How To Close Internet Leads In TWO Phone Calls

Chris Smith is an experienced sales and marketing expert. In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Chris explains how we can close incoming internet-based sales leads in just two phone calls!

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Chris Smith
Sales and Marketing Expert

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Transcript

Will Barron:

Do you sell to leads that come in through the internet in this new world that we live in? On this episode, we’re going to share how you can close those leads in just two phone calls.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, sales nation, and welcome to today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast. On today’s show, we have Chris Smith author of the best selling book, The Conversion Code, which covers some of what we’re touching on today, which is selling and closing on the phone, internet based leads. Everything we talk about is available in the show notes to this episode or at salesmanpodcast.com. With all that said, let’s jump right in.

 

Will Barron:

Chris, welcome back to The Salesman Podcast.

 

Chris Smith:

What’s up, man. Thanks for having me.

 

How to Sell Over the Phone and The Mistakes To Avoid · [01:07] 

 

Will Barron:

You more than welcome, sir. Glad to have you on. We’re going to dive into a topic which I know is dear to your heart, and that is pitching and closing over the phone. But before we get into the nitty gritty, before we get into the practical takeaways for the audience for this, which, hopefully, will be getting engagement before the call, build that know, like, and trust, and have a intelligent conversation about phone selling versus the usual nonsense that I see online, which is essentially bullying people to close deals on the phone. I want to ask you this, and that is, what are people doing wrong when they pick up the phone to make a sales call and hopefully try and pitch and close? What’s the one, two things that so many of the audience are screwing up on?

 

“I think we live in a world where people are typing more than they’re talking, and that’s a problem.” – Chris Smith · [01:28] 

 

Chris Smith:

Well, not picking it up enough. I think we live in a world where people are typing more than they’re talking, and that’s a problem. A lot of people have used the last five years worth of innovation in technology to avoid the phone, not to pick it up more. So I would say that when you have all this data, when you can stalk somebody on Facebook, when you can Google whatever, and when you can use some of the tactics we’ll talk about, when you have those available, you can’t just get fired up with nowhere to go. And so I think that probably the worst thing people are doing is not calling enough people.

 

“What you focus on is what you find. So if you go into everyday thinking the leads are shit, they will be. If you go into everyday thinking, if you stay focused you’ll get a deal, you will.” – Chris Smith · [02:06] 

 

Chris Smith:

But the other thing is mindset and having the right expectation. In my book, I call it a black lab mindset, where what you focus on is what you find. So if you go into every day thinking the leads are shit, they will be. If you go into every day thinking, if you stay focused, you’ll get a deal, you will. So it’s enthusiasm, it’s tone, and it’s effort, that’s what people are screwing up right now.

 

Why and How Salespeople Should Be Calling Prospects in 2017 · [02:40] 

 

Will Barron:

So we’ll come back into the mindset piece, because clearly, and the audience know this, that’s the angle that I really like talking about, and the psychology behind it all. But when you say not making enough calls, I just want to get your thoughts on this and have a clear clarification on it. Are you saying that, we should make more calls that are precursored with stalking people on Facebook, online, collecting data? Or are you saying, which some people live in this world of, you should not make a 100 calls a day, you should make 400, because you’re using an automated dialer that’s just dial, dial, dial, dial, and you have no idea who’s on the end of the phone? Which way should we be leaning in 2017?

 

Chris Smith:

In between. We certainly never have to call a 100 people to get a couple good conversations, because our marketing is excellent. But a lot of the people listening to your podcast, they don’t have that luxury. They’re getting shit leads. They’re having to generate their own leads. They’re having to a cold call. And so when that’s your world, you don’t want to do it all day. Like if you work at Curaytor, you’ll love calling people all day, because every third person has a copy of my book. Every fourth person watches our show. Every fifth person reads our blog. Every six person comes to our webinars. So it’s easy over here, but that’s not the real world. Most people don’t have a 40% conversion rate. They have a point four.

 

Chris Smith:

So I just think that focused calls… I will give you a tip, when I was at Quicken Loans in the boiler room, dialling and helping a billionaire get it richer, one of the things that they would talk about is reducing it to the ridiculous. So you could focus on the 100 calls, but what that really does is leads to five conversations. And what those five conversations lead to are three credit pulls. And what those three credit pulls lead to are two loan written and one loan closed. But what you’re ultimately after are five meaningful conversations a day, you know what I’m saying?

 

Chris Smith:

So if you’re the person that doesn’t like the idea of high volume calling, just don’t leave your desk until you have five good conversations. Think of it that way. But in the real world, where people don’t answer their phone as often and people don’t like being followed up with, with sales people, you don’t just sit there and chat with people all day with your feet up on the desk. A lot of it is dialling to get the conversation going.

 

Chris Smith:

Now, if you’re asking, are most people calling leads without the right insight, without the right intel out the right focus and purpose? Absolutely, there’s still that kind of old school like, “Hey, here’s a 100 leads, go close them for me.” When meanwhile, again, we can’t get past five leads without getting a deal, because of the data and the systems that we’re using to analyse who we call.

 

The Type of Insights You Should Have to Ensure You Engage in Meaningful Conversations with Prospects · [05:20] 

 

Will Barron:

So I want to touch on the insights and you use the word purpose then, so I’m intrigued as to that, but I don’t want to spend the rest of the conversation on this. I want to get onto the actual phone call, and we can assume some of this has been in place. But what insights at a bare minimum should we have, if we’re inside sales, if we’re making phone calls? What’s the bare minimum insights that we need to then drive a purposeful conversation, I guess?

 

Chris Smith:

Well, that’s part of this, is the more you ask for when you capture the lead, the less leads you get. So do you want a lot of leads with very little intel? Or do you want very few leads with a lot of intel? That’s why I like the Goldilocks zone. I like the just right zone. I like a good volume, but I don’t just want a phone number and a prayer. I want a little data or intelligence. So for us, it’s about identifying… I’ll give you an example in real estate, you’re a real estate agent, you get a lead from Zillow, you get a lead from homes.com, it comes in. Well, the wrong way to call that lead would be to call and say, “Hey, this is Judy from RE/MAX. I’m calling about the property you found on Zillow. How are you?”

 

“The more specific you are with your opening, the longer your calls will go. And conversations lead to customers.” – Chris Smith · [06:36] 

 

Chris Smith:

That doesn’t sound too bad. You’re introducing yourself. You’re saying who you work for. You’re mentioning the lead source, but the more specific you are with your opening, the longer your calls will go and conversations lead to customers. So what we do is we try to put as many nuggets as we can in our opening statement. “Hey, this is Judy calling from RE/MAX. I saw that you found a home over on Main Street, that’s a three bed, two bath. It’s listed for 289,900, and it’s been on the market for about six months. How are you?”

 

Chris Smith:

That is such a different call. Imagine somebody calling me, “Hey Chris, we’d love to work with you at Curaytor. We’ve got a technology that all of your clients would love.” Versus, “Hey Chris, I saw that you’re travelling and you’re in Boston, and you’re really busy right now. And it looks like your company’s growing really fast. I saw that you got featured on an Entrepreneur the other day, props for that. Is there any way I could get five minutes of your time next week when you get back?” Who gets the sale?

 

Why You Need to Have a Strong Opening Statement When Calling Prospects · [07:04] 

 

Will Barron:

And what’s going on there, Chris, just to dissect that a little bit more, because that is, it’s almost subtle, but I can feel the difference. And I hate talking about feelings on the show. I prefer data, and there might be data to back some of this up. But my gut feeling is that, when you just include another two sentences, you give more of a shit. Is that what’s going on there? Is it simple as that?

 

Chris Smith:

It really is that simple. It basically means that you’re separating yourself from the other cold callers, because even if you’re not cold calling, other people are. Even if you’re not calling leads that opted in, you’re still up against this sales guy perception. So half of it is just like, there’s no way that that will be an accident. Think about all the robo-calls, like you said, all the dialers, all the things where you call, “Hello,” and then they don’t pick… People are sick of the tricks. So just use the data you have at your fingertips.

 

Chris Smith:

I know one of our clients, she had a really good conversion, where she knew the street the home was on was like one of the cutest streets in her town. And there would be no way to put that out automatically into a drip campaign or put that into a script. But as soon as she said, “Hey, you guys live on such a cute street. I’ve always been jealous of that cul-de-sac,” that was what converted the lead, so nuggets.

 

Chris Smith:

Like even back at Quicken, this is before social media, before really big data, social selling, before we had all this, they would at least give us their current loan amount, their current home value, their current interest rate. So that I didn’t just say, “Hey, is John available?” I said, “Hey, John, I’m calling about your property over on West Avenue. Looks like it’s worth about 600. You’ve got a loan for about 400 and your interest rate’s about six percent. Did I catch you at a bad time?” So those nuggets are exactly what you said, you feel a difference, absolutely.

 

Researching Your Prospects Is The Only Way You Can Have Meaningful Conversations With Prospects · [09:50] 

 

Will Barron:

And what’s interesting, you’re not pulling out anything that isn’t somewhat obvious, in that, you can do that analysis in five minutes, in four minutes, in three minutes before you pick up the phone, right? And you kind of alluded to this at the top of the show of, we’re not saying spend an hour researching someone before you pick up the phone, because they might not even answer you. I mean, with your team, especially, is there a time limit that you put on these research tasks or data pulling tasks?

 

Chris Smith:

Speed is very critical to conversion. So we’re not going to go spend an hour researching a lead that hasn’t answered the phone yet. But through databases and CRMS, there’s an app, it’s a web app called Charlie App and I love it. Literally, it plugs into your calendar, and so if you’ve got a call at one o’clock with a lead, and you’ve got their email address, it’ll give you all this information. It’ll show you your connections in common. It’ll show you the school they went to. It’ll show you their common passions, and if they were featured recently in the press and what they’ve been tweeting.

 

Chris Smith:

So I love Charlie App because there’s another cool way to do it. If people have never done this, they should try it. Google your name and look how many results there are, and then Google your email address and look how different it is. And that’s what Charlie App’s doing, is it’s grabbing their email, it’s finding all that big data, and it’s bringing it to you. So, yeah, we can do what we call a pre-call stalk. We do it on every call, and we can do it in 30 to 60 seconds. Because it’s a combination of what I collect on the form, plus what these tools go find.

 

Chris Smith:

So, yeah, you don’t want to be creepy, Will. You don’t want to be like, “Oh, I noticed that your wife and you had a great date on Friday. You guys go to Applebee’s?” You don’t want to be creepy, but, yeah, what they gave you on the lead intake form, plus what’s available publicly with a quick search. I call it a bullet with your lead’s name on it, a custom bullet.

 

Will Barron:

Well, I did this and I thought I was on the verge of creepy, but it paid off. I was chatting with one of the companies that work with the show, I was getting, essentially, relatively far up the food chain, probably further up the food chain than I should be. I had a call with them. They were just interested to see what the show is about, the progression of it, the kind of narrative that we are writing them into our advertising and how we’re placing them in front of our audience. They were just intrigued. Because they could see that we’d gone from nothing to $600,000 a month on the audio side of the podcast in 18 months, two years. And so they wanted to pick my brains and make sure that I wasn’t full of shit, basically.

 

Will Barron:

That was the conversation that we were having. So I went on Google, just put their name in, nothing more sophisticated than that. They were on Instagram. They’d done a bunch of travelling. I think they been essentially on a mini sabbatical for the past three months or so. And they just come back into the office, and I was kind of nicely, as a compliment, that was one of the first things they wanted to look at and dive into. And so I just mentioned that. And I’ve not done any business in the East, but I believe this is how business is done in the East. We had a 45 minute conversation and about this lady’s travelling, the hiking.

 

Will Barron:

I do a little bit of hiking and stuff around here in the Lake District in the UK. And we had a conversation about walking boots. That’s what we ended up talking about for a good 45 minutes or so, we talked five minutes of business, and then we kind of wrapped up the deal, well, essentially, she okayed the deal, and passed it back down to the people that are sussing it out. And that was such a pleasant conversation to have. And I think five years ago, it would’ve been borderline creepy, in that she perhaps would’ve had that photos, that information, that data on her private Facebook page, whereas now, she’s put out there.

 

Pre-Call Stalking and Why It’s So Effective · [13:30] 

 

Chris Smith:

Exactly. And it’s funny, it’s mindset, sometimes it’s generational, sometimes it’s ideological, sometimes it’s philosophical. I don’t know, but I know that in the past, if somebody knew that about you, it would annoy you. It would’ve been creepy. But for me, Will, listen, if you ask me what I’m up to, I’m mad. It’s like, “Check my Twitter, man. Check my fucking Instagram. You didn’t look at my Facebook page?” It bothers me when people don’t know what I’m up to. You know what I mean? Don’t text me and be like, “How’s everything going?” You see what I’m saying? That’s a big difference.

 

Chris Smith:

Go look at my Facebook, look at my Twitter, look at my Instagram, look at my LinkedIn, I can guarantee you in five minutes, you’ll know what I’m up to. So you don’t want to start conversations saying, “How’s everything been?” You want to start conversations saying, “Man, I’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on, and I’m impressed. And that’s why I wanted to talk to you.”

 

How to Transition a Sales Conversation From Rapport Building Into a Business Conversation · [14:42]

 

Will Barron:

Got it. Got it. Okay. How do we, and sometimes it just happens organically, but how do we transition from this important essentially rapport building step, how do we transfer from that into talking about product to service and then obviously moving into the close? Is this a switch that we hit?

 

Chris Smith:

Well, I’ll tell you what I do, for me is I teach it as what’s called a 20, 20, 20 sale, so that it makes it very easy for a salesperson to go into the first 20 minute of the call, not thinking about turning that corner. We literally break it up, so that we spend 20 minutes figuring out what your problems are, then we spend 20 minutes developing a custom pitch based on what you told us, then we spend 20 minutes pitching it and closing. See what I’m saying?

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

Chris Smith:

So the that’s actually why? Because a lot of sales reps, especially new ones, when they start a call, they’re in minute 30, thinking about the credit card. You know what I mean? They’re in minute five, thinking about the kill. They’re not thinking about the courtship. And so we just make the courtship the whole first 20, then we take a step back and we leverage the art of war that we know we’re going to win or lose the pitch before we pitch it. So we spend 20 minutes on the phone digging deep, 20 minutes developing a pitch and helping each other. Our sales guys will sort of be like, “Hey, here’s what I’m thinking. What do you think of this pitch? Here’s what our situation is. Here’s what I’m thinking about pitching.”

 

Chris Smith:

And then we can call them back, we let them go. We believe in attracting not chasing, so we actually hang up with them. “Okay, I’m going to spend 20 minutes, because I don’t want to do a pitch that’s not catered to your situation. So let me get my shit together, call you back. And when I call you back, I’m going to ask for your business. Is there any reason you wouldn’t say yes, if everything I present makes sense.” So I’m doing a pre-close, well before I’ve ever pitched. Because guess what, Will, everything makes sense before you’ve heard it.

 

Will Barron:

Okay, Chris, so let me just get this right in my mind, because I think this is, it shouldn’t be unique, but I think it seemingly is, of we’ve got plenty of people come on the show or plenty of people trying to pitch me to come on the show, only one person’s come on the show to talk about this, in that like a one call close. And the conclusion of that conversation was that this individual does a crap tonne of marketing before they even get on the phone. They’ve done a crap tonne of qualification through content, all kinds of cool stuff.

 

Chris Smith:

Yeah. How much does their product cost, Will?

 

Will Barron:

I think it’s about $10,000.

 

Chris Smith:

So, yeah, they’re trying to shoot fish in a barrel. They’ve got a isolated targeted audience.

 

Will Barron:

And that was the conclusion from it, because his pitch to come on the show was that I can close anyone in one phone call. But then it was going through the layers and digging down and getting deeper, and it was a useful show, I hope, for the audience of when you get to the bottom, it wasn’t a one call close. It was a three month marketing campaign with a phone call at the end of it to essentially collect the cash. There was no selling at that point. So it’s interesting and different way of looking at things.

 

Will Barron:

But I think what you are proposing here, Chris, is still really interesting, and different, but from perhaps a B2B perspective, probably more useful, tell me if I’ve got this right. So you collect data, you have a phone call, you are grabbing information for 20 minutes, then you pre-qualify or pre-close, have a little bit of time, come up with a decent pitch that isn’t just kind of-

 

Chris Smith:

The standard deck, right? It’s catered-

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

Chris Smith:

… it’s custom. It’s like, why is my newsfeed on Facebook custom, but your sales pitch isn’t?

 

Will Barron:

So we’ll come on the pitch in a second, and we’ll dissect that. And then we have the pitch and then we have another 20 minute conversation to wrap things up and tie it together. Is that the structure that we’re talking about here?

 

“Selling over the phone is simple: Step one, establish there’s a problem. Step two, develop a solution. Step three, present that solution, and ask for their business.” – Chris Smith · [18:40]

 

Chris Smith:

Absolutely. Step one, establish there’s a problem. Step two, develop a solution. Step three, present that solution, and ask for their business.

 

Will Barron:

Because when you say like that, and when you’re staring down at me through the camera here, it’s simple. And I think that’s why I’m intrigued to this, because it’s so simple, and I get so excited, when it simple processes make an appearance on the show. Because seemingly everyone is trying to sell weird techniques, people are writing books on the seven step process to close anybody. Seemingly, what you’re saying here is, you’ve got the right people coming in the funnel, and so it makes sense for them to move along it. And you are just doing the right thing as you progress through, which again, it’s almost a no-brainer for me to say it, but I feel like I’ve got to point that out.

 

“The science of sales is so easy to remember. Literally, your job is to get people more emotionally excited than the cost during the time you have their attention.” – Chris Smith · [19:40] 

 

Chris Smith:

It’s sad, but it is important. And I do you think that we complicate sales. We make it complicated. The leads don’t. I have a drawing in my book, it’s the science of sales. And it’s the simplest drawing, but that’s why it’s so easy to remember. It’s, literally, your job is to get people more emotionally excited than the cost during the time you have their attention. That’s sales and there are tactics, Will, inside of that. There are techniques, that we’ll cover in a minute, that will cause people to sign up the same day you talk to them. But that’s a tactic, that’s not a strategy.

 

Why You Should Never Send the Pitch Before Jumping on a Call · [20:21] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we’ve collected the data, you pre-qualify them or pre-close them on the phone with the kind of sentence that you described before Chris. What does it look like then when you build your presentation? Clearly, from the conversation so far, it’s bespoke, but what does it physically look like? And is this something that you are emailing over beforehand for them to have a couple minutes to look through it, and then you get on the phone and go through it with them? How is that structured?

 

Chris Smith:

That would be the worst mistake you could make, Will. You never send the deck or the order form or the pitch before the call.

 

Will Barron:

Why not?

 

“You can’t reveal the terms, until you build the value. Nothing’s worth the cost until the benefit has been explained, even if it’s five bucks.” – Chris Smith · [21:20] 

 

Chris Smith:

We screen share. Because people then will, I remember when I was selling software in offices, and I went to coach some of the guys that weren’t doing as well, and like you said, the basics sometimes win. I went to shadow this guy in Alabama, and before he would start his speech, he would set the order for him down at each person’s spot. And I was watching as about half the room looked at the order form, looked at the price, and basically dismissed the pitch before it happened. You can’t reveal the terms, until you build the value. Nothing’s worth the cost, until the benefit has been explained, even if it’s five bucks.

 

Chris Smith:

So that simple mistake of like, you want them looking at you, you want them listening to you. Order forms don’t close people, people close people. And so he was making a huge mistake, because it took their eye off the ball, it caused them to judge the product before they knew what it was. He also would stand at the back of the room, and everybody would face the screen together. That’s a lamb, not a lion. A lion’s going to face you. A lion’s going to stare you down, like you mentioned. So you never want to give them the information, because the reason you exist is to explain that information.

 

The Type of Salespeople Who’ll Win Sales In The Next 5 Years · [22:30]

 

Will Barron:

I wrote down, you said something similar then of the value hadn’t been built yet, and that was going to be my best guess at why that didn’t work. But then this also goes into the world of social selling, and all the hype and the buzz that’s around that at the moment of, and this goes into the mindset, are just scared of asking difficult questions? And is that a differentiator between people who are going to have crazy success in kind of 2017, 2020, 2025? Is that going to be the thing that you are hired upon the fact that you don’t necessarily hide behind emails? The fact that you can have an intelligent conversation and ask tough questions, is this a skillset that, if we don’t already have, we should be doubling down on because it’s going to become more important over time?

 

Chris Smith:

Do you have a lot of millennials? I don’t know the demographics of your audience, but the millennials that work for me are petrified to speak to people over the phone.

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

Chris Smith:

My cousin came down to stay with me in Orlando for a week, and we never talked once to coordinate it. And I’m only 37, but I’m getting old school, she would text me and I would call her. And I know that they hate that. It’s like-

 

Will Barron:

Well, look, Chris-

 

Chris Smith:

… “I just want to talk.”

 

Will Barron:

… I’m 30 mate, and I do this. So this is interesting to me, this perhaps a discussion for another time, of the market, as millennials get into buying positions, will perhaps want to be communicated in a different way. But I’m 30, so everyone knows I’ve got this RX8, it’s constantly breaking down, rotary engine, a sports car, and it’s at the garage at the moment. And I’m always texting the guys at the garage rather than ringing them. And they would rather text me, in that when I do ring them, because I’ve not had to reply, because clearly they’re busy. And when I ring a big alarm goes off so that they can hear it, they go to the office.

 

Will Barron:

You can tell they’re less interested on the phone as them serving me, as what they are when they text me. And I get smiley faces or wherever over text, and a miserable bastard when I’m on the phone with them. So it is perhaps a conversation for another time, of, as millennials age up into decision making positions. But that resonates with me that I would rather get in a text chat and solve a problem whilst doing some-

 

Chris Smith:

But here’s what it is, Will, you would rather text, until you would rather talk.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Chris Smith:

And at that zero moment of truth, as Google who calls it, they’ve got to be willing to pick up that phone and talk to you like a human being. Because, yeah, the texting is a part of the process, but it’s not the whole process. And so I do think that your points are valid, there’s transactional like this, but what if the guy’s text would’ve been like, “It’s going to cost three times more than we thought.” You would want to talk. You would want to ask, why? You wouldn’t want to keep going by text.

 

Chris Smith:

Think about when you go to a nice restaurant, Will. You go to a restaurant, you enjoy the entire experience. It’s literal an hour and 58 minutes of an amazing evening with friends, because you didn’t want the check yet. You’re not ready for the check. But what happens once you’re ready for the check, Will, and it doesn’t come? You can undo the entire evening’s worth of joy by making the check take two to three minutes longer than I wished at the very, very end. So that’s what this is, the texting is the dinner, but we got to charge people’s cards.

 

Chris Smith:

And for that moment, where I’m swiping and you’re signing, even real estate, Zillow blew up, but realtors are busier than ever, because, while we’re going to text and we’re going to DocuSign, and we’re going to tweet each other or whatever the fuck you want to do, because you’re right, I want to do what you want to do. I want to make you happy. But eventually we’re going to sit down at a table and sign some shit. Eventually, I’m going to get in your car and go look at a place. See what I’m saying?

 

Chris Smith:

So unless you are a e-commerce cart, like when I sell books, Will, I don’t have to talk to anyone. You know what I mean? But Curaytor costs $1,300 a month. Our upsell costs $3,000 a month. We have a six month commitment, that requires a conversation. I bet you didn’t buy that car on a text message, only, did you?

 

Will Barron:

No, not at all. And what’s interesting here. I like the analogy of going out for a meal, in that, if you ask for the check or the bill, as we would say in the UK, and it doesn’t arrive, I’m probably not going to tip them. If it does arrive, I’m probably going to tip them just by default. And that’s the gap in value of a meal is somewhat commoditized, the experience is what makes it different. And then that little peak of shitty service at the end of the conversation, can drop all that good work back down. And perhaps that’s what we’re doing in sales of-

 

Chris Smith:

You’re screwing up all the work the marketing team did. You know what I mean? Yeah, and you’re absolutely right. Isn’t part of the beauty of a great server, a great waiter or waitress to know when to drop that check, to know when to be there for-

 

Will Barron:

It’s like, yeah-

 

Chris Smith:

… the table-

 

Will Barron:

… when to be there.

 

Chris Smith:

… and when not be.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Chris Smith:

Yeah.

 

Characteristics of a Good Sales Pitch · [27:30] 

 

Will Barron:

I love it. Okay. Let’s rein things back for a second, Chris, and get onto the pitch, essentially. So I think you said you would screen share, and clearly I kind of baited you with this question, but you wouldn’t send the document over beforehand. You’d want to screen share and go through it with them. What does that look like when your team are going through it? And what I mean by that is, do you literally just share your screen? Is your team on the video in a bottom corner so that there’s still face-to-face contact going on as well? How is that presentation done? And how does that transition into the close?

 

Chris Smith:

Sure. Yeah. I wish we could do more of the live webcam stuff. Not everybody’s up for that on the leads, like our guys would do it every time, but sometimes the whole point of the internet and the phone is that you don’t have to be kind of camera ready. So we do it as often as we can, but we use GoToMeeting, and we share our screen and we pull up a deck. We have a deck. So in case the internet goes down, in case we can’t do like a live demo of the software. We have slides that keep us on track. You asked earlier, what happens when the conversation starts going off the rails about boots? Well, that’s what the deck’s for. That’s what the framework’s for is to help us understand that we’re three slides into 12, and we’ve got to keep this thing moving, and keep it at the right pace.

 

“The first part of a pitch is simply recapping everything that you heard earlier in the call that went into your pitch.” – Chris Smith · [29:10] 

 

Chris Smith:

But the first thing in the pitch, Will, is actually something everybody forgets to do. The first part of a pitch is simply recapping everything that you heard earlier in the call that went into your pitch. It’s called the five yes technique. So we would share the screen, but it would be like, “Hey, so before I show you what we can do, and before I show you our solution, I wanted to just make sure earlier I was listening and writing everything down properly. So you mentioned earlier that your primary goal is to sell your home within the next 30 days. Right? Okay. And you’re looking to move into the 32828 zip code for your next place. Right? Okay. And the most important thing in your next home is you want a huge backyard and a pool. Okay. And your budget is between four and 500,000. That’s right? Right. Okay, great.”

 

Chris Smith:

That is actually how you start your pitch. It’s called the five yes technique. It’s almost back to the restaurant analogy. “Okay, so you want a steak, medium rare, hold the salt, add the butter.” When the server reads that back to you, you feel like the kitchen will get it right. But when you give a server a complex order, and they don’t say back to you, what you said to them, you’re a little nervous, if they’ll remember the no mayonnaise or whatever that kind of request may have been.

 

Chris Smith:

So we call that the five yes technique. So we actually just want them nodding their head, yes. And ultimate, what do we want? The sixth yes. But that would be how you would start the pitch, would just be a recap of their goals.

 

Will Barron:

I just want to compliment you on something here, Chris. So other people have said similar things on the show, but it’s always been from a perspective of, we want to, and there’ll be some kind of study that backs this up, but we want them to be saying, “Yes,” and then, “Yes,” and then after five or six yeses, the more likely to say yes the next time. And so essentially you’re manipulating them through the way you’re communicating with them. And you’re framing questions as a yes answer. So that ties into it as well. Of course, that’s a nice effect.

 

“The Five Yes” Technique · [31:10]

 

Will Barron:

But the way you frame that then, I thought was really intelligent of, you want them to feel secure, that they’ve communicated with you what they actually want. And it’s the same point, but it’s from a kind of a better place almost, in that, I know if I was making calls, my sales manager said, “Make them say yes, five times, and then we’ve got them on the hook.”

 

Chris Smith:

Sounds sleazy.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. But then you say the same thing, you’re making them say, yes, five times. So that they’re happy that you know, that you’re both on the right track. It’s the same thing, just framed a different way.

 

Chris Smith:

But Will, here’s what this comes down to, this all just starts with intent. Yeah. There’s heroes and villains, there’s good and evil, there’s sleaze balls and ethical people. And I’ve seen both versions in the boiler room. The way I talk about it in my book is that, with great power comes great responsibility. These are not tactics, if you’re using them and you work for a good company with a good product that solves a good problem for the person, this is a better way to have a conversation. And so I actually think, whether it’s a tactic or a trick, or it’s actually truly a good way to talk to people, that actually comes from your heart, not from your head. You know what I mean? And I came from those boiler rooms where it was, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.”

 

Chris Smith:

But that’s what The Conversion Code is. That’s me sort of applying all this old school sales training to a modern era. You can’t just churn and burn leads anymore. 20 years ago, Will, let me tell you what would’ve happened if a lead would’ve pissed me off on the phone. I would’ve told him to, “Go fuck off,” because he wouldn’t have gone on Yelp. He wouldn’t have gone in a Facebook group. He wouldn’t have gone on Twitter, and bashed me in front of hundreds or thousands of people. But we live in a different world, so, yeah, you definitely don’t want to be the Glengarry Glen Ross mindset in a modern world. But if you apply some of those tactics that are proven to a modern world, that’s how you crack the code. That literally is The Conversion Code.

 

Chris Smith:

So the five yeses is recapping what they said. And then, we transition into our pitch, and that’s an acronym will that I use called FBT. And by the way, you said this before, if we were sitting together, because this is about pitching over the phone, I want to make one note here, had I been writing down everything you were telling me, if we were belly to belly, I wouldn’t need to do the stupid recap. You would’ve been watching me write that shit down. You see what I’m saying?

 

Will Barron:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Chris Smith:

But over the phone, I don’t see that. Physiology is 55% to how people communicate. So I don’t see the head nodding. I don’t see you taking the notes, if I’m the lead. So that is actually part of why we do these techniques is, because we lose the visual cue. So we have to add a verbal cue, if that makes sense. The pitch itself is called feature, benefit, tie down. A perfect pitch over the phone is going to be four to six FBTs. So I’ll give you an example in your world, Will. Let’s say, if you were going to pitch a sponsor, like I’ve seen you working with some awesome companies. I won’t-

 

Will Barron:

Mention who you want, I, just for context, use Salesforce or HubSpot, they’re kind of on board at the moment.

 

Chris Smith:

Awesome. And freaking props to you, man.

 

Will Barron:

Thank you.

 

Chris Smith:

That’s awesome. You know what I mean? Seriously. But HubSpot, as an example, if you were to pitch why they should be a part of your show, what would’ve been, one of the reasons they should work with you, Will, what would you have said?

 

Will Barron:

The main reason that they, and I’ll be open and honest with this, with the audience, because they’re like the context of it, the reason they wanted to work with us for all the live content for example, was to get their sales product in front of my audience. Which I think they were not struggling because the geniuses over there, but they were in the process of working out how to get in front of that end user sales person versus the sales leader who seemingly are easier to get in front of. So I’ve got them in droves, we’ve got 600,000 downloads a month of sales professionals, mainly, so that’s what they’re trying to get in front of.

 

Chris Smith:

Just stop right there, that’s the feature, right? The feature is 600,000 people downloading our podcast. But the problem, Will, is, people go from feature to feature, to feature, to feature. What is the benefit to HubSpot that those 600,000 people listen? And do they agree that there’s a benefit? So feature, benefit, tie down would be something like, “Hey, we have 600,000 sales professionals listening to our podcasts. The benefit to that of you is, as HubSpot, you know how much time and money it takes to grow an audience that size. Wouldn’t it be nice to start marketing to my audience next week, instead of building your own podcast, that takes two years to gain traction? That’s a tie down, right?

 

Chris Smith:

So the best sales people, they do these little, what I call little mini closes. If you say, “Hey, we actually have huge distribution in iHeartRadio. You guys don’t even have a show in iHeartRadio yet. The benefit is that iHeart actually has a huge engaged audience that listens for 22 minutes. You guys want to be in iHeart too. Right?”

 

Key Elements of a Highly Efficient Sales Conversation · [36:30] 

 

Will Barron:

And so we are, we are asking them a question and then waiting for an answer in each one of these?

 

Chris Smith:

Oh, yeah, this is not a rhetorical question. That’s actually when it’s bad. When it’s like, “You want to grow your business, right? You want to get more sales people, right?” It actually has to be a very natural question, like, “Would it help HubSpot if 600,000 more people a month were seeing their logo? Does that tie back to your goals for the year? Okay, cool. Let me go onto the next thing we can offer you.” So it’s feature, benefit, tie down and just think of it as walking up and set of stairs. Most people, to get them more excited than the cost, you’ve got to do four or five of these features, benefits, and tie downs. But if the person literally says, “Yeah, Will, we’d love to get this thing going quickly. Yeah, Will, we totally need iHeart distribution. Yeah, Will, we do appreciate that your audience trust you? That’s why we’re on the call.”

 

Chris Smith:

As they’re agreeing with each of these features and benefits, you’re closing them. That’s the biggest mistake. It’s not always be closing at the end, it’s always be closing as you go. You know what I mean? You don’t close at the end. It’s not feature, feature, feature, feature, “Are we doing this?” You know what I mean? You don’t ever ask a question when you are in charge. “Here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s how it helps you. Do you agree that that part of it helps you? Do you agree that this part of it helps you? Okay. Great. Well, now that you’ve agreed that all these parts help you. Here’s what happens next?” That’s our transition. We’re assuming the sale, that’s what this is. It’s feature, benefit, tie down, and their answers, and their excitement in those answers allows us to know exactly when to close.

 

The Feature, Benefit, Tie Down Sales Conversation Framework · [38:17] 

 

Will Barron:

So I want to [inaudible 00:38:11] that transition into the final part of this. And I’m conscious of time here, Chris. So I’ve just got one question on this. And this might be me just being overly interested in your thought process behind all of this. And I might be adding to the problem here of trying to overcomplicate it all. But with these steps, are we starting off with something that’s easier for them to say yes to, and then moving up the kind of emotional rollercoaster? Or do we not need to go that deep into it? Are we just asking solid questions that they’re always going to say yes to?

 

Chris Smith:

I love that that’s where your head’s at, and it’s actually really smart. You don’t want your best landmine first. You don’t want a crescendo with your fifth best feature. You would almost want a crescendo with your bread and butter. So, yeah, we sort of start with the more simple stuff, “We’re going to put your home online. That’s going to get it on Zillow and here. That’s going to get you exposure. You want exposure on those sites, right? Right. Okay, great. We’re going to get a photographer. You want great photos. Right? Right.” You see what I’m saying? So it’s sort of like, yeah, you want to build into it.

 

Chris Smith:

The other thing is you don’t want to blow your load, because sometimes you go to your fifth tie down, which is your best one, and they still aren’t quite sold. So you don’t want the feature, benefit, tie down you need the most, when they’re not quite sold, to be your worst one. It’s kind of like, think of it like, I don’t know how much baseball you watch, I’m not a huge baseball fan, but the teams really stack the lineup at the front. Hitters one through five are much better than hitters six through nine. But if you only have a good one through four, they never score, because the fifth guy, I never brings them in.

 

Chris Smith:

So you want to have really good stuff, but you do want to think of it like you’re building towards the chorus of the song. For us at Curaytor, one of the biggest features and benefits of working with our company is that we set it all up, we maintain it, and we do it for you, “Curaytor does it for me.”

 

Chris Smith:

And so instead of starting our pitch with, “Hey, we’re going to build the site, we’re going to run the ads. We’re going to write the articles. We’re going to send the emails. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time with people instead of more passwords.” That’s our big like, “Whew. Yes.” “Okay, great. Here’s what happens next.” So we end with it, we don’t start with it. I would say you want to start with a powerful one, but you want to end with a more powerful one, and you also want a sandbag and save one really good one, in case they’re not quite there.

 

Will Barron:

Love it. So this comes into perhaps the art of some of this and what will, even if you follow a process, there’ll still be some separation in the team of the people who really get it, the emotional intelligence of this, the empathy that you have, that ability to build rapport and a bond. Yeah, I love this, Chris. And-

 

Chris Smith:

Yeah, if you were pitching somebody moving or selling a home, your fifth tie down or your fifth yes, would be, “Your husband got a raise and you guys are finally getting into your dream home, right? Right. You want to sort of build towards emotional, start with logic.

 

Will Barron:

Even just the voice that you use then of, “Yeah,” it’s kind of… I can see you on the phone-

 

Chris Smith:

Tone baby.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. I can see you on the phone. What’s interesting is there’s subtleties to all of this that I don’t even think we’ve touched on, like the nuances… Oh, there’s probably another show for the future. Chris, I’m going to ask you this, I’m going to put you on record with the audience here. Do you have a hard stop in like a minute or if you’ve got another five minutes just to wrap up? I can wrap up either way.

 

Chris Smith:

Yeah. I can finish up in five minutes. No problem.

 

How to Ask for Business During a Sales Call · [42:00]

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff, the audience appreciates that, Chris. Sales nation appreciates it. Okay, so, we’ve got the five tie downs. How do we ask for the business? What is that… They’ve got warm, fuzzy feelings inside them, we know that they’re chomping at the bit to say, yes, genuinely they’re happy, they’re not feeling weird and manipulated. From that point then, how do we either get their credit card details or agree for them to kind of raise a PO or whatever they’ve got to do?

 

Chris Smith:

Yeah. It’s three final steps, which would be, you have to transition from the pitch to the close, because you were pitching. And so at the end of your last pitch, and they say, “Yeah, that does make sense, Will.” You’re still not asking to buy. You’re just getting them to agree with these features, as soon as they’ve agreed and you know it’s time, you’re going to say, “Okay, great. Well, here’s what happens next.” And then you foreshadow, what happens now that they’re moving forward. “If you agreed with all these features and benefits, I’m assuming that you want to this, so I want you to know what happens now that you’re signing up.”

 

Chris Smith:

And as you foreshadow that process, for a realtor, we’re going to call our photographer. We’re going to call our stager. We’re going to look at comps. We’re going to get a lawn sign. You’re basically just rattling off what happens now that you’re moving forward. And then you use a technique called the trial close. The trial close is, basically, “Hey, based on these next steps, I have a question. Would it be better for you if our photographer came during the week or on the weekend? Would it be better for you if the appraiser came during the day or in the early evening? Would it be better for your first coaching call to happen on Tuesday or happen on a Thursday?”

 

Chris Smith:

So that’s called a trial question, a litmus close. And what happens is, if they say, yes, to that, or they answer that, that means they’re 100% closed. Excuse me. The last technique would be called the slot close. So here’s what happens next, trial close, they answer that, and then we say, “Okay, great. And then as far as the payment, did you want to use a credit or debit card? Okay, great. As far as me coming to look at the home, I’ve two o’clock or four o’clock on my calendar tomorrow. Oh, as far as getting started, did you want to use a personal or a business card for your first payment?”

 

“If you never give people yes or no questions, you rarely get no answers.” – Chris Smith · [44:50] 

 

Chris Smith:

So it’s still two answers, that’s why it’s called a slot close. So you transition to the close, you foreshadow the next steps, you ask a non-threatening question about the process, and then based on their answer to the trial close, you know it’s time to do the slot close. If you never give people yes or no questions, you rarely get no answers.

 

Will Barron:

I love this, in that you are funnelling them in. And non-threatening was the word that I wrote down as you were going through that then. Because I think we’ve all been in the scenario, where we get someone on the phone and immediately abruptly, they say, “When’s the best time for me to come over Monday or Tuesday?” And you’re like, “Not quite there yet.” But when you are getting them to agree to things as you go through, and you’re almost baiting objections at this point as well. And when you get them to say, “It would be good this time, rather than that time,” for someone who isn’t you perhaps, and pulling the pressure out of the conversation of just you two and then narrowing them down, I really like that. I think there’s real value in that.

 

Chris’ Advise to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [45:32] 

 

Will Barron:

And with that, Chris, before you tell us a little bit about the book, I’ve got one final question. I’ve asked you it before, but I’m going to ask you it again. And that is, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Chris Smith:

Sure. Yeah. I don’t want to give the same answer that I gave last time, so I want to think about this. I think that the advice that I would give myself would be to have gotten more focused at a younger age. I know everything happens for a reason, I don’t look back in regret. I don’t really like change. I don’t even really like questions like this, no offence. But like-

 

Will Barron:

I’m hurt.

 

Chris Smith:

… I never got my shit together until I got my girlfriend pregnant, had a baby, got married. I waited for life’s external circumstances to get focused, but I always had that inner focus. So if I had to go back, I would say, instead of waiting until my late 20s, and getting kind of forced to get my shit together through mistakes I made or through challenges I was going through, I wish I could have been as motivated to provide three people as I was once I really had three people. So for me-

 

Will Barron:

Do you think that’s possible though? Do you think that-

 

Chris Smith:

I’m not sure.

 

Do You Really Need to Go Through Hardship Before You’re Able to Build a Success Mindset? · [47:33]

 

Will Barron:

Because that’s what I’m intrigued to evolve this, because I know there’s plenty of 19, 21, 22-year-olds that listen. And I know I was an idiot, look back six months and I was an idiot, nevermind, I’m 30 now, looking back when I was 20, I had no clue. And I’d run a small business when I was 20, and paid myself for university. So there’s something there and I was selling to do it, but I’m not sure… Because I’m interested, in that you don’t like the question, that’s why I want to just touch on it, of, is it that we have to go through trials and tribulations, you think, to come out the other side? Are they the catalyst for a lot of this, a lot for success.

 

Chris Smith:

Not to have financial success, but to be emotionally wealthy, I think you probably do. I mean, I was around people that were 23, 24 are making 4,000 bucks a week. That’s a lot of money when you’re 23, $4,000 cash in five business days. But I think that it’s an interesting question, Will, you’re either driven by stuff or stuff. You’re either driven by the cars and the clothes and sort of the Tai Lopez mindset of money, girls, cars being the end game. Or you’re driven by the Gary V mindset, which is that the legacy is greater than the currency. So I feel like you don’t have enough life experience at 22 or 23, usually, some people do, but usually there aren’t enough external motivating forces, at that point, to get you to a 10 or 15 or $20,000 a month mindset, income wise.

 

Chris Smith:

The external forces that motivate people are the jet, the car, the clothes. And I heard a great quote from Ben Horowitz, I’ll leave your audience with this. He said, “As you grow up, you think that the reason you want to be successful is so that you can take things out of the world. You can go get things and bring them to you. And once you become a millionaire or a billionaire,” as he described it, “you actually start becoming much more fulfilled by what you give back to the world. By the things that you actually are going to try to leave with others, not the things that you are trying to take for yourself.”

 

“Happiness and financial success are not always directly correlated. Ultimately, we want to make money, we want to have fun, but we don’t want to do it at the cost of our work/life balance, at the cost of our health, or some of those other intangibles.” – Chris Smith · [49:41] 

 

Chris Smith:

So I’m just not sure that you can be motivated by more than money, if you don’t have a lot of other external motivations. But I can promise everyone listening that happiness and financial success are not always directly correlated. Ultimately, we want to make money, we want to have fun, but we don’t want to do it at the cost of our work/life balance, at the cost of our health, some of those other intangibles.

 

Chris Smith:

So, yeah, I’m not big on going back in time machines and changing things, but I do think that the best pressure comes from inside you, not from outside of you. And so if you’re mostly successful today, because your sales manager has to coach you, because your boss yells at you, because your appointment setter books appointments for you, look inside. If you don’t have motivation from within, if you need Gary V or Eric Thomas or Tony Robbins to get you fired up every morning, see if you can get yourself fired up.

 

Parting Thoughts · [50:40] 

 

Will Barron:

Chris, well, there’s a topic for the next conversation, mate. This internal struggle and mindset, and you can coach me on this and coach the audience, so appreciate that. And just to wrap up here, tell us a little bit about the book. You’ve hinted towards it very politely during the show. Give us a little bit of a pitch, and tell us what we can find out more about you and Curaytor as well.

 

Chris Smith:

The Conversion Code is a bestseller, Amazon bestseller, USA Today bestseller. It’s being translated into a tonne of different languages. Audible bought the rights, I went into a studio. And it like, Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone, and The Conversion Code almost one and two in Audible every single day. So the Audible book is there. It’s on Amazon.

 

Chris Smith:

But it’s really simple, how do we capture leads using the internet? How do we turn those leads into appointments, using technology and people? And how do we turn those conversations into closings through a lot of the tactics that you and I just discussed? So I’m a big fan of Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar and Grant Cardone and all these sort of sales trainers that have influenced me. I just think we live in a new world. If you’ve never actually had to call internet leads to feed your kids, it’s really tough to coach on it, and I have.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. Well, I’ll link to that and everything else that we talked about in the show notes in the episode over at salesmanpodcast.com. And with that, Chris, I want to thank you for your time, want to thank you for jumping on for another 10 minutes here. I really appreciate that mate, the audience do, as well. And I want thank you for joining us on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Chris Smith:

Thanks Will.

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