Close The Sale WITHOUT Discounting!

Mark Hunter is a sales expert and author of High-Profit Prospecting.

On this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Mark is explaining why offering immediate discounts is a terrible strategy to close new business and some more effective ways to go about it.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Mark Hunter
Sales Expert and Best-Selling Author

Resources:

Transcript

Mark Hunter:

Price is not a sustainable competitive advantage. You might be able to win short term on price, but you'll never win long term. If you go and discount the sale, what happens is the customer goes, “There's probably a bigger discount to be had. Maybe I just need to hold out longer.” Why are we always measuring people on the volume they create in terms of the sales? Why are we not measuring people more off the profit they create? Now, think about that for a moment.

 

Will Barron:

Hi, I'm Will Barron, host of The Salesman Podcast, where we help you, not just hit your sales target, but really thrive in sales. If you haven't already subscribed, click that subscribe button, join Sales Nation today, and let's meet today's guest.

 

Mark Hunter:

I'm Mark Hunter of The Sales Hunter, and author of the book, High-Profit Prospecting. Why? Because it's all about helping you get better prospects that you can close at full price.

 

Why Do Salespeople Offer Discounts? · [00:58] 

 

Will Barron:

In this episode, you're going to learn why discounts to get to the end of the sales process is a terrible idea, some better ways to close the sale, and how to uncover high profit prospects. So let's jump right in. Discounts, jumping straight in, I guess, why do we discount? So obviously, and verbatim, every time there's a potential to speed up a sales process, speed up the close of the sale, why do we do it? And then is it a good strategy, both business wise and for us individuals as sales professionals?

 

“Price is not a sustainable competitive advantage. You might be able to win short term on price, but you'll never win long term. Discounting only occurs because, let's face it, you can't sell. When a salesperson says, “Oh, I’ve got to discount this sale to be able to close it.” That means they have not been able to sell effectively, which really comes back to this whole piece of, if you start with the right prospect and create the right value proposition, you can close at full price because customers want to buy.” – Mark Hunter · [01:20] 

 

Mark Hunter:

You're going to wind me up too early in the morning, but hey, let's rock and roll. Let's have some fun with this. Price is not a sustainable competitive advantage. You can't win. You might be able to win short term on price, but you'll never win long term. Discounting only occurs because hey, let's face it. You can't sell. That's all it simply is. When salespeople are saying, “Oh, I got to discount this sale to be able to close it.” That means they have not been able to sell effectively, which really comes back to this whole piece of, if you start with the right prospect, create the right value proposition, you can close at full price because customers want to buy.

 

Mark Hunter:

Hey, you know what? You got to stop and realise this, nobody buys anything. They invest. And when you create the value, people will invest. Sales managers out there, do yourselves a favour, take away from your sales people the ability to cut the price. Whoa! Yeah, because you know what? If you give your sales people the ability to cut the price, they will, because they think it's the way they're going to speed up the sale. No, not really. Not a good strategy. It's not a good marketing strategy, it's not a good sales strategy. Okay, I'll calm down.

 

The Psychology of Discounts · [02:29] 

 

Will Barron:

And for context here, I want to dive into the two elements of it, first off, what happens in the mind of the buyer when for, I guess, first, when they get that initial discount, what are they thinking? And then what happens five years in when every time they call to renew, they get another discount, another discount, another discount?

 

“If you go and discount the sale, what happens is the customer goes, “There's probably a bigger discount to be had. Maybe I just need to hold out longer.” Now, you can cut the price, but you have to reduce the value. If all you do is cut your price and the value is the same, everything you're delivering is the same, it's just absolutely stupid.” – Mark Hunter · [03:09] 

 

Mark Hunter:

Yeah. This is absolutely suicide because if you go and discount the sale, what happens is the customer goes, “There's probably a bigger discount to be had. Maybe I just need to hold out longer.” Now, you can cut price, but you got to reduce the value, see. If all you do is cut your price and the value is the same, everything you're delivering is the same, it's just absolutely stupid. And oh, by the way, the new low price that you just gave now becomes the floor. So guess what? When they come back and want to buy from you again, oh, guess what? They want a better discount off that low price. So the low price goes lower, lower, lower. And hey, you're never going to get out of that hole.

 

Will Barron:

And how does that then reflect, just to widen the business nodes of the audience who perhaps even new to sales or in a kind of a less senior sales role where they might not see some of this, how does that affect the company that you work for? Because clearly, you want the company you work for to be as successful as possible, because you don't want to get laid off four years into your sales career.

 

“If all you do is cut price, then what happens is you begin attracting the economic customer. However, the economic customer who comes to you because of low price will leave you because of low price. You cannot build a sustainable business on low price.” – Mark Hunter · [04:13] 

 

Mark Hunter:

Well, yeah, there's a whole set of ramifications on this because when you cut your price, your cost of goods is not decreasing. So what are you doing? You're cutting 100% into your profit. 100%. And profit is a beautiful thing. I mean, because the more profit you make, the more you have doing, oh, guess what? That's what you get paid from, is your profit. So guess what? You got to have profit there. And if all you do is cut price, then what happens is you begin attracting the economic customer. When you attract the economic customer, you have lost all sense of… Because the economic customer who comes to you because of low price will leave you because of low price. You cannot build a business. This has never been done long term by being able to build a sustainable business on low price. It just doesn't happen.

 

The Long-term Ramifications of Giving Out Discounts · [04:46] 

 

Will Barron:

When we say long term, what does that mean? Is this… Because obviously, that's a massive question in itself and it depends on the company and the product, the market and all that. But are we talking the salesperson changing jobs every one year, perhaps they shouldn't be as bothered as this because every year, they're not going to perhaps get that renewal point? Or do we need to think long term as in salespeople who are there four, five, 10 years at a company, that's when, oh, this is going to come bite them in the ass?

 

Mark Hunter:

Yeah. Well, there's some very technical answers we can get into in terms of the purchase cycle, et cetera, et cetera. But he here's the whole thing, you hit on something. Do I need to change jobs every year? Have you ever noticed salespeople who crush their numbers the first year, but then can't come around and oh, now I'm living against my previous years' numbers? Yeah. So they wind up jumping someplace else because all they did was discount sales and this brings up a whole separate issue. Why are we always measuring people on the volume they create in terms of the sales? Why are we not measuring people more off the profit they create? Now, think about that for a moment because I see a lot of low profit volume moving out the door in almost every company. So you can't create low price as a sustainable competitive advantage either in the short term or the… Okay, you can make your quarterly number. You might be able to make one quarter's number, but let me tell you something, you're going to pollute the marketplace pretty quickly.

 

The Profit Compensation Model in Sales · [06:17]

 

Will Barron:

Are there any companies that you work with, Mark, that do commissions on profit generated versus commissions on revenue generated? Because every company I've ever worked for, it's been, it's just drive revenue, drive revenue, drive revenue, not necessarily any way which possible. And there would always be certain… In medical devices, there would always be, if you sell a camera system, spend more time on that, because then they're going to buy all the endoscopes, the equipments, the recording, licences and all the stuff that comes along with it, so there'd always be a strategy to it. But I have no idea whether that was more profitable. In fact, I know having in hindsight thinking about it, I know that the endoscopes, because they break so often and there'd be a service contract linked with that and repairs coming in, they would…

 

Will Barron:

Because it's essentially a metal tube with glass rod lenses in it, they're the most profitable items you could possibly imagine and they could probably make them more robust than what they did. And perhaps there's another story and a business tale on the end of that as well. But we were always told to sell the camera systems, even though they were less profitable when, I guess, the ancillary items were more profitable. If we'd have put our profit hats on, maybe we would've focused on that first. So just in the context of things, are there any companies that you've seen that focus on profit?

 

Mark Hunter:

Yeah, because what you just described is very similar to the printer and the printer cartridge type of deal or the razor, the razor blade type of thing, right. I'm going to make it up. I'm seeing more companies moving to a profit compensation model. Now, here's the whole thing. I'm not about revealing bottom line, all the little financial nuances to salespeople because that just creates a whole nother set of issues. But you can create a basic core gross profit number. That's what you can compensate people on. And if you got a business that's like that, printer, printer cartridge. So maybe the printer is worth X in terms of compensation and the cartridges are worth Y, that's fine, but I think we have to get away. Because I remember, I used to sell a lot of volume and oh, by the way, the company never found out the real bottom line price until I had moved on to another territory. Don't say that too loudly.

 

The Best Close in Sales Starts With a Great Opening · [08:32] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. Let's get into some tactics here to resolve this problem of having to resort to discounting to close the deal. And there's multiple scenarios here that yes, we can touch on whether we're just doing it because someone's 100%, they're a professional buyer, they're in procurement, all they're bothered about is price versus when there's competition and things like that. So we can touch on some of this as we go through these steps, but I guess, the first place to start is have we already lost the game if we're needing a strategy to close the sale? Do we need to start at the beginning of the sales process to eliminate that need?

 

Mark Hunter:

Yeah, we really do. The best close is a great opening. And I firmly believe it's the reason I wrote the book High-Profit Prospecting, was to say, because if you start off with the right prospects, you can close a lot better. We create value early on in the sales process. I really say we create value in the prospecting phase because what I'm doing is I'm uncovering the need, I'm really trying to help the customer understand what the outcome is that they're going to achieve. My whole goal in sales is to help you, the customer, see and achieve what you didn't think was possible. If I can help you see and achieve what you didn't think was possible, wow, guess what? You will pay me for it. No, you will not pay me for it. You will invest in it and see…

 

Mark Hunter:

What happens so many times is the customer brings up price or the salesperson jumps to price. And as soon as price gets on the table, it becomes a negotiating transaction. And what I want to do is I want to keep price off the table as long as possible. The customer who calls me up, and we'll say they're a new customer, okay? Now, if it's an existing customer, does not apply. But a new customer, a prospect calls you up and says, “Hey, can you give me a quick price quote?” Yeah, I'll give you a quick price quote. No. Because the quick price quote, all they're doing is they're looking for a price to really use against you because they want to buy from somebody else. You prospect right with the right prospect. You create the value proposition by creating a level of confidence and a level of competence. Then the opportunity, then you get to the profit.

 

How to Identify and Sell to the Right Prospects · [10:48] 

 

Will Barron:

How do we know, and this is a seven part, five hour podcast series here. How do we know what the correct prospect is? How do we reverse engineer this so that we've got a good starting point to not have to deal with price?

 

Mark Hunter:

Look at who your current customers are. What are the outcomes? Don't look at so much of them from a demographic, psychographic and so on. Okay, that all helps. But what's the outcome that you're helping your customers create? Then what I want to do is I want to come back upstream and I want to say, “Okay, who are the types of people, who are the types of businesses that would have that same type of outcome? That's who I want to be targeting.” And you may have three or four different. Well, I use the term segmentize. Hey, I'm a paid professional, you're a paid professional, so we can both use the term segmentize. So what I'm going to do is I may have two or three different segments of this set of outcomes, this set of outcomes, this set of outcomes. And I'm only going to go after prospects who fill one of those three.

 

“Sales managers should quit looking at everything people have in their sales pipeline because all the sales people are going to do is put more stuff in their pipeline to keep you happy.” – Mark Hunter · [12:40] 

 

Mark Hunter:

One of the biggest problems, this drives me nuts, people say, “Oh, I got all these leads.” Well, look, those leads just came to you because somebody downloaded an ebook or they did… That just means they have a heartbeat. I got a dog that has a heartbeat. My dog ain't buying anything from me. This drives people nuts when I tell people this, I want to qualify quickly, I actually… If you're a lead to me, you're not a prospect, you're a suspect. And you're going to work to become a prospect. You're going to work to become a prospect because I can't afford to have my sales pipeline full of… Because this drives me nuts. Sales managers, quit looking at everything people have in their sales pipeline because all your sales people are doing is putting more stuff in their pipeline to keep you happy. I want to have a very skinny pipeline because I'm moving you through so quickly. I'm taking you from lead to suspect, to prospect, to customer fast. Speed sells.

 

The Ideal Way to Differentiate a Suspect From a Prospect · [13:05] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we are setting up customer avatars of people that we've had success with the past. We're segmenting these out into different categories. Is there a ideal way to qualify? Is there a system to qualify someone, to see if what you perceive about them, what you think about that potential ideal customer actually fits with the reality of things?

 

Mark Hunter:

Yeah, there is. And there's been a lot of discussion on this and the old BANT process and all that sort of thing. Well, let me tell you something, a lot of those things are still very, very relevant because if I can't get you to share with me what a need is, what an outcome is that you have, why should I even think that you have a desire to buy from me? And second of all, what's your timeline for making a decision? If you're not going to make a timeline, if you're not going to make a decision for two or three years, excuse me, I'm out of here. And then second of all, what's the process? I love asking prospects, especially if I'm selling something more complicated, I'll ask them, “What's your process for making a decision? How have you made decisions like this in the past?”

 

Mark Hunter:

I love asking that question and just that kind of tone of voice, because it's amazing what they'll share. And what is it doing? It's giving me clues, it's giving me insight and oh, by the way, this is the thing that so many salespeople really choke. And again, this is so basic. This is not rocket science. Whatever they share with you, I've got to probe deeper on, I've got to ask that follow up question. I've just got to run down that road a little more because here's the whole thing, if you share with me something once, I'm not necessarily going to believe it. I'm not necessarily going to believe it because you could just be blowing smoke in my face. If however, this is a subject, this is a topic that you talk about twice, then I know, you know what? It's a critical need. It's a critical outcome.

 

Mark Hunter:

And you see, that's where I got to get to. Now, I know. And if that fits in my segmentized buckets, then I know that, hey, I've got a prospect I can really work with. Because my whole goal is I want to spend more time with fewer prospects. Oh, yeah. More time with fewer prospects.

 

How to Get a Better Understanding of Customer Needs and Succinctly Communicate That Need · [15:47]

 

Will Barron:

And that goes, flies in the face of what I see commonly, which is right now, where we are, 2018, which is send more spammy emails, make more auto dialer calls. And clearly, we're not leveraging all those individuals to sell, add value, and to build business on the back of human traits that are very difficult to replicate everywhere else. Marketing can take away all the auto dialers and all that nonsense very quickly. So there's two things I want to just touch on here. I want to dive into BANT in a second. But before that, because there might be alternatives, there might be 50 other acronyms that you can give us that would give us some insights to this. And I don't want to gloss over that because that's a practical way that the audience can take something away from this episode and implement it right today.

 

Will Barron:

But there's an element of this which is subjective and I'll get your thoughts on it, Mark. And that is if you ring up someone and they're not sure if they've got a need, should we be then trying to convince them that they have a need? Or is that not the right person for us and we need to suss out the low hanging fruit? And there's some subjectivity to this, depending on how big the deal size is, how small our pipeline is and how struggling we are, things like this. But should we be trying to convince people they have a need or should we go, “Okay, great. I'll check in with you next year.” and move on to the next one?

 

“We convince through the questions we ask, not through the information we share.” – Mark Hunter · [16:43] 

 

Mark Hunter:

I'm going to probe deeper with questions. We convince through the questions we ask, not through the information we share and I think that's very, very key. Too many salespeople try to jam information down. This is the problem that I hate with so many prospecting emails. All it is is this big information dump. Get out of here. It's the questions we ask. So that's how I'm going to validate because, oh, by the way you may say there's… I may ring you up and you say there's no need right now, but let me validate that a little more. Let me understand that. So as long as I've got you on the phone, let me try to engage you in a couple of questions and you know what's in our-

 

Will Barron:

Mark, sorry to intrude, but what would that look like if you rung someone and they are not… They understand the product, the service, you've broken through that obscurity already, or the company's brand has, how does that look on the phone when they say, “I think we're okay right now.” But you have got this inkling, this gut feeling, or you've got data that shows otherwise. How would you progress those conversations, those questions to get to the point where they go, “Aha! I do need it.”?

 

Mark Hunter:

Yeah. There's two things that have transpired. First of all, that person you're speaking to probably does not have a level of confidence in you yet. Okay? So that's why. They're going to be very closed off. Okay? So I've got to create a level of confidence with you. And the way I create a level of confidence with you is I demonstrate my competence. I'm using a lot of Cs here. Confidence and competence. But here's where I'm going with this, if I can ask you a couple follow up questions as to what it is you've shared with me, that's number one, that's number one strategy. Number two strategy is to ask them a question regarding the industry, regarding their competitors. Now, here's why I like the second approach. A, this demonstrates your knowledge of their industry, it demonstrates your knowledge of the marketplace that they're in. Now, what am I doing?

 

Mark Hunter:

I'm trying to demonstrate to you that I do have a level of competence so you can place your confidence in me and share with me. So that's the two avenues, that's the two approaches that I'm going to follow up with immediately. Now, you may blow me off and say, “Hey, I'm not interested. I'm not…” That's fine. I'm still going to have one objective. I want to earn the right, the privilege, honour, and respect to be able to talk with you again. So I'm going to say, “Hey, terrific. Hey, if I come up with some new information, would you mind if I ring you up or at least send you an email?” And you know what? 99% of the time, they're going to say, “Okay, that's fine.” And what have I done? I've earned the right to privilege, honour, respect.

 

Mark Hunter:

So what I'm going to do is I'm going to come back to them. I may come back to them in as short as a few days and I'm going to ask them a question regarding something that they shared with me. I love doing this approach. I may ring you up the second time and I get your voicemail. That's fine. And I'm going to say, “Will, you shared with me…” And I'm going to repeat exactly what you said to me in that first call. “Just really want to get some more insight from you on that.” Now, what are you thinking? Whoa, this guy Hunter actually remembered what I said. So what does it do? It raises your level of confidence in me. See? Or I may put that into an email. See? So I have to create this level of confidence. And I do that by you seeing that I'm competent.

 

How to Become a Consultant For All Your Potential Prospects · [20:10]

 

Will Barron:

And I guess this frames us up and I don't know a better way to describe it other than it frames you up as a consultant trying to solve a problem, rather than a sales rep pestering the shit out you on the phone to get you onto a call, a webinar, some other nonsense, just to kind of get your money, right? And that's what we're trying to engineer of all of this.

 

“If I'm just a salesperson, you don't need me. That's what the Internet's for. The role of the salesperson in today's world has really shifted to 95% questions. It's the questions we ask. It's the dialogue we create.” – Mark Hunter · [20:27] 

 

Mark Hunter:

That's what we're engineering, because here's the whole thing, if I'm just a salesperson, you don't need me. That's what the Internet's for. That's what the Internet's for. See, the role of sales has changed… I think this Internet's going to stick around. I really think it's becoming kind of a big thing. So what that means is I've got to bring to you, Will, the customer, insights, questions, ideas that you're not thinking about, you're not seeing, you're not understanding because of the Internet. See? So that's why I say the role of the salesperson in today's world has really shifted to 95% questions. It's the questions we ask. It's the dialogue we create.

 

Mark Hunter:

Okay. I'm going to throw something across the wall here. Are you ready? Catch this, baby. The ultimate question you can ask somebody as a salesperson is a question that they can't answer. Oh, I know what you're going to say. “Yeah, they can't.” No. They can't answer and you can't answer. Now, think about this, if you put a question on the table that both of you can't answer, what's that do? That forces a discussion, that creates a conversation. And to me, that only happens when both parties are confident. But wow, now I'm creating value.

 

A Practical Example of How to Ask Your Prospects Difficult Questions · [21:40]

 

Will Barron:

What would be an example? And you can use a fictional company's conversation, I guess, to demonstrate it. But what would be an example of a question that is difficult, if not impossible to answer, to drive this conversation?

 

Mark Hunter:

So you might ask them, how would you go about replacing your top three customers if they were to leave you? Now, think about that. You may have a customer that has never… And you just know that they're not strategically thinking. Wow, what does that do? That forces a conversation.

 

Will Barron:

And does this have to relate to a product or are we just trying to have a high level business conversation with them and then draw insights generally from that?

 

Mark Hunter:

It could also be regarding the industry. Well, what would happen if the EU were to change their regulations on this? What would happen if something were to change there? It's just I love asking these types of questions for two reasons. One, it gets the customer thinking, but then as it gets the customer thinking, they're also thinking, “Wow, this Will guy is really smart. This guy is really smart because he's asking me some very interesting questions, questions that I don't get normally asked by other sales people.”

 

Will Barron:

This is interesting. I'm going to literally try this later today. I'll report back on the show or maybe I'll put it in the show notes how it goes. So I'll be blaming you, Mark, if it goes completely tits up.

 

Mark Hunter:

Hey, you're going to be successful. [inaudible 00:23:05].

 

Will Barron:

Start positive. Well, I've got a potential sponsor of the show whose reason for not sponsoring the show when it got up to a higher level within the organisation was that Facebook ads are working really well for them right now. They want to put all their spend into that and leverage it whilst it's hot, essentially. We were dealing with kind of like live events, coverage, and different things. And it was more than just a kind of vocal advertisement on the show. And it got up to this point and it basically has been pulled off for another quarter as opposed to destroyed altogether. But this is a question that I should be asking, right, of well, what happens if next week, Facebook changes their algorithm? Clearly happens all the time. What happens next week if you get a strike on your Facebook ad account and it takes six months to get it reinstated?

 

The Type of Questions You Should Ask Prospects to Drive Conversations · [24:00] 

 

Will Barron:

So there's two elements to this. Are we trying to play devil's advocate and put doubt in their mind? Or can we frame this positively and say, “Well, we want to prevent that from happening.” If that makes sense. Are we trying to be negative or is it always better to come in positive with these conversations?

 

Mark Hunter:

You can go both ways because you could ask the customer, “Hey, in light of the data breach at Facebook, what would happen if they changed their whole strategies and philosophies and just curious as to what you're hearing?” You just ask them and that… And this is what I love asking this type of questions, because you're kind of creating them on the fly. So it's coming across as this deep conversation. And what is it doing? It's bringing that customer into your discussion and you're, in turn, entering into their discussion. And it just moves it to a different level because so many times, what happens is salespeople view, “Oh, you're just reading this question off this list here. Oh, I see you're at question number 38, 36.” And so when you're asking these types of questions, they go, “Wow, this is deep.” I'll tell you what, that company that's relying on Facebook ads right now, they could find themselves in a heap, a mess.

 

Will Barron:

[inaudible 00:25:20]. I felt like you were holding some harsher words back then.

 

Mark Hunter:

[inaudible 00:25:23]. I know you don't. I was.

 

Understanding BANT and How to Use It For Sales Qualifications · [26:07] 

 

Will Barron:

And look, and it's one of those because fundamentally, I get it. If a strategy's working supremely well for you from a marketing perspective, sure, double down on it. But yeah, as you said that, it is worth asking those questions and I like how you phrased it more intelligently than what I did of what would happen if there's a change versus if you don't do this, you're going to get dropped in. It can work with me. So I guess there's levels to the questions that we can ask and we gradually bring them perhaps over into our world. But there's one thing I don't want to gloss over before we kind of lose track of… Well, because we started the conversation talking about strategies to not discount at the end of the call, there was one thing that got brought up and I don't want to miss it. Mark, for anyone who's perhaps newer to sales, isn't reading sales books, is new to the podcast, what the heck is BANT and how does it relate to the conversation that we're having about qualifying customers?

 

Mark Hunter:

Oh, yeah. BANT is an old, I don't know where it… Did it come from SPIN selling? I don't know. Maybe it came from the 1800s. I don't know. BANT is purely it's four questions. I mean, are you dealing with the buyer? Is there a need? Is there time? Is there, what is it, budget? I can't even… Budget, need, time, and the decision maker or something like that. But it was kind of four basic criteria. And again, a lot of people [inaudible 00:26:54] what's so funny, everything in sales… I hate to say this. There's nothing new in sales. We just keep going around in circles.

 

Mark Hunter:

And what is funny is go back a couple years ago and this whole new thing called social selling came out and it was like, “Wow, this is going to have to be the thing that's going to revolutionise.” And now, people realise, “No, social selling fits into the context of the total sales process. And then, oh, everything is on the telephone. No, and everything…” We just go around in circles. But to me, that's what makes sales fun because you know what sales is. It's people to people. It's people having conversations with people just like you and I are doing right here, right now.

 

How to Close the Sale Without Having to Discount · [27:43] 

 

Will Barron:

We literally did a show on what the heck is social selling about two and a half years ago now. It's about six months into recording the podcast as a whole. And I just had this conclusion after having a bunch of quote, unquote, “social selling experts” on the show that… Well, two conclusions. One, it was a buzzword. They were selling a lot of books on the back of it. Two, as you alluded to then, Mark, sales is just sales, but the platforms change the way that we communicate change. And then perhaps technology accelerates things, gets rid of some of the mundane things over time.

 

Will Barron:

But I love this. It is just people to people. It is always going to be the same. Okay. I want to come back to closing the sale. At the end of the day, I want to go through, if we can, a couple of practical techniques, practical strategies, if we need them, to close the sale without having to discount. What else can we do at the end of the sale cycle? Everything's gone fine, we've got the right customer. What else can we do to perhaps just speed up this process at the end and perhaps drive a little bit more urgency?

 

Mark Hunter:

Yeah. And there are two really critical lines. I know where you live and I have video. No. Closing is absolutely easy. This drives me nuts. Every survey that's ever done, there are two elements that salespeople dread, the prospecting phase and the closing phase. And I really think both are absolutely easy. And this drives people nuts. Prospecting is absolutely a kick in the pants because you get to talk to more people. To me. But anyway, here's one. If I do the selling process right, closing is so easy because you, the customer, are closing yourself. Here's the whole thing. This is so funny. We have to simplify the closing process, we have to simplify the selling process. So many people put so many hoops up. So many criteria. “You got to do this.”

 

Mark Hunter:

I was with a company recently and they had 27 steps in their sales process. 27 steps. And they were wondering why they weren't closing more sales. Whoa, radical. How about cut out about 25 of those steps? You see, if I have created a level of confidence with you, the customer, and you have an outcome that you're looking for and you understand the value package, you will buy from me. And I can't run from that. The easiest way to close, and again, I hate using closing techniques, is just using the assumptive close. Great. Let's set this up. Let's get it done right now. You just go right into the assumptive close. Because, by the way, remember that… And this is so cliche, but the customer buys you first. And if there isn't that level of confidence, then why would they buy? But by this time, I would hope that you've got this level of confidence. So guess what? It just moves right in. I don't know. It drives me… I'm sorry. I'm going to calm down.

 

Why There’s Little Difference Between B2B and B2C Than People Realize · [30:56] 

 

Will Barron:

No, I'm on board with this, Mark. Especially, obviously, we deal with the podcast, the B2B space. If it's B2C, maybe there are techniques, maybe the whole game is different from that perspective.

 

Mark Hunter:

Whoa, hold on. I'm going to throw something down here on the table. I think there's less difference between B2B and B2C than people realise, because you know what's funny? It's still people. And even in B2B decisions, there's still a level of emotion. Okay, B2C, you might say there's more, but oh, by the way, in B2C, it's still an investment being made. And in B2B, we know it's an investment. So I think there's more of a similarity than people really want to believe. Okay. I'm sorry.

 

Will Barron:

I think the emotions are different though. And this is how I look at it of B2C, you're likely buying something… It's probably not going to make you happy, but you're buying something you think is going to make you happy. This sudden GTR on the table, when that comes around, I'll be happy for a month. And then it'll be sat on the drive. I won't want to drive very often and the tyres are crazy expensive, all that kind of stuff that goes along with it. So there's that element. Whereas on the B2B side of things, the emotion's different, right? It's your career that's on the line. There's perhaps more things tied up with that even if it's in your subconscious of if I make a bad move, I might get sacked. I'm not going to be able to pay my mortgage. So the emotions are different. Is that something that you consider with that? A sense of difference between the two?

 

Mark Hunter:

Yeah, I think the emotions are different, but if I'm in a B2B situation, I'd buy a computer system and I'm all giddy because I bought this computer system and it really works really good. And then six months into it, well, guess what, that's the same thing as your car. You buy a new car and you go, “Wow, this is a great car.” And then six months into it, you go, “Man, servicing, cost of servicing this thing.” So I think it's… I don't think there's as much of a difference as people realise. I could be wrong. I don't know.

 

The Biggest Difference Between B2B and B2C Sales · [32:55]

 

Will Barron:

You're the expert, Mark. What would be the biggest difference? We'll wrap up with this. Because I know there are B2C people that listen to this as well. Clearly, the show is always going to be focused on the B2B, but is it the sales cycle length then? Is that the biggest difference? What is the biggest difference between B2B and B2C?

 

Mark Hunter:

Yeah. Many times, the sales cycle is completely different because the B2B has to have a decision made, the B2C does not. Now, conversely, there's things in B2C that you have to buy that you don't have to buy. So it really comes down to understanding why do people choose to do business with you? Why? And again, this comes back to this whole profile. What's the outcome the customer is looking for? If you can't identify… This is what I tell people. I tell salespeople, “Write down 10 outcomes that you have helped your customers achieve. Just write them down on piece of paper.” And then you begin backing your way up upstream.

 

Mark Hunter:

And out of those 10, you're going to probably come up with three or four that are very, very key, very, very critical, develop five or six questions around each of those that you can begin asking prospects that will help them be able to see whether or not they fit in an outcome. You see what I'm doing? I'm creating a prospecting process for you to help you come up with the ultimate customer that you can close at full price.

 

Parting Thoughts · [34:01] 

 

Will Barron:

Amazing. This is the homework for Sales Nation, myself, and everyone listening. Because I guess if you go for 10, I could probably sell on the ad space of the podcast. I could probably come up with three, four, five. By the time you get into 10, you might even uncover value that you're giving that you don't realise you're giving. So that's homework for the audience. With that, Mark, tell us a little bit about High-Profit Prospecting, all the other books and everything else. You've got tonne of content out there, mate. Tell us where we can find all that and more about you as well.

 

Mark Hunter:

Yeah. Hey, with the last name Hunter, you got to use it. So yeah, the website is thesaleshunter.com. I thank my parents for that last name. It works great. But hey, the book is High-Profit Prospecting because it's really about helping you find better prospects that you can close at full price faster. And that's what I talk about in the book. But hey, thesaleshunter.com, that is the website. Tonne of stuff out there. A lot of stuff out there. And we're always cranking stuff out. Yeah, we're even doing social media. Every morning, in fact, I did it just before we came on this show. I pushed out a nine second video. Every morning, I push out, Monday through Friday, about a six to 12 second video out on LinkedIn.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. I'll link to your LinkedIn profile so people can check that out. The book, the website, everything else in the show notes over at salesman.org. With that, Mark, want to thank you for your time as always, your insights, the energy that you bring to this, which is you're kind of top three or four people come on the show. So I appreciate that, mate. And I want to thank you for joining us again on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Mark Hunter:

Hey, see you later, Will. Great selling.

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