Oh man, it happened…
After writing a rather scathing critique of certification programs for sales “closers” — I had one reach out to me.
Not because he’d read the article.
But because he stumbled on a different piece of content I’d created — my video on “A widely-hated truth about closing high-ticket sales…”
And he started pitching me on buying into the certification program.
Now, I probably went a little overboard with my response to him.
I may have been a little harsh.
But there was one major lesson that came out of the interaction that I want to share with you today.
Where he screwed up big-time — and ensured he’d NEVER close the sale…
He started the sales pitch by immediately trying to pigeonhole me into a sales “personality type…” Based primarily on the title of the video.
He made a ton of assumptions about me.
He basically diagnosed me over email.
And wrote a very long email explaining to me how this personality type he assigned to me (based on zero input or request from me) was leading to my failure in selling.
Then he went on to pitch the program. He talked about how hard it would be, but how the rewards were worth it.
Then, without proof, he promised that he’d help me make $100,000 every month — more than a million per year.
And on and on he went.
He’d already lost me — because he failed at the #1 rule of selling — but I did read every word…
He pitched me hard on the certification program, and offered to get on the phone to have a call about how “his life has changed.”
In other words, he wanted to talk to me to practice his “high-ticket close.”
It felt like he was a chattering hyena. But he didn’t know that he was dealing with a freaking lion.
So I asked him what the #1 rule of selling is.
He gave a lame “a lot of people would say a lot of things” response.
Which meant he doesn’t have an answer that he believes with any conviction.
So I told him…
Know your customer…
It all freaking comes down to this.
Once upon a time, I went shopping for cars.
This was right after I was getting out of college.
I wanted a good used car that would be reliable.
The salesman plopped me in the seat of a tiny Honda that was clearly modified to go faster (or at least to look/sound like it went faster).
I took the test drive. It was fun to drive. But it wasn’t anything I would buy.
Today, I would’ve told the salesperson where to stick the keys. In a relatively polite way, of course. But I wouldn’t have taken the test drive.
But then, I let him take me out for the test drive, had some fun, and then told him I’d think about it and never returned.
(That’s exactly what a prospect who is not a fit for what you’re selling will usually do, because most of us are too anxiety-ridden and unsure of ourselves to confidently speak the truth.)
He didn’t know me. He didn’t really try to understand me. Instead, he tried to sell me what he wanted to sell. Maybe because he liked it. Maybe because it was higher-priced. Maybe because his boss told him to try to move it.
Unfortunately, that’s the way many (probably most) salespeople operate.
Too consumed with themselves to pay attention to their prospects.
Here’s a better way to sell…
Talk to your customer. Learn about them. Try to find out what it is they want.
Put your fragile little ego aside, and let them take center stage.
DO NOT try to close.
Instead, try to find a fit — which means you also have to try to find out if you will not find a fit, and be okay if the sale doesn’t happen.
The goal is to understand them.
If you don’t have the solution, that’s a good thing to know. If you tried to “close” that deal, they’d be irritated at you for it (about how I feel about this guy). And if you succeeded, they’d resent you, which is even worse.
If you do find a solution that works because you actually understand the customer and what they want, they’re highly-likely to be satisfied. They feel heard. They feel like you care. They feel like you’re interested.
… At which point, if they agree that the solution looks good, they’re going to be highly-likely to close themselves. You don’t have to push or try to force a close on them. They’ll literally be telling you they want to give you money.
(That actually happened to me earlier today, with a contractor I had out to give a quick bid on a little house project. He worked to understand me. I had a problem, and he explained his understanding of the solution to my liking. He actually pulled back instead of trying to do a hard close. He basically said, “Well, if you do end up deciding you want to go with me…” He gave me the option and the out. But I turned around pretty much instantly and said, “Yes, we are hiring you for this, we just need to work out the details.”)
This applies when selling via media, too…
In fact, this is still the #1 rule of selling, even when you’re writing sales copy, or writing a speech, or a multimedia script, or anything designed to put your pitch out to many people instead of one.
Except you don’t have the opportunity to ask questions directly of your prospect as you’re selling to them.
You have to get to know your market in other ways.
You have to ask questions and answer them through research.
Yes, you can interview representative members of the market. And there are dozens of other ways to dig up information. But it starts with knowing what you’re looking for.
My recently-released Control-Beating Project Pre-Flight Plan actually walks you through the entire process.
Didn’t really mean to turn this essay into an ad for that, but it’s a relevant resource to go deeper — if you feel it’s relevant.
Here’s the thing: the more time you spend getting into the head of your prospect, the more successful you’ll be in selling. Almost without exception.
And the more you assume you know before going in (as did my friendly correspondent, the “Certified High-Ticket Closer”)…
Well, you know what they say happens when you ASSUME…
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,