Tag Archives: Andy Gole

Membership Selling: Changing Behavior to Sell More – Andy Gole

By Andy Gole

Sell DiceMany business owners subscribe to the maxim: “Selling isn’t rocket science, is it? After all, everyone sells!

This view is supported by evidence that businesses grow and thrive without sales training or a formal sales process. Proper implementation of the right product, service, and market strategy are the key drivers of business success.

Thus, if everyone does sells … if selling is practically a natural skill, how important can sales training be? It might be a “nice to have”, but certainly in challenging markets, when every dollar counts, sales training isn’t a “must-have”, is it?

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Why Prospects Won’t Call You Back [But Will Sometimes Talk to You If You Call] – Andy Gole

By Andy Gole

You have a bunch of leads. You constantly place calls to these leads. You follow up by phone, leave voicemail messages, send emails, mail letters. But the prospects don’t call you back … don’t respond to your emails … don’t stop by in person.

Then, one day, out of the blue, you get one of your prospects on the phone and talk with them for a good hour. You end up signing them up for an introductory class or significantly moving the membership sales process forward.

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Bold Vision, Bold Behavior – A Success Formula for Selling Martial Arts Memberships – Andy Gole

By Andy Gole

sellYou offer your students a bold vision of possibilities in both physical empowerment and inner strength. You teach students to boldly try new best practices. On the mat, you subscribe to the formula: bold vision through bold behavior.

Do you bring the same approach to your business development — identifying prospective students and enrolling them into your program? Or do you switch to “social selling” which means observing social niceties versus building your business.

One way to know … look at the results. Are you having any of these problems?

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Rocky, Freud, Darwin and Selling: Our Danger in Getting Civilized – Andy Gole

By Andy Gole

rocky_3In the movie Rocky III, Mickey resists training Rocky to fight Clubber Lang. Why?

Mickey tells Rocky:

Well, Rock, let”s put it this way. Now, three years ago you was supernatural. You was hard and you was nasty and you had this cast-iron jaw but then the worst thing happened to you, that could happen to any fighter. You got civilized.

“Getting civilized” led Rocky to a crushing defeat in his first Clubber Lang fight. Getting civilized is also a huge problem for many successful salespeople.

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How Do You Handle a Major Customer Complaint or a Service Failure? – Andy Gole

By Andy Gole

KeyThe Lemonade Shirts

I once had a wonderful experience at a Marriott Hotel — they lost 2 of my shirts. The overall experience was so positive that I found myself telling the story in a tough sales meeting.

I was visiting a dissatisfied customer, trying to retain the business. The supplier I represented had not paid attention to this customer”s needs, leading to service and quality problems. The customer had lined up an alternative source of supply; it was the 11th hour and our top management had decided to try to save the business. They flew in the VP of marketing and the manager of plants. We faced an extremely difficult selling situation.

I opened the meeting by telling the customer’s President the story of the Lemonade shirts.

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How Do You Sell on Quality to Avoid Cut-Throat Competition? – Andy Gole

By Member Solutions

Round stamp with text: Quality

Builder’s Grade vs. Quality: The Entrepreneurial Dilemma

Could your customers be suffering from addiction to builder’s grade? If you have ever owned a home, and had to replace major components – draughty windows, siding falling off, leaking roofs, and crumbling driveways – you have encountered builder’s grade.

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Selling Insights: How do you prove your case to the skeptical prospect? – Andy Gole

By Member Solutions

The Tale of the Sunny Day Used Car

Did you ever buy a used car? If so, do you remember what the weather was like that day? Over 20 years ago, I bought a used VW Squareback for $900 [≈ Traditional cell phone cost per year] on a beautiful sunny day. It was a great car; it met my budget and did what I needed: 25 miles per gallon, 4 doors, hand crank moon roof, 30,000 miles on the odometer. There was only one problem: I bought the car on a sunny day.

Several months later, I was driving the sunny day used car in the hills of Binghamton. It was not a sunny day; the rain was pouring from the sky, pounding on the roof of the car. It was raining outside the car, and as you may have guessed by now, it was raining inside the car as well.

I had made this classic mistake: I bought an old used car on a sunny day.

The car had rust and sheet metal perforations in the body, which weren’t obvious till it poured “cats and dogs”.

Imagine how I felt that day – 3 inches of water in the driver’s well; I was cold, wet, uncomfortable. I felt stupid.

This experience was so searing, it led to the family proverb: “Never buy a used car on a sunny day.”

Now, I know that you have never done anything as foolish as buying a sunny day used car. But all of your prospects and clients have done so; they have bought their own version of a sunny day used car. As a result, they are very skeptical when we sell to them; in fact, they don’t believe what we say.

So buyers hesitate in making commitment. They are concerned about being defrauded again. This makes it necessary for us to have a strong program to substantiate our points in a sales call.

We need to be “loaded for bear” with press releases, articles, testimonial letters, case histories, before and after pictures, etc. 
And we need to prove early in the sales process. When prospects listen to our statements, they classify them as either facts or opinions. Opinions they can safely ignore. We need our statements to be taken as facts; facts on which the prospect will act.

This much may be fairly straightforward. What isn’t obvious is how such skepticism will affect their openness with salespeople. Prospects may wind up saying things we want to hear, at the moment, but which are not necessarily related to closing a sale.

Salespeople may be skeptical as buyers (say, when you buy a car). But are you as skeptical when you persuade? Do you make it a point to test a prospect’s answers, as you may test a new car or computer? This is crucial to achieving sales success. You need to be a skeptic. Many salespeople fail because they don’t test the information provided by a prospect.

The best evidence is to watch what a prospect does, not what the prospect says
. Look for evidence that the prospect is engaged in “getting to know you.” Examples could include: visiting your facility, checking references, introducing you to other team members.

Otherwise, you might just wind up “buying” a sunny day used car.

Selling with Urgency: Part 5. Managing the Reversal Curve

By Member Solutions

Every business needs a selling mechanism. Selling is as essential to business survival as breathing is to us. But unlike breathing, selling isn’t involuntary. That’s why I value my relationship with Andy Gole, founder of the Urgency Based Selling® system.

Here’s another excerpt from my interview with Andy discussing the “Reversal Curve.”  This post covers how to engage and encourage prospects to show for their intro lesson.

Andy: A school owner has an engaging conversation with a prospect. They’re sure the prospect will show for the intro and enroll, but they don’t and they can’t get them back on the phone.

Joe: We’ve all been there. Why does this happen?

Andy: It’s the reversal curve. The prospect sounds very engaged, then forgets we exist when off the phone. They have other priorities which command their attention.

Joe: What makes some prospects show up?

Andy: Some combination of prospect urgency and business development effort creates a “must have” condition for those prospects.

Joe: How do we create a “must have” situation more often?

Andy: We “fill the prospect’s glasses” and “earn the right” to the next engagement.

Joe: Tell me about these glasses.

Andy: I suggest prospects have imaginary glasses. Each glass represents a decision criterion — for example, great reputation. The prospect can’t move to the next stage of the decision process until all their glasses are filled ― which means that we’ve satisfied their decision criteria.

Joe: School owners contend that they can enroll prospects that show for an intro. The big challenge is getting them to visit. You’re saying they need to reasonably engage them and fill those glasses. How do they accomplish this?

Andy: We use a combination of e-mail, mail and calls to deploy our proving-kit items, such as reference checks, testimonial letters, articles about the school/benefits of Martial Arts, and hard-hitting messages about the value they deliver.

Joe: If we obtain an appointment right away, do they still need to fill the glasses?

Andy: Absolutely. Otherwise you increase risk of a no-show. I would send information confirming the appointment and giving compelling reasons to visit.

Joe: What if a prospect isn’t responding, should we invest time in following up?

Andy: Well, the prospect called us for a reason, perhaps an unshared urgency. My view is the prospect is bleeding in some area of life. So we need to find a way to engage, fill the glasses, and explore solving the problem with us.

Joe: If prospects are bleeding, why don’t they visit immediately?

Andy: There can be a number of urgencies in their lives — if they need a new roof, a kitchen and a bathroom, which will they fix first? If the roof is leaking, probably the roof gets fixed first. And then there is the “festering sore” issue, which is: when a prospect has lived with a problem for a long time, they usually figure they can make it longer without us.

Joe: How do you overcome the festering sore problem?

Andy: You fill the glasses that need filling. You just need them to visit.

Joe: Tell me more about “must have,” and how this impacts the reversal curve.

Andy: “Must have” has two components:
a) Material difference: a difference so strong it changes behavior, for instance, causing the prospect to visit for an intro lesson.
b) Defendability: competitors can’t emulate us.

Joe: Can you give an example of moving prospects to “must have” so they visit for an intro?

Andy: If a prospect calls, you might have this conversation:
Owner: Why are you calling us today?
Prospect: I would like to get into better shape.
Owner: Why now?
Prospect: I am going to a wedding and need to look sharp.
Owner:  Would you like to know how you can look fantastic?
The vision of “fantastic” could create a “must have” condition for an intro.

Joe: Putting them in a “must have” state of mind.

Andy: Right. To manage and overcome the reversal curve takes compelling reasons, delivered with some moxie by your business development staff.

This is the fifth installment of the Selling with Urgency article series. CLICK HERE to read parts 1 through 4. An MP3 of the entireinterview with Andy is available upon e-mail request. Joe Galea is president of Member Solutions.

Selling with Urgency: Part 4. The Standard Sales Call – Joe Galea

By Member Solutions

Thanks for the many compliments on my Selling with Urgency (Part 1Part 2Part 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 FlawsThe 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:

  1. initiating and fertilizing the conversation
  2. fact-finding and problem-solving
  3. 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?
Prospect: Price.
STAFF: Nothing else?
Prospect: No.
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 consulting@membersolutions.com 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.

Selling with Urgency: Part 3. The Change Process – Joe Galea

By Member Solutions

In Part 1 and in Part 2, Andy Gole, creator of the Urgency Based Selling® system, provided us with the three fatal flaws in the selling process and we discussed the conflict between business and social values.

Joe: Andy, now that we have better insight into most sales encounters, how do our readers implement change?

Andy: We need to set reasonable expectations for moving team members from social to business values. Very often, the owner needs to make the same journey. In fact, the value change is one of three paradigm shifts that are generally needed – values, sales process and messaging. You need a change process to move the needle from 0 to100: you can’t do that in one fell swoop. You can’t expect a memo approach to work. If you move the needle too quickly, without an appropriate change process, you fry the nervous system. I have gone through this experience with many firms. You need short term, reasonable objectives with weekly oversight. Ideally, a cohort group goes through the change and members learn from each other.

Joe: Why don’t firms establish strong change processes to help their teams make the conversion from social to business values?

Andy: There is a fundamental problem in how most business owners look at change. We tend to embrace command and control leadership. We have a meeting and say: “This is how we are going to do things.” That perspective is not sensitive to how change takes place – over time, in small bites. In general, as a culture, we are not skilled change agents.

The situation has irony for Martial Arts studio owners: they are geared to understand change. When they teach their students different skills, they break the change down into units. They have drills. They teach reflexes and muscle memory and eventually they integrate it into a whole. They do not expect a student to function at the level of an advanced Black Belt at the first lesson. So the Martial Arts community implicitly understands the change process.

Joe: You make a really interesting point and I would like to add that through the process the student improves, which offers proof that change is necessary for development.

Andy: There is a second reason why Martial Arts school owners should feel comfortable with business development: their thought process is influenced by Eastern thinking. They are familiar with the concept of yin and yang, opposing forces. There is also a yin and yang to selling. There are soft and strong moves, and an oscillation between states. This is a second advantage a Martial Arts studio owner has over a typical business owner.

Joe: The Martial Arts industry is very open to new ideas and change as compared to others I have researched. You may have just explained why! This is the reason I wanted to interview you. Our readers will be able to embrace a completely different approach to selling and to bringing in new students. Andy, I sense that many of our readers struggle with selling and some even view the role with some distaste: they see something fundamentally wrong with selling. Any thoughts on this?

Andy: Many salespeople don’t realize selling is heroic. There is a common negative stereotype unfortunately popularized by Arthur Miller in Death of a Salesman: Willie Loman stands for the salesperson as a slimy loser. I refer readers to Joseph Campbell’sHero with a Thousand Faces. Campbell studied hero myths throughout hundreds of cultures spanning thousands of years. He talks about the roles and the rules of the hero. We become a hero when we cross the first threshold; when we leave our village – to slay the dragon, rescue the damsel in distress. We step outside of the world as we know it. The equivalent in selling is when we grasp the distinction between social and business values and cross over from one to the other. There are at least three thresholds we need to pass en route to becoming a hero in selling. The successful salesperson is a hero and a warrior.

Joe: I agree completely. In sales, we change lives by selling change. That is heroic. Andy, thank you for being my mentor and for sharing some of your basic principles with our readers.

Readers: An MP3 of the entire interview with Andy Gole is available upon request. Simply send an e-mail toconsulting@membersolutions.com.

For Part 1 of the Selling with Urgency series, CLICK HERE.
For Part 2 of the Selling with Urgency series, CLICK HERE.