came to. Often the problem that you're solving, or the thing that you want to talk about isn't necessarily the thing that's in their head.
Yeah, it's core. You will get people who self-identify that problem, and maybe are already looking for that solution, but that's a very small number of people. Quite often it's a much larger number of people out there. One of the things I quite often say to people is, “Okay, so”, at the smaller end, “do you know how you're going to pay your mortgage this month?” That's quite a big question with smaller businesses because sometimes the answer to that is no. I'm like, “Okay, well we need to sort that out. We need to do that by sorting out your sales, and your sales process, and what you're going to do there.”
If you look at the bigger end of the scale, when you're looking at the corporate, quite often they say the problem they will present with will be something like, “Well, we just want to close more”, or “Our conversion rate isn't high enough”, so it will be a metric, or it will be one tiny piece of the sales process. But, when you actually go in and look into it, which is something I don't, at the higher level I… Sometimes people will ask me, and say, “Can you go and deliver telesales training”, or, “Can you go and do this, or do that?” I can absolutely do those things. However, for me personally I always want to spend a bit of time in the business first because I want to ensure that actually the problem they think they have is the problem they really have. Quite often that's not the case. If you're trying to solve a problem that isn't actually a problem guess what? Your solution isn't going to work.
I think this is about almost demonstrating your expertise by having those conversations, or those interactions that allow you, the expert, to actually diagnose that problem in order to present the correct solution. I think the other thing around that is, that is also about not only securing the customer. It's about securing customer for life because that is the kind of relationship, when you've actually solved an actual problem that you've taken the time to investigate and understand, that's when those people come to you in the future. When they know there's something wrong, but they don't quite know what. They know you're the person to go to for that. I think at that point in time it becomes so much easier for you because you've demonstrated your expertise.
I think it's very crowded out there. Let's be honest. We always say it's global, global baby. You can work anywhere now, so you've got every single person that's got a lot of competition. If you want to do something different then to me I think you need to be really understanding who your prospect is, really understanding their problems, and actually almost in some ways running a proper diagnosis yourself, whatever that might look like. Because, as the expert you might see something that they haven't seen because it's not their specialty. Then you can recommend an amazing solution. To be honest with you, when you can do that quite often a lot of your objectives people talk about just disappear.
Yeah, I love that. Then I want to just jump on something quickly because I'm conscious of our time. I sat here thinking I'm going to have to get you back on because there's loads of questions in my head that I need answering, or want to ask about, like should you do it on the phone? How would you do a proposal? How much time should you spend on these things? Loads, so we're definitely, definitely going to have you back on if you are happy to come back on.
Dealing with Objections
But, one thing I do want to address. I have heard in the past is you're too expensive. What if, and there's lots of people out there because, like you said, we've just spent 15 years for me, that bag of my experience and yours is massive. It took a while to get the confident to bring my money up to where I am today, but actually I get less of that objective now, which is really weird, than I did on a low remain say maybe two, three years ago.
But, let's say you have identified them. You've gone through your steps. You know who they are. You know what the problem is. You know damn well you're a perfect solution for them, and you can help them fix their problems. You present it and go, “Look, you've got these problems. Here is what I can do.” They're like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Then you go, “Here's the price.” They go, “No, you're too expensive.” What's your thoughts, process on that?
The first thing is we hear that and we go, “Little old me”, and we run away.
Yeah, or we go, “Okay, I'll just half it. What was I thinking? Am I crazy?”
We're never going to do those things. We're not going to do either of those two things. The first thing is it's brilliant if you hear that. The first thing is high five if you're hearing that every now and then. You're doing a good job. The reason for that is, is if you don't occasionally get pushback on your price you're not charging enough. If you are someone listening to this right now and you think, “Well, I never hear that.” You're pricing is out [crosstalk 00:42:31]
Because you're too cheap.
You need to double it, or treble it, or whatever, because you want to be hearing this. The first thing is that we need to not run away, and we need to ask another question. I've got a little formula I use for this. The first part of that is there you are going to ask. That means you're going to ask a question. When they say to you, “We like what you're offering. It's just too expensive.” We need to not run away, and we need to ask the questions to explore some more because that could mean lots of different things, so we just need to find out a little bit more information. You could ask a question that says, “Oh, I'm quite surprised about that. Can I ask what is it you're comparing it to?”
That's a good idea.
That's a really interesting one because they might say, “Well, actually we're kind of managing with the solution we've got already, so it's a lot to spend.” All right, so straight away what that now means is it's not our price. What you haven't done is you haven't sold them the level of change that you're going to offer for that price. You haven't sold in the result enough. You haven't built enough value. They're comparing you to the status quo. That's a completely different objection now.
They might say, “Well, we're comparing it to the customer service training we had last week, which was only (insert X amount of money here).” In which case, you go brilliant. You're not basically being compared to another offering. Great, this is your opportunity to then embrace that and say, “Oh, that makes sense now, right. Let me explain what's different between what you've possibly experienced and what I deliver.” For example, for me in that area I talk very much about what I'm actually offering is an experiential training setup, which is going to change the way your people behave in a sales environment, which is going to result in a measurable return. Is that something you're still looking for? Then they're going to have to go, “Yeah, of course it is. That's why we're talking to you.” Thank you, so just give me the money.
The point is, we make a comparison. Sometimes people are comparing us to stuff, and you go, “Of course you're going to think I'm expensive if you're comparing me to that cup of coffee you bought last week.” That's a brilliant way of doing it, or you can even just say, “Okay, do you want to tell me a little bit about your budget then?” What I'm doing then is I'm getting them to open up and share more.
The thing to remember is there will be some people who can't afford you. To be honest, that's absolutely same high five. That going to be okay. In that situation it might be that you think this is a genuine thing. Therefore, either I need to work with them to get this implemented in next year's budget, so we get it budgeted in for next year if it's a big piece of work, or it might be that you can offer a cutdown solution. Just to be really clear, what we don't do is we don't offer the same service for a different price. You might be able to offer them a flavour of it. The great thing is once people get a taste you're in the door. Guess what they want next? They want the full thing, so that can be a great way of doing it as well.
I love that.
Just ask the question. If you don't ask the question then you can't move it anywhere, and you can't handle it, and generally you just run away instead.
Yeah, and that's exactly what any experience I've had in the past. Even just asking that question saying, “Great, what are you comparing that to” is brilliant, and I have had that once before when I started the agency. Someone came in and were like, “You're really expensive.” I was like, “Okay, great, could you break down what they've offered?” When they told me what they had offered it's like, “Well, these are two different services. The thing you're asking, or the thing we offer is this for this price. If that's too much then that's no worries. That other person will work fine for you. However, we see this as the best way of it working, and therefore we have to charge more for this.” I really, really love that.
Victoria, honestly it's been such a pleasure having you on. Like I said, I've got a million other questions in my head, so we will definitely, definitely have to do a part two of selling because I just think this is something that I know lots of my audience will struggle with, and definitely speak to people in the academy. There are parts where they're struggling too, to get that convincing, not only the close as you might imagine, but the fact of their not perhaps selling the need or the solution as well as they could be.
Thank you so, so much, Victoria. I've loved having you on. I really appreciate you giving me your time.
I think I really enjoyed it. It's been lovely seeing you, opensource I'll make sure I have my full outfit on for next time we talk as well.
You set a precedent now. You're going to have to make sure that we've always got some kind of crazy… I love it. Thank you, Victoria.
Thanks so much.
So, what did you think? Are you totally confident now to go and sell your product and service? All right, I might be pushing it, totally confident and ready to go out there and sell yourself might be maybe a step too far. However, I am really hopeful that we have given you some really good tips, and tools, and strategies for you to go out, and feel more confident about selling what you have to sell. Also, I love the fact that she talked about everybody wants to close and actually it's not the close that's the problem. It's the process beforehand. I'm always a big fan of a process because the other interesting point she talked about fear, and that we don't do things because we're scared.
But, often when I put a process to something the fear goes out the window, and I don't even think about it because I'm just following the process. I think I've talked overtime you before about I am aiming to get on lots of podcasts this year, to go on other people's podcasts because in turn it helps me and my podcast, and obviously my exposure, and my brand awareness, and that sort of thing. I used to not want to ask because I was terrified of people saying no. Then when I set myself a process of I must ask five different podcasts every month it was just a tick box exercise. It almost took the emotion of, “Gosh, I've got to go and ask this thing.” I do love that she talked about process, and she gave us some really good ideas in terms of questions that we can ask, and that sort of training, so hopefully that's given you some good insight. Do please come and let me and Victoria know. You can find us over on Instagram. I'm on there most often, and I would love to see you over there.
Anyway, I'm going to leave you to it. Next week is episode 99, nearly 100, and I'm so excited about episode 100 because I've got something special coming your way. It's going to be very different, and I'm really hoping it's going to be good fun. I haven't actually recorded that episode yet, so it's going to be really close. As in from what it's recorded to when it goes live, but I am super, super excited.
Anyway, I hope your new year has got off to a brilliant start, and I will see you next week.