What do you think is the number one problem small businesses cite time and time again? Most people think it’s finding customers. However, after working directly with so many entrepreneurs and professionals, what Pollard discovered is that finding customers is merely the surface problem. The deeper problem is they don’t want to meet people, to network, to attend events, to get on the phone or set up meetings.
The 8 Steps to Introvert’s Edge
- Establish trust and provide an agenda
- Ask probing questions
- Speak to the right people
- Sell with a story
- Answer objections with stories
- Trial close
- Assume the sale
- Perfect the proces
Step #1 Establish trust and provide an agenda
Zig Ziglar said it best, “If people like you, they’ll listen to you. But if they trust you, they’ll do business with you. Establish rapport first and then agenda so the sales process runs according to plan. You can’t let the conversation drive itself. You have to steer the conversation. You have to step up and take control.
“Without trust, you have nothing but an uphill battle.”
Step #2 Ask probing questions
In selling (as in medicine), prescription before diagnosis is malpractice. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was as easy as being a doctor and your prospects automatically trust you and they just open up? Sometimes, a customer will do the same especially if you get your marketing right. Other times, your customers won’t share anything.
Here are the four basic questions you need to ask.
- What do they want?
- What are they doing about it right now… and is it working?
- Who says it’s a problem?
- What’s it costing them financially?”
“Like a doctor probing a wound, you have to probe your client’s pain points until you find the bleeding. Then pour salt on the wound (by framing the costs of not buying).”
Step #3 Speak to the right people
Picture yourself going to a soccer stadium and speaking to all one thousand people there. One of them might end up buying your digital marketing services. But what if you decide to pitch to small businesses in your neighborhood?
Many people tend to fixate on working harder, making more phone calls, spending more on advertising, getting bigger email lists and attending more network events. And then there are those who simply shut down, doing nothing. Introverts would take a punch in the gut than have to speak to endless people. We want to minimize the number of strangers we have to speak with and sell to. In sales, we don’t want to do more. We want to do less.
Finally, you don’t want to sound too desperate in sales. Instead, you want to play a pro version of hard-to-get. You want to raise the question of whether it’s even possible to work together.
“It’s frustrating to get your hopes up, only to have cold water thrown on them when you realize you’re not even speaking to the right person.”
Step #4 Sell with a story
We are, as a species, addicted to stories. Even if our bodies go to sleep, our minds stay up all night, telling itself stories. Studies suggest a direct correlation between stories and trust. Your story should include four key building blocks – (1) the problem (2) analysis and implementation (3) outcome (4) the moral of the story.
“Sell a story instead of selling a solution.”
Step #5 Answer objections with stories
The beauty of the stories is you’re not forcing your audience to accept or reject anything. Your audience gets to decide what the moral of the story is. It bypasses the automatic guards we put up, because a story doesn’t ask you to consider facts; it doesn’t need a response.
You’re not a salesman. You’re a sales consultant. You’re there to help them figure out what’s best for them – not to sell them a particular product or die trying.
“You could argue all day long using logic and facts… if you want to win the fight and lose the sale. Telling a story shifts the conversation from yes/no to ‘this is what happened when…’”.
Step #6 Trial close
As Warren Buffet said, “Never test the depth of the river with both feet.” Trial closes nudge people down the path of taking action rather than deciding if they want to take action in the first place.
“Now, did you prefer the black model or the silver?”
“So, would a weekday or a weekend session work best for you?”
“Would a day course or a night course suit you better?”
“So, does leasing or renting work best for you?”
You can also consider offering great free content to help you create rapid growth for yourself. Free content taps into our basic instinct for reciprocity. By offering free and valuable content, the recipient feels like they’re slightly in your debt, which makes them feel like they need to return the favor.
“Traditional sales require you ‘ask for the sale’. Introvert’s edge requires you use the trial close – ‘would you like package A or would B work better for you?’”
Step #7 Assume the sale
Don’t treat your sales like glasses. Treat them like rocks. They’re not going to break. It’s not necessarily about being pushy. In fact, if you have to push to close the sales, you’re doing it wrong.
“Once the trial close shows your prospect is ready, assume the sale. Give them an easy way to say yes and move onto the next step.”
Step #8 Perfect the process
Why is Henry Ford regarded as one of the greatest business people and industrialists ever? He never stopped improving his process. Everything he did was designed for efficiency. He had every moment and movement down to an exact science while most manufacturers were trying to put all these machines in a room wherever they ‘ll fit and figure it out for each car as they go along.
Finally, take one step at a time. Chemists, psychologists, statisticians and scientists only take one variable at a time. Otherwise, they can never be sure which change produced the results they saw. Think about it. If you started taking five different medications and developed an allergy, how would you know which one caused it?
If something fails, scientists never take it personally. Failure doesn’t mean they’re not supposed to be a scientist. It just means the experiment failed to work. They change something and try again. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”
“Expect a certain percentage of sales calls to fail while continually improving your sales system. The results will take care of themselves.”
Don’t hand control of your company to random salespeople.
If they know how to bring in the money, they can hold you hostage. They can demand larger commissions and sell only as much as you have the capacity to deliver. This is not to say you must be the primary salesperson for the life of your business. It means you can’t hand sales off to someone else until you’ve mastered the process.
Pick systems over people when it comes to sales.
If you have a sales system, it’s easier to hire technicians to do the work and train them to do it as well as you. It works for hiring salespeople, too. Yo
Systems and introversion go well together.
Pollard almost always hires introverts in sales. Introverts usually can’t rely on their charm and conversational skills because they usually believe they don’t have them (although it’s not true). It’s the system that brings out the best in them. Introverts are also great listeners, naturally given to focusing more on what the customer is saying.