Don't Sell Yourself Short
Increasing profit margins is crucial to success for your business! And we know first hand just how important having the right pitch for your business can be. But what if we told you that the right pitch is... well not actually a traditional pitch at all.
Recently, our CEO sat down with Allan Langer to discuss which methods he found to be key in landing sales. In this blog, Hollywood Branded learns how to drive your sales by ditching the sales pitch and finding an authentic way to help businesses from the advice and expertise of Allan Langer.
A Little More About Allan
Allan Langer is an award winning sales consultant, bestselling author, sales coach, and motivational speaker with close to three decades of sales excellence and award-winning performances in every capacity. Allan turned his experience and knowledge into a bestselling book on Amazon, The 7 Secrets to Selling More by Selling Less, and a highly successful company, The 7 Secrets Center for Sales and Marketing Excellence.
As a sought after speaker and executive coach, he shares and trains people on how to solve instead of sell, to help instead of hinder, and to be selfless instead of selfish.
Interview Transcript Highlights
Question: I'd love to learn a little bit about what got you to becoming this bestselling author and sales guru who knows everything. How'd you get here?
Answer: Everything in life is a journey and I had a long journey in a sales career that spans almost 30 years. And what I learned as I started, I was in college athletics, marketing and fundraising in my early professional career in my twenties, and learned to cut my teeth of asking rich alums for money. That was my first sales job was trying to get people to give me money and to donate some money. But when I got into actual selling and many of it was, or most of it was in-home sales, so meeting people in their homes and those are one call close shops. What I discovered was many of the companies that I either looked at or worked for, everyone has a sales process.
Everyone has a sales training method. You get hired by the company and then you actually get trained. And all the training is always about selling obviously, but it's never about helping the customer. And so you finish the training and you come out of training and I realized as I was moving along, I was pretty successful. Once I started realizing that I'm doing a sales pitch, I feel like a salesman every time I'm talking to someone, I hated that feeling. And then I realized people don't want to talk to salespeople. They need a product, but they don't want to talk to us. So I started shifting what I was doing on my own and really decided to just talk to people and just help them. Forget the sales pitch.
They're going to tell you what they want to hear if you know what to look for and know what to pay attention. So once I started doing that, and again, it took some many years to hone those skills, but I became the number one sales rep at Anderson Windows for almost a decade, closing close to 60% because I wasn't following the sales pitch. Now again, the sales pitch is not a bad thing. The sales training is not a bad thing, but you need to learn the company products and all of that stuff, but you also then need to learn how to talk to a customer not like a salesman. So I decided to put it into a book and the book became a bestseller and then I started my company and there you go.
Question: What is one of the 7 secrets to selling more?
Answer: One of my chapters in the book is you got to change your mindset as a salesperson and I tell every company that I train, I'm like, "Get rid of the term closing percentage in your vernacular. It needs to be called the helping percentage." So instead of your reps cheering about how many customers they closed that week, because the term close is very, to me, it's very adversarial. It's very conquering. How many customers did you help this week? What's your helping percentage? If you saw 10 customers and six of them bought from you, you helped six customers. You didn't sell them. You helped them. Because if you honestly believe that your product is going to change their life or help them with their problem, then you helped them. You didn't sell them. And just that change in the mindset helps the reps in front of the customer, because they're thinking about that rather than the close.
Question: So when you're meeting with a company and you are talking to them about how they can help instead of how they can close, how they can solve instead of how they can poke and prod and make their individual prospect run away in sheer fear and shut the door on a face, what is some additional guidance that you give? How do you sit down and jump in here to this conversation with someone?
Answer: They have to get rid of the robotic sales pitch. If their reps are following a pitch, A-B-C-D-E, they have to get rid of that. And a lot of times, and this is very prevalent, they do role playing. They do role playing in the office where one guy is the salesman and one guy is the customer. Oh my God, stick needles in my eyes. First of all, that helps you become more robotic, but the customer is a sales person so they're not going to... There's nothing realistic about role playing. So I tell that the companies that do role playing, they should not do role playing. And there's just certain things you should look for when you first meet a customer and number one is body language. You've got to look at the body language.
One of the things when I was writing my book and putting together my seven secrets, I wanted to back everything up with science and make sure that what I was actually doing in a home was actually researched and all of it was, but I found, it was amazing to me, that there's very little sales stuff on body language.
Because body language, there's a million body language books, but not many point to sales. So I decided to do an entire chapter on body language and what you should look for as a salesperson in the customer that you're speaking to, or the prospect. And that's number one, because you can lose a sale in about a three second time period if you didn't and the meeting could have gone great. You could have... How many times do salespeople listening to this podcast right now walk away from a prospect saying, "Wow, that was a great meeting. How come they didn't buy anything?" They didn't buy anything because you missed something in their body language and you missed something that made them uncomfortable. They're not going to tell you. And it could be a very small tell like a purse of the lips or something like that.
So body language is a huge thing. And then again, there's the other techniques that I have in The 7 Secrets, but number one, get rid of the sales pitch. Become human beings. Your first goal before you shake hands with that customer, after this is all over, we can shake hands again hopefully, you have to walk in saying, "I'm here to help you. I'm not here to sell you."
Question: How much is an emphasis placed on the importance of your sales individual actually truly understanding the product backwards and forwards so that they can actually find out ways that that product can solve the solution?
Answer: You obviously have to know your product, but you not only have to know your product, you have to really believe in your product. If you're selling something you don't believe in, then you got to get a different job. You got to find something you believe in. If you're selling something you don't believe in it and you're enjoying that, then you may have to look in the mirror a little bit because you need to, in order to sell something, you need to believe in it. See for me, people think like, "Oh, if I use this technique or if I use this procedure, it's trying to get one over on the customer. It's unethical." I always answer that. I'm like, "Nothing is unethical if you believe your product is going to help the customer."
If you believe that, if it's going to change their life, if a new roof is going to stop them leaking in the living room or whatever it is, if you believe that it's your job as a salesman to try to figure out how for them to buy it. And you got to make it easy for a customer to buy your product, and that starts with them liking you and trusting you, obviously. But yeah, knowing your product, I mean, because there's also a whole chapter in the book on the different personalities you're going to meet and there's four different main personalities that you're going to run into. And if you run into the analytical personality, the engineer of the world, he's going to grill you or she's going to grill you on your product so you better know what you're talking about. And that's a completely different sales process in front of that person. So, there's different ways you have to approach different personalities as well.
Question: What about chat box on websites and having your sales team leveraging that? Are you seeing that as something that companies are doing successfully?
Answer: Yeah, I actually like that. I think there are people who do not want to talk. Still, they don't want to talk to a sales person especially over the phone, but the chat thing, you get your information, but you still have that wall up in front of you. You have that virtual wall. Then you can actually warm the customer up and there are salespeople making sales through the chat box. I think a chat box is enormously, is becoming more and more popular. And I think it's very important to have on your website, as long as it's manned. Obviously the most frustrating thing is you have a chat box and nobody's there to answer your questions. But yeah, they're huge.
Check Out The Podcast!
Allan has a LOT of great information from his experience in digital marketing, check out the podcast below to learn more about how to drive your business with digital marketing!
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