“If your intention is to help the person that you’re talking to, your sales are going to be increased.”
– Steve Napolitan
Welcome to the Steve Show. Today, I want to talk about the importance of sales. Maybe you are a sales professional and want to know how you can be more efficient and have greater results. Maybe you’re avoiding sales, and if you are an entrepreneur and this is happening, it’s very detrimental to your business. I also want to talk about how to make sales non-salesy.
Talking about sales, for some people it’s a super taboo word. Immediately they think of someone taking advantage of someone. But we all at some point are sold to or we buy things because we really want to and thereby are not taken advantage of. However, it’s the bad situations of people that do sales poorly that give sales a poor reputation.
If I’m offering something to someone, it’s because I want to help them. I’m discovering a match. When I find a match, then I make an offer. If it’s not a match, I don’t make an offer.
The first thing it comes back to intention. What are your intentions? Why are you in business in the first place? If you are a sales professional and you still are working hard to avoid these fears, or the fears that someone is going to think your taking advantage of them—if those thoughts are popping into your head, you need to reset your intentions and it’ll make things go a lot easier.
Because if your intention is to help the person that you’re talking to, your sales are going to be increased.
It is true, as your sales professional or executive level in the business, you’re looking at the bottom line. We must have success based on profit so that the business is sustainable, especially for entrepreneurs.
We need to look at those bottom line numbers. But when you take those bottom line numbers into a sales engagement, there can be a little bit of conflict because you might be thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to make this sale to make that number.” Suddenly, our intentions aren’t where they should be for that moment.
When I’m going into a sales meeting and I’m sitting with someone, I no longer think, “Hey, I have to do business to continue to make things go and I want to grow my business.”
When I sit down with an individual, I do several things.
Number one thing I make sure that it’s a client that I would want to work with. If that’s not the case, I don’t want to spend any time. I don’t want to waste their time, or my time so let’s just skip that and assume that we are talking to your perfect WOW client.
I’m focused on that person. I’m focused on how I can help them. I look mainly at three things:
Everyone that I sit with, no matter what, whether I’m going to work with them or not, I want to leave them with something that’s of value. When they leave, they’re like, “Wow, the meeting with Steve was very helpful.”
I can tell you many times I’ve had it where it’s not a fit and I don’t make an offer, but I offer them something, a referral or something. That person ends up referring more business to me because they’re so happy. They think, “Wow, some other sales person might have sold me this, but you told me it wasn’t a good fit.” That honesty and integrity is going to allow you to then have more come your way.
Second thing, many times we’re worried about what we have to say in a sales meeting and how we must prove ourselves to make the sale. It puts all the pressure on your shoulders. I’m not saying not to be prepared. But this approach puts your attention on pitching instead of asking questions.
You want to put your attention on the individual that you’re potentially going to work with and find out what their deepest pain is and what their deepest desire is. This requires your asking questions.
If you are trying to convince them to work with you, you come off as salesy. If you interview them to figure out if they’re a right fit, then it should be easy to make that match.
It’s like a puzzle. If we find out what their puzzle piece looks like, then we can put our puzzle piece in and connect it. Often, I’ve seen so many people and even people that are trained sales people, they’re taking their puzzle piece and they’re trying to jam it into any other piece of the puzzle when it doesn’t fit. They’re jamming it in and taping it and that doesn’t work.
What you need to do, is just find the match and then it just inserts so beautifully. How we do that is again, we find out their pain and their desire in a deep way. Not just on a surface level way. Not just like, “Oh, we need more money.” It’s not like that.
It’s actually, “Okay, your lacking revenue right now. You don’t have the revenue that you’d like and how is that affecting you?” They might respond, “Oh well, it’s causing us not to be able to hire more staff, we want to do some more research and development.”
But you don’t stop there. You ask, “Not having that research and development going on, or not having the additional staff that you need, how is that affecting you?” Turns out, the stress is making it difficult to be with their family at home and they are afraid if they don’t work things out, their marriage is going to fall apart.
Now you know their pain, you can ask them, “What will happen if you don’t do anything about it? What does that look like? How does that affect the company and your life?”
This helps them understand the cost involved if they do nothing to change. They have this goal and we can help them achieve it. Remember: ask questions and stop pitching.
I’ll share a story. I was working with a potential client and they were looking at us to be their ad agency. We went into the meeting and immediately they were like, “Go ahead and plug in your laptop and you can show us what you have.”
I said, “Right now, I may or may not plug in right now.” The person was like, “What? What are you talking about?” In a way, I could see in their face they were going to throw me out of their office because they were expecting me to be prepared.
I said, “Listen, I need to get to know what’s going on right now and where you want to go at more depth, so then I can show you the appropriate things. I have so many things on my laptop, but what’s important for me to show you?”
I didn’t open up my laptop at all during that meeting because of the depth that I went, I then started to proceed to talk about what was going on in the business and I found out how bad it was and I made an emotional connection with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) who told me things the CEO didn’t even notice yet. They were worried about losing their job because of it. They hadn’t talked to any of their staff members because they didn’t want to look weak.
By aligning with them knowing the pain they felt, I was one of the only ones who knew how bad it was. We became good friends and I worked at multiple companies with this individual. As they progressed in their career, they brought me along because we had made a huge connection.
I didn’t present anything other than I did share a couple stories of how I helped similar situations and was able to make that connection, but they were very short. I would say less than 10% of the meeting was about me and what I could provide and 90% was about what was going on with them. I was able to make that connection.
I do very limited follow-up. You hear this term, the fortune is in the follow-up, but if you do it in this manner, you don’t need a ton of follow-up. I do follow-up. If someone says, “Well, we need to talk to so and so to make this final decision.” Usually I try to make sure all the decision makers are in the meeting in the first place.
I hope this was helpful, and remember, connecting is the key to successful sales, not pitching. Don’t think about the revenue goal that you need to hit. Don’t think about the money that you need. In that moment, you think about that person and you are more likely to close the deal.
If you have any further questions or follow-up, please share it with me. I’d love to respond.
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