When I was a young buck, one of my first tasks as a sales guy was to contact this large cabinet maker.
I was trying to sell them a $60,000 website package. And if I got the contract, I’d personally get a $9,000 bonus in my pocket.
It seems small now, but it was HUGE to me back then.
I hustled together a meeting with the VP of marketing for this cabinet maker.
Their VP of marketing was amazing. I loved this guy… he was like a nice-old mid-western grandpa. And he was wonderful to me. Let’s call him Mr. Cabinet.
In a job (cold calling) where 95% of the people I contact hated me, Mr. Cabinet was so damn refreshing!
He WANTED to talk.
He WANTED to hear my ideas.
He WANTED to do business with me.
And I sure as hell WANTED that $9,000 bonus!
So as the meeting went on, I was more and more convinced Mr. Cabinet was ready to sign the contracts.
In this post we cover:
- The 3 questions you must ask in any sales call to avoid wasting time following up
- The one technique to find out if your prospect is a decision maker
- The common mistake most sales people make in proposals (I made this mistake for 5 years)
Back to Mr. Cabinet. He wanted our company to send a proposal, so we did. We spent a lot of time & money on it because we were so convinced this contract was in the bag.
The proposal went well!
Mr. Cabinet was smiling and shook my hand.
After one week of not hearing back, I sent an email to Mr. Cabinet explaining all the details.
Didn’t hear anything back.
Ok… no worries… I left a voicemail for him after a few days.
He emailed back a one-sentence email saying, “So sorry, I did get your email, but I haven’t had a chance to really look through it.”
Two months went by, and I kept contacting Mr. Cabinet and all I got was radio silence. I didn’t understand how the deal seemed like a sure thing… to complete radio silence.
To top off my rejection, the CEO of my company started blaming me for screwing up the deal!
—– Ok… let’s pause —– What the hell happened here?
This was a classic case of a deal gone bad, and I’m going to show you exactly what went wrong with Mr. Cabinet:
Essentially I was doing free consulting.
You see, buyers are smart. They know you’ll do a bunch of free work for them, educate them on everything that’s important, how they should do it, what the timeline is…
They basically get EVERYTHING free from you.
So now they have your ideas, and can get one of their minions to do it for them.
All they have to do is show them the blueprint YOU gave them.
Essentially I did all the work and planning for Mr. Cabinet, allllll for free. Wonderful.
- I never asked Mr. Cabinet if he had a budget for this project.
- I never asked Mr. Cabinet if he was the decision maker.
- I never asked Mr. Cabinet if he was the guy who would write the check.
So here’s the three of the 47 questions from our Breakthrough Sales Training. Ask these questions before investing time in a person like Mr.Cabinet.
1. “What’s your budget?”
Trust me, this sounds like a simple question, but it will take you a LOOONNGG way. I am SHOCKED by how many rookie salespeople fail to ask this simple question.
Most people get scared they will refuse to answer, but in my experience, almost every person gives me some reasonable estimation of what they can spend.
If their estimate sounds good… we can continue. If their estimate sounds like they have zero budget, I won’t waste my time.
(FYI, I cover my “Bucket Technique” to counter this question here).
2. “If you did want to work with us, I’m not saying you do, but if you did what’s your decision-making process look like?”
This is a “magic-question” that is vague on purpose. It tells you who’s involved, what they would need in the proposal, if legal needs to get involved etc.
Warning – don’t ask, “Are you the decision maker” as they will say “yes”, and it seems confrontational.
3. “Who else is involved?”
If they say, “I have to take this to my boss”… then you immediately know they’re not the decision maker. This is a huge huge huge huge red flag that you’re wasting your time, and your calls will eventually stopped getting answered.
These three questions sound so simple don’t they?
But if you make sure to ask these three questions to prospects, it’ll save you from:
- Getting drawn into long-ass conversations with tire-kickers.
- Spinning your wheels just to hear things are moving in a different direction.
- Slogging through long sales cycles.
Look… I don’t normally talk like this, but there’s only so many things you can screw up in a deal and I’ve done them all.
I’ve literally codified every single mistake you can make. The problem is when you make a mistake you don’t even know the mistakes you’re making, and you don’t know WHEN you’re making the mistakes.
So you can go do sales the same way you’ve always been doing it, or you can save yourself a lot of time and angst, and make a hell-of-a-lot more money by listening to me.
I’ve got three ways you can listen to me:
TWO: You can consult with me directly, and I can coach you (Expensive, but worth it).
THREE: If you have an organization with a bunch of people selling, I can generate leads for you. This is on a performance basis. (pay-per-lead).
Note: You must be an owner of sales manager to apply. We cannot accept salespeople into the program.