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Lessons learned from an experienced sales coach: Martin Stellar
A couple of ground rules that everybody should consider adopting.
If the price is an objection, that’s something you can discuss, but if they want to start lowering the price or they complain that for Martin Stellar is an instant no.
Punctuality is also very important, indicating a lot about the personality and about the way the process is going to proceed.
You learn more about:
- Qualified vs non-qualified buyers
- Fears, frustrations, wants, and aspirations
- Criteria to ignore leads
- Customer empathy and psychological models
And all these in less than 11 min.
Martin Stellar: Hi there, I’m Martin Stellar. I help nice people sell more. So I’m a coach and a consultant for ethical sales and business growth.
Spyros Tsoukalas: Martin, welcome to the GrowthMentor Podcast. Having spoken with you in the past few times, I’m amazed to have you here today to learn more about sales and high-value buyers. So, could you tell us something we don’t know about closing sales with high-value buyers?
Martin Stellar: They are much easier to close than low-value buyers. And why is that? Because when somebody is a low-value buyer, they have a cost mindset, they are looking at an expense and have to justify that. People who are looking at very extensive packages, large programs, and people who have a budget, are very much of the investment mindset. So, they are not looking at what’s going out, but what it’s going to bring in return. And so the dialogue that you have with that buyer is going to be much more constructive. Instead of having to overcome all kinds of objections, they’re going to involve you in figuring out whether or not this is the right decision, and it’s going to yield and return to the one.
Spyros Tsoukalas: Awesome. Thanks for sharing, this is actually new to me. So, how do you separate qualified buyers and nonqualified buyers, according to your way of thinking?
Martin Stellar: It’s very personal, everybody has their own rules. But a couple of ground rules that everybody I think should consider adopting is people who handle if the price is an objection, that’s something you can discuss. But if they want to start lowering the price, or they complain, or the competitor is cheaper, that for me is an instance. Now, if we go there, then we’re probably not right for each other, people who don’t show up on time, I’m very particular about punctuality, I think it indicates a lot about the personality, and also about the way the process is going to go forward. People start showing up late or missing appointments. That’s a big warning sign, people who fight for their own limitations. So well, we can do it this way. And we can implement that for you. And yeah, but we’ve already tried that. Look, if you want to tell me why you’re right, and I’m wrong, then why do I have to be in this room? Because you already know it is right. So there is this learning what this other person is like, and figuring out whether you are a good match or not. And so what I tell people is to create a list of reasons why somebody is disqualified. So people who waste your time, people who haggle, people who don’t show up on time, people who don’t deliver the things that they said they need. There are all kinds of reasons why somebody is in the end going to be a bother to you. For all those reasons, put them on the list, I call that a no list. And when you see that show up in your life with a particular buyer, you can safely disqualify that person and move on to people who don’t have any of the elements of the knowledge. So anybody listening, if you feel frustrated by some of the buyers, start collecting the reasons why you’re frustrated, why you’re not happy with them, why you let them go, why they make you frown when you see their email coming, make that list, keep it near your computer, revise it frequently. And feel free to be a little bit aggressive about disqualifying people. Because you might think that you have to win this client, but this client actually has to win you because there are 1000s of clients out there who might be willing to give you money, but there’s only one you. You are the prize. So don’t chase people, and don’t try to win them over. Have your buyer qualify themselves for you, instead of your way around. You don’t have to do a dog and pony show to be right for the buyer so that they say okay, yes. Now you both have to prove that you are qualified to be in this working relationship together, you as well as the buyer.
Spyros Tsoukalas: And this is actually step number one out of your amazing approach that I have read about in the past. We have discussed it again, actually. You just described how you can ignore a part of potential buyers that you shouldn’t be paying attention to. So, I remember that step number two is about paying attention to what the other buyers now would say and showing empathy, and approaching them appropriately. Would you elaborate on that?
Martin Stellar: Yeah, look, a lot of people who are in a similar position, start going into pitch mode. Well, let me tell you what we have. Let me show you our deck. This is our process, leader services, prices, features and benefits, and everything that’s included. And when you do that, you might be completely off the mark. They might be sitting there wondering when can I ask a question because I have this great concern that I need to address before I’m needed to have addressed before I’m open talking about your services. So, if you go into the pitch mode too soon, the chance is really, really high that you lose the buyer, you lose their interest. But instead, what you want to do is ask questions, try to figure out what is wrong in this person’s life, what they’re stuck with what the cost is of keeping the problem so that you start to understand whether or not they’re the right fit, what exactly they want solving whether or not you can solve it. And at the same time, ask them those questions. You create the clarity that they need in order to get to a decision, the decision to buy or too low buy. And you cannot make a decision if you’re confused. So, when you position yourself in a sales conversation, as the person who serves the interest of the buyer, trying to help you get a clearer picture of exactly what is the problem, how big it is, how costly it is, and whether it’s worth it, to solve it. And you’re welcome to tell me no, if it is not right for you, then the buyer feels that you are being a steward over their situation, and the goal that they want to achieve. And that puts them at ease which creates trust. And it also demonstrates that you have the empathy that you need in order to actually understand their situation. So everything revolves around being really perceptive about the other person so that you can calibrate your messaging to what they need to hear in order to get the clarity, the confidence to trust, and to get to a decision whether to yes or no.
Spyros Tsoukalas: And the decision is related to booking a call and during a call and meeting you. So what’s next there? I mean, I know there are some psychological models that somebody can apply during those calls and some frameworks that can be followed in order to take this to the next step.
Martin Stellar: Yeah, well, when I’m on a call with people also, before I get on the call, I have a contact starts by email, for instance. There’s a framework I learned from talking more about a coach in Australia. And he talks about fears, frustrations, wants, and aspirations. And I’ve always found that very useful. So when you’re talking to your buyer, try to identify the three biggest fears that they have, what are they afraid of that something won’t get fixed, that something will stay stuck, that something breaks that something gets worse? Try to understand the three fears. What single frustration does that turn into? Right? If the three fears add up to one frustration, so if you sell a website, maybe they’re afraid you’re not going to deliver on time, they’re afraid that the website that you build won’t convert, and they’re afraid that they’re all investment will be a waste. They’re frustrated because they’ve been trying to get a better website for so long. And they’ve even invested money and got the wrong results. Then you get the wants and aspirations what is it that this person wants? What are the three main desires that they have? I want a website that works on a website that doesn’t bloody fall over all the time and breaks in on a website, that I can easily operate myself and configure things and add things without having to go through complicated menus. What do they aspire to? What is their main encompassing aspiration over those three desires? Well, it is that my website finally becomes a tool that I can leverage as an asset in my business. That is my aspiration. So those fears, frustrations, wants, and aspirations. They help you get a very good X-ray view of what life is like for your buyer. Because as a seller, you are not here to convince somebody, it’s not your job to convince or persuade or win anybody over. Your job is to figure out whether or not you are right for them. And they are right for you. And you do that by getting this X-ray that really shows you want to learn about your people, but you should position yourself as a student of this individual as if you were an anthropologist. That’s why I always say learn your people. But then the one thing on top of those four items, the fear, frustration, wants and aspirations go back to something that Steve Jobs said that people don’t buy a product, they buy a new version of themselves, and that is really powerful. So, we all have this way of seeing ourselves in the world, right? I am Martin and I do this I stand for this and I stand against that, that if I buy something, how does that change the person I am? What is the identity that I aspire to,? What is going to shift in me and the way I perceive myself in the world and the way I relate to people? And if you can identify that in the buyer like what is going to be the fundamental undercurrent shifts in a deposition in the world, then you can bypass all the trying to convince and persuade and explain and win them over and simply appeal to that next version of themselves. So fears frustrations, what are their wants and their aspirations? What new next version of themselves would they like to step into? Are you one to facilitate that change for them?
Spyros Tsoukalas: Those principles I guess can be adjusted to various different industries, right? Like any type of sales interaction.
Martin Stellar: Yeah, I mean, I don’t want to say that it’s universal for everything and everyone. But I can’t just now think of an example where it doesn’t buy. I mean, everybody has things that they’re afraid of and things that they want, and everybody buying something, does something that changes their identity, consult you.
Spyros Tsoukalas: Yes, definitely. Martin, thank you very much for explaining this complicated and challenging process in the startup world, and probably in the digital world as well, generically, in a few simple steps that can get us going.
Martin Stellar: My pleasure.
Spyros Tsoukalas: Thank you very much.
In this episode
Lifelong student of psychology and communication, ex-monk (sic), former copywriter. I help high-integrity entrepreneurs sell more because of – not despite – their values and ethics.
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