Imagine you walk up to Ali Khamenei, The Supreme Leader of Iran, and ask him to model an American-flag Speedo swimsuit for you.
Does he politely say “Oh, no thank you”? No! Of course not! He says “Oh, no thank you … guards, kill this man.”
”I give you this visual to make it clear: ask tough questions at the wrong time to grumpy customers – you get unknown and unwanted answers...and some bad results.
It’s the same way a person responds when you ask for $50 million, and pretty much every time is the wrong time for that question.
I’ve heard people say, “50 million? Uh, no. We’re taking a pass on this” or “We don’t get it”, or my favorite … “Hey…do me a favor and lose my number.”
But so what? THIS IS OUR JOB: to chase deals and ask tough questions, to talk to strangers and ask them for money, and to ask things like, “Will you invest 50 million here?”.
The Pitch Industries team knows firsthand – We are all hardwired to chase things we want.
That hardwiring means we need to chase, search and hunt in order to be self-fulfilled. Once we want something, then we really go after it.
I remind you our ancestors wanted things too…like food. They had to hunt every single day, and it was absolutely essential they knew how to find large prey, pursue it over a period of days, catch it using their bare hands and a few sticks.
Today, who hunts food? You aren’t hungry right now, but you are still hunting for something: If I’m guessing right, it’s a deal that you need to close by the end of the year.
Think about what happens after you give a great presentation to a potential buyer for a deal. First, you knew it was good because…hey, that’s what you do, you give great presentations!
The buyer responded well and you think to yourself that they really liked you…really liked you! They laughed at your jokes, they listened to your pitch, they asked good questions and now your “expected revenue” pipeline just got fatter.
With the sale on track, you feel good, and can go back to surfing Amazon for important Holiday purchases such as a WiFi-connected can-opener. At this moment, you have no conscious thoughts about “hunting.”
But your ancestral tendencies are active below the surface, and some invisible emotional forces will soon act on you in ways than will interfere and prevent you from ever closing this deal: Let me explain:
24 HOURS AFTER THE PITCH: you’ve sent the appropriate follow-up email thanking the buyer for his time and stating some version of “Hey, great to meet you…thanks for taking the time…looking forward to working together…let me know if you have any further questions.”
(If you’re familiar with Oren Klaff and the sales career-saving, best-selling sales book of the past 5 years Pitch Anything, you already know these are true signals of neediness and supplication, and the sale has now sadly started turning in the wrong direction.)
48 HOURS AFTER THE PITCH: you haven’t heard back and begin to wonder, what could have gone wrong, and begin playing back the meeting, minute-by-minute, looking for slip-ups, misstatements or breach of trusts that could have offended or “turned-off” the buyer. Hmmm…nothing comes to mind.
Then the weekend hits.
5 DAYS AFTER THE PITCH: The customer has gone cold and questions start to play in your mind. It’s been almost a full week since your presentation, you had hoped to be in deep conversation about service levels, payment and contract terms, and delivery dates. But there’s a fear in the pit of your stomach, as you realize: it’s time for action! It’s time to get back the buyer back to the table!
So you make a phone call dripping with neediness, get their voicemail and leave a somewhat desperate message:
“Hey Josh, um…wanted to touch base and see if this is a good time to get back through to you and maybe talk about the meeting we had last week and um…try to push things forward. Hey…in case you didn’t see my email and proposal, I’ll go ahead and send it again.”
Then, you send another email follow-up, equally as needy and impotent.
6 DAYS AFTER THE PITCH: tumbleweeds. It’s time to do something more dramatic. This is a valuable account, it’s on my forecast and in my pipeline and you’re not going to stand by and let it walk away to the competition! You will do “whatever it takes” to get the conversation restarted.
If only they would pick up the phone or answer my email!
Now here’s what’s happening inside your mind:
Your ancestral hunting instincts are kicking in. Big time.
For your ancestors, time would “be up” by now. They simply could not invest more than 3-5 days hunting down any single meal-ticket; they simply didn’t have the endurance.
You may think you’re so modern and social, but these traits are still active within you, driving your decisions.
A dozen internal alarm bells are going off. You feel panic rise as your meal-ticket is running into the abysss.
At this moment, you are thoroughly inside your own head and you think, “Oh no! The competition is stealing this account right out from under me.”, and you ask yourself, “Why isn’t this person responding?? … “
Suddenly you feel the urge to discount, to do something/anything that will restart the conversation… the hunt continues.
”There's real science behind this: you're experiencing a cognitive shortcoming that makes us believe people think like us more than they actually do.
Now, something bad is about to happen: you’re going to send an email suggesting a discount (or better financing terms, more product for less money, extra features, free service, etc., but it’s still a discount. And why should you give away your commission dollars like so frivolously?)
Control your instincts here, they’re wrong.
Do not send that email!
Because, in the meantime, here’s what’s happening inside the prospect’s mind:
They are busy going about their own business, and they aren’t thinking anything positive or negative about you because they aren’t thinking about you at all.
They still need your product and service and are still interested, but it’s been a busy week and they’re planning to circle back, eventually, both as professional courtesy and because they are still a real buyer.
If anything, they’re flexing their muscles. They know it’s always valuable to signal the upper hand to the you, the seller, they’re in control of the timeline, not you.
So you’re frustrated, because:
- You expected things to be moving along faster,
- Communications have completely stalled out.
- Your professional (but very needy and light-duty) attempts to reconnect and get the deal back on track aren’t working
- Too much time has gone by.
I’ve been in these situations many times, lost a few, but won many, so let me tell you this: If you stick to the right process, you can still win the deal.
Here are the steps to take:
First, expand your timeframe:
While you might think 2-4 days is the right follow-up period, you are projecting your personal timeline and personal needs on an organization you know very little about. Perhaps widen your game plan to a 14-day or 21-day timeframe for a buyer to truly engage.
Again: as individuals trapped inside our own minds 24/7, it’s often difficult for us to project outside the bounds of our own consciousness and preferences and pace. We tend to assume that most people think and act and make decisions just like us — even though there usually isn’t justification for this feeling.
Second, it might be a good time to review (or get your hands on) Pitch Anything again where Oren covers extensively the concept of, “Why People Want What They Can’t Have.”
Third, start taking options away: increase the price, reduce the included maintenance, remove the free installation, take away the monthly payment terms. This will trigger scarcity and reengagement; although it seems counterintuitive, ask your more experienced colleagues: they know — at this point you cannot add more value by offering free services or discounts. It is time to offer less, not more.
Finally, remember it is much more difficult to solve these problems after they are created. If you go into meetings prepared more fully, you’ll have fewer stalled deals, and you’ll find it much easier to close.
(You can learn more about how Oren’s sales methodology and Pitch Industries is pushing the boundaries of modern sales theory here.)
Today, customers are getting smarter, faster and tougher. There is an incredible backlash against salespeople who are merely cramming and oversharing massive amounts of information into their pitch and somehow thinking that, “The more content that the client hears from me, the more compelling I am making myself!”
So why doesn’t this work anymore?
Because information in and of itself doesn’t sell, today, you need an intriguing and compelling pitch that gets attention and converts to revenue.
The quality and sequencing of your pitch – and how fast you can deliver it – will determine how many people will look at your offer, consider it, and then buy.
Our goal at Pitch Industries is to help you compete against any company, stand up to the toughest customer and break through to the most notoriously difficult-to-meet with buyers and investors.
”Our team has raised nearly $2 billion in capital for companies and has helped directly generate over $300 million through direct B2B direct sales and these techniques.
When you’re working and training with Oren and our entire Pitch Mastery Team, you are working with the best sales and messaging experts in the world. We write the pitch decks and craft the high dollar, high stakes sales presentations for leading tech companies like Google and Symantec, web services firms like Amazon, financial services organizations such as Wells Fargo and USBank, and even an automobile maker like Lamborghini…and pretty much every other industry there is. Our presentations and methodologies are used by thousands of salespeople and executives (and CEO’s) every day. My suggestion is to usethese next few weeks as we end the sales year to educate yourself on the same practical insights and methods that have secured thousands of deals for hundreds of millions of dollars. Contact someone on the Pitch Industries team for some simple methods to transform the predictable, ineffective, and underwhelming performance behaviors of your sales team into something that can make 2019 your best year yet.
Then you can finally be free to sport that Speedo with pride!
See you at the top!