LEAD Your Conversations And Get WHAT YOU WANT, MORE OFTEN

Andy Bounds was awarded the title Britain’s Sales Trainer of the Year, and described by AstraZeneca’s Global Communication Director as “a genius, whose advice can’t be ignored”.

On this episode of The Salesman Podcast Andy Shares the steps to lead and own our conversations so that we can control them to get what we want, more often.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Andy Bounds
Sales Training Expert

Resources:

Transcript

Andy Bounds:

Once the person you're speaking to shows interest, it's a really good question to say, “So if I'm hearing this correctly, both of us think this is worth exploring in a bit more detail, is that right?”

 

Andy Bounds:

I have a very simple rule that at the end of every meeting, I want three things to happen. I want that to be an action for me, whatever that might be. I want that to be an action for you, whatever that might be. And I want our next meeting going in the diary.

 

Will Barron:

Hello sales nation. I'm Will Barron, host of the Salesman podcast. On today's show, we have Andy Bounds. He is a sales trainer. In fact, he was voted UK sales trainer of the year. You can find out more about Andy over at andybounds.com. His advice is super practical as you'll find in this episode of the show where we're diving into how you can lead your business interactions so you can get what you want more often. Super practical, really enjoyed today's episode, really enjoyed recording it. Andy's a legend. With that said, let's jump right in.

 

What it Means to Lead Someone During a Sales Interaction · [00:50]

 

Will Barron: 

What does it mean to lead someone during a sales interaction?

 

“Sales should be joint. Sales is not something you do to someone. It's something you do with someone. But the trouble is, if you don't lead it, then you jointly go nowhere. So what you're looking for is to build consensus and you go together in the direction that you are leading.” – Andy Bounds · [00:59] 

 

Andy Bounds:

Okay. So with sales, the whole purpose of sales is it should be joint. Sales is not something you do to someone. It's something you do with someone. And that's all very good. So you don't want to say, “Thank you for your time.” You want to say, “I'm enjoying our meeting,” because it's all very joint. But the trouble is, if you don't lead it, then you jointly go nowhere. So what you're looking for is you want to lead it with charm. So you build consensus and you go together in the direction that you are leading.

 

Why and How to Lead a Sales Meeting · [01:23] 

 

Will Barron:

Is this a decision that we make going into the interview or is this a decision that we have to get together and whether it's subconscious, or whether it's overt, we have to say to the person we're sat in front of, “Look, I've got the bullet points here. I want to lead the meeting and I can add the most value when we do that.”

 

“I have a very simple rule that at the end of every meeting, I want three things to happen. I want there to be an action for me, whatever that might be. I want there to be an action for you, whatever that might be. And I want our next meeting to be in the diary.” – Andy Bounds · [01:44] 

 

Andy Bounds:

No. By leading the meeting, what I basically mean is… I have a very simple rule that at the end of every meeting, I want three things to happen. I want there to be an action for me, whatever that might be. I want there to be an action for you, whatever that might be. And I want our next meeting going in the diary. So as long as when we leave, I've got something to do, you've got something to do, and our next meeting's in the diary, so we don't have to play telephone tennis. Then I think that's been a pretty good meeting.

 

Andy Bounds:

So by leading the meeting, it doesn't mean, “Right, you, sit there, shut up and listen to me talk about me bullet points.” What it means is, we have a conversation, a two-way conversation. It goes all over the place, but at the end I say, “Okay, so what should my action be? What's your action going to be? And when should we next meet?”

 

How to Prepare For a Sales Meeting With the Intention to Lead · [02:24]

 

Will Barron:

Awesome. So to engineer this, Andy, what do we need to do before the meeting? Do we need to have a rough idea of what potential action points are, or is it a true, it's almost cliche to say at this point, but a true discovery meeting where we're really uncovering each other's needs. Are we starting with the end in mind or are we coming at it kind of fresh?

 

Andy Bounds:

You can do it how you like, but I always prefer the end in mind. There's a book by a guy called David Campbell, American guy, and his book title is, If You Don't Know Where You're going, You'll Probably End Up Somewhere Else. And I love that. And if you go into a meeting, think I'm going to ask discovery questions, that's great. But if you're not careful, you end up an hour discovering stuff. They don't discover anything about you. And then you end up with sort of wishy washy actions.

 

Andy Bounds:

So how I would do it is, and this is what I tell my customers and what they find works for them, is what you do is you say, before you go into a meeting, “In an ideal world, probably, probably what is your action going to be? Probably.” And what's there's probably, and kind of how long… So let's say you're meeting someone for the first time. One of the things I quite often end up saying at the end of my first meeting, is this, “Okay, so why don't I take this action? Now I know more about what you want. Let me go and have a look at other projects I've done which are similar to this. And I'll do bit of research, see what we learned from them. And when we come back, I can tell you some of the things I've learned. Would you be okay if I did that as my action?” And all customers say yes. Who wouldn't say yes to that.

 

Andy Bounds:

And then I say for their action, I say, “And can I ask you to think a bit more about measures of success with this? Because when we talked about what we wanted, you were very clear on what you wanted, but you weren't very clear on how you'd measure it had worked. So what are the KPIs going to be? What do you want your bosses to say as a result of this? What bottom line impact do you have? So while I'm looking for stories from my past, can you have a think about measures of success for your future? And then we can circle back and we can discuss those.” Now, I'm not saying that they will always be my actions, but for the first meeting, I pretty much expect there to be stories on my side and measures of success for their side. Does that make sense?

 

Why All Meetings Should End With a Clear Next Step For the Buyer · [04:26] 

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. And I'm going to ask a, what seems like a stupid question here, but I think there's probably more profound things underneath it. Why do we need to get the customer, potential customer, why do we need to get them to do something, anything to have an action? What is the value or the underlying value in that?

 

Andy Bounds:

Okay. So my general rule about sales, as I said before, is the word joint. So everything about sales should be joint. As long as you're jointly going somewhere, you want joint. Now I have a big aversion to having all the actions at the end of a meeting, because that is the opposite of joint. And if they have all the actions, that's the opposite of joint as well. So we should both do more than nothing.

 

Andy Bounds:

So let's say there are four actions at the end, it doesn't have to be an equal two, all split. It can be 3-1, one way, 1-3 the other. I don't care. But it's not going to be four-nil. And so the reason is that if someone isn't prepared to do even one action, then straight away that suggests to me, they don't think this is joint. And my job is to work in partnership with them to help grow their business this much. And their end, they're going to pay me a fee of this much. Yep. So I'm only getting a fee, which is tiny compared to the value I bring. So why should I do all the actions? It's just not joint. It's not fair. That's why I don't say things like, “Thank you for sparing your time. I know how busy you are. And for fitting in to see little old me.” I just don't go with that. It's like, “I've been looking forward to our meeting. How are you? Tell me about your business. Let me tell you about my business.” So it's joint all the way and that includes us both having actions.

 

The Mindset Shift For Having Joint Conversations with Prospects · [06:00]

 

Will Barron:

How much of this then is… That made me smile as you went through that because I've done the opposite of this many times in medical devices, working with surgeons who are very boisterous, loud, cocky. There's a stereotype of a surgeon. A lot of the times it's true. Intimidating maybe even would be perhaps a word. And I know that there's people who listen to the show who would, it won't be a surgeon. It might be a CEO, CFO, it might be whoever, might be intimidated as well. So is this a case of, we need to choose our words carefully and be conscious of the words we're saying, or is this a mindset shift that we need to make and then everything follows on the back of that?

 

Andy Bounds:

Great question. Well, I think you need both, but the thing you need first is the mindset. Basically, a very simple way of communication is there's two things that matter, your inside and your outside. So how you feel on the inside and what you say on your outside. So if you feel subservient to the customer because they're intimidating and you feel weak compared to them, what will happen is your outside will say, “I'm so grateful for you seeing me. Really, I'm just so privileged to be here.” And it just, it oozes not joint. It just oozes this sort of imbalance, which we don't want.

 

Andy Bounds:

So the way I tend to focus on things with my customers is I say, “First off you want to see yourself as equal to them. Now, yes, they are surgeons and they can save people's lives. But yes, you've got a machine which will help them save people's lives. If they don't have your machine, they won't save as many people's lives. That's it. So therefore, there is a jointness about this. It's not they have all the power and you have none.” And so if you feel this way on the inside, but you then have to master how you say it on the outside as well. So if you say, “But what action are you going to do?” That just doesn't work. But if you say something like, “To make sure you get best value for money here, I'm going to need to know how you would measure success, because I don't want you to pay for something you don't want, and I don't want you to pay for something that isn't going to deliver the outputs you want. So unless I have more of a handle of your measures of success, I might give you something that's not best practise for you. So what's the best way for you to feel more comfortable what these measures are?”

 

Andy Bounds:

So you can hear, as I'm talking here, I'm giving a benefit to them of doing what I want them to do. “I don't want you to pay for someone you don't need. So think of measures of success. We need to impress your boss, Colin. I don't even know Colin. So I need you to tell me what Colin wants.” So get your insight right. Then make sure you phrase it in a way that comes across as beneficial to them.

 

How to Shift From Submissive Desperation to Having Joint Conversations with Prospects · [08:45] 

 

Will Barron:

So the phrasing, I guess, there's almost a … Well, there's your book will come to at the end of the show, but there's perhaps a series of bulleted lists that we can drill into our minds, we can practise, we can record maybe not conversations, but we can role play some of this and we can catch ourselves doing it. Are there any hacks, techniques, tips, anything to improve the mindset element of this? Because I find that this is the hardest thing for me to talk about on the show. It's the hardest thing when people are asking me questions. My instinctive answer is always just to… And this sounds ridiculous. It's almost just to say “Man up, get on with it.”

 

Will Barron:

And I know that if someone says that to me, it's helpful for me. Sometimes I need to kick in the ass, but I know it's not helpful for other people and the way that they're wide. So how do you go about, if you were coaching an individual, how would you go about making them take that shift from taking people's time, trying to sell them something that they're probably not that bothered about, and shifting it to how you described it then of, “I'm really here to help you. If you don't want my value, there's plenty of other people that I can give it to and spend more constructive time with them.” How do you get someone to make that shift?

 

Andy Bounds:

Okay. So there's various ways to do it, but there's two words that I think of here. One of them is experience and the other one is afters. So what I mean by experience is, once you've done it a few times, you just feel much better about it. So if you are watching this and you're quite new to selling, it can be quite scary because you don't have the experience and you are talking someone who has experienced buying stuff for 20 years and you're quite new at it. So you want some experience. Now, even if you don't have experience because you're not in sales, you do have experience of getting people to do what you want. So I have children and they go to bed on time. So I must be okay at selling. So what you do is you find what experiences have I got, which give me comfort that I actually am worth listening to?

 

“Customers never buy what you sell. They never buy you. They never buy your products. They buy why they're better off after buying from you.” – Andy Bounds · [10:33] 

 

Andy Bounds:

The other word is afters. And this is the most important word in sales, I think, Will. And it's a concept that I've made up, but you'll have heard this idea before, I'm sure. What I mean by afters is this, customers never buy what you sell. They never buy you. They never buy your products. They buy why they're better off after it. So for example, people listening to the Salesman podcast right now, so you might be listening to this thinking, “I want to get some new ideas.” That's not right. After listening to this, you want your next meeting to go better. So no one listens to your podcast because of the podcast. They listen to why they're better off afterwards.

 

“Your job is not to be great as a salesperson, your job is to make them great, make the customer great ‘after’ buying from you. So when you're doing your discovery, your fact-finding, your job is to find the ‘afters’ that they want.” – Andy Bounds · [11:37] 

 

Andy Bounds:

The other day I saw a lawyer. I didn't want to see a lawyer, but after seeing her, I'm no longer going to jail. Or you might have an accountant or a CPA. You don't want to see them. But after seeing them, you're not paying as much tax. Nobody wants me at all. But after seeing me, they sell more stuff. So when you focus on the afters you bring, so you're not selling equipment to a surgeon, you are helping this surgeon save more lives, more quickly, in a way that gets them more glory than they'd ever imagined. Well, that's a totally different mindset. So please buy my machine. Yep. So your job is not to be great as a salesperson. Your job is to make them great, make the customer great to give them afters. So when you're doing your discovery, your fact find, your job is to find the afters that they want.

 

How to Arrange The Follow-up Meeting · [12:09] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we've got this meeting. We've had an amazing time. We've led with how you describe then. How do we follow up in the meantime, when we've got our date in the diary, perhaps it's a week away, perhaps it's two weeks away, depending on how our schedules collide. How do we follow up in the meantime so we can keep that momentum, and then is there anything we need to do before that next meeting to again, to I guess, to increase the rate of being led in this conversation?

 

Andy Bounds:

Yeah. Great question. So, what I find works best is, when you are in a meeting, as I said before, you want to diarize when your next meeting is before you leave the room. So if we were in a meeting now, I would say to you, “Tell you what, Will, let's avoid telephone tennis, because that's rubbish. Let's just put our next call in the diary whenever that is. So when's good for you? Week two weeks, what do you want?” So I get it in the diary before I leave the room. Now sometimes that is a bit tricky to do people think because they don't want to, they feel pushy. But the minute you say to somebody, “Let's avoid telephone tennis,” they'll do anything you want. Because everybody hates telephone tennis. So sorting out a meeting when you're not face to face is hard, sorting out a meeting when you are face to face is easy. So do it then.

 

Andy Bounds:

And then what I do is I send two emails, one just after this meeting one, and one just before meeting two. So the one just after meeting one says, “Hi Will, I enjoyed our meeting. To confirm, this is what I think we've agreed. Number one, my actions are, I'm doing blah, blah, blah. Number two, your actions are, I think you are doing da, da, da. And number three, we're meeting again at 11 o'clock on Wednesday week when we're going to agree what we're going to do.” So I send this email straight afterwards saying, “If I've missed anything, let me know.”

 

Andy Bounds:

And what I find that does, Will, is I leave the meeting with an action for me, an action for you and the next meeting in the diary. And I give an audit trail by doing this lovely email afterwards. Then all I do before meeting two is forward that first email again, saying, “Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Quick reminder, this is what we agreed. See you then.”

 

The Way to Get Commitment in Sales is Through Collaboration · [15:02] 

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. Because I guess you build it into accountability at this point. And then it doesn't matter whether someone senior, less senior, more senior, no one likes to go back on their word. Is it as simple as that?

 

“People are extremely committed to things that they have come up with. And they're not committed at all to things you've come up with.” – Andy Bounds · [14:13] 

 

Andy Bounds:

Absolutely. People are extremely committed to things that they have come up with. And they're not committed at all to things you've come up with. So when I say things like, “If I could ask you to have a think about measures of success,” I might say, “Just out of interest, who do you think you might speak to about that, Will?” And then you'll say, “I'll go and speak to my friend, John.” And the minute you say, “my friend, John,” you've begun to come up with some of the ideas yourself.

 

Andy Bounds:

And then when I say, “When do you think we should meet again, Will?” You say, “Not next week, I'm busy. How about the week afterwards?” And I say, “Okay, what would you like me to call the diary entry, Will?” So when we're going to meet for the second meeting, you say, “Just call it Andy Bounds meeting two. That's fine.” So what's happened is you've said what we're going to talk about, what I'm to call the diary entry, when we're having it. You'd have to be some kind of Muppet to then cancel that meeting because it's all your doing, you think. But actually, I've led it.

 

Handling Objections and Frictions That Might Arise During a Meeting · [15:03] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a second… Not necessarily devil's advocate. I'm going to play the scenario where clearly, if it doesn't go into plan, even though we'd like it to, what happens when we get to the end of the meeting and we think it's gone okay. If we hadn't have used this structure, we probably… Well, we wouldn't have tried to get them to make a commitment to do something, we wouldn't have asked for that meeting. We would've probably followed with an email or said, we'll call them next week, which seemingly and I'm totally sold and bought in on this. That seems like it's almost a weak way of progressing a sales conversation versus what we describe here. But what happens when we say, “Let's get a call in the diary, when's good for you?” Or however you want to phrase it and they say, “Oh, speak to my secretary,” or, “I'll email you next week with some dates.” And they're purposefully being wishy washy and they're purposefully not wanting to commit to it right there and then.

 

Andy Bounds:

Okay. So yeah. So all I do with that is, I always like to keep things joint, as I say. So if they say, “Go and speak to my assistant.” It sounds sort of petty, Will, but I will always respond with, “Okay, that's a good idea. I'll get my assistant to speak to your assistant and then they can get the dates in.” It sounds so petty, but I don't want them to say, “You, Andy, go and speak to my assistant,” because I think if I go and speak to the assistant, then it puts me on the assistant's level. Now it's not that assistants aren't glorious things. I've got an assistant called Emma and she is amazing and I love her to bits. So I think they're wonderful people, but I don't think I should be speaking to his assistant. I think my assistant should speak to his assistant.

 

Andy Bounds:

If he says, “I'll send you some dates next week,” I'll say, “Okay, that's fine. If that's how you want to play it. And what I'll do is I'll put a note to drop you a line at the end of next week if we happen not to have connected before then.” So it's not ideal, Will, but at least that way I'm giving myself a bit of an opt out. So what will happen is, if we say what I said before, they might say, “Yes, that's fine.” Happy days. They might say, “Go and see my assistant.” In which case I'll say, “I'll get my assistant to each your assistant.” And if that doesn't work, they say, “I'll give you some dates next week.” I'll say, “All right, I'll look out for them, but I'll come back to you if I haven't heard.”

 

What To Do When a Prospect Starts Playing Games · [17:12] 

 

Will Barron:

The reason I asked that, Andy, is that with my dealings with surgeons, they have assistants and they would… Or maybe they wouldn't call them assistants, whatever they would call them. There's a term in the NHS for someone who is essentially an assistant for a bunch of different surgeons. It would be rare that I'd be pushed over there and it would be more likely the surgeon would want to get me in the diary because all hell breaks loose in their diaries. And clearly if they don't get it in in that moment, they'd be proactive in a lot of this. But on the other hand, when I'd be dealing with the procurement officers in the NHS, they'd be using weird sales tactics from the '80s to get a leg over me, to get that gap, to get that advantage in any negotiation, and they would be doing things like this.

 

Will Barron:

Is there any way to deal with someone who is, they want to do business with you, you know the business is going to come in, which is a lot of the time, my scenario, but they always want a five to discount, whatever the discount was. So they'd always do these weird things, like say, “Oh, come in.” And then they'd leave me hanging for 20 minutes. And they'd just be sat in their office doing nothing. And they're trying to get my stress levels up so that they can try and manipulate me. Is there any way to get a step ahead on these kind of weird games that, as I said, sales people probably used in the '80s and now we're trying to usher ourselves away from them, but procurement seem to have picked them all up?

 

Andy Bounds:

Yeah. No, I've met a few people like that. Is it the New Zealand All Blacks have the rule of no dick heads and it's a shame that you can't have that in business. So all I tend to do with things like this, if you've got someone playing those games, let's say you've spoken to a surgeon or whoever your target market is. If you're listening to this, a lawyer, accountant, whoever your customer is, and they say, “That's fine. Love it. You just need to clear things up with procurement.” Then if ever procurement start playing around like that, I just go back to my original contact. So if you had said, “I can only buy things through procurement, Andy,” and sent me off to procurement, the minute procurement do this, I'll come back to you, Will and say, “Can I ask your advice, Will? Procurement are doing these sort of games and I'm happy to play them if I have to, but it just means your machine is going to be later than it would need to be. It just seems a bit pointless.”

 

Andy Bounds:

So if you can, you go back to your buyer and say, “Can you step in for me?” And almost always, buyers do that. So if you're hearing this advice for the first time and think, “Oh no, will that cause a problem?” In my experience, no. Because what I'm doing is, I'm saying to the buyer, “Could I ask for your advice? This procurement person is your colleague. I'm not trying to cause a problem here. And I know that you have processes and I'm respectful of all of them, but the fact is, me and you have agreed to this thing and now procurement is getting in the way. So how would you advise I approach it?” It's a perfectly pleasant question to ask.

 

Is It Ethical to Ask a Prospect About Their Buying Process? · [19:55] 

 

Will Barron:

It is. It's perfect. And my experience of this is then this fiery hot surgeon that you don't want to be on the end of, is effing and blinding down the phone at the procurement officer saying essentially the conversation that we've had of, they need this equipment, they can't work without it. They're going to put down their tools. It's going to cause all kinds of problems. In the end, NHS here in the UK, if procedure isn't done on time, the hospital gets fined and then the whole mechanism works against them then. Is there a way to… You kind of laid it out then, which is great for our scenario with the surgeon procurement, is there a way to ask, I guess in one of these first meetings, an action point might be, “What is your buying process?” Is there an intelligent way to ask that?

 

Andy Bounds:

Yeah. So it's one of these that once the person you're speaking to shows interest, it's a really good question to say, “So if I'm hearing this correctly, both of us think this is worth exploring in a bit more detail, is that right?” I always like the word exploring. I don't say, “You're not going to buy.” I just say, “Both of us think this is worth exploring more. Is that what you think?” And the surgeon, whoever, says, “Yes I do.” And then I say, “Okay, so could you give me some advice because I haven't worked with your company before, assuming we do decide to go ahead with this, what forms need filling? What's the process here to make it smooth for both of us? Yeah. You can hear how joint this is, can't you, Will? I think we both agreed that it's worth exploring jointly. So to make sure we both make sure it works for both of us. How would you advise?” And so it's just a nice, gentle way of saying, “Help me out with this.”

 

Andy Bounds:

And now of course, if you ask that upfront, then when procurement or whoever disobeys, the no dickers rule, you're then well within your rights to go back to your main and say, “Can you help me?” And incidentally, actually, one thing you just said then about surgeons, there's a lot of buyers who have not just surgeons, all sorts of buyers, have a bit of a superhero complex. And I once heard someone described the superhero mentality as, need me, but don't embarrass me. And I thought that was a brilliant way. I've met so many high powered people who want to be needed. They want to leave their mark. They want to say, “Oh thank goodness. Will's here, will be all right now.” But one of the biggest pain points for them is if they're embarrassed.

 

Andy Bounds:

So I can absolutely hear someone with the superhero mentality like the surgeon you said before, being embarrassed by procurement because in effect, procurement makes the surgeon look less powerful because the surgeon said yes and now procurement's getting in the way. So I know this is not just for surgeons but it could be anyone, but this thing of need me, but don't embarrass me is worth remembering. Because a lot of buyers have that mentality.

 

When Buyers Look Down on You · [22:31]

 

Will Barron:

Is that how we should frame up a conversation with someone who, and I hate to put it like this, for a buyer who thinks they are above a salesperson? Rightly or wrongly, we can debate on seniority and who's buying and what they're buying and the value we are giving versus the value they're getting. But some people will look down on a salesperson. Is this how we should frame it up of, we are there to help them and we're not trying to embarrass them. I don't know. I'm mincing my own words here. How should we frame that up in our heads? Because we want to win the business. We want to add value. And personally, I don't really give a shit if someone thinks that they're better than me, as long as I can help them and do the business over the long term. I don't take it personally.

 

Andy Bounds:

No, it's not a personal thing. Is it? The way I look at this with the inside and outside, I've got this inside thing about they want to be needed, but they don't want to be embarrassed. I might not use the word, “You don't want to be embarrassed. Do you, Mr. Surgeon?” But it's in my mind. So if procurement are behaving in a certain way or let's say they say, “Go to my assistant,” and then my assistant says, “Well, I need to check his diary. I'll get back to you.” You're well within your rights again, to go back and say, “I don't know what to do here.” And they're likely to be embarrassed because it puts into question their authority over one of their colleagues. So it's more of those, keep that in your mental back pocket, rather than say, “You don't want to be embarrassed. Do you?”

 

Things to Remember When Going Into a Meeting with the Intention to Leading · [23:54] 

 

Will Barron:

Good. I like this. It's the subtleties of it. Right? And I guess when we started it's experience that will get you through a lot of this versus a bullet pointed cold call script or some nonsense like that. And with that, Andy, just to wrap up here, mate, are there any bang for buck areas that we've not covered here with leading a conversation? Is there any bad habits that people have that immediately they can get rid of that will go across the different industries that the sales people that listen to this show will be working in? Is there anything that is a huge leverage point that we haven't quite touched on?

 

“Prepare questions, not slides. And what I mean by that is, if you go into a meeting with slides or with visual aids or whatever, basically you are preparing to talk. If you go in with questions, you're preparing to ask, which means you're going to get them talking.” – Andy Bounds · [24:31] 

 

Andy Bounds:

Yeah. Cool. I'll give you three very quick ones. All right. Number one. Preparation, prepare questions, not slides. And what I mean by that is, if you go into a meeting with slides or with visual aids or whatever, basically you are preparing to talk. If you go in with questions, you're preparing to ask, which means you're going to get them talking. Now that sounds really obvious, but I want every single person who listens to this, just to think about the most recent meeting they went to, hand on heart, did you think what questions am I going to ask to get them speaking? Had you written those questions down? Had you practised them? I bet you didn't. Nobody does. So that's the first thing.

 

Andy Bounds:

Second thing is after is not deliverables. So everything is driven or why the customer is better off afterwards. So you don't lead with your product. You lead them towards your product. So you start off by saying, “Different companies want different things. So can I ask you a couple of questions? What's important to you here? Where do you want to be a year from now?” Whatever the questions are. So you find out there afters. So towards the end of the meeting, you say “I've got something that can help with that.”

 

Andy Bounds:

And the third thing is dreads. And what I mean by that is, in business, there's always something that you dread. You dread the price objection. You dread someone saying, “I haven't got time for this.” You dread someone saying, “We've got other priorities.” Now what happens in business is, we dread certain things as salespeople. We dread procurement getting involved. We dread, we dread, we dread. But something dawned on me a few years ago, life changing this was. We don't dread them saying this stuff. What we dread is that rabbits in headlights feeling of, “I don't know how to respond.” So it's like, I used to dread when people would say, “You haven't worked in our sector before, have you?” And if it came up in a meeting, I'd think, “No, I haven't. I was hoping this wouldn't come up.”

 

“When you prepare for meetings, you've got to prepare the answers you'll give to the stuff you are dreading them saying, because winging it is almost impossible to get it right.” – Andy Bounds · [26:29] 

 

Andy Bounds:

But then it suddenly dawned me how to answer it. So when I say dawned on me, I spent two hours thinking about it. But now when somebody says, “You haven't worked in our sector before, have you?” I say, “Unfortunately not, no.” They go, “What do you mean?” I say, “I haven't got any loyalty to your competition. Is that why you said that?” “Well, no, it's not but…” And then the conversation goes on. So what I'm saying is when you prepare for meetings, you've got to prepare the answers you'll give to the stuff you are dreading them saying, because winging it is almost impossible to get it right. So this is a part of the salesman's armoury. They should prepare questions. They should be very clear on the afters and they should know the word for word answers they're going to give to the stuff they're dreading.

 

Andy Bounds:

And let's use a strong word here, Will. I think if you don't do those three things as a professional salesperson, you are negligent in your duties. You cannot work in sales and not know how to handle the price objection. I know you didn't go in sales to be able to do it, but if you can't do it, that's part of the job. You cannot go into a meeting not knowing good questions to ask, it's negligent. So those three things, questions, afters, and dreads, any business you're in, you'll sell more if you're brilliant at those three.

 

How to Deal With Your Own Personal Dread in Sales · [27:20] 

 

Will Barron:

Amazing. And just a final thing to wrap up on this. Because I think it's super practical with these kind of tips, with these dreads. This is, I'm assuming here. So tell me if I'm right or wrong. This is, we document them down when they happen. We list them. We know what they are. And then is this a role playing exercise? We sit there with a sales manager, a colleague, we just go through them over and over and over until we're dead panned when we say it. And I guess we mean it as well.

 

Andy Bounds:

Absolutely, yeah. So role play is the best. And also the minute you start writing, you go into corporate land because everyone writes corporate rubbish all the time. So you're better off talking. So if you don't have any friends, you can role play with, just talk out loud where no one can hear you. So when I was doing this, I did it on my own to start with. And all I did was I had conversations with myself.

 

Andy Bounds:

So you haven't worked in our sector before, have you? Well, no, I haven't actually, but I would like to. You haven't worked in our sector before, have you? Well, I once nearly did you. You haven't worked in our sector before, have you? Unfortunately not. No. And so I just taught with myself for a bit and then when it felt good, then I role played it with, I think my wife actually, so it doesn't need to be a colleague, if you don't have a colleague, you can just role play it with someone, but you've got to do it verbally. That's the key thing. It's got to be verbal because in a meeting you're not going to pull out a table and read it out. It's got to come out and sound right.

 

Parting Thoughts · [28:32] 

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. Well with that, Andy, tell us a little bit about where we can find your books. And then I know you've got a series of videos as well, which will be really useful. For the audience if they've got a lot out of this episode, they're going to find a lot of value in them as well.

 

Andy Bounds:

Okay, cool. Thank you. So we'll start off with the books. I've written three books. I'm very privileged and proud of this. They all be number one on Amazon, which is cool. The third one, Top Dog, is the one that's most similar to what we've been talking about today, Will. So if you want to read a bit more about this. So for example, in Top Dog, there are word for word answers to dread questions, for example. So if you can't even be bothered role playing, you might read them in the book.

 

Andy Bounds:

Also the videos, I have recorded loads of short little five minute videos. So let's say you're going to a sales meeting, you could listen to How to Start a Sales Meeting on the way to the meeting. Because what I hate about some traditional training is you get the training and then three months later you need it and you've forgotten it all. Whereas the videos, they're five minutes long and you can listen to them when you need them. So the videos are andyboundsonline. So andyboundsonline.com and the books are just all on Amazon.

 

Will Barron:

I stuck a link to all that in the show notes over at salesman.org. With that, Andy, I really appreciate today's show. We go over to Mindset. There's some real practical steps of this, the role playing elements of it as well. I really appreciate that, mate. I know the audience do as well. And I thank you for joining us on the Salesman podcast.

 

Andy Bounds:

Cool. I've enjoyed it. Thanks everyone. Bye now.

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