Thanks for the many compliments on my Selling with Urgency (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) articles — a series where I’ve detailed some of the great lessons learned from an informative interview with Andy Gole. Andy is a personal-sales consultant and trainer who has worked with dozens of companies, including Member Solutions. He is the creator of the Urgency Based Selling® system.
In Part 1 of the series, we reviewed the concept of Moxie and in Part 2 the Three Fatal Flaws. The Change Process was covered in Part 3. In this 4th installment, we are going to review the Standard Sales Call:
Joe: Andy, when I speak with school owners, I often hear contradictory statements about selling. Those who are not satisfied with their overall business development effort often say they leave it to staff to formulate a selling style that is consistent with their personalities. In contrast, you advocate a “standard sales call” for all.
How do you justify your approach?
Andy: Businesses, including Martial Arts studios, can be conceptualized as systems: systems for teaching self defense, purchasing supplies, training staff, collecting tuition, testing students, etc. Why should selling be different?
A major grievance of many business owners is that they can’t systematize selling. The standard sales call is a step-by-step procedure to take the prospect through a thought process, from first contact to decision (close).
Joe: What are the major aspects of a strong standard sales call?
Andy: There are three basic parts:
- initiating and fertilizing the conversation
- fact-finding and problem-solving
- managing the opportunity
Joe: What do you mean by “fertilizing the conversation?”
Andy: As we discussed, the first fatal flaw in the selling process is assuming prospects enter the conversation with serious intent. This is true particularly when prospects call a school for basic information. The school needs to give the prospective member a compelling reason, on the phone, to be in a serious conversation. This sets up fact-finding and problem-solving, and, ideally, the “Intro Lesson” (demo).
Joe: Can you expand on what you mean by fact finding?
Andy: Why is the prospective student considering lessons? Many times, they won’t volunteer the information, so we need to ask. I remember a case where a client had this discussion:
STAFF: Why are you considering Martial Arts lessons?
Student: I thought I might use M.A. to get into better shape.
(Not a bad answer. But further probing showed a compelling motivation.)
Student: I want to look better physically.
STAFF: Why do you want to look better physically?
Student: So I feel more comfortable on the social scene, at the beach.
STAFF: You have been going to the beach for years, haven’t you? Why is this of concern now?
Student: I was embarrassed last summer by how I looked.
Joe, that was a compelling reason to get in shape.
Joe: This is certainly more powerful than just knowing a prospect wants to be in better shape. Should a salesperson use the fact-finding strategy immediately?
Andy: Some prospects aren’t ready to share immediately. So we prepare for fact finding by offering material difference and proving. You’ll recall that a material difference is a difference so strong it results in a change in behavior.
Joe: How is the demo utilized?
Andy: The demo is an essential part of managing prospects. It’s how we prove we are the solution to their problems. Seeing/experiencing is a critical part of believing.
Joe: Why might a school need more than a demo to prove it is the solution to the prospect’s problem?
Andy: Remember the second fatal flaw — people don’t believe what we say. The demo gives them experience. Skeptical prospects want to know there is consistency. A proving kit — including testimonial letters — can help provide that consistency.
Joe: How do we handle objections?
Andy: The third and last fatal flaw is when we think prospects know how to make a decision. An essential part of the standard sales call is teaching prospects how to select a Martial Arts studio. We do this through questioning. For instance:
STAFF: What is important to you in selecting a Martial Arts studio?
STAFF: Nothing else?
STAFF: What about…expertise in coaching you through a change process, etc.?
Through questioning we establish the decision criteria. When these are properly established, most objections go away.
Joe: How do you close the sale?
Andy: If you meet the decision criteria, the next question is: “What do you want to do now?” and the answer you want is “Get started.” This is the purpose of the standard sales call.
An MP3 of the entire interview with Andy is available upon e-mail request. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a copy.
Joe Galea is the president of Member Solutions. CLICK HERE to read Parts 1-3 of the Selling with Urgency series.