Peter: Thank you. Maybe to start off, how many of you, if you were at a social event and somebody came up to you and said, “What do you do?”, what would come naturally out of your mouth, you’d say, “I’m a sales person”? How many of you, at the same social event, if forced to say that if somebody asked “What do you do?” Would feel somewhat uncomfortable saying “I’m a sales person”? That’s typical for all of us. Why is that? We think a little bit about that. How many of you do have some capacity in your job where you do have to sell? Does it cause conflict sometimes trying to figure out how do I approach this task, the sales job have and rectify it with my morals, and my values, and where I’m coming from? Anybody struggle with that? We’re going to dive into that.
This content that we’re going to walk through today comes out of a program that I run, called the Sales Performance Accelerator.
Think about it in terms of a small Bible study group that gets together twice a month for a couple of hours, and it’s part training, part coaching, and part accountability, where we get small groups together. We got them in Denver. We got them in different places around the states. We actually have a groups started in Sydney. It’s a sales training group that uses that small group format to teach people, so we’re pointing some content directly out of there. Actually, the content that we’re working with, precedes our cold calling content with how do you get your mind in the right spot around this task, how do we go after it. I’ve added the scriptural inserts. A little bit of my background to help you understand where I’m coming from.
I grew up in a very strong Christian Family. My dad was from the Catholic faith and we’re raised in the catholic faith. My mom was more of the charismatic Christian, Pentecostal Christian faith. I had a little of both sides in the house. What that means is we had a lot of Bible, a lot of faith, a lot of prayer, and we had a lot of rules, a lot of guilt, and all that kind of stuff all blended in together. When you grew up and you go into the work world, what that means is, boy, you’re really evaluating everything around you. Is this the right things to be doing? Should I be doing this or doing that? How do I approach it?
Wrestling with that kind of thing, I went into to college and became an engineer, because that was really off the grid for all these moral questions, and realized probably a few years into being an engineer that I was a little more social than that, and ended up getting drawn into the sales profession, and really have spent the last 25 years in sales, nearly 20 years in this company, wrestling with how do I rectify my values and my upbringing and my beliefs with sales. How do I make this all cohesive? One thing that I believe in across the board and never feel … I thought it was a comment that the prior speaker said, “Feel a little funny about it inside. Feel a little yucky about certain things.” How do I avoid that? What’s going on and how do I take this all apart? What we’re going to come at this talk to day from.
One of the first things to get started is a distinction between conversation, attitude, and perspective. Dialog and conversation and is, quite literally, the words that you’re saying between you and the other person. That’s a surface level of communication that I tell you something, and you tell me something, and there’s a dialog or conversation there. A comment made earlier about Zig Ziglar has a hundred great closing lines. That’s at the dialog level. Underlying that dialog level one layer deeper is what we’ll call our attitude. Now, if we’ve had a full-format workshop, we would talk about attitude as the physical manifestation of all the things you’re contemplating in your head. As I’m sitting in front of another person, and I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, I should tell them this, and their current way of doing things isn’t as good as the way I could bring to their company, and all those thing”, all those thoughts manifest physically in our tone of voice, in our body language, and they’re interpreted by the other person as our attitude. You guys following me so far?
The layer everything gets really fun and interesting is, is lower layer. I call it perspective, or mindset, or position. You might also have some other words in it that we’re a little we’re a little more familiar with. We could call it faith. We could call it belief. What it is, is it’s the aggregate of all of those experiences, beliefs, things we carried a long from our faith, scriptures, things that have guided us, and form the concrete center of our being. At this level, it changes our brain function, so that depending on that foundation, it causes us to contemplate certain things in our head that when a situation arises, the yucky feeling originates with a faith or an ideal or a belief at your core that then judges a situation and say, “Boy, I’m not really sure about this situation.” You think about it, and that manifest with a discomfort or an uneasiness about the situation, and then that manifests in how you chose your dialog and converse with the person across from you. You guys following me so far?
It’s at this level, this level of perspective or mindset, or faith, or belief, where the conflicts arise. Am I doing things consistent with the way I feel the world should be, the way I feel things should be, the way I believe? It’s at this level that we’re going to work today around Biblical selling, because this is where we’re going to find conflicts in our own approach, in our own thinking. How many of you get that uneasy feeling sometimes when you’re put into a situation and you need to sell? That’s where we’re going to hit head-on today. What’s going on? Where do I drive my mindset?
To help us out a little bit, we’re going to do a little simulation. This is going to require some interaction between us. Let’s pretend that you need to sell. I’m going to put you in a situation where you have to be a sales person, but the product that you’re going to sell is a pill that unequivocally cures cancer, that if the person takes the pill, the cancer is gone. You have to sell it. You can’t give it away, and it cost money. Let’s pretend for the moment that you find yourself in a waiting room, a lobby somewhere. It’s just you and it’s one other person. For some reason, maybe it’s a physical attribute, maybe it’s a conversation you overheard on the phone or whatever, for some reason, you know that person needs this pill. How do you approach this situation? Just blurt things out. We don’t need to raise hands. How do you approach this sale? What’s your first step? What’s your first objective?
You, the other person, they have problem, you have a solution. What’s your first … Don’t think in terms of “I know how selling is supposed to go.” That’s not the test. Think in terms of “I know how human beings operate. I know my job in this situation.” What do you do? Go ahead.
Male: Rapport with that person.
Peter: Rapport, what does that mean though? What do you physically actually do?
Male: Engage in a conversation.
Peter: Exactly. First thing that we would do. Anybody else have a different perspective or do we agree? First thing we do is we just engage in a conversation. A conversation about what?
Peter: Anything, except for what?
Male: For cancer.
Peter: Anything except for cancer and the pill. We’re going to engage in a conversation. Step 1, we all know this naturally. We’re human beings. The first thing we do is engage a conversation. The sub step is about anything except cancer or this pill. I’m just going to put a dot, dot, dot to speed things up. Okay. Let’s say you’re successful. Let’s say you get a nice congenial proper conversation going on, and you hit it off with this person. What’s the next thing you need to do?
Towards? Well, hold on. We don’t have a problem that we’re talking about yet. We can’t steer towards the pill just yet. Where do we go with … We need to steer the conversation, but where do we steer it? We need to have somehow or other, the fact that they’re struggling with this issue has to come up.
Peter: Right, where the problem is. We have to steer the conversation, not towards the solution, but towards the problem. Somehow, we want the fact that they’re struggling with this issue to become part of the conversation. Does that make sense? Steer towards, really towards cancer. Let’s say it comes up. Somehow, rather the say, “I’m battling this disease and it’s really been tough.” What do you do right then?
Peter: Empathize. We get them to talk about it more. Do we talk about the pill yet? No. We slow down. We say … Talk, empathize about … Forget my spelling at this time of the morning, cancer, and my sloppiness. The thing is shaking. It’s too early to write. Let’s say you success. They tell you all about it, tell you what they’re doing, and tell you the seriousness of it, and it is grave, and it is serious for them. What do you have to do now?
Male: Have you heard of it?
Peter: Introduce the possibility of this remedy. I See nods. Anybody disagree with that idea? Step 4, introduce the remedy. I’m Peter, so it might fall off again.
Peter: I don’t know. Would you go into details and start selling this thing with a research and approving, or you just sort of introduce it? Let’s pretend as you introduce it, they’re afraid you’re going to launch into a sales pitch, and they react as if you turned into an Amway sales person. Everybody know what I’m talking about there. They’re reaction is Amway. Let’s just pretend their reaction is Amway at the moment you try as delicately and as carefully as you can to introduce this. It’s a very negative, “I don’t want to be sold something” reaction. What do you do?
Do you stay in the conversation or do you just walk away? Stay in the conversation. Where would you go in the conversation? Go back. If they’re still uncomfortable, where do would you go then? Go back. Does that make sense? Naturally, as human beings, our instinct in this situation is to back up, go back to rapport, go back to this general … Go back to the things that are easier to talk about, and then re-approach the issue. In this situation, and the situation is grave for them, and you have the remedy, how many times would you persist? As many as it took. Would you go away? You wouldn’t go away. Why not?
Peter: Because you can help them. This is the essence. Persistence and proper selling are both set up by where you’re coming from. When we do this simulation, and it doesn’t matter who the audience is, and I guided this in the context of trying to keep us on track for time. It doesn’t matter who the audience is, selling is a natural human interaction, if you’re intent is to help the other person achieve something purely for them, that there is not self-interest. Does that make sense? Let’s consider the process you guys figure out together. Engage rapport, have a conversation about anything, except for the thing you’re selling or the problem that they might have. Somehow get the problem to get to the surface. When the problem comes to the surface, we don’t jump on it. We listen to it. We talk about it. We empathize. We really get intimate in understanding the problem.
At some point, it becomes our job to bring up the fact that we have a remedy. If they push you back and say, “I don’t want to be sold something”, we don’t walk away. We loop back to rapport. We look back to building the relationship. We loop all the way through that loop again, back to the problem. If they push you back again, you persist. Persistence is purely a function of the amount of altruism and the interaction. Does that make sense? Persistence is a function of how much you’re trying to truly help them, and the depth of your intent to help them achieve a goal that they need, not that you need, drive your persistence. We never back away from a sale when we really know we can help.
Very quick story, sometimes I choke up on this one. I knew a Gentleman who had an engineering business a number of years ago. Our children were in wrestling probably 5, 6 years old. Every practice he would tell me that he had to lay off another employee, how to do this, how to do that. Coming from an engineering background, providing sales training, kept saying, “You really have come to the class, come and do this.” I wasn’t forceful enough. If the end of this period of probably a year and half, he finally closed his business down. He shut it down. I had to feel responsible for that because I didn’t persist. It was about that time that we wrote a lot of the curriculum, interviewing sales people and trying to understand what makes you pound the phones and persist as such. No matter where they came from … I talked to one of the top financial guys in town. I got a name Scot Theo. Anybody know Theo with Northwestern Mutual Life? Yeah.
Talked to him, talked to all of these very successful sales people, and to a person. They saw their purpose as altruistic, and that’s what cause them to pound the phones and persist. The other part is how natural selling becomes if you remove the noise. Let’s look at some of that.
We wrote a lot of this material about 6, 7 years ago, and the economy was really down. It was around 2008, 2010. A lot of our clients were struggling with “How do I generate business?” The bottom line was we were going to have to help them get pass the idea that the economy was bad, and also pass the idea that when somebody said no, you had to back away. The only way to figure this out was to go to the source and figure out what makes people persistent. The beauty of this is it all rally segues with this idea of Biblical selling. I came across a book. I would not … It’s much more of a new age book called Power Versus Force. The author laid out what he called a continuum of human consciousness. The idea here is that human beings live their lives around the core emotion. At the bottom of the spectrum, you have people who are in institutions, they’re homeless. That’s the core emotion, the shame, the guilt, the hopelessness, the grief, it’s what’s driving their behavior and their action.
At the top, you have Jesus Christ, and somewhere just below Him, a lot of the apostles and then the modern-day saints. Mother Theresa is probably high on this. You have the spectrum. Somewhere on the middle, there’s an inflection point where you go from self-focused in your core emotion to other’s focus. We’re all aspiring as Christians were all aspiring to move our way up that spectrum to become much more like Christ. The other thing I saw though that was really interesting in this is a parallel with sales, that people sell a different core place. There’s a different intention or different place that we’re coming from to sell. At the bottom of the spectrum, we call it selling from pity. What does that look like? Everybody is driven by the busy street corners and seen the cardboard signs. That’s sales, but we’re selling out of pity. Pity me, give me money.
The next level up is selling out of ego. What’s selling out of ego look like? I’m the best. “My product is better than everybody else. You should come.” In the old days, in the big blue IBM, you got to go with the strong blah, blah, blah. What’s selling out of logic look like? Think progressive insurance. “We’re going to give everybody’s quote. Make a logical decision. Sometimes we’re the best, sometimes we’re not.” It’s reason. What is selling at a passion looks like? The language, you know your product is right. The language there suggest a little bit of ego. Hold on, we’ll get there. We’ll get there. You know your product is helping the other person. It’s the cancer pill, but how do we get there with our products? Unfortunately, we don’t have anything like that to sell. How many of you agree selling that cancer pill might be easier? Yeah, but we got to get there with our own product. We’re going to figure that out here in a moment.
Passion is when you are selling from a core emotion of love or better, and the reason you’re selling this thing is because it’s going to help the other person. You’re not selling it for personal gain. You’re selling it because of what it can do for the world. There’s an interesting book. How many of you read the book “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino? There’s a passage in this book that … It was interesting the first time I read it, but when I came across this other book and got this idea of where you’re selling from, it make sense. He says, “I’ll greet this day with love in my heart, for this is the greatest secret of success in all ventures. I will make love my greatest weapon, and none on whom I call can defend against this force.”
When you’re trying to sell that cancer pill to somebody who has cancer and needs it, and you’re doing it from a position or a mindset of love, their rejection of you does not even register with you. Does that make sense? That you are doing this for good, and you know it, and you believe it, and therefore you can’t be pushed back, and your persistence will go on. This quote made a whole more sense to me over time. That the essence of making your product something you can sell from a position of passion lies in … If you lay out a typical sales process, we grossly generalize it. Sales process, early conversations, discoveries where we learn about the other person’s situation as you empathize. Solution is where we present the product, proposal, negotiate a close. Everybody familiar with the process and look somewhat like this. This little piece called discovery, that’s where we have the conversation with our prospect about what their problem is and what it means to them to fix it.
Execution of this step effectively fuels our passion, because at the moment we connect a real problem that our prospect has with a real faith that we can fix that problem for them, we become passionate. We no longer sell for our quota or our personal interest. We sell because we’re trying to help another person. We sell out of a position of service. Does that make sense? The problem is, and mostly in selling, we’ll find that we shortcut this step. That somebody says, “I have this problem”, and we’ll take it at face value and we’ll jump right to the features, the benefits, the how that’s dealing … Yes. Question?
Female: One of the main important aspects is that the customer defines his own weaknesses and why he’s in the situation that he’s in, not you telling them, but them saying it themselves.
Peter: Absolutely. The customer defines the issues. How do they do that? We need to drive a part of this conversation to break through their surface level description of their situation, and grow empathetic enough and curious enough to say in this conversation until we get it. At the moment I understand my customer’s plate, and I believe I can help them, I’m moved from ego or logic to passion in my sales process. Make sense? We can’t take the customer’s definition of how it’s supposed to go and let it be. We have to understand how we’re helping them in order to move up that spectrum.
As I was going through this, I’ve been wrestling with sales and Christianity since I’ve been in sales for 25 years. Part of it is the scriptures tell us. Coming from my Catholic upbringing. They tell us what we’re supposed to do and how to feel guilty if you don’t do it. I think the thing I came to realize later in life is the scriptures are really pointing you towards true north. They’re not telling you what to do so much. They’re showing you where success lies. When you get in alignment with them, things go a whole lot easier, and we don’t feel quite so uncomfortable that when we are doing things out of service, selling becomes easy. It becomes natural.
Another idea. Our belief in something is persuasion without saying anything about it. How many of you have noticed with your Christian faith that when you’re around your neighbors, when you’re around your friends, it may not be quite as strong in their faith as you that it creates this divide between you where you’re influencing one another. They’re trying to bring you down a little bit, and you’re steadfast in your faith. You feel that that pressure without saying anything. You could try your hardest not to exude that pressure, but just you belief, just your faith creates a pressure on the other person. You guys notice this? I like to liken this to gravity, that if you have a really strong faith, it’s like having a big gravitational field. Anybody in that field gets drawn towards you belief system. There’s a pressure for them to think like you or to consider what you’re doing and what’s giving you that place in your heart that’s strong and that joy.
If their faith in whatever they’re doing is lesser, over time, that force brings them closer and closer to you, to that same point of view. Human beings do not coexist with different point of view very gracefully. Does that make sense that we must align ourselves align ourselves around common points of view. When we differ, there’s pressure between us. Understand that I don’t need to tell a person what they should do. All I need to do is believe that they should do it, and that creates pressure on them. You guys notice this? It’s interesting in this format, because I don’t often talk to Christian groups, and this is where the though originated for me. I can’t usually use that analogy, but it is so strong that we know it. That’s when our faith is strong and we’re amongst the group of others, we’re putting pressure on them even if we don’t try to. You guys notice this, right? The same thing goes for when you believe you’re going to help another person.
If you know in your heart … There’s no faking this, there’s not surface level manifestation of this. You have to really truly believe in your heart, “I’m here to help this other person.” That’s a similar influence that you exert on them. That when they’re thinking … You’re thinking, “Boy, you really should take the cancer pill”, and they’re thinking, “No, no, no. I’ll stick with my current program.” When their faith is less than yours, on that idea, you influence them the same way. You can’t help yourself. When you’re thinking, “Our or service could really help you out”, and they’re thinking, “No, you just want my money”, if your faith is centered on this idea of helping them out and not the money, you will draw them to your point of view. Once in a while, this idea that “You just want my money”. They’re pretty certain about it, and you’re not real certain that you’re helping them, what happens is you get drawn into that point of view, you feel a little yucky inside and you back off. That’s where persistence stops in the selling process.
This scripture came to mind to me, and this was just a couple of days ago. I said, “You’re not going to throw the faith of the mustard seed scripture on there.” To me, it’s speaks to what do we have faith in. We often speak about faith in a fairly abstract in our Christian beliefs. In this situation what I think we are talking about is faith in the fact that you’re aligned with your values, you’re aligned with your Christian morals. Faith in the fact that you’re doing something for the other person’s benefit not for your own financial gain. That if you have very strong belief, very strong faith, if that’s what’s going on, you can move mountain in a selling context. It’s caused by that alignment with your faith that you’re doing the right thing.
One of the problems that arises in selling is that we want the money too, yes. We run our businesses. Think about this, that if … It’s the lilies of the field and the bird. If I’m focused on using the gifts I was given for the embetterment of the people I serve, the rest of that is going to work itself out. The moment my mind goes over to the revenue, and the sale, and the almost competitive nature of that negotiation, that’s when sales as function starts to occur. What’s funny about this is it doesn’t matter whether you’re Christian or not. Even people with no faith at all, what I teach them is if you focus on helping the other person, you’re going to have more power in the sales process to get it done. The moment your mind goes to money, you do dysfunctional things. You do things that basically thwart the process of getting the sale closed. Don’t worry about the money, worry about your job, your role, your service, what it is you’re meant to be doing, the money will come. You have to purge it from your mind in order to get there.
What it also means is we have to be responsible with respect to who we pursue to sell. This is a little bit of a stretch for a scripture in this, but it’s certainly one of the ones that’s in my head as I’m trying to find true north and stay on that path. I have to sow my seeds in places where they’re needed. Can’t be throwing them on rocks. I might get a short-term sale, but I’m always going to feel a little off.
You guys feel the same ways sometimes? Have I tried to sell something that I don’t have 100% conviction that I’m helping the other person? It’s not going to be a good long-term sale. I’m going to feel not so great about it. They’re going to feel not so great about it. It doesn’t work. I’ve got to hunt out those places where I provide a service.
One last key point, and then we’ll open this up to discussion. If I truly am operating my business as a service to the community that I serve, and I’m doing a good job in helping other people, then it’s not so much a matter of running my business for my gain, but rather of taking the gift that I was given responsibly and growing it. By growing your business and selling effectively in this manner becomes your responsibility, much like The Parable of the Talents. I think we all feel blessed for the businesses we have and the incomes that we get from that, and the ability that, that gives us to come back to the community and participate in our ministries and such. It becomes our responsibility. I think this is one of the things I struggled most with from my Catholic upbringing is the Catholic Church preaches a lot of selflessness, a lot of vows poverty, vows of self-diminishment.
You getting to business, you start realizing some success and you end up with a pretty significant me-me conflict. One side of your head is saying you should not be conspicuous, and the other side of your head is saying push forward. Where that got rectified for me was with this Parable of the Talents. All of you have been giving gifts. It’s your responsibility to grow your business and serve the world. This Parable of the Talents speaks so directly to that, that if you’re doing this the right way and you’re doing it for the good of other folks, you must go out and sell passionately, and help the people that you’ve been blessed with the abilities to help.
With that, I want to just open this up for discussion. A lot of ideas is thrown out, rapid fire.
Male: I walked in a little bit late, so excuse me. The other thing I would say, not just in how you run your business and how you relate with people and how you do your sales, but also if you’re part of associations or chambers of commerce and things like that, I think it’s really important to understand you have a responsibility in that as well. Bryan and I, we’re in Chamber Leads Group together. At one point, I had some situations come up, and I didn’t handle them very well. I looked back on that with regret, because I think my witness was corrupted a little bit, because of how I handled that. I would just ask you guys to careful consider that when you’re actually not just in your business itself, but also in your relationships with other business people, because a lot of times they might be the only Jesus … You might be the only Jesus they ever see.
Peter: That’s a really good point. For me, this has become somewhat of a ministry. Most of the people I work with don’t have a strong Christian faith. They’re in sales, right? Teaching them how to do this and having them realize success through this, and the same for your businesses, teaching them how to run a business, aligned with Christian values and showing how successful that can be, changes the behaviors, which [inaudible 00:31:46] people to look for the reasons behind it, why this works. It creates the hunger. Other ideas, other thoughts? Yes.
Female: I have found that this is really important way to treat your employees also. If you do, and you give, and you love on your employees, then in my mind, the only way it’s going to go is down. In my business, I don’t see my customers. My employees see my customers. If I treat them in this manner, and give to them with the highest … with passion, and do what’s best for them, they in turn will take that and go treat my customers the same way. At least I hope so.
Peter: Excellent point. Another point, and I meant to bring it up, and you just reminded me. How do we get our employees to sell from a position of passion? What you need to do as a business leader is to orient them towards how you help other people and how important that is to you. When they realized that’s the goal, and that’s important, they will naturally behave in a way that aligns with strong values and strong Christian beliefs. Ideas, thoughts, comments?
Male: In my business I get a lot of people coming in that I found to waste my time. I’ve been gently just firing them. I don’t know if you guys have ever dealt with that. They’re trying to get more information. I give them more information, and then they go somewhere else with somebody else. I don’t do that anymore. I hold my cards closer and I just say, “Look, this isn’t going to work for you. You need to stay where you’re at. Bye. I’m sorry, but it’s not going to work.” Sometimes you actually have to do that. You just have to get rid of people that are time wasters.
Peter: It’s funny. In this program, we do a talk at the very beginning of the program that address that exact thing. People come, they’ll take information, and there never was an intent to buy anything. Yeah, there’s ways with integrity, you can fire them, let them go, have a strong communication. There’s also ways you can make them become evangelist for you, as you let them go, by being crystal clear about this is who we help and this is who don’t, and this is why I don’ think that this is a good pursuit for you.
Male: I’ve been in sales for a long time. What finally came to my attention is I might have thought that I have a really top wonderful product. I’ve done all my research. This is the best, but it took me a number of years to put that this is the best product with what the need was from the person. Once I finally accomplished that, my sales were much better.
Male: I grew up in the life insurance industry with Northwestern Mutual. They have a wonderful sales program about how to sell, and I bought into it, and I bought into the best product, but I didn’t get to the understanding the client’s needs until I really sat down, and through discovery, found out that I might have the best product, but at this point, it might not be what they need, so you a little further into the discovery and find out that they have another need. Through the years, I picked up quite a bag of product that worked for them in that situation, but I went in an entirely different way.
Peter: Doing the work behind, they researched behind this, some very interesting thing came up. Scot, is it Theobald? Theodore, Scott Theodore, had a conversation with them. Nice half-hour conversation. For him, selling life insurance is an accumulation of stories of families who didn’t have life insurance and suffered tragic devastating results after somebody died. For him, it really, when it gets him down to his core, it’s altruistic.
Talked to a guy that sold cars on the car lot, and was very effective at it. I respected him, and I said, “For you, selling car in the car lot, how does that become altruistic?” He said … He told me his process. He goes, “Somebody comes in the lot and I go for a walk with him. We talk and we walk around, and I watch their face. The moment their face lights up, I try to figure out what their face lit up about. Is it a certain car? Is it a color? Is the radio? What is it? In my mind, selling that car that excites them is like giving toys or candy to a child.” He said, “It just becomes my passion to help them get into that car, so then we begin evaluating it. Are you really excited about this car? If they are, it becomes my job to figure out the financing, how do they sell their old car.” To him, he felt good every time he sold a car, because that’s where he came from.
To Ed’s point, it’s amazing what a root of success that is. When you’re coming from there, it is the root of what causes you to be successful. Thoughts, questions?
Thank you guys very much.