The episode's transcription:
When I went out into the streets, 'cause my job within this vitamin-mineral supplement company was to be able to sell well-researched nutraceuticals, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, medical foods, and things like that to doctors to resell to their patients who are having clinical health problems.
That was my job. And I would go out there and make what I thought were great presentations with a couple of trial closes, and I would go for the close at the end, but my closing rate was only 19%. The average within the company was only 27%, but mine was 19% and I was like "Well, I'm not even at average yet." I was starting out. But that's not an excuse. So my mentor came out with me and, if you don't have a mentor, find one as soon as possible.
Even if they're not with your company, find one as soon as possible, someone who knows more about your industry, especially with an individual who's more seasoned or elderly. They love to share. We'll get into how we can get more mentors in your life. But, what my mentor said to me when he went out with me, his name is Tony Gena, Tony said, "Adam, I want you to, "in this first day with me, ask twice as many questions, "even though it may be uncomfortable." I'm like, "Okay." So the more questions I asked in that first day, my closing rate went up to about 45%. More than doubled, when I doubled the amount of questions. I found an interesting correlation with this, because I tried to triple it the next day, and in my attempt to triple it, my closing rate reached 60%, almost, like, over tripled it.
So these are very important aspects. There is a direct ratio in most scenarios to asking questions and your closing rate going up. And I've noticed this within training so many different sales people in so many industries. So push yourself. It may seem hard to fit more questions in there, but after a while you start to become a really eloquent interviewer, and that's the job, many times, in regards to consultative sales, is to interview, and find out what the real needs are. One of the things that we do though, many times, is something called the drop. Has anybody ever heard of the drop? Nobody heard of the drop?
Actually, it's funny. One of the, a person who was the head of a large recruiting company, I believe within Israel, just took my class two weeks ago, this class, and he wrote an entire article out there. He has a lot of different followers, and it says, "stop the drop, "and come up with better questions", and I was mentioned through all of it. The drop is something that we all do. Now this is a time for you to raise your hands, get points, and be honest, okay? So basically, what is the drop? Let's take a look at it. You think you know what someone is about to say, so you interrupt them, finish their thought, to expedite the conversation, or to prove that you're on the same page with them. How many people have done this before?
Come on, be honest! Honesty gets you points here. There we go, great! So everybody's done it before, but they did research on this drop. Once again, the American Management Association, who does lots of research on sales as well, 'cause one of the big areas is sales management that they teach about. They found out that the problems with the drop always have either people feeling disrespected or talked down to, you get incomplete and false information, and it makes you look like you've got a superiority complex, what we call in Brooklyn, New York, being cocky. So the bottom line on this whole thing is there's no upside to doing the drop. You may think, oh, I have to butt in to show them that I know the subject as well as them. No.
Maybe I need to expedite the situation, because we need to do this faster and I just don't have the time for this. In many cases, if that's a person of influence over you, that's not gonna help you either. The drop is always a net negative. When you stop the drop, it makes people feel respected. You get a lot more information, so you're able to sell or influence better. It makes them feel like you're actually on their team and it makes them more receptive to your input. These are important things. The next area is an amazing question, and they did some actual research on this, the American Management Association, and has quizzed a lot of sales people, and this amazingly powerful question, is something that so many sales people shied away from in their presentations, asking the question, what do you like about my competitor? Yet it's an amazingly powerful question, so why don't we go a little bit further with this?
The objective of asking this question is find out what's important to them in a vendor. Find out what builds loyalty to the vendor that they're currently using. Maybe it's you, maybe it's someone else. And then also, there's a technique within this approach to open them to redefining their loyalties away from that competitor, and making it more towards their loyalties to themselves. It's a very interesting approach. I'll share that with you, so you can actually get more of their business. And then replace the competitor's products and or services with yours, obviously. So let's take a look at how this breaks down, but let's take a look at it with inside a scenario that happened to me. I basically found myself in a scenario where Dr. Jacobson, in New York City, had just asked for what's known as a call tag.
A call tag is to pick up product that they didn't want anymore. And it was a call tag for our products to send them back, and the estimated value of the amount of bottles they were sending back, remember, the average cost per bottle is between $5 and $30. This was over $10,000. So this person was literally sending back all of our product. I get a phone call from my customer service department saying, " This person just asked for a call tag "for 10 grand", and I'm like, "Wow." So the product was still there inside their office, but they're requesting that we give them a call tag to be able to send it back, 'cause it's one of the services we offer in smaller scenarios, but usually not in a scenario this large, where they're just returning a dozen or something like that. So I decide to give a call over to Dr. Jacobson's office. They set up an appointment with me to be able to speak with her.
I think it was the next day. No, it was the day after that. It was on a Friday. I called on a Wednesday, and basically speaking, I walked in there and all the sudden, I see all our products packed up in the original boxes, and I see on the wall, an entire wall of our competitor, known as Ortho Molecular. And I'm standin' there goin', "Hey Dr. Jacobson, what's up". And she says, "Yeah, I know you saw it." I'm like, "So what do you like about Ortho Molecular, "my competitor, so much". She says, "Well, Adam, I gotta be quite honest. "The rep came in here and really sold me on the fact that "they do way more research than you do "on their products, and they offer a lot more "educational courses on how to use the products effectively "with the patients. "So, I made a decision on this one." I'm like, "Well, I wish you would have called me, "but lemme ask you a question right here. "First of all, I know", and this is where I started changing the loyalty. "I know that you've known Bobby Anderson over there "at Ortho Molecular for a long time, "and you actually went to chiropractic school with him, "so I know you have a long relationship with him, "but I know one thing for sure. "Your priority is not to him, it's to your patients "and getting the best outcomes, right".
She says, "Of course it is! "I wanna be able to do the best for my patients. "Bobby and I are friends, but I wanna do "the best for my patients. "That's the number one priority." I said, "Just so you know, we're all on the same base here. "So, if I were to be able to show you "that we do approximately four times "as much published research as they do, "on our products than they do on theirs, "and on top of that, if I could show you "we give twice as much educational opportunities "for you to learn, considering we're about the same price, "then obviously this would help you "and help your patients, and since your priority is there, "this would allow us to be able to "maybe open up some of these boxes "and put them back on the shelf".
She says, "Well, I don't know. "Bobby told me this, this, and this." I said, "Well let's take a look at the facts now". Any good sales person has to know competitive data. If you don't know your competitive data, don't walk in the door. Do the research. So I had my competitive data, and I showed exactly what studies they did, what we did, and we did four times as many studies, including studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association in association with Harvard. So she was like, "I didn't know you have studies like that." I'm like, "You know something, "maybe I didn't do my job in regards to "showing you enough, so I apologize". She says, "No, this is very inter. "You have a study on that product. "I love that product." I'm like, "yeah". And then I showed her all of the webinars that we have, which actually have CEU accreditations for continual education units.
She says, "I didn't know you had webinars." I said, "Once again, I didn't know you were "interested in webinars, but it is my fault. "I do apologize". I said, "And there's this webinar, right now", and we actually got Dr. Robert Silverman, who is the person who gave me, you know the last rep I had a problem with became my friend. We had him as a speaker. I said, "Since you're in the area, "working with sports nutrition and sports activity, "I'd like to sign you up for this webinar. "It's 100% free, and all you pay for is the CEU".
She says, "I'll sign up for that, definitely". So basically I stood with her and I said, "Listen, "a lot of people propose a lot of different things, "and a lot of people say a lot of things, "but these are the facts". And I showed her the sheets showing the comparisons. She says, "You know, I'm gonna have to have "a conversation with my guy over there at Ortho." She says, "For right now, we're not gonna return this. "We may return some of it." And I'm like, "Okay well, I'd appreciate "us sitting down together to figure out "what best serves your patients, "because once again, your priority is not to me "it's not to your friend over there in Ortho, "it's to your patients".
She says, "Yeah, I know." So we left it in that position, because basically speaking, most individuals have a sub-conscious attachment to their sales reps. It's very, very interesting. The connection they have with their sales reps, often times overrides their logic as it relates to shopping around when they take on a new product as it relates to really making sure that the sales rep that they have a relationship with is constantly staying at a certain standard. They just take it for granted that their products are good because of the relationship. I sat down once with a major doctor in New York City, the author of a best seller known as "Spent", Dr. Frank Lipman, a medical doctor in New York City, and Frank Lipman, I said to him, "Why do you buy products from us? "You don't even listen to my presentation on the research, "and you don't even take the research".
He says, "I buy 'cause I know you, "and I know your boss, who's the father of "functional medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Bland." And I looked at him and I said, "I said, I appreciate that. "I really do appreciate that, "but you may want to take a look at the studies, "'cause it'll help you with the application, "and the understanding of why we're different". He didn't look at that, and guess what happened? He made friends with somebody else, and the product was highly inferior. So what you're trying to be able to get from them is the following: you're trying to be able to, in saying, what do you like about my competitor, you're trying to find out what their hot buttons are. What is important to them? Reveal how your products and services, then, you reveal how your products and services have the same qualities, if not better, in those areas of hot buttons. If quality is not an important thing for them, don't be standing there telling them about quality all day. Find out what the hot buttons are. And then, I'm about to give you something that is worth all of your time here times 10, if you just did this one thing, it's called the consultative close.
The consultative close took my closing rate from 19%, this consistently took my closing rate from 19% to 73% overnight by doing this one close, and I did it with everybody over a 15 year period of time in sales. And I taught it afterwards for 10 years, and it was the major reason why people double, tripled, and quadrupled the closing rate. How many people would like to know that close? Y'all ready? Let's show it to you. It's known as the consultative close. It looks really simple, but it works on the subconscious mind a lot, and I'll describe why. Here's the close. It used to be for me: "Doctor, with what I know of your practice, "would you mind if I made a recommendation?" It sounds simple right, like ah, it's nothin' to it. How would that be able to do anything fabulous? But, there's a certain amount of psychological influencing going on here. By the way, I would say it to every single one of my doctors, and I would visit them all about once a month, and they would laugh at me, and then going, "Oh, there's the close", but they'd still give me a 73% closing rate. So I laughed all the way to the bank on that one.
So the situation is, is why is this such an amazing close? The first part, let's analyze it. With what I know of your business, you're making a statement to them. Hopefully you asked a lot of questions during your presentation. Remember, you wanna ask four times as many questions. If you asked a lot of questions during the presentation, you're reinforcing the fact, and then finally stating it here, that you're a consultant, not a sales person. So you say, "With what I know of your business". They're like, "Well, you obviously do, "because you asked a lot of questions". And you're a consultant right now, so my guard is starting to come down a little bit as opposed to a sales person trying to shove something down my throat. And then you say, "Would you mind if I "made a recommendation". This is really cool, this part. In a culmination or an interaction between a sales person and someone who is getting possibly sold like a prospective client, there is a power struggle.
The person who is being sold will always put up their shield and hold on to the power, 'cause they don't wanna give up their power and become powerless to the ways of the sales person. They want to remain in control. By asking if you would mind if you made a recommendation, they can remain in control while still opening up their doors to your recommendation. So it allows them to stay in control in the power struggle, yet be open to your recommendation, which is what you're offering them. This, overnight, changed my numbers, and consistently kept them that way.
And in addition to that, this approach, in and of itself, when I taught it to others, was highly duplicatable. So by utilizing this whether it be, what I know of your business, or what I know of your practice, or what I know of your foundation, whatever it is, that's the part that changes, keep all the rest the same. I tried over 25 years, so many different versions, trying to make it better. Just couldn't make it better, because I tested them all. And I checked the metrics on them all. Don't try to change this up front. Do it the way it comes out right here. "With what I know if your business, "would you mind if I made a recommendation?" After they say yes, by the way, only two people in 25 years in both being in the field and training, and in the field, only two people said no after that question, and those two were very, very sensitive to any form of sales approach whatsoever, like so sensitive that literally, they could see a salesman from 30 miles away with radar attached to their head.
So that is an extreme situation, but the vast majority said yes. After they nod their head or say yes, then give them a good recommendation, not a recommendation that's all about you, a recommendation that meets their needs. Here's an example. When I was in sales and I was out there, I would take a look at the way individuals would buy products when they first started a new product. Someone would start with six bottles, some of them start with just three. Some of them would always start out enthusiastic, and they start out with like 36 bottles. It was rare, but it happened.
I took a look at their buying habits, and when I said, would you mind if I made a recommendation*, if I had an individual who's always bought and tried a new product with just six bottles, I wasn't about to stand there and go, I think you should start with 36, because that's now showing that you're a consultant. That's not showing that you have any knowledge of their business, or their patterns. Make sure it's a good recommendation for them. And then they will honor the rest of that statement of, A, you being a consultant, and B, I'm willing to give you permission to open up the gates and let you sell to me. Which allows me to be in control, but allows you to get the sale.
BTW - wander what the best business podcasts for 2019 are? There you go.
Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.
I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...
Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.
And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.
The cognitive load is real, y'all.
But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.
Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.
The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.
Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.
And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.
Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.
Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.
When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.
Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.