“People don’t buy because they understand you. They buy because you understand them.” – Brian Hicks in today’s Tip 1618
How’s your relationship with your clients or your customers?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today I’ve got another clip from my interview on the Sales Success Stories podcast with Brian Hicks in episode 164 and I know I’m probably not supposed to say this, because it’s like favoring one of your own children, but this is absolutely one of my favorite more recent interviews. Listen to this:
Brian Hicks: My sales pitch has shifted completely from one of features and benefits and persuasion and closing to one of guidance and discussion and true discovery and of sharing and of dialog and interest and curiosity. Some of it is interesting because I’m reading a book right now called To Sell as Human and one of the things that I read in that book is that when the sellers know more than the buyers, then buyer beware. And it all makes so much sense to me now when I go back and I look at how I was selling previously and how I would pressure, I mean, I could close. I’m a closer, don’t get me wrong. I’d go out, hunt it down, kill it, drag it home, cook it, and eat it. That is what I do. But man, my motive and my motivation previously was so different, where I just had dollar signs in my mind, I had commission breath, where I was pressuring and I was using tactics. Don’t get me wrong, they worked, but they weren’t meaningful. I could sell anything even if I didn’t believe in it.
Now it’s completely different because I care about the people that I’m talking to and I want to know who they are and I want to know their story. I want to know what brought them to what position they’re in. Why do they like doing what they do, what are the challenges, why are they having those challenges? And if at the end of the day, if Belkins isn’t the right fit for them, I just tell them, I just tell them, I say, Hey, listen, everything that you’re describing makes complete sense and I understand it, but we’re not the best fit for you and this is why. I knowingly legitimately turn down business because I know that they can probably figure it out in a better way or a more cost-effective way. This transparency that I have with prospects. I talked to a lady yesterday who just looked at me. I looked at her and I said, Listen, I said, you guys are charging $40 a month per user. Unless Belkins was able to drive clients to you at thousands users, this isn’t going to make sense for you. We are not cheap. There’s a high human touch element to what we do and I don’t want to oversell what we’re going to drive. I want us to be realistic about this. And she just looked at me, she goes, Brian, thank you so much. She goes, I just talked to a different guy with a different company in your space. And he just promised me the world, and we’re the best and we’re the cheapest. And she goes, It is so refreshing to just talk to somebody that’s real, somebody who doesn’t have their best interests at heart, somebody who really wants to understand what I’m going through and what I’m dealing with. And that paradigm shift for me, has changed everything.
Now, when I follow up, it’s because I know that I’ve talked to them and I said, Hey, I’m going to follow up with you once a week. I’m going to check in with you if I haven’t heard from you, if you’ve changed your mind, or if this isn’t a good fit or you want to do something else. I trust that you’re going to make the best decision for your business that you can, and I support you. So if I follow up with you and you’ve made that decision, just don’t worry about it. Just let me know, because I’m going to keep following up with you unless you tell me not to. And I laugh and I tell them it’s not because I want to pester you. Somebody says, Hey, I really want to work with you guys, but I’m going to go on vacation for the next two weeks. Oh, well, then I’ll just put a tickle in my calendar. I’ll check in with you in two and a half weeks to give you a little bit of time to settle in once you get back. Hey, where are you going? Oh, I’m going to Indonesia. Oh, wow. Why’d you pick Indonesia? And they start to realize that this guy isn’t just trying to sell me. When people get on a sales call, they’re already defensive because the seller knows more than the buyer. That’s why most buyers do so much of their research themselves. That’s why we’re so self-educated. We have this self educate mindset where we have to do as much research as possible before we agree to take a meeting, because the dynamic on the meeting is going to be, they’re going to try to sell me. And nobody wants to get sold. People don’t buy because they understand you. They buy because you understand them.
And when you open up your approach and you start looking at them as humans, and you start treating them as humans, and then you start having some of these conversations and you realize that you’ve been on the phone for 20 minutes and you haven’t even pitched, but damn, it’s been a great conversation. And wow, this has been incredible. Man, the world has changed for me. I will never go back. I will never change this approach. I approach every sales call with the mindset that I’m going to leave knowing more about them than they know about me. And I approach everyone that way with an open mind and with a very curious and inquisitive nature to learn. Not everybody approaches the call with that openness and that’s okay, too. And listen, I’m emotionally intelligent. I can follow their lead if they come with a clipboard, and they just need me to check boxes. But you better believe that I’m going to say to them, Hey, listen, I can see that you’ve probably talked to 15 other companies that do this right now, right? Yes. You’re my 15th call. How’s it gone? It sounds like you’ve really dialed it in on exactly what you want to know. It feels like you just got a checkboard and you need to just tick the boxes. Am I right? Yes. I just need to know how much you guys charge. Okay, well, Hey, listen, how about this? If the call goes perfectly, you’re going to walk away with our pricing, right? Yes, that’s what I want. Okay, well, we got 30 minutes. Would you mind doing it my way and letting me take you through my sales journey and my process? And I promise you that by the time we get off the phone, I will answer all of those questions. I will make sure that every single box you have is ticked, and it’ll probably be a little more fun when I do it, instead of you just asking me the questions and me just giving you the answers 95% of the time. Yeah, okay. All right. Yeah, that’s okay. Yeah, sure. Next thing you know, now we’re talking. Now we’re having a connection. And so that’s really what type of impact it’s had to my sales.
Listen, my sales cycle has gotten longer. The average sales cycle is about 65 days. At the Belkins, 60 to 65 days. I closed at 70 and a half days. I think I told you guys. My talk time, I used to talk 65% of the time. Now I talk about 40% of the time. I’m trying to get it even lower because I’m trying to use different tactics and skills that I’m reading about to just keep the conversation moving, because I know that they have a lot to share. But I’m closing 14 to 17% of every person that I talk to, and I’m closing more. I’m closing bigger, and I’m having more meaningful interaction. I’m so much happier.
When I close my laptop if I’ve just taken ten new business calls in a day. I’m so much happier because I’m not thinking about that next check. I’m thinking about Bill at Acme Logistics that I just talked to, whose wife is getting ready to pop because she’s eight and a half months pregnant, and it’s his third baby on the way, and he’s just waiting for that phone call. And the next time that I see an article about a new baby product, I’m going to shoot it over to him. Because, Bill, I saw this and it made me think of you. I hope baby and wife are good. Now I’m a human, and now I’m having meaningful interaction. Now my job is my life. It’s who I am. And so that’s really the biggest difference.
Scott Ingram: If you click over to DailySales.Tips/1618, you’ll find links to my full interview with Brian and to connect with him on LinkedIn. Since this interview, Brian just smashed every record in his company with a $1M ARR month and signed 16 new clients. He’s also agreed to speak at this year’s Sales Success Summit where you’ll find over 30 of the #1 and top 1% individual contributors that I’ve interviewed on that show. It’s going to be epic, and of course, we’ll have a link to register for the Summit on that same page at DailySales.Tips/1618. Once you’ve clicked over there, be sure to click right back here for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!