Kalynn: Welcome to ACT LOCAL Marketing for Small Business Episode 91. I’m Kalynn Amadio, and I’m your trainer here in the ACT LOCAL Marketing classroom. Matthew, welcome to ACT LOCAL Marketing.
Matt: Thanks very much.
Kalynn: Some people are going to wonder where you’re from. I told you that I’m from New York, but Matthew, although we were just chatting before the show that he has moved to the United States. Where are you originally from?
Matt: I’m from Melbourne, Australia. I’ll apologize up front for the occasional Australian slangs that I use, and feel free to ask what fI am talking about.
Kalynn: Perfect. No, Americans love Australian accents. I don’t know what it is, but we really like them.
Matt: I’ve noticed that it’s a country that many people want to visit, so I’m always hammered with questions about the country and the people. But it’s very similar to the United States in everything. It’s almost like just an additional state.
Kalynn: Interesting. You know, my maid of honor lives in the Sydney area. I haven’t visited her, so I don’t know exactly where. But she lives in the Sydney area. She and her – she’s American, and so is her husband. But at one point, and it’s got to be – I’m gonna guess 15 to 20 years ago. They moved to Sydney for business, and they ended up having their children, and raising their children. They still live there, and they absolutely love it.
Matt: I think it’s a common thing to happen. A lot of people from England will travel to Australia, and a lot of people from the US travel to Australia. However, a lot of Australians also travel to London and travel to places in the US. The ability to be able to trial a whole different culture, that’s similar to your own but different in many ways. It’s a good experience. It’s something that if you can try it, I think everybody should.
Kalynn: Well I’m – Okay, I promise this will be my last question about Australia, ’cause that’s not really what our interview is about today.
Kalynn: But if I were going to travel to Australia to vacation, what’s the – what’s the optimum amount of time that I should–? ‘Cause I know it’s a 24 hour flight or something like that from here.
Matt: It can average anywhere from 20 hours to 30 hours, depending on how much money you want to save on your flight. However, you don’t want to be spending less than 2 weeks. You need a few days in Sydney to see Darling Harbour, and Sydney Harbour Bridge. All the things – the picture postcards, the things that you see on TV in America that Australia is well-known for.
Matt: You’d definitely want to spend some time in Melbourne. Melbourne is less publicized than Sydney is. However, it’s the place where you go for your culture, and your music experiences – and the best restaurants in Australia, in my view. And then you can’t obviously not go and see the Queensland Beaches and the Whitsundays. Those massive things – you just need to spend a few days, sort of spending some time. Just pick one. So really, 2 weeks will do that. And then if you’re really into wine, I’d add an extra week because you want to go to Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and Margaret River, which are some of the best wine estates in the world in my view. So add 2 to 3 weeks, and that is if you decide not to go to New Zealand, which you really should. It’s such a long trip.
Kalynn: So I need a month, is what you’re telling me?
Matt: I’d spent a lifetime there, but sure a month will do.
Kalynn: Perfect. All right, let’s talk some business now. That’s enough.
Kalynn: That’s on my bucket list. I’m going to, I’m going to travel to that other side of the world one of these days. But let’s talk about business and sales. I know you’re – you’re bailiwick part of it is really about sales, and the sales process. Which is something that a lot of small businesses and solo practitioners, they can really struggle with. So, tell me – we often– One of the things – I don’t know about your business background in Australia. But in the United States, there are networking groups, right? Business networking groups. And people go to a weekly meeting, it’s usually early in the morning. And they get to know one another, and they pass leads around in these groups. So, “Oh, I know somebody and they mentioned this, and why don’t you call them?” When should we be picking up the phone and calling these leads?
Matt: My honest opinion is you should always pick up the phone and call these leads. I’ve coached and I’ve educated thousands of small business owners. One of the major things that they had is the fear of picking up the phone and making a phone call. Because everyone knows that it’s scary to be a salesperson. Everybody knows you have to have that natural ability, and if you don’t, then you just can’t be a salesperson. And that’s not true. A lot of these people are functional businesses. They may be an accountant, they may be a lawyer. All these people have spent years learning their trade, they’ve spent years going out and getting a degree and getting practice to get good at what they do.
Then they go out and they decide, “Oh, I need to find customers. I have no idea how to do that, sales is hard.” It’s not that it’s hard, it’s that most people don’t spend the time learning it like they would anything else. Just for the point of practicing this, I would suggest that it’s highly important. But secondly, the ability to create that muscle of picking up the phone and talking to people. In my view – is one of the most important skill sets and the most important things to build into your day, that any business could possibly have. It is a primary factor in my view, to why businesses succeed or fail.
Kalynn: That’s interesting. I think a lot of people believe that when they’re picking up the phone to speak to that lead, that they’re specifically trying to have a sales call.
Matt: Definitely it can be. When I first started, I was a door to door salesperson, and I was probably one of the worst ones out there at it. I walked into 93 doors before my first sale, and that was 93 people that did not expect for me to sell them something. They thought I was a customer, and next thing they knew, I was trying to sell them something. It becomes a learned skill, and a practiced skill, and you become more comfortable at it. A lot of people say it’s uncomfortable, that’s why they avoid it. Now, when you call a lead – especially one that you get from a networking group, the prerogative is to get straight into the sales call. The best thing to do is to first explain that you had been speaking to whoever gave you the card, and they suggested that you called. And this is why. When they go to networking events frequently, the first thing they do is they develop – or if they haven’t, they really should, a bit of an elevator pitch. Right?
Matt: From that, you should transition that into a script. That basically you can improve every single time, to get better and better results every time you make one of these calls. The reason why I suggest you should always call them, is what you want to be doing is you want to be writing down everything that you say, and improving it and improving it. So every phone call is practice. However, the focus is, in my view, would be to introduce yourself, and organize times to meet. And a lot of times, people will say, “Well, I don’t want to be going out and visiting all these customers for no reason.”
That’s because you haven’t had enough practice as a salesperson. If you learn the skill sets and the strategies towards being a salesperson, you’ll be able to sell once you’re there. Or on the phone, if you just do over the phone sales – you should be able to transition and then go through questions a question cipher, to get a person’s needs out there. And a lot of times in networking events, the reason why they suggest people, is because somebody listed a need. So, it’s okay to pick up the phone and call them. I come from a background where you pick up the phone to people that weren’t given a card to, and talk to them. So, having their card and having an entry point, you’re 10 steps ahead.
Kalynn: Wow. All right, so – and you had brought up the word “scripting.” I do not have a sales background, but I know that in certain companies, especially if you have several salespeople, that – that they do prepare scripts, and they train salespeople to follow certain scripts, right?
Matt: The reason why you use scripts is because sales is systemizable, like anything else. Most people think sales is like art. It’s one of those things that you can either do or you can’t, and you have to have that natural ability. That isn’t the case. When I first started, I had no idea how to sell. I was an introverted kid, I went to YouTube to figure it out. Funnily enough, what I realized was through learning a skill, and applying the skill on a day to day basis, you can learn anything. And sales is included in that.
There are people that are naturally better. But just like when you go to university, there’s always people that are naturally better there too. However, over the course of 4 years, that changes depending on who put the work in. With scripting, scripting is a process of continuous improvement. A lot of people have objections to that, because they don’t want to sound robotic. They don’t want to sound scripted. The whole word “scripting” implies that you’re scripted, and that therefore puts the fear of being scripted in peoples’ minds. That’s understandable.
Kalynn: Right. It also makes people believe that they can’t think for themselves, like they’ll not know what to do next, if things don’t follow the script.
Matt: Exactly. And here is the thing about active learning. There is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback. So when you have a call, and you’re asked a question, that you weren’t expecting, you answer the question off the cuff, you write down what you said, and you think about what you said, and whether or not there could have been a better response. Or whether or not that the story you could have introduced into that explanation to get your message across better, and have a better result.
Neuro linguistic programming talks about cause and effect. A lot of people say, “Yeah, but the customers don’t want to buy,” or, “Yeah, the markets hard at this time.” These are things you can’t do anything about. The last thing you want to be is in a business, with nothing to be able to do to fix your problems. It’s best to be a “cause” and take a step back, and say, “Okay, let’s hypothetically assume, for instance, that I am in control of my own life. How would I go about improving it?” And the answer is, if you’re not a natural salesperson, if you’re not a salesperson that just figures it out and runs with it, you want to have a little bit of a cheat sheet.
And the cheat sheet is a script. Of course, people will ask you questions and take you off script from time to time. And as your script gets better, then obviously it’ll take you off less. In my view, a phone call, about 80 to 90 % of it can be scripted. And I find the same in a sales consultation. You don’t want to sound scripted, but you can deliver things naturally. People go to plays, people watch movies all the time that seem natural. All those words were written out for them. They’ve just become so good, and remembered them back to front, that they can deliver it completely naturally every time. Unnatural script delivery is just lack of practice.
Kalynn: Oh, that’s – that’s an interesting analogy, very true. Actors and actresses learn – learn the lines, and learn to deliver them as if they are that person, until it becomes– They do become that person, is what happens. Yeah.
Matt: Definitely. And the first script that was written, probably didn’t sound anywhere near as good as the thing that they delivered. However it takes 5 or 6 takes, or a few rewrites to get it absolutely perfect. And this is the same business principle that we use in every other element of our business futures. Continuous improvement, “How do I improve the process to get optimum results?” Yet, when it comes to sales, people think they can just pick up the phone and make a phone call. Or people think, “Oh, I’ll just send them an email.” Well, no one’s going to reply to an email they don’t know. There’s no human connection. There’s no rapport. And there’s no chance of it from a random email. Sure, some people might be, “Oh, glad you emailed. So and so told me that you were going to call.” However, sometimes that doesn’t happen. But if you get them on the phone, you can still talk to them, and there’s a better chance.
I actually have a coaching client of mine who – he approached me because he charges an expensive amount of money for a service that he delivers. And he’d put that price on his website. Because he kept getting phone calls from people, or emails from people about services that they wanted, where they didn’t want to pay for it. So he thought, “I’ll put that price on the website. So as a result of that price that goes on the website, only people that are interested will call.” Well nobody called, ’cause unless they had all the information first, hearing the price is scary. So, we got him to take the price off. All of a sudden, he was flooded with emails, and he was responding to them via email.
Now, anybody that does any market research, when you’re looking at getting any service done, will probably send 2 or 3 email inquiries. Those email inquiries, most people will respond to them via email. The problem with that is you don’t develop any rapport with the client. You’re just answering their questions. So I just told him to change the process, where he said, “He’s very interested in the project. It sounds great.” However, before he can quote on a price, or answer these questions, he had some specific things that he needed to know, so that he gave them the right information. “When is a good time to call you? What’s your phone number?”
All of a sudden, he got all these phone numbers, and he started having phone calls with clients, rather than emails between the client and himself. And all of a sudden, he had customers galore. That was a change within a few weeks. The answer is, “When to pick up a phone?” is “Always”. If you can have a script, which is what we worked with him on, it gets all those nerves out. A lot of people take it personally, when a phone call doesn’t go well.
Matt: If it’s a script, the problem is the process, not you. Therefore you can improve the process without taking it personally, that people rejected you.
Kalynn: Because that is one of the objections, people who are not in sales, have to sales – is that they do feel they’re being rejected. You’re absolutely right.
Matt: Without using dating analogy, a lot of dating websites will suggest that the best thing to do is to get yourself out there – and get better at meeting people, because over time, it’s like you develop a muscle. Sales is exactly the same as that. You need to develop a muscle that rejection, it’s just part of the process. Sales is a complete numbers game. So you first have to get used to the fact that you just have to approach lots of people. And if you can have a cheat sheet, or I guess a shortcut, to a sale i.e. a script that actually guides you through that process, it takes all the nerves out.
Because when you get off the phone call when it doesn’t work, or things don’t go well, you can sit around and say, “Okay, I need to improve the script. What can I improve to make it work better? What didn’t happen right that time that I can change?” As opposed to, “Why doesn’t anyone like me? Maybe they don’t like the product. Maybe I’m wasting my time here?” It changes the whole perspective into a systemized process that you can improve, rather than a problem with yourself, that it’s impossible not to take personally.
Kalynn: Right. So you – you mentioned receiving a lead via email. A lot of digital marketing, we have those, the forms on the website. Where people find out through your newsletter list, and you start sending out other types of emails to them. So I’m assuming that if you get some sort of feedback online because of these digital email lists that you’re building, that you’re– You’re telling us that we should be picking up the phone to follow up with these leads, instead of necessarily having these long email conversations – or even continuing to drip email to them?
Matt: It depends on the profit per sale. I’ve got digital products myself that I sell on danandmatt.com. It’s a 10 part video series delivered online, to teach people how to find a niche market. How to segment, target and position yourself so that you don’t really have competitors, it’s your own market. And then how to sell to it. Now with that, there’s a low profit per customer. And as a result, I use auto responders.
Matt: And I use email campaigns, and I ask for email addresses. And I have my own podcast, the danandmatt.com podcast. And that is all a funnel that brings people in. I also have a danandmatt.com/free, that delivers 2 free videos. One on how to find your niche market. And the other one is – sales is learnable, it’s not a thing you have to be born with. All of that is about getting people’s email addresses to then sell them a product. And that’s because it’s a small profit product.
However, when you’re selling qualifications (16:05?) or coaching. Or if you’re a ghost writer, of you sell a service that is 30, 40, 50 thousand dollars. Or even if it’s a couple of hundred dollars an hour. People, to spend that sort of money, like personal connection. The reason why they talk about in a lot of seminars – packaging, where you offer something for free, then you offer something for 20 or 30 dollars. Then you offer something for a couple of hundred dollars, then you offer something for a couple of thousand dollars like a seminar. And then you offer mastermind group to the much higher price tag. All of this is getting closer to you as a person.
If you only have a coaching product, if you are only a ghost writer, or if you’re only a PR agent, you have a specific product that you’re trying to sell. The problem that you then have is, “Okay, I’ve got to create all of these things.” But if somebody just sends a message through saying, “I’m thinking about using you as a PR agent.” You can definitely respond via email, like everybody else. However, if you get their phone number and you pick up the phone and you call them – they have a bigger and stronger connection with you, than anyone else that responds. And that makes all the difference.
Kalynn: Right. Now you’d mentioned that sometimes business owners – and this is probably just one of the excuses that they tell themselves. Is that they either have the gift of being able to sell, or they don’t have the gift. And clearly, you’re telling us that it’s a learned skill. How can business owners get over that idea that it’s a gift that you either have or you don’t?
Matt: I can take you through a simple set of questions, that it’s very easy to then make a logical assumption. If you were a neuro surgeon, or you were an accountant or any other profession. You probably have gone to college, or you’ve done some sort of trade apprenticeship. And the question I generally ask is, “How many years did you spend learning that?”
Matt: And the response I generally get is, “3 years, 4 years, 5 years. I got the degree, but I still was kind of green. And then I had to go out, and I got 4 or 5 years’ experience before I felt comfortable. Then 5 or 10 years after that, I decided that I was strong enough to go and do it myself. So we’re talking a lot of years. What investment did you make? Huge amount. Sometimes $30 000 for a course. Sometimes 50, 60, 70 thousand. Not to mention all the time that you weren’t earning money because you were doing that course.
All of that together is the time they spend using and learning their functional skill. Then you ask, “How much time did you spend learning to sell?” The response generally is, “Well I spoke to 3 or 4 customers. I find it hard, so I’ve decided I wasn’t a natural salesperson. If I worked into KPMG and said, “Hi, I want to be an accountant,” and they gave me a job. And as a result of getting that job, my first day I reckon I’d decide I wasn’t an accountant.
Matt: And I’d probably have to walk out. You can’t walk into any legal firm, any accounting firm without a degree and 4 years’ worth of learning – and probably some experience in some smaller firms, before you’ll get a job there. Because they know it’s a learned skill over a period of time and experience. Sales is a profession just like any other. If you don’t dedicate time, you won’t get there. But it’s definitely not an art form, it’s definitely not something you need a gift of the gab for. It just requires practice.
I was anything but a natural salesperson myself. As I said, I learned off YouTube. People just assume that they’re not natural, because going back on YouTube or starting to study something again is – you’re right, it’s difficult. But if they do it, it’s nowhere near as much of a time commitment to become good at this. You literally can be a sales genius in 2 to 3 months of dedicated effort – and well above the curve in just a few weeks, if you put in the dedicated effort of learning around doing your other tasks.
Kalynn: Interesting. I am definitely one of those people that, I don’t like to pick up the phone. And I, I distinctly remember how it happened for me. Is I was working for – I have an engineering degree. So I was in engineering for many years, and I started out working at a particular company that manufactured something. And I was in the engineering department, and then eventually I ended up in customer service. And I ended up on the phone all damn day long.
Putting out fires in customer service. And I got a real distaste for having to do that. And ever since, I really don’t like picking up the phone and talking to people. And I definitely don’t like trying to sell myself or sell my wares, right? So I have the same – I always called it a phobia. But that’s probably a cop out, it’s just an excuse to not be part of the sales process. Because I feel like I’m not good at it, and I don’t like it, and I don’t know how it makes me feel. And I meet all the stereotypes that you’re talking about.
Matt: I think a lot of people do though. I remember the first time I learned to ski. I kept falling in the ice, it was painful. Not only was it painful, I was cold. It was miserable, and I didn’t enjoy it. Then it became fun, and I got better at it.
Kalynn: Yeah, right
Matt: But actually, I got better at it, and then it became fun.
Kalynn: Right. I was going to say, the other way around, yeah.
Matt: Yeah. You either learn from the school of hard knocks, which I did in a lot of ways. Or you learn by having tuition and classes – and that works too. And it’s just all about mediating the learn curve as much as possible. And a lot of people, if you have the finance to it, which I didn’t when I started. I learned from YouTube and by (21:46?). Other people, they’re in a situation where they can afford professional coaching. And they go and get professional coaching, or they go to seminars.
Either way, it’s about breaking that learning curve and getting yourself in front of customers and just practicing. I’m sure if a person that had a phobia of spiders – again, I know nothing about this. But that is a real phobia of something that’s emotional and something that – it’s a physical fear.
Matt: Sales is generally a fear of the unknown. And perhaps a fear of the things they don’t know they don’t know. So putting yourself in a situation where you could potentially get caught out as a non-expert scares people. ‘Cause they care about what people think.
Matt: Which is why we discuss the process of scripting. And you can script a sale, you can script a telemarketing call. The important thing is to script absolutely everything so that you’re in front of the curve. You’re not really competing on the same level playing field as everybody else. I mean, I know for a fact that when I first learned to sell, I found it difficult. I was a brochure sales person, if you like. Later down the track, I found that people were spending a lot of effort going out and seeing customers, and there’s no way they could compete with me.
I’d go and see a customer that had 12 brochures or 6 brochures sitting on the desk for different products and services, ’cause they were shopping around. And I went, “You beauty, I know I’m going to sell here.” Because that person’s already had 6 to 10 to 12 horrible sales people in front of them, wasting their time. And I will get the sale because that’s what I do.
Sales process steps
You follow a process. If you work at McDonald’s, which I had the benefit of working there for 4 and a half years. I learned that if I followed the process, I would result in a successful outcome more often than not.
Matt: If I didn’t follow the process, then I wouldn’t. Now a lot of people decided that process was too hard, and they tried to figure out shortcuts. And that’s how they burned their hand, or that’s how they processed the order wrong. So it’s the same with anything that you do. And this was the thing I learned about sales. And that, following that through into niche marketing was also the thing I learned about in niche marketing. That once I got better and I realized that I could now sell anything, I just followed a program.
I then stepped back and said, “Well if I market the products better, and I look at specific niches in the direction of how I’m going to target my products and services – can I escape a lot of competition?” And that made just all the more difference as well. Where now we weren’t competing on a level playing field, where I had a better script. We were then competing on a completely unlevel playing field, where I was the only player, because I differentiated myself so much from the rest of the payers in the market.
Kalynn: Well I think most business owners can really appreciate the, the concept of having systems in place to help them run their business – complex systems, simple systems – that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s mechanized or there’s technology involved in any way. Just a process by which you can get things done. And in order to run a business – and especially to grow a business, you have to have all kinds of processees in place. And if you look at sales as just another one of those processes that has to happen – I think it’s more tangible, and it’s something that I can see creating. As opposed to something – fearing out there in either ’cause I don’t know what to do about it.
Matt: A lot of people say, “Sales can’t be scripted. There are so many things that you couldn’t possibly foresee happening. And it’s just not true. What you realize is generally on a telemarketing call or a first contact call, there’s maybe 5 or 6 questions that get asked every single time. They just get very, very good at answering those questions. They may not happen in the same order. They may ask the same question in a slightly different way, but of a whole, it generally comes down to the same simple process. So you can script that. You can script your intro, you can script the way you ask a question. And this where a lot of sales people fall down.
Generally what happens is, they go into a sale and they spend no time building rapport. They’re like, “Hi, I was to call by so and so.” “Yeah cool.” And then they go straight into talking about their product. No wonder a customer’s not interested. You’ve got to spend time building rapport. You’ve got to spend time building trust. You’ve then got to launch into more of an intro about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and what you’re going to talk about.
Then you need to ask questions. Because a lot of people are so used to just blanking out when a salesperson calls now. Because they just want to tell you about the brochure. Well we’re all internet savvy people. As you said, you love the internet, and so does everybody. Because these days you can do your own research without having a salesperson with you.
Matt: The benefit of a sales person is they can tell you what the true benefits to you are and how it’s going to work for you. You can’t do that unless you ask questions. And this is a step that most people miss, or they just ask a couple of quick questions and then move into, “Here’s the brochure–” And reading off the brochure. Asking questions just puts you so far ahead of the game of everybody else. Because they’re trying to sell a brochure, you’re now selling them something that’s going to implement in their business, and helping them picture how exactly it’s going to benefit them.
Kalynn: I would think that if – you mentioned the word “benefit.” And you’re right about the internet and about all this – the information technology age that we’re in is, people love the fact that they can get all kinds of information before they ever do have to talk to a salesperson. But I think one thing that salespeople really have to understand, is the difference between features and benefits. Is the thing that really is going to set a good salesman apart, being able to identify benefits.
Matt: I’m completely with you. The best example I can give you is, if you go into a store and try and buy a camera, people will start talking to you about the magnification. They’ll start talking to you about the DPI of the images. They’ll start talking about the videos, how it can upload to YouTube. Let’s just imagine for a second, you didn’t start talking about that as a salesperson. But instead, when you walked in the door, or when you called up and asked about it – or when somebody called you, they said, “We sell cameras.”
Now before I talk to you about anything to do with cameras, I’d like to know what need for a camera you have? What are you trying to achieve? Are you going on a family holiday? Are you a podcaster that wants to do video podcasts? Are you trying to record some videos for your business? Are you just trying to take some photos of your product, upload them on eBay? Now all of a sudden, just something simple like that, you now know that maybe it needs to be uploaded to YouTube easy. Or you need them to be quick uploaded to the computer easy. You know so much more information.
As a consultant, just asking the simple question, “What are the problems that you’re experiencing in your business right now?” And allow the customer to talk, and then ask follow up questions about the problems that they talk about. If we had a 3 hour podcast, I’d go right through the types of questions to ask. Unfortunately we’re probably a little bit limited. As I said, there’s a video on danandmatt.com/free that gives you a couple of real examples. But just asking something as simple as, “What are the problems you’re experiencing in your business right now?” Or, before you go into any product or service, understand exactly what they’re trying to achieve. You want this product, or you’ve asked me to come and see you, “What exactly are you trying to achieve by this product?”
‘Cause frequently, as a result of that, you will find out that they may need 2 or 3 different types of things that you offer. Or you write enough information down – that when you talk about it, you will build a completely different sales proposition than anyone else. And that’s why my sales people that I trained always got better results. Because people bought off them, because they could see the solution working. They couldn’t just see a solution.
Kalynn: Right, very smart. I’m getting a picture in my head of what a smart salesperson does versus everybody else. You’re painting a very clear picture for me.
Matt: It’s very painful as a salesperson to call up and told “no” all the time. To drive out to 3, 4 appointments a day – only to get told “no.” It’s just a waste of petrol and phone calls. Yet, I’m surprised by how many times people don’t just spend a few hours learning the processes and the systems to a sale, so that they’re better at it when they get there. ‘Cause we don’t go to sales to learn and meet new people. We go to sales to make income. Because it’s a business, and that’s what we’re trying to do. I love meeting people, but that’s what we’re there to do.
Matt: So let’s learn the processes, the systems and the structures so that we can achieve sales much more effectively.
Kalynn: Right. So let’s say we have, we have a sales team in place. We have a business. We have a sales team in place. They have a process by which they’re – the leads are coming in in person, and they’re coming in online. Wherever the leads are coming from, I’m assuming that I, as the business owner, need to be auditing that process. How do I know, or what are some signs that it’s time to revamp. It’s time to make some changes. That I need to make some updates?
Matt: For a training institute in Australia, I helped them grow to 3 and a half thousand clients within 3 years – and they started with just a few, including some of the major sporting teams in Australia from national sporting teams. One major national retailer, a couple of really high level functional corporations. And 95% business owners was their database. I wrote a full script for them. I went out and worked it out, I wrote a full script for them. That script was 9 and a half pages long. It included jokes, it included stories. It was everything.
Matt: Then every few months, I relooked at it, made changes – ’cause the market changes. People start to take on what you do. So I’d always readdress it to make sure. If you’re a mobile phone dealership, you would have different trays on your desk – the different stages of the process they’re on. If it’s an electronic process, it tells you where it is and what stage. If you’re the IT company that builds that online system, you’re always continuously improving it. If you’ve got – even trays on the desk, you’re always continuously improving it. You should always be continuously improving sales.
What I will say though is most people can’t do it, or it seems like a monumental task. Because there is no script. The folders, every salesperson’s got a different folder. And how do we know which one’s which? We need to first create a system. And there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. What we can do is we can go out and record a dummy sale or a real sale, if you’ve got the customer’s permission – if you feel you need to do that. Just record your best salesperson having a conversation with a client that results in a sale.
Get them to record 3 or 4, and transcribe the best one. Then look at the parts in the other sales that he may not have said in the first one. And intertwine those extra features of those recordings into the main script. Now what we have, is we have our best salesperson’s best script. Now I’m sure if you gave that to all of the salespeople that aren’t performing as well as that person, they would love to know what that person is saying to achieve the result they’re achieving. ‘Cause their commissions are attached it, their KPI’s are attached to it.
Matt: What I did, is after I wrote this script, is I would go through and train every single salesperson on the optimum script. ‘Cause what you’re doing then is you’re mapping excellence across to the lower performing people. And what you’ll find is quite frequently, what those people will do – is then take on that script, and they’ll add a couple of things themselves. Only after they master it. They should never be allowed to add things until they’ve mastered it themselves. But then they’ll bring their own functional abilities, and the script will continue to evolve until it’s the best script that you can possibly have. And you do that over a number of months.
But then what happens is you start to get success with a lot of customers, and those customers have stories. And those stories are better stories than the ones you had. So you intertwine those into your script. All this time is a continuous improvement process forever for sales. ‘Cause sales is the most important thing that you can do in a business. Why would you not continually readdress it?
Matt: And we start with just the script, and then we continue to grow it until we get to our optimum.
Kalynn: So it’s really a living, breathing document, this script?
Matt: Definitely it is.
Kalynn: Very interesting. I want to ask you a hypothetical, ’cause I read in an article that implied this once. You know the 80/20 rule, right? So let’s say I have 10 salespeople, the 80/20 rule says that 2 of those 10 salespeople are responsible for 80% of my sales.
Matt: It’s a shocking statistic, but an accurate one in a lot of cases.
Kalynn: Okay. Should I be spending my time trying to improve the 80% that’s responsible for 20% of my sales? Or should I be spending time on those 2 salespeople, making them even better, because they’re already bringing in 80%?
Matt: The first thing I guess I should point out is, the scariest thing in the world for any business is to have 80% of their income coming from 20% of their customers.
Matt: Because then you’ve got complete unreliability. Because if you lose one customer, you’re losing 40% of your customer base. That also applies to salespeople. If you’ve got 40% of your new customer acquisition coming from one person. Or if you’re talking 10 salespeople, you’ve got 80% of your clients coming from 2 salespeople. If you were to lose those 2 salespeople, those people have got you completely locked in. You’re stuck to those 2 salespeople. They all of a sudden start to own the business, ask for more money. And they have control of your financial viability in the future. That is the last place I would want to be as a business owner.
Matt: So yes there is a line. The rule that I have is if a salesperson wants to be a salesperson, and they are committed to learning, then sales is a learnable skill like anything else. You should never get rid of anybody that cares so much that they will read the script, they will memorize it back to front. Then they’ll go out to sales courses and do all of that. Because – as I said, I wasn’t a natural salesperson. And I’ve seen many introverted people that weren’t natural – high level corporations and small businesses were going to give the boot. That ended up the best salespeople that any company ever had, just because they were willing to put in the effort.
I’ve been into corporations where, with 10 sales people we’ve got rid of the 5 and 6 sales people, because they just didn’t care. And they were just coming in for a job and to receive their pay check, and they were (36:27?) doing enough. However the bottom 2 were willing to put in the effort, and once we gave them the script and armed them with all of the skill sets that they needed to have to be salespeople, they went flying. So I would always ask the question, “Do they care enough to put in the effort?” And then only after you’ve given them the script and done what I’ve suggested, then you start to think about whether you should get rid of them or not.
Kalynn: Interesting, very interesting. And I understand that answer, that makes sense. Because everyone’s an individual. So it depends on what they’re willing to do. But I thought that that was an interesting philosophical question when I – I read somewhere online, someone’s advice was, “Why would you spend time trying to raise up 8 people, when you can spend that same amount of time making the 2 people even better?” But I like your answer better, Matthew.
Matt: At the end of the day, I’m a big believer in people, and people’s ability. And I tend to feel that if somebody will put in the effort, then you should be able to teach them to do it. And I’ve worked with people that are the most introverted people, that will not do anything right at the initial stages. But it’s just because they didn’t understand to do it. If I had have thrown a newborn swimmer into a pool, and said, “Hey go swim,” they’d drown.
Matt: And if somebody doesn’t show them how to make the first couple of strokes, they probably would never figure it out.
Matt: So I feel that if you can arm those people with the script, and you’ve obviously already invested in them enough – I’m not suggesting give them another 12 months, I’m suggesting if you give the script, and they learn the script back to front, that should only take a few days. Most people learn Shakespeare in a few days to deliver for a play, to at least an 80% accuracy. A week or 2 to learn the script, and then at 3 or 4 weeks out and actually selling to customers – if you don’t see results then, then you can get rid of them.
However, if you put that effort into those people, they will never leave you. And if they start to get results, those are the most loyal people you will ever have. The top 20% will have head hunters always after them. They don’t attribute their success to anybody but themselves. That’s not business security, and I’ve seen huge businesses collapse, just because they’ve lost their 2 or 3 best sales people. And that was all of their customer base gone.
Kalynn: Right, right. I am fascinated by all of this. But I realize that I’ve probably taken up all of your time today for our interview. Tell people how they can get a hold of you again if they want to find out more?
Matt: The best way to get in contact with me is through our website danandmatt.com. For your listeners, if you put a forward slash and then the word free, there are 2 videos there I spoke about before on niche marketing and on sales and whether or not it truly is a learned skill and how you start going about that.
Kalynn: Excellent. So you heard it. You can go – if you want to find out more about Matthew Pollard, who is an excellent sales coach. You can go to his website danandmatt.com, and find out more about the services that they offer and the things that they can help you as a business owner. And help you with training your sales staff or you individually, becoming better at sales. Because let’s talk truth here. If you’re in business and you don’t have sales, then what are you doing? You’re not in business. That’s the whole point. You have to be making sales or this whole thing’s not working. And if you don’t feel that you’re top of your game, then you need to go look at danandmatt.com, and get more from Matthew Pollard. And he said if you put /free after that website name, there’s some free resources that you can some – you said video, Matthew?
Matt: There are 2 videos there that are available to you. There’ll be a “watch now” button, click on that and you’ll have access to 2 videos straight away.
Kalynn: Excellent. So you have been listening to ACT LOCAL Marketing for Small Business. I want to thank you, my guest today, Matthew Pollard. Remember we release a new episode every Tuesday at 1pm Eastern time over at the website actlocalmarketing.com. And of course, you can always subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher. And until next time my friends, I would very much like you to take care.
Join Kalynn: for more marketing madness each week on ACT LOCAL Marketing. It will leave you with more ideas, more understanding and more knowledge about why and how harnessing the internet gives you the power to bring your business to the next level. ACT LOCAL Marketing for Small Business goes live every Tuesday at 1pm eastern, and can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean and at actlocalmarketing.com. Have a question for ACT Local, email Kalynn:at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s email@example.com, and she may answer you right on air. Make sure to include your name and business website for a free shout out. Don’t forget to tell your friends and colleagues about ACT LOCAL, and leave Kalynn a review at the iTunes store. See you next time on ACT LOCAL Marketing for Small Business.