Natural Born Sellers by Chris Do
About this video
You were born with a superpower—the gift to influence others. You used this power to be fed and get attention. Over time, you forgot. You became self-conscious and afraid of rejection. You don’t need to learn how to sell. You need to remember how to be human. Sales is an act of service, done in the spirit of generosity. Join Chris as he explains how to sell without being salesy.
About Chris Do
Chris is an Emmy award-winning designer and the CEO of Blind, a Santa Monica-based brand strategy design consultancy. He also founded The Futur, an online education platform that teaches the business of design to creatives. He serves as chairman of the board for the SPJA and as an advisor to Saleshood. Chris has taught sequential design for over a decade at the Art Center College of Design and has lectured all over the world.
The first thing I wanted to share with you is, I have this observation. This observation is that when we talk about sales, we tend to think that if you're big, boisterous, extroverted energy, then you do sales. And if I know my people, most designers are introverts. Just by show of hands, how many people self-identify as introverts? Okay. Alright. And everybody else, what are you doing here? Because it's not real.
So here's the problem. The problem I see is that the extroverts are gregarious, they're social butterflies. They have the G of gab, you know what I'm talking about. They can walk into a room full of strangers and strike up a conversation and feel like family right away. And I'm outside in the window looking out in the cold. Like, how do I do that? 'cause I can't. And, and they're, they're charming. They draw people to them and they seem to get all the glory. And this is a struggle I think a lot of creative people deal with because you’re in the back room, you're doing the work, the good work, and you don't get the reward. I'd like to change that. And perhaps one of the, some of the most famous salespeople, are people on this list.
But I wanna draw your attention to one person in particular, Jordan Belfort. He's the Wolf of Wall Street. Have you guys, seen that movie? Leo DiCaprio, Wolf of Wall Street. And so he's doing all these aggressive things and manipulation and selling a lot of junk bonds. And so we kind of have this impression that you have to be like this to do this. So what about all of us? What are we supposed to do? And I'm here to try to empower creative people to make a living doing what it is they love. So we kind of have to entertain this idea of sales. And I'm not talking about just selling your idea, selling your vision. I'm talking about sales. Like sitting in front of a client and being able to do a business transaction with them. So if I were to ask you all how do you feel about salespeople, what kind of image would come up to your mind? Maybe they're very aggressive, manipulative, and we have that classic used car salesperson vibe that we get from them.
I don't know if you've ever been the victim or had to sit through a timeshare sales pitch. I have. It's horrific. So don't go for the free breakfast. Nothing in life is free. Okay? And I almost bought a timeshare I didn't want. So, you get this really icky feeling about it. And so if we walk around, we have this impression that to sell is to be like a snake, well, then, we're not gonna want to do it, or we're gonna have a bad attitude towards doing it. That feels fair, right? If you hate doing something, you're not going to get good at it. So I think what we do is we need to have an alternative to Mr. Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street, one, where it's more permission based, where you're actually giving or creating value to others that feels in alignment with who we are. That's led by curiosity and given in the spirit of generosity, that sounds a lot more palatable, right? But that's probably not the image that you have of a salesperson.
So I'm gonna help to reframe sales for you today so that you have a healthier relationship with the idea of sales. I'm getting messed up. I'm gonna stand over here. Okay, so a couple things you need to know.
1. Sales is change management. Have you heard of it? Described this way? Change management. Okay, so I'm gonna hopefully make a case for this concept here. So another way of looking at change management is somebody wants something and can't get it. This could be your client wanting a customer, your customer wanting a certain result, and you helping them to figure out what that looks like and how to get it. So, you just have to ask yourself two questions. What do they want? And what's getting in their way? And because we're in a room full of designers, I made a graphic for you. Much simpler. Okay? So just three parts. Just remember these three parts. There's a current state where you are today, and then there's a desired future state. So all of you, I'm gonna make this assumption that you're here today and you've given up some of your free time, given up some of your resources and the things you have to get done on that to-do list, because you want to achieve something. There's a result that you wanna achieve. That's fair, right? And so then you go buy a ticket to achieve that result. So if organizations like this understand you really well, what they need to do is communicate to you the desired future state that you’re interested in. So, some of you want to network, some of you want to connect with people you've not seen in a really long time. Some of you just wanna escape the house and get out. But some of you wanna learn something that you can walk away with today, that you can apply today and tomorrow to change your life. So, we know this, that if there's a current state and a desired future state, there's something that's getting in the way. So, if you want to be more effective in your skills of persuasion or helping clients achieve that, you have to identify what's the obstacle or the challenge that's getting in the way, that's clear, right? There's no obstacle, then, there's no friction. They're already in the desired future state.
2. Only by spending money will a problem go away. I'll give you a really basic example. If you need to make a flyer and you don't have a printer, you know you have to go to a print shop and have it done. If for whatever reason your plumbing explodes at your house in a really inconvenient time, and I guess there's no convenient time, you know that the only way you can do this, is either you know how to fix it, or, you have to call somebody to come to your place and fix it.
We have to spend money to make a problem go away so it doesn't feel so gross. And people already know this when they're reaching out to you. Now, this is a critical piece of information. How much they spend is proportionate to the size of the problem relative to the person who's buying, not to you, but to them. So, what you wanna do is you want to start looking for big problems to solve as it relates to the potential buyer of whatever it is that you do. Small problems, small budget, big problems, big budget.
3. When a prospect reaches out, when they call you, when they shoot you an email, when they slip in your dmm, you are already qualified. So many of us feel like, oh, how do I prove myself to them? What do I need to say? The fact that they're taking out time from their day to reach out to you means they've seen enough already. So you don't need to sell them at all. So, at the beginning of the conversation, you have goodwill and everything that you do afterwards is either going to erode or build on that will, build or diminish trust. Keep this in mind.
4. It takes a lot of pressure off your back. And that not all clients, or not all prospects, are clients. They have at least three options that I'm aware of. They can hire you. Of course, that's a preferred option. They can hire someone else or they can do nothing at all. So, when I started out my career as an entrepreneur trying to build the design practice, I always felt that there was only one option. Anybody ever feel this like, you must hire me. That's a lot of pressure to feel to have on that call. So you're bringing a lot of nervous energy and it's going to affect the way you talk, the way you behave and the way that you listen. So, when you realize this is great, because your job on that call, in that meeting, is to help them understand their problem and get clarity about what they need to do, so, they can make the best decision for themselves. I know you can hire someone else. So let's have a conversation about what your needs are to see if there's a potential good fit and if there is one that might warrant another conversation. And sometimes the best thing you could tell them is, I don't think you need to do anything at all.
So we don't want to sell. What we wanna do is, we want to help the clients align or we decline, align with their goals, with their resources, with their outcomes, and get them over their challenges. Or to say, this is not a good fit, not a good fit. You don't have a real problem or you don't have a problem I can solve. So, we're gonna make this shift. We're gonna go from being self-centred, talking about what it is that we do, how beautiful we are, how beautiful the things we make are, and the equipment that we use or our process. We wanna shift away from us to focus on the clients. So, we have to have an attitude or a mindset of serving others. We use this word in two areas that I can think of, usually in church and usually in the military. Thank you for your service. We're willing to do something, put someone else's needs ahead of ours.
We wanna shift away from giving advice or advising people what to do. And what we wanna do is get really good at asking questions. Beautiful, open-ended questions, which we'll dig into more a little bit later. We want to shift away from talking and to listening more. And you could use, you could play this game. Whoever asks more questions, wins. Whoever asks more questions is in control of the relationship. Think about that. And then you just listen. The next thing we need to do is when the clients tell us about the last bad experience they had with the creative, what we need to do is we need to look at that and feel that with them and empathize with what they're going through. We have to empathize that they have a lot of other problems that they’re dealing with, not just the one that we want them to focus on. And this is how we build meaningful connection with people.
And the last part is, instead of selling, we want to summarize. So, we wanna serve. We wanna ask, listen, empathize, and summarize. And that happens to be this acronym of sales. We're gonna reframe it, have the mindset of service. We're gonna ask more questions. And the cousin to asking questions is listening. We wanna empathize and we wanna summarize. And if you do this and you follow this exact framework, you'll never have to sell again. Or, at least you won't have to sell in the way that feels super salesy. I was really attracted to this book written by Zoe Chance and the book is called Is Your Superpower. And so Zoe posits this idea that we all have this natural ability to influence people pre-language when you want it to be fed as a baby. You knew what to do when your diaper was dirty. You knew what to do. So, in a way, then, we're all natural born sellers and we have to tap back into the energy and maybe set a different example of what it means to sell so that the world doesn't feel like it's so icky and gross.
And before I continue on, I have a little confession to make. I'm not a sales trainer. I'm not a sales expert. I haven't received any formal sales training. In fact, I used to hate selling. I hated it. And I wanna do something here. I want to dispel this, this idea that's been perpetuated throughout design schools in that if your work is good enough, you won't need to sell. How many people have heard this? How many people have said this? How many people believe this? Because there's a lot of you out there. So, what happens is, if we believe this, then we never acquire the skills that we need to acquire to flourish as a business, to have a conversation with business owners and we’ll always be regulated to the person who works on the box. Nothing wrong with that. I think there's a lot to love about that. But that should be by choice, not by default.
So, I'm gonna tell you a little bit about how I shifted away from hating sales to actually loving it and feeling really good about it. And I'm a bit of a sales nerd and I only use the word nerd 'cause it allows me to steal a joke from Don McMillan and I'll share it with you. Don McMillan is a really, a true nerd. He's a comedian that uses graphs and Venn diagrams. So, I'm gonna show it to you right now, right? So, he says that to be older, to be considered a nerd, you have to have three things.
You have to be really smart. You have to know what you're talking about, okay? To be a nerd, you have to be socially awkward. I see all of you. Okay, we'll just look down at each other. It's all good. And you have to be really obsessed about certain things. That's what is required to be a nerd. And I'm a sales nerd.
So, then he asks this question's like, what if you're really smart and obsessed? What does that make you, that makes you a geek? And what if you're really smart and you're socially awkward? Well, that would just make you a dork. So you know, we can all figure out who's who in this room in a little bit. Okay? So, then the big question is, what if you're obsessed and socially awkward? That would just make you a stalker. See how he makes use of this beautiful diagram. So. this is kind of where we all net out. You'll have to figure out whether you're a nerd, geek, dork, or a stalker. It's okay if you are one or the other. I won't judge you. So then you might be sitting there asking yourself, well, if he doesn't know anything, he's not an expert, he’s not been trained.
Why am I here teaching you or talking about sales? Well, because I think it's a critical skill for you to have that's gonna take you to the next level. And my story begins here. It's like I started my design firm in 1995. And in 2002, something seismic changes my life. Everything is different from this point. I meet my first and only business coach. He's since passed away. His name was Kiir McLaren. And Kiir asked me about my sales process. And to give you some context, back when I was working, I'm like five, uh, six years into my business at this point. And I'm getting to a certain point and I'm feeling really good about how it is, that I'm able to do what I do. So he's like, so what's the problem? Then? I said, here I feel like I'm hitting a financial ceiling.
That every job where we bid above $200,000, our win rate drops down to about one every five jobs. It was horrible 'cause it was extremely demoralizing. I just felt like I was throwing stuff at the wall and nothing was working. And it was just really bad for the morale for the team and everybody. And it turns out, I had been doing everything wrong, everything wrong. And I was just like shocked when he told me, Chris, this is how you've learned how to do sales? Yeah, because no one ever taught me. So here's the big lesson that I learned. He said that when you get to a certain level in your life and you're working on projects north of $200,000, you have to understand something. The clients can hire anybody in the entire world. They can literally hire anybody from the UK or from Canada, from Asia. So your level of competition has completely changed. You know that, right? I was like, no, I didn't. So, he is like, you're using a minor league strategy to play in the major league. I was like, whoa, I, oh my gosh.
So, it's counterintuitive that if you just keep doing what you're doing today, that you'll just keep growing. But eventually you'll hit a ceiling or a wall. So, what got you here won't get you there. So, I needed to learn something totally different. And what he taught me allowed me to double my business in one year. So in 2002, we are doing 2 million plus in revenue, gross revenue, not in profit. And this is what it looks like here. So we're doing about $2.2 million. And in the course of one year, I think it was three conversations, three coaching sessions I had with Kiir that allowed us to almost double our revenue to $3.9 million. Never looked back. It increased our close rate from 20% to 75%, to a point in which I felt like there's no job I cannot close. If it's a legitimate buyer who has a need and a problem and they're legitimate, considering multiple options, put me on a call with them, I will close that job. So, I'm gonna circle back now, I'm gonna tell you five stories and hopefully you'll get some, there'll be some learnings here for you.
Oles is this amazing fishing lodge on the other side of Canada. It's on the west central coast of Canada. And I went there and it's this beautiful thing. You fly to this remote fishing location where there's more trees, and, people and all of civilization disappears. And it's a wonderful thing. I love to do this. And I meet the general manager, that's him. His name is Ernie. I like to think of him as a Canadian crocodile, Dundee complete with a Bowie knife. The knife is right there behind his hand, by the way. Okay? And this is where you spend all this time. And towards the end of our trip, it's like a four day fishing trip where we literally live in that lodge, never touch feet on ground again for four days. One of my fishing buddies, somebody I had just met, a guy named Jeff, says, Chris, with all that you know how to do with design and marketing and all that, I bet they could really use you right now. I'm like, yeah. He goes, did you ever think about talking to them? And this is me pre-learning how to do sales. I'm like, yeah, but I don't know what to say. He goes, yeah, I'm gonna go talk to them. I'm gonna get you the gig and we'll work together.
And so he goes into the lodge, it's the last day and we're waiting for a plane to come in. He goes into the lodge, he sits down and I can only see from the outside, very much like the introvert way to do things, looking through the window. I'm like, what is he doing? They talk, there's some nodding. I'm like, oh shoot. And I started to get upset at myself. I was like, if I had the courage and the skills, I wouldn't have to have Jeffrey go in there and talk to Ernie for me so that he can take most of the money and pay me something. Is that kinda, you gotta touch a sore spot here, everybody.
So, he comes out, he looks at me, I'm like, and he's like, and what? I'm like, and so, did you get it? He goes, no. What did he say? He goes, I didn't know how to ask him. I'm like, some people all talk, right? Okay, so here's the thing. I went back into that room and I sat down with Ernie and I knew time is drawing close here because I, I feel like the engine of the airplanes coming. I could hear it roaring in the distance. I'm like, shoot, now's your moment. This is it. So, I asked Ernie something, I said, Ernie, I love being here. This is an incredible place. You must be booked solid all the time. And then Ernie pauses and he looks at me, he goes, actually that's not the case. Are seasons getting shorter? The season's getting shorter 'cause it’s not fishable. He goes, no, because there are fewer people booking fishing trips. And he told me something. He says, our clientele are literally dying 'cause they're all older and eventually they die and we don't have a way to attract young people so we can’t replenish the clientele.
And then, I saw an opening and it was like the skies had parted, my gosh, it’s a wonderful place. I love it. And they're getting fewer and fewer clients. So I told Ernie this thing. I said, Ernie, I don't know if you know this, but in the outside world, the real world I work in marketing and design, I would love to help you. Does this warrant an additional conversation? He goes, Chris, I'd love to talk to you. So we exchanged information and eventually a year later I wound up doing a bunch of projects for them, including a video, marketing ads, everything. So, the learning from this story is that you have to have the courage just to ask. You have to have a conversation with a person. And that's all it is.
Just to have a conversation to find out something that they want help with. There's the current state. Our seasons are getting shorter. Clients are literally dying. So I don't know what to do. I've done too many things and nothing seems to be working. And once you find that pain point, you can ask for an additional meeting or for the sale. Make sense? Okay. So, what I would love for you to do tonight, tomorrow, whatever it is that you have an opportunity to learn, to ask questions with the intention of just learning about what it is that somebody's trying to accomplish and find out what is holding them back. It could be a mental state, it could be a tool, a resource.
And just try to serve them to get in the practice of learning how to do sales the correct way. And you need to do this in practice before you actually stand in front of a real client, 'cause when you stand in front of a real client, you'll have all the habits that you've had and you'll try to pitch and sell and you'll forget everything we talked about today. Is that clear? Okay? Please try to do that. And you'll start to see there's a whole new way of doing this. And, all of a sudden you'll start to become the most interesting person to the person you're talking to, 'cause you know what people love? They love attention. It's all about me. So give them more attention to see what happens. So don't pitch and don't sell.
Have you read the book the Win Without Pitching Manifesto? If you haven’t, I highly encourage that you go pick up a copy of this book today. I'm not affiliated with Blair Ends in any way. I've helped him sell lots of books. He's Canadian as well. Read the book, study the book, then act on a book. So. I had this idea, since there are 12 proclamations, these manifestos that Blair has written, I asked him on a social media audio room called Clubhouse. Hey, why don't we do 12 nights of the Win without Pitching Manifesto each night? We'll deconstruct one of the manifestos, right? And he's like, that's a lot of nights, Chris. I'm like, you wanna do this or no? So we wind up doing these calls just outta curiosity.
Was anybody in Clubhouse Live for one of those calls? Okay, there's like seven or eight people in there. Cool. That’s kind of the fate of Clubhouse anyways. Says all right. Okay. So with Blair what happening, what was happening was he was describing a bunch of different things and we went into this role play mode where we asked people to pitch to a sales expert. And Blair is kind of dry and a little cantankerous. So, I knew this was gonna be, this is comedy gold here. As you get a bunch of awkward designers trying to pitch Blair something. And they tried and burned each and every single one of ‘em.
And you know what I did in conversation, I turned to Blair virtually and said. Hey Blair, you know I noticed something. I love the design of your books. You use Mrs. Eve's. It's like this cloth covered book. It feels so, everything's so well designed, and I've seen some of your presentations. It feels different to me. Are you happy with the way that's going? He goes, no. What about the printed materials that support your workshops? Are you happy? He's like, no. I said, is this a problem you'd like to have solved? Because I think I might know people to help you. He goes, absolutely. Now my friends who were on the call knew exactly what was happening, 'cause they were signaling to me in the dms like, dude, you're selling him right now, aren't you? I'm like, yes, but don't say anything. And Blair did not even know I was just pretending. He was ready to buy this service from me. And then what happened was we would end the conversation, I told him and he, he laughed. He'd go, see, that's what sales sounds like. It sounds like a conversation between two friends. And that's what it's supposed to be like.
So what you wanna do in a sales conversation is, you are on a manufacturer problems. You wanna find something that already really care about. So it was an observation. Notice I used neutral language. Lots of open-ended questions, 'cause I didn't want to lead him anywhere. I didn't say, I've seen your marketing materials and they suck. I just said I noticed a difference between what I love and what you're doing now. So, I know many of you might do this, especially if you're a little bit more aggressive. You’re slipping the dms and say. Hey, look at your website. I'm a big fan, it sucks. You wanna hire me? No you're rude. I'm just gonna delete that and block you right now. So, when you have this conversation, hopefully a problem surfaces that you can help them with and you can flow really seamlessly into a solution and propose something, selling is conversational.
This is not what he really looks like, but he looks a lot like this person. If you know who I'm talking about, you'll know in a second. So, I'm friends with a graphic designer who's turned into a fitness coach. Kind of looks like this. Okay? And I noticed something. He shifted his career from designing logos to just working out and he's very fit, 6 pack, 8 pack abs the whole bit. And I noticed something, he posted something on social media and says. Hey, I have a resource that I wanna give to three people if you need help with getting fit. I was like, I know you. So, I reached out to him on Facebook like. Hey, I'm interested, I need some help. And then he dmd me right back and he said, are you serious or just curious? Yeah, I'm really serious. I'm trying to get that six pack app. I don't know if it's possible, but I am really serious.
So, he then scheduled a call with me and I was a little surprised because I thought I was gonna get a free resource is what he said. And I didn't know it, but I stepped into the sales funnel and those of you who are hearing this story are like, dude, I could see it a mile away. Well to me, I didn't 'cause it felt conversational between two friends. So, we get on the phone, we do the zoom call and he asked me, why is getting fit really important to you? I said, well, I need energy. I wanna be a positive role model for my kids and I'm vain. I wanna look good in clothes that I have. I'm just telling you the truth.
He goes, okay, well, so he gets into this whole thing and, he asked me one more question on a scale of one to 10, how important is getting fit to you? I said, it's eight. And here's the thing that he did that I wasn't expecting. He goes, why is this score not lower? Why is it not a six or five? I said, well, I just told you it's really important. I believe in action and I wanna make sure my kids have a positive role model to follow. And I want to be able to do this for a really long time. I'm 51 years old and I wanna do this for another 10 years. At least I know my energy is related to how fit I feel.
Notice what he just did there. He asked me to tell him what's important to me. And, he made me prove to him how important it was by asking me why isn't the score lower? Tony Robbins talks about this, is the one driving character or behavior for people is the need to be consistent with ourselves. He didn't sell me anything. He just kept asking me, why is this so important? Why not do something else? And he got into the emotional part of it, not the data-driven part, ’cause he also knows that people buy based on emotions, not on facts. So, by asking the right questions, the clients will sell themselves. This is what I mean to sell without being salesy. It's the art of having conversation and asking big, beautiful, wonderful questions in service of other people.
Carrie called me in a panic. She goes, Chris, I'm just really tired and frustrated with what's happening. And she told me that there was another designer who was in the same coaching community as her, who is ripping off her website, her language and talking about doing brand strategy. And every time she gets a conversation with a prospect, what happens is she's underbid every single time at less than half of what she's proposing. And she didn't know what else to do and it really affected her. She was the primary breadwinner for her family. Okay? So I said, Carrie, if you see the problem more than once, whose fault is it?
If you see the problem more than once, well of course it's her fault because she hadn't changed her game at all. So I gave her some clear instructions and said, you know what I want you to do? I want you to raise the objection first at the start of the call. If you know every single time it's gonna be about money, say this. Before we get started, I just want to let you know I'm most likely going to be the highest person who’s gonna bid on this. Is your primary decision based on how cheap it is or based on price. And so I told her to do something. Flip the conversation, take the power back, tell the person they should talk to other people first. And if they find out what they need, there's no need to have this conversation with you at all. And I said, but before you let them go, I want you to educate the client about what to look for. What are the warning signs that somebody doesn't know what they're talking about? She goes, oh, I could do that. I said, it's called throwing shade on your competition. Duh, come on. And then you end it with this super powerful move and say, call me only if you don't feel fully confident in the options that you have.
Here's the crazy thing, Carrie gets a lot of sales calls. So, she got someone who called this very same day and then she calls me back the next day. She goes, Chris, you won't believe what happened. I'm like, what? I did what you told me to do and they're not calling me back. I'm like, so what's a surprise? I said, just wait it out. It may not work out. Who knows? And then surprise, days later, the same client reaches out and says, you know what? I asked 'em the questions. They didn't give good answers. I don't feel good about this. Let's talk. And in making this one change, Carrie then went on for the next year to double her revenue. And she said, I've made more money in four or five months than I have all of last year doing this one thing. So, sadly Carrie and I stopped talking, she's just too busy with work. Go figure.
Okay, last story I wanna share with you is the most perfect sales pitch I've ever heard in my life. I wanna share it with you. Okay? Alright. So we usually work with sales reps and we wanted to try something different. And this person I've never talked to, we get on the phone and he goes, Chris, do you know what we do? I'm like, no. He says, can I have a few minutes to tell you what we do? I'm like, sure, sure, go ahead.
He goes, what we do is we take away the pain point of what you're feeling. Let me make a wild guess here. When you work with sales reps, it takes too long to see results. It could take three or four months before you find out if you're gonna get any new leads. And the way that sales reps work, traditionally, they knock on doors, they make calls. You have no idea what they're doing, how they're doing. All you do is get a bill every month for the money that they're spending and you're paying them the retainer. And then if you don't like what you get with them, you have to start over and you're gonna burn another 3 months.
So, what is this really costing you? I'm like, wow, this was incredible. And I don't know what he said after that, but all I knew is we hired him because he spoke to me, he touched on my pain points. It felt like he was looking into my soul. And this is the tool that you can use without getting into too much of the gory details. So, if you can identify the top three pain points your clients have all the time, try this one technique. Bring it up at the beginning. Say something like this. Whenever I speak to customers or clients just like you, they usually tell me their top three biggest problems are. And then fill in the blanks. Just try it, see what happens. Okay?
Now what you wanna do is if you don't have enough data, don't do this. If you've been in business for some time and you keep hearing certain things, then you can do it. So, don't guess, be specific and if you're able to nail this it's an instant credibility builder. And then when you're done saying it, ask this one question. Is that right? And what you're looking for if that's right. Okay, so a couple of things you can do to prepare for this next sales call. So, here are things, you may wanna take a photograph for this, you don't need to, but ask yourself this question. What pain does your client experience that's functional, financial or emotional? Just workshop it with yourself. You need to figure this stuff out. And you should, if you've been in business long enough, you'll know the answer to this. What negative outcomes are your clients fearful of or trying to avoid? What objections or accusations might new clients raise with you? Most, likely, they're gonna raise issues about experience, vertical expertise about price, probably about timelines and about the size of your team. It's usually one of those five things. So. what you wanna do is you wanna write 'em down and you wanna start thinking about what the answers are going to be. Prepare for this. So, here's a quick reminder. Sales is not convincing. It's not persuading, it's not manipulation, it's selling, it’s helping. It's about being curious. Selling is learning. Selling is an act of generosity. So, that's a lot to remember and process. So, serve, ask, listen, empathize, and summarize. I just want you to focus on the two key skills. You don't need to know anything else.
If you can do the these two, asking and listening, listening, you'll nail this thing. So, focus on these two things for me. When you ask a really good question, it's like magic. You open the client's mind and there's a great book, I dunno if you've read it. It's called The Coaching Habit. And there's a framework in there that Michael Bunge Steiner talks about. I'll share the questions with you, but, I didn't realize, this is an amazing sales coaching book. It's not. It's about something else. But in it, as I read it, I'm like, that's how I sale. This is perfect. Be slower to give advice, ask more questions, be curious longer. Here are questions that he has.
And the ones that I highlighted for you is what's on your mind. And then you keep asking. And what else and what else? And then you ask. And what's the real challenge for you on a sales training call I did with my group. I literally just read the script and I'd even respond to anything the other person said. I just literally went down the list and like, that was amazing, Chris. I'm like, thank you. I just read a script. Here's the script. You can use it too. It works. So if you're terrible, just literally read the script.
The next thing you need to know is, if you ask, 'cause you don't listen, the question is worthless. And people do this all the time. And you, they'll do this later today with you. They'll ask you a question about what, how your life is going. And then their eyes will be somewhere else. They don't really care. So you have to listen. They're twins asking and listening. So you wanna do this thing that Kevin Daly talks about. It's called full value listening.
Full value listening is whatever the other person says is the most important thing you've ever heard. You have to listen with great attention to detail with what they're saying and to feel what they're feeling. The mistake that I'm talking about here is when you ask a question, they give you an answer. The very next question should be a follow up to the answer what they gave you. That's how you know you're listening. And I see this happen all the time.
Somebody asks a question, you get an answer and then just ask a totally different question unrelated to the first question, 'cause then you feel like, I think you're reading a script right now. And unfortunately this is how most podcasters interview people. They have 75 questions. They literally just go from question to question. And when they do this to me, I'm bored outta my mind. Okay?
So there's a stack here. You start with the current state when you're, when you're listening, like what? What is going on right now in their life? Okay, cool, I get that. What is the desired future state? Where would they like to go? What kind of transformation? What kind of result? What kind of change do they want? And what is standing in their way? How will they measure success? What is valuable to them? If you can find out what this is, you're gonna do a great job at it.
And then when you hear all these things, you're gonna process it and you're gonna do something that Kevin refers to as playing back and summarizing. And it's very important that you use the same words that they use. If they say, I'm really fatigued with this thing. Don't say you’re really tired. Say fatigued. You're using the exact same language because language is important and it matters. You change the word, you change the meaning of it. And then when you summarize all of this stuff, you say, did I miss anything? Is this correct? It's an opportunity for you to learn new information. And then I go. Nope, I think you got it all.
Here's how you close the sale. You ask a hypothetical question. We all love asking hypothetical questions. And then question. So what I heard you say was, blah blah blah blah. So if you saw a solution that did this and that in this time for this amount of money, then you would be willing to move forward. And you're waiting for an emphatic yes. Not a pregnant pause. Not a strained, yes, an emphatic yes. When you get the emphatic yes, you say, I'll have a proposal to you by end of business day today. I'll follow up with you tomorrow. Is that okay? So, you've gone through the problem, you've talked about the price, you've gotten verbal agreement from them that this is how they want to move forward. And you won't realize how powerful this is in terms of them committing to their own words and ideas. That's the secret.
So I found this quote from Jeffrey Gier, don't tell your customers something they don't know about you, tell them something they don't know about them. That's the big unlock. Asking great questions will give you an unfair legal competitive advantage. If you make a practice of this, you'll start to see your close ratio go up, the budgets go up and your friction go down. So, here's some resources for you. People always ask for the book list. There it is. Take a picture and I have a little scorecard for you. And then I'm gonna get off stage. I can't believe I did this on time.
Here we go. Here's your question. Scorecard. Every time you advise talk, make an assumption you're ambiguous with your questions and you're being too assertive with your tone, take away a point. This is how you decrease trust and goodwill and how you kill rapport. Every time you ask a big, beautiful, smart specific question, every time you listen intently and play back what you've heard, every time you ask a question that is full of curiosity, that's focused on the client's needs and not yours, every time you're asked a clear question and you use the late night FM DJ voice, you get a point.
I don't have an FM DJ voice. I'm hoarse. It's cold. I'm sorry. Thank you very much everybody. That's my time. We got time? We have time for some questions? Yeah, we have two minutes. Folks, you can send in some questions for Chris, type quickly. If you head to Instagram in the stories, there's a question box. I have one already, which is amazing. So, someone was fast.
What is a mistake that you've learned from when it comes from selling, turning this on you? I'll tell you, before I learned how to sell, I did something terrible. I thought it was my job to tell the clients what I think they should have. And I did this with of detriment. So I'd give 'em a phone, they would describe the brief and I'd start immediately pitching ideas. We could do this, we could shoot it with this camera and use these lenses and sequence it this way. And like thanks. They'd hang up the phone and I'm like, I don't know why they never called me back. I dunno what happened.
So, it's making a lot of assumptions and not being curious. That's the biggest mistake. Do you sometimes think that clients do need you to tell them what to do though? I'm thinking about my own experiences. Yeah, eventually. Okay. But I try to make it as painful as possible for them. For them to do all the talking. And I will tell them this, when I first learned how to ask these questions and the big sales unlock mystery things like wow. I tell them I'm gonna talk to you, I'm gonna ask you lots of questions and it might be really uncomfortable, but it's important for me to understand what your needs are, what inspires you, what a win looks like, where it's failed, where you've succeeded so that I can give you a solution that is tailored for you and they accept that.
So, a 30-minute call turns into a 90-minute call and we're all exhausted. And you will be exhausted if you're doing this correctly. But here's the beautiful thing about this, it’s, you only then propose one solution. So back before I learned how to do this, we would pitch and we'd do 17 different ideas, 17 different logos, three different storyboards, 'cause we don't know, we had no idea. So it's just a guessing game.
What are you thinking about in your own business right now when it comes to selling? Well, that's a good question. I don't, I think I did my job right. This is what he needed me to come out and do. I don't think I'm selling anymore. What I do is I try to create content. Okay, I know what it is. Okay, here, here's my strategy for selling. Make content so good. Give it all away for free as much as possible with no strings, no funnels, no email traps to guilt you into buying something. That's it. That's the secret.
Some of you, alright. There's a gentleman here who's working backstage. He goes. Hey, I just have to say thank you to you for my friend who literally made a million dollars watching your content. I'm like, tell him to send me a check. A million dollars. She’s made literally a million dollars. I haven't seen this check yet. I don't know. Not feeling so guilty.
Are there specific things about selling, you are thinking about though? You obviously think about this a lot. Yes. Beyond what you’ve presented, what are you sort of rolling around in your mind now? Like if I'm trying to sell you something? Or even just the sort of like ethos about selling. Has anything changed in your thinking in the last little bit? Not changed, but it is continuously evolving and I think if I try to help whoever's in front of me, all of you or you to the best of my ability, the selling has begun. It really has. And here's the weird thing, I'll just tell you this and I realize we're out of time.
I just finished doing a workshop with no intention of selling them anything. And all of a sudden people are like, I wanna buy more from you. Like, oh, okay, let me figure this thing out. I was even trying. That’s the most beautiful part of this. So, if you help somebody, so, if I'm trying to sell you, okay, I would just really get into your, whatever your business is and I bet you I can figure something out with you and tell you something you didn't know. And to that you'll start to feel an emotional connection with me.