I have always said that everyone is in sales. Maybe you don’t hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales. – ZIG ZIGLAR
Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind. – RALPH WALDO EMERSON
On truTV’s comedy show, Impractical Jokers, four guys (jokers) play a game whereby they each take turns out in random public places doing and saying whatever they’re told by the other three via hidden earpiece microphone.
The episodes where they have to simply say outlandish stuff are hilarious. The episodes where they have to get people to do crazy things are a lesson in human behavior, and therefore in sales.
If you want to be a good salesperson (and you should), don’t study sales techniques; study psychology. Study people.
I was the #1 sales broker at a financial brokerage for ten years. I’ve gone on to build and sell multiple businesses where sales and marketing were the name of the game. Not once have I read so much as one book or course on sales ever.
Sales techniques are for people who inherently suck at sales. If you have to rely on them, you’re never going to be a top performer, and you’re probably in the wrong profession.
Here’s a short list of stuff off the top of my head that the guys on Impractical Jokers have talked (sold) complete strangers into doing:
– Taking their shoes off and throwing them across Central Park while chanting the dumbest words ever (with no promise of reward for doing so)
– Getting into the trunk of a dealership car and letting the joker (posing as a car salesman) slam it shut and proceed to sell the car to his friend. His friend found nothing strange about it
– Holding hands, kissing, and/or groping the jokers in weird places. Both guys and girls.
– Tipping the jokers for doing the absolute stupidest most worthless stuff you can possibly imagine. For example, in one show the joker was posing as a street caricature artist. He berated the customer the entire time (“Would you mind looking a little less depressed and slightly more Asian?”), and then presented the customer a drawing of a fat Buddha shooting heroin.
– Buying a 2012 Dracula figurine nutcracker off the street
– Buying a horseshoe that belonged to The Secretariat who their grandfather used to train (yeah right)
– Buying a Popsicle for $1 that they kept under their armpit
– Buying a flask they just stole from a guy they supposedly murdered
I’m telling you this for two reasons:
1. To help you see that people will do way crazier things than buy your insurance policy, real estate, Cutco knives, Amway distributorship or whatever in the heck it is you sell.
2. To illustrate the #1 secret to selling anything, anywhere to anyone.
And that secret is:
Expect the sale.
“Life is largely a matter of expectation.” – Horace
Don’t hope for it. Don’t believe for it. Don’t beg for it.
Command it even.
Expect it to the degree that, if you were to not get it, you would be genuinely shocked to the very core of your being. You would have a hard time making sense of the fact that you didn’t get the sale. It just wouldn’t even register in your mind. It would make no sense. “The prospect must be clinically insane,” might be one of the first things you would assume. “There must be a glitch in the Matrix,” might be the second.
The guys in Impractical Jokers are able to get people to do seemingly impossible things simply because they expect the people to do them. Plain and simple.
People don’t like not living up to expectations. They got enough of that for eighteen years straight from age 0-18. They are now programmed to do what’s expected of them, and there is a powerful aversion to letting someone down.
Be the parent they no longer have.
Expecting the sale is very different from the classic “assume the close” gimmick. Assuming the close is a technique. Expecting the sale is a powerful mindset resulting in energy and action that all the forces of hell cannot stand against. The devil himself would buy a batch of pitchforks from you if you expected it enough. And he already has like a hundred of those.
Expecting the sale is the very foundation of sales success. When you expect the sale your prospect or potential customer can sense it. They can feel in their bones that they have stepped into someone’s reality that is much bigger than their own. Their belief that they don’t need anything is DWARFED by your expectation that they might physically die if they don’t have what you’re about to make them buy.
You have to expect the sale more than your prospect expects to say “no.” In other words, you have to be the bigger person.
When it comes to persuasion, whoever believes the most wins. The weaker belief system is sucked into the dominant frame.
A frame is a way of seeing things. Your goal is to get everyone to see things realistically – A.K.A. “your way”. And realistically, your potential customer is going to suffer horribly without your product or service. They can’t just be told this. They have to feel it.
The following are two subtleties of expectant selling. There’s probably ten or more, but these are the two most powerful.
1. Don’t ask. Direct.
Stop asking questions.
This is your world. You’re the director, and your prospect is an actor waiting for cues and instruction. Don’t ask. Direct.
“Would you like to take it for a test drive?” becomes, [after tossing the keys to the future customer] “Let’s take this bad boy for a spin! Get in!” And then get in the passenger seat expecting them to follow. They will. When you get back (after encouraging them to take it over 100 mph) say, “That was fun! Come on inside, I’ll show you what it looks like on paper.” Then just turn around and walk inside. No questions asked.
“Would you like to set an appointment sometime so I can show you everything in detail?” becomes, “We need to meet next week. Unfortunately I can’t though because I’m completely booked. I have a 3:30 on the 14th. Let’s do that.”
“Why?” becomes “Let me tell you a story about a friend of mine who just said those same words and died within 7 days.”
“’Why’ questions have little value. At best they get justifications or long explanations which do nothing to change the situation.”
― JOHN SEYMOUR, Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming: The New Psychology of Personal Excellence
“Will you … ?” becomes, “What you’re going to want to do is …”
“Can you …?” becomes “You can …” When the joker sold the stolen flask he did it by handing it to the person and saying, “You can go ahead and take it for $20.” He didn’t ask for the sale. He commanded it.
“What do you think?” becomes you would just never say anything like that because their thoughts are irrelevant. They don’t know what’s best for them or how they should act. You do. You’re the director.
“The customer doesn’t know what they want until we give it to them.” – STEVE JOBS
In essence, there is no more selling. There is only directing. And when an actor gets insubordinate? Just fire them and replace them with a more reasonable one. Much easier and way less stress.
This may all sound impossible to you right now. I promise you this is how I live my entire life. I am the director of my world, and everyone in it knows it. It all boils down to the fact that human beings were born to be programmed (to take orders). Your job is to be the programmer.
Think this sounds unethical? Reread the gospels. Jesus didn’t do a lot of asking. He did a lot of commanding, even in ordinary circumstances.
Don’t sell. Tell.
2. Make the prospect feel like they are lucky you’re even talking to them. They are.
You have to flip the script in the normal sales process. The normal script reads something like: The prospect is god and the salesman is a humble petitioner.
You have to turn this around.
So, for instance, I currently mentor people for anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000. But I won’t even get on the phone with you until you’ve watched a video presentation where I weed out everyone I don’t want, filled out an application, AND put down a deposit.
Are you getting this? You have to apply for the privilege – the chance – of giving me $25,000. And when I get on the phone with you, the first thing I’m going to do is make you give me three good reasons I should work with you. At no time will I ever let you flip the script on me. The second you do it – normally by asking me a question – I’ll ignore what you said and proceed to tell you a story that will maybe indirectly answer your question (maybe not) but without giving up my positioning as the director in the story that is this particular moment in time. You are in my world; I’m not in yours.
Be the guru at the top of the mountain. No one questions the guru.
Speak from a place of authority and power, not of subordination and weakness.
Find creative ways to make yourself scarce, hard to get to, sought after, seemingly swamped with business, etc. Don’t ever accept the prospect’s suggestions for dates or times to do things. Whatever they suggest, you’re always booked that time. Suggest a later date (not sooner) that works best for you.
Make them sell you on selling them.
Expecting the sale takes extraordinarily high levels of self-confidence. Get some of that.
Is there more to selling than expecting the sale? Of course. You have to know your product, numbers, and industry. You need to know how to tell compelling stories. You need to be likable and trustworthy. But most of all you need to be a beast. A spiritual, mental, emotional physical BEAST. And beasts expect to get what they want. Every time.
p.s. Use this power for good and not evil. If what you’re selling sucks, you suck for selling it. Be the best and sell the best. Anything less is uncivilized.