This is the final part of a detailed look at the 5-Step Sales Process.  So far we have looked at the importance of :-

  • Building Rapport; [Link to #20]
  • Asking Questions; [Link to #21]
  • Establishing Need & Value-Add; [Link to #22]
  • Proposing a Solution; [Link to #23]

– and now we will look at Closing the Sale – the part that puts the money in your pocket and commits you to doing the work.

Closing the sale doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  In fact, by the time you have completed step #4 you should know quite clearly whether or not you are going to make the sale.  If you find yourself losing sales at this point then you need to look closely at what you are doing in the previous steps.  Maybe you are not listening hard enough in the early part of the discussion, or maybe you are rushing ahead to the close.

I always love it when we get to this part of the Confident Closing workshops and participants share about their experiences with closing.  We had one that was extremely fascinating with two participants who had the same results (low sales closure rates) for completely opposite reasons. One man said that he was surprised when he walked away without closing a deal because prospects were always very, very interested in his product throughout the presentation, but when it came to the final decision they weren’t buying.  We went through his sales presentation process as a role-pay exercise and then I asked the group, “Why doesn’t he close more sales?”

The answer came back immediately, “He never asked for the sale.”

The participant was amazed.  “You wanted the product.  You could see it’s value to your business.  You told me that all the way through.”

“Yes, but you never told me how I could buy it or asked me to make a commitment.  I almost felt like a dog that was being teased with a treat.”

It took a few minutes to convince him, but he finally realised what his problem was. “Wow! I’ve wasted so many opportunities just because I assumed that it was obvious that people should buy.”

I met with this man a few weeks later and he said, “Chandell, Confident Closing was amazing – totally worth the 2-days I invested in it; but it was those few minutes after I presented my sales pitch that have really transformed my business.  I’ve changed my close rate from around 15% to over 80% just by adding 2 sentences to my pitch. ‘Do you think that would be of value to your business?’ and ‘Would you like to buy this?’  I can’t believe how much money I used to throw away.”

Anyway, we moved from this man’s sales process to one of the other men in the room.  My first impression of this second man was, “Why has he come to Confident Closing?  Surely he is already a fantastic sales person.”

It turned out that his closing rate was terrible, and I found that hard to believe, so when we came to the demonstration I asked him to come up and demonstrate his sales pitch.  The woman he was selling to had a hard time answering any of his questions – because he kept answering them for her – and he arrived at the closing portion within about 4 minutes of starting his pitch after totally missing the boat on every single one of the preceding 4 steps.

By the time he asked for the sale (which he did brilliantly), he had told her 15 generic reasons why she needed his service for her business (most of which did not apply to her); he had not discovered anything particular about what she did and he’d offered about 4 solutions that were clearly generic.  She had no reason to buy, and no interest in doing so, but he spent quite some time trying to persuade her.

He accepted the feedback, but clearly didn’t understand what people meant, so I offered to show him what it felt like.  I used his exact tactics to sell him one of my programs (not a strategy I would EVER use in real life).  After about 8 minutes he turned to us with a hunted look in his eyes. “I see what you mean.  I feel as though I’ve been bludgeoned with a blunt axe and I don’t ever want to meet you again.  There’s no way I would ever say ‘yes,’ to your offer, no matter how appealing it was.”

It was a very enlightening process for everyone in the room.  This second man came back to a later training with me and he had completely revamped his sales process.  The biggest lesson he learned was that if you spend  enough time on the first 4 steps, you don’t need to bludgeon anyone into buying at step 5.  When you ask for the sale, your ideal clients will simply agree to buy, and the others will go away with no regrets.

Do you have a favourite selling process?  How is it working for you?  Tell us about it in the comments. 

Meta Description:  Your sales conversation went really well, and you were sure that your prospect was going to buy, but you walk away without a firm deal.  What happened?  How can you make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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At this point in your conversation you want to reflect all the issues your prospect has highlighted as being important back to them.  You also want to discuss how your product or service addresses these issues and resolves the problems they are facing in detail.  This is not the time for a quick 5 point summary, but is a serious presentation of value. Your specific solution is what the prospect will buy, so  you need to remind them of the value that each part of the solution will bring to their business.

Price will enter the discussion, but if you have stacked the value up for them then they price will be seen in the context of the return on investment they can expect – and that return could be in many forms – financial, time, peace-of-mind.  Most quality buyers won’t make their decision on price alone.  Clearly price is a factor – sometimes a business just can’t afford your solution – but more often then not, if the value is stacked high enough and there is enough convincing proof that it works, then your prospect will find the money needed to purchase.

Pricing and payment plans are just one more way you can customise your solution to fit your prospect’s needs without diminishing your profitability.  You’d be surprised at just what people can afford when the payments are split over a few months or some other installment option.

In our Confident Closing Workshops we go over the importance of stacking the value when presenting your solution and helping your prospect to really experience the benefits your product offers.  After doing this exercise many of our students go away feeling that they are seriously under-charging their clients once they have stacked up the benefits.  Some of them have doubled or tripled their prices and found that they actually get more people taking up their offers.

Have you tried stacking up the value and tailoring your solution for your clients?  Did it change their responsiveness to price and their interest in your product or service?

Let us know in the comments.

Meta Description:  A tailored solution that solves my problem is almost irresistible for most people.  Generic solutions are harder to sell at all, and certainly don’t attract premium prices.

Presenting a Customised Solution

Now that you have built rapport, asked questions, and established your prospect’s need for your product or service it is time to propose a solution before asking for the sale.  This is where many businesses fall down and lose their way – they offer every client the exact same options and solutions.  This often comes from the excellent idea that you should ‘package’ your services so people understand exactly what they are getting.

The difficulty with this is that your prospect gets the feeling that you are more interested in off-loading whatever you happen to have in your wheelbarrow, than you are in solving their problem – and that makes them defensive and hard to convince.

The Goal of Your Solution

When you actually propose your solution to a prospect your goal is to for them to feel that you have just suggested the exact piece they need to complete their puzzle.  You want them to feel that you are proposing something that is tailor made for them, rather than a generic one-size-fits-all solution.  When you propose a solution that really ticks all their boxes and meets the needs they have pointed out to you, you signal that you have heard their problems.

It is still your pre-defined package, but you have matched it exactly to your prospects needs, and described it in their language.  Now they don’t feel that you have just grabbed a box out of your wheelbarrow and are trying to get them to buy whatever it is that you have too much of – now they feel it is designed exactly for them.  Perhaps you have swapped out some coaching sessions for a top-notch presentation they can use, or made another slight tweak that meets their need.  Maybe  you haven’t changed anything, but by listening and learning have simply described the package accurately in their own language.

Whatever you have done, they have heard you describe the perfect solution to their problem.  Do you think people will pay more for a tailored solution that exactly meets their needs, or for a generic solution with more features and benefits in it?  I can tell you that the tailored solution always appears more valuable in people’s eyes – just like people are ready to pay more for a meal at a restaurant than they are at McDonalds.

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Most people know what they want, but they are not necessarily so anxious for what they really need.  Your job is to discover what they need, and make them want it. Is this evil manipulation?  I would say, “No. Not if what they need helps them achieve their real goals. “

I’ve  written about the entire 5-Step Selling process in another post [Link] and today I’d like to talk about where that process really takes you.   You see, I’m a firm believer in creating win-win situations, and if you are effectively selling solutions to people who don’t really need them, then you’re winning, but your client might not be.

The five key steps to sales success involve:-

  • Building Rapport; [Link to #20]
  • Asking Questions; [Link to #21]
  • Establishing Need & Value-Add; [ Link to #22]
  • Proposing a Solution; [Link to #23]
  • Closing the Sale. [Link to #24]

So, you have established rapport and asked many questions (and listened to the answers they gave) and now you are talking to your prospect (or existing client) about a service or product you sell that you can clearly see would add value to their business – therefore it’s something they need.

The first thing you need to remember is that they don’t know your business as well as you do.  It is really important never to assume your prospect will grasp the value you could bring to them.  Even your existing clients may absolutely understand how valuable the services you already provide are, but might not see why they should purchase more.  It is your responsibility to show them how much they could gain by purchasing it.

By the time we get to this step in the sales process I know what the other person’s goals and objectives are.  I usually have a pretty good idea of their secondary goals, as well as their primary goals, and I have some insight into the things they value based on their responses to my questions, so it’s easy to stack the value for them.

Wants vs. Needs

Your prospect knows what he wants (a specific outcome) – but sometimes he confuses the outcome with the means of getting it.  This might sound condescending, but it’s really just common sense.  If I go to the doctor I know what I want – a quick solution to my pain or sickness; but he’s the one who tells me what I need to achieve that outcome.  It would be silly for me to go in absolutely set on getting a certain prescription and to reject his suggestion that I try something even more effective.

A doctor can get away with that kind of switch because by-and-large we trust them.  As a business owner we need to engender the same sort of confidence in our prospects so that they are convinced we understand their problem, and that our solution will resolve it in the most effective way possible.

At this point, I’m still asking them questions, but by now those questions are about the outcomes they are looking for, and the criteria they have for reaching those outcomes.  For example, with my business coaching clients I help them to identify areas of their business where they are leaking resources because I know that once they see that by doing all these tasks without getting paid they are effectively working for less than they are worth.  Once they find a way to charge for these things, they’ll be able to work less and earn more.  Whether you are plagued by systems that take more time than they save, employees who aren’t delivering the services they ought, or prices that don’t reflect the value you bring to clients, once you can see the need in that area as well as the difference a solution will make, you are likely to find my services attractive – but it’s my job to highlight the value I bring.

If I’ve done a good job at highlighting how I can help you achieve the outcomes you really desire, and demonstrated my ability to deliver that value for others then you are almost certainly going to want to work with me.  Then we can move onto establishing a price and concluding the deal.  On the other hand, if you are still not sure whether you need my product or service – or whether I’m capable of delivering the service at all then there’s not much point moving forward.

The whole sale really depends on this question of establishing your prospect’s need for your service and demonstrating the value it could bring to them.

Meta Description:  As a sales person or business owner it’s your job to find out what your prospects really need so that they achieve the goals they want – and then to help your prospects see that.

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This post is part of a series filling out details on the 5-step sales process [Link to #16]

  • Building Rapport; [Link to #20]
  • Asking Questions; [ Link to #21]
  • Establishing Need & Value-Add; [Link to #22]
  • Proposing a Solution; [Link to #23]
  • Closing the Sale. [Link to #24]

I’ve listed them sequentially, but of course you are doing many of these steps simultaneously.  While you’re asking questions, you continue to build rapport … and you’ll keep asking questions as  you move into establishing their need for your product or service and highlighting the value it brings to them.

Why Ask Questions?

The reason you want to ask questions is to learn about your prospect – to discover the things that are important to them about a product or service, the problems they are trying to solve, their decision-making strategy, and their level of interest.  All of this information will help you:

  • Decide whether your product/service is suitable for them;
  • Understand which features and benefits are most important to them;
  • Determine how to present your solution;
  • See what time-frame you will be working with.

What Kind of Questions Do You Want to Ask?

Your questions should be directly related to the business of the person you are interviewing and phrased in the the language they use, so you’ll need to tweak the following questions for each prospect:-

  • What do you do? What are you interested in?
  • For what purpose do you want this?
  • What would be a successful outcome if we went ahead with this?
  • Who will make the decision on this matter?
  • How will you know if this product/service is right for you?
  • What is important to you about this?
  • When will you make a decision on this?

– these questions will help you learn about why the person is talking to you, and how seriously they are considering your product/service.  In a business context, it is much better to disqualify a prospect quickly than to spend a lot of time talking to someone who is just getting information from you.  Of course, you don’t want to be too abrupt about this because people move around, their circumstances change, and they may recommend you to others, but if you discover that they have no intention of buying at this time, you will modify your process appropriately.  This is actually very beneficial, because you get the information you need, and you don’t force them into a situation where they are uncomfortable.

One key thing you need to uncover during this process is whether the person you are talking to is a key decision-maker or not.  If they don’t have the power to sign off on the deal then you know that you’re dealing with either a gate-keeper, or simply an ideas-person.  If you are dealing with someone who is just bringing ideas to the table then you don’t want to spend too much time or energy on them.  If it’s a gate-keeper, then your goal has to be to get their attention and interest so that they can introduce you to the decision-makers.

Whatever the situation, asking questions brings clarity and help you get the outcomes you are looking for.

Meta Description:  The quality of your life may be determined by the quality of the questions you ask, but the value of your sales certainly will be.

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The other day I was saddened to hear a parent say to their Scout leader, “I don’t want my child involved in selling items to raise money.  My child is no sales person, he’s a good boy.”

I was even more startled to hear the Scout leader respond, “It’s OK.  This year we aren’t selling chocolates, we’re just asking for donations.”

The parent was happy, but I was filled with a deep uneasiness.  I understand the reluctance to have our children knock on neighbours doors and offer to do chores in return for pay, and I don’t necessarily think we want to be pushing chocolate on people, but do we really want our children to grow up thinking selling is ‘bad’, and sales people are some kind of pariah?  I don’t think so!  And I really hate the idea that it’s better to ask for a donation than to sell something that has value.

We Are All Sales People - and Always Have Been

The reality is that we are all in sales.  We can call it ‘negotiation’, we can call it ‘sharing ideas’, or a million other euphemisms but when push comes to shove every one of us will spend a lot of our lives selling.  We sell when we apply for a job, when we communicate and idea or suggest a project at work, when we go on holidays, persuade our kids to do their homework, decide which restaurant to eat at, and a million other times each day.

The real questions are, how well do we do that selling and how effectively do we attract support and co-operation from others?  In my opinion, the better your skills and ideas, the greater your responsibility to gain the skills needed to sell them.  It’s doing your colleagues, your employer, and your clients an injustice when you can’t communicate your powerful solutions effectively so that others can appreciate them.

Selling Effective Solutions

If you have an effective solution to someone’s real problem, then you should be embarrassed if you withhold the solution.  Maybe you don’t think their problem is important.  Perhaps you think they should keep suffering with that problem.  Or perhaps you are just more concerned that they won’t realise how easily and effectively your produce or service can remove their problem.

Whatever is going through your brain when you decide this person isn’t worth helping, I’d like to challenge you to change it.  Maybe your solution costs more than they are willing to pay – but that is their decision to make, not yours.

In my Confident Closing Workshops [Link here] I invariably have students who are worried about the price of their product or service.  When we discuss this as a group and draw out the value any given product or service brings to its owners the consensus is usually that it is worth more, not less, than the price it is being sold for.  Did you get that?  I don’t recall ever having other people say, “That is way too much for anyone to pay!”

How much is your product or service worth?  That depends on the size and severity of the problem it solves.  Whether it’s solving logistics problems for a large company, helping small business owners become more profitable, or helping obese people lose weight to avoid insulin-dependence, the price people will pay for your solution depends on how painful their problem is.

Price and value are not fixed – they are relative.  Your job as a sales person is to stack the value of the solution you are selling so high that your prospect says, (even as he sits down in shock when he hears the figure you set), “Is that all?”

If you are selling a real solution to a genuine problem then you are helping make your prospects’ lives better, not taking money from them.

Do You Still Hate Selling?

Maybe you’re not convinced yet.  Try this exercise.

Make a list of all the problems your product or service solves.

List the time and money prospects spend on other solutions that are less effective.

How does your solution stack up?  If you can’t find enough value in it, then dig a bit deeper.  If you still can’t find the value in it then maybe it’s time to sell something else.  But if you’ve come up with a substantial list in support of your product’s benefits (which I hope you have), then it’s time to hold your head high, get out there, and sell it for all you’re worth because of the value it will bring to users.

Meta Description:  Selling is part of our everyday life whether we like it or not.  The best way to deal with that reality is to  become comfortable with your need to sell and develop skills that allow you to sell more effectively.

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Do you know what the Number 1 reason people don’t set goals is?  It’s because they are afraid of failure.  Sometimes clients say, ‘I don’t know what I want?’ – what they often mean is, ‘I’m not clear that I can achieve what I really want so I’ll pretend I don’t know.’  At other times, they genuinely don’t know because they’ve suppressed their dreaming for so long that they’re not aware of their real thoughts and desires.

Perhaps you fail to achieve your goals as often as you succeed and you wonder why that is.  Today I’d like to explore the link between achieving your goals and giving your unconscious mind clear direction. 

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) one of the key areas we help people deal with, is letting go negative emotions – the core emotions of anger, fear, guilt, shame, and sadness.  It only takes a few minutes, and usually clients will feel an immediate sense of relief which is fantastic.  The negative emotions are gone, but your unconscious mind needs clear direction on how to think.  If you don’t provide that direction, then your unconscious mind will quickly fall back into the old habits of thinking using those negative patterns.  So, you’ve dealt with the problem – but now you have some re-training to do as well.

It’s the same with S.M.A.R.T. goals and your unconscious mind.  You’ve created your S.M.A.R.T. goal – it is specific, measurable, as-if-now, realistic, and has a time frame  – you’ve visualised it and made it as visceral as possible but you need to communicate that goal clearly to your unconscious mind so that it will help you achieve it.  Your unconscious mind really wants to please you – but you need to tell it how it can do that and you need to make sure the instruction is clearly embedded.

When you create your S.M.A.R.T. goals and visualise them, that’s step #1.  The rest of the process involves reminding your unconscious mind of those goals – that’s where vision boards, pictures, and regular review of those goals comes in.  It may sound like hard work, but the truth is that once your unconscious mind knows what it is aiming for, it will support and help you at every turn.  You’ll find yourself taking the needed decisions and completing your actions much more easily and effortlessly than ever before.  It almost removes the need for self-discipline because your unconscious mind is working for you day-in, day-out, helping you to accomplish everything you ever dreamed of doing.

Think about that!  Think about having your feet on a path towards the goals you really want, and moving forwards almost by instinct – easily and relentlessly.  That’s what happens when you form your goals well, and then harness the power of your unconscious mind to draw you towards them.

Failure to achieve these goals isn’t really an option – because you only fail when you are conflicted about your goals.  This time, you’ve set your goals carefully using the S.M.A.R.T. method, and you’ve given clear directions to your unconscious mind via your visualisation, and frequent reminders.  All of a sudden you’ll find yourself smashing goal after goal as you work on them using a combination of deliberate action and effortless motivation.

Meta Description:  How to achieve your goals every time without conflict and stress by harnessing the power of your unconscious mind.

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We all have patterns of communication that are shaped by our experience, our upbringing, and our personality.  Sometimes we make excuses for ourselves: “That’s just the way I am.”  “It always comes out like that.”  “If people want to get upset, that’s their problem.”  Sometimes we worry about the number of broken relationships that are strewn behind us, but mostly we just shrug and move on.

The reality is that you can change the way you communicate – or at least broaden your skills, and as a result you will find more satisfaction in your relationships (both business and social), and a smoother path to your goals.

Can YOU Communicate Well With EVERYONE You Meet?

When I was in my teens, I was bullied.  It was so traumatic that my parents moved me to a new school.  From that time onward my perception about women, and my communications with them were pretty messed up and my ability to understand and communicate with them was fairly limited.  I boxed myself into a certain way of talking to them – if it worked out well, then we got on with each other, if they had a different style of communication it didn’t.

As I said to myself, “There are plenty of men around to work with, and enough women whom I do get on with, so who cares?” and I was really OK with that attitude most of the time.  As I matured I realised that it wasn’t just women I had difficulty communicating with – there were certain men as well, but that was OK because I knew lots of other people had the same sort of issues.

It still wasn’t a real problem, because I did just fine with most people, and could cobble things together, but one day I had a client who was a real challenge.  I had this fantastic sponsorship opportunity handed to me through this woman’s boss and it was great, except that I had to work with Cynthia – and we just did not get on.  We finished the project and it was a success, but working with Cynthia was an incredibly stressful experience for me – and for her, I imagine.

It was then I started to realise how important communication was if I wanted to make my life easy and fun, and I started to look for tools to make communication easier.

Resourceful Communication Leads to Positive Relationships

Do You Want to Make Your Life Easier and More Fun?  Most people I know do, and it sounds good to me!  As I mentioned above, for a long time I thought I was an ‘OK’ communicator (which I was), and that that was the best I could expect – but then I stumbled across Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).  Apart from being fascinated by the neurology side of things, and the processes that changed my thinking and my life, I was also excited by the possibilities for expanding my communication toolkit.

I realised that I (and most of my friends, family, and colleagues) were singularly unresourceful when it came to communicating with people who were not like us.  However, I also discovered that there was something I could do about it.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) teaches a variety of techniques to help you communicate better.  Many of them are just common sense, and great communicators through the ages have used them to win agreement and sway crowds, as well as to smooth the path of their private interactions.  The problem is, they’re not commonly taught and most of the world doesn’t learn how to communicate effectively to a variety of people.

Imagine Your Life Without Misunderstanding!

Play a game with me for a minute.  What would happen if you could pick the perfect way to speak and interact with everyone you met, so that they would immediately feel attracted to you, and desire to please you?  Would that make life easier when you checked in at the airport?  When you talked to the car sales man?  When you disagreed with a colleague?  When you were meeting with a client or prospect?

I know it makes an enormous difference when I make the effort to develop rapport using the tools Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) provides.  When I am able to manage my communications so that the other person really hears my words no matter how different we are then life becomes much easier.  When I can sift through the words they speak, and hear what another person is really saying, then suddenly a lot of misunderstandings simply vanish – both in business and in your personal life.

We Are ResourceFUL When We Have Resources

What communication resources do you have at your disposal?  Many people have only one style of communication, and sometimes you’ll hear them say, “That’s just me. I can’t help it if others get upset.”  Look, I get that.  But what if expanding your communication repertoire builds your circle of friends, or your work opportunities … You’d be willing to flex a little bit, wouldn’t you?

Here are just a few of the resources you can use to expand your repertoire: –

  • Observation – could you make the other person comfortable by varying your speed and style of delivery?
  • Eye Patterns – are you using the right metaphors and language to appeal to this person?
  • Language – are you appealing to their preferred internal representation system?
  • Mannerisms – could you attract their attention by using bigger gestures, or smaller ones?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) teaches all of these and more.  We cover them at one level in our 2-day Confident Closing Workshop, and our NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner Trainings delve deeper into them, equipping you to communicate successfully with individuals and groups in any context.

The primary reason for building your communication repertoire is simply that it will make your life smoother and more fun if you don’t keep coming up against prickly personalities who drive you crazy – you’ll still meet them, but you’ll be able to deal with them productively and pleasantly.

Meta Description:  How often do you sabotage a relationship because you are intent on doing things ‘your way’ or not at all? Being resourceful in the way you communicate with others can change your life.

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Pricing – Value – Money … this is always one of the hardest things to determine.  How do you set a value on your service?  Most of my life as an employee there wasn’t much room for negotiation.  In corporate sales, I was always paid a decent base salary plus commission that were pretty much set by the company I worked for.  In one position, I was paid a very generous salary and achieved a great deal more than the target outcome, but then my employer decided I was too expensive.

In my own business, I come across people who will debate the price, then experience the value and tell me I’m worth more.  I come across other people who  walk away as soon as they hear the price – and never even think about the value.  I know I’m not alone in this, because just about every business owner I talk to faces the same struggle.

Mindset is important because business is 80% psychology and only 20% strategy.  Most of the business owners I work with have their strategy pretty well under control, but the psychology is where they get bogged down.  I hear a lot of people saying things like, ‘I’m just not sure that I’m worth what it is that I’m asking,’ or ‘I always feel the need to discount,’ or ‘I feel the need to actually give more than I’ve agreed to’.  Others use statements like, ‘I don’t know how to sell my product – I’m really good at telling them about it, but when it comes to asking for the money, I really struggle with that’.

The problem is not the product or service they deliver, it’s their understanding of the value they bring to the table.  Mastering the mind-set of the confident closer gets rid of that procrastination, get rid of that overwhelm, and gets rid of that doubt about your value so you project confidence – and are received with confidence.

Your Perception IS the Reality You Project

When you present your business it’s really like a performance –  and the purpose of a performance is to influence the audience and move them.  The thing is that we don’t think about business presentations that way, we think about them as a means to an end, or more income, or reaching a target.   You know, I’ve got this appointment today, I’m meeting this person and I’ll try to convince them to buy.   We don’t usually see it as reaching out to influence people and they pick that up.

You see, the vital fact that you need to understand is that perception is projection. You may have heard that before, but I want you to really slow down and think about it.  Perception is projection. … But you are unable to perceive behaviour in someone else if you are not capable of it yourself. 

You’ll have heard the comment that when you point your finger at someone and call them names, there are three fingers pointing back at yourself.  That’s because the faults we’re most aware of in others are the ones we are prone to, and it’s often the reason why parents are so hard on their kids – they’re projecting their own traits and so they’re hyper-sensitive to them in others.

What About Josie?

Remember Josie, the hairdresser I wrote about the other day [Link to Part 1] – she had fallen into the vicious cycle of discounting her services to attract clients.  The problem was that this meant that she needed to see more clients to make the same money and every time she did this her perception of the value of her service plunged lower.  I could see that before long Josie would have discounted her Salon out of existence.

I have to admit that I staged a scene to help her understand the value of her work.  You see, Josie really was a great hairdresser, and she ran a great Salon but she was seeing her work as something people chose because of price.  I sent a friend in who really needed to see a great hairdresser who would help her find a hairstyle that looked great and fit her lifestyle.  I knew that Josie could help her, and I asked this friend to be really enthusiastic and pay more than she was asked IF (and only if) she was genuinely happy with the outcome.

Well, Sarah was delighted with her appearance once Josie had finished with her hair and shown her how to style it easily.  She raved about Josie’s efforts, she admired herself in the mirror, and when Josie told her how much the service cost Sarah was (genuinely) outraged.  “You can’t charge that little!  It’s impossible!” she said.  “You’re an artist and you should charge like one.”  Sarah paid twice the price that Josie asked and as she walked out, she told a client who was just walking in, “I have just had the amazing service and the best value haircut I’ve ever imagined!” – and she meant it.

What Happened Next?

We’d already worked out what Josie needed to charge in our coaching sessions.  The problem was that Josie was convinced that no-one would pay that much.  Sarah’s comment gave Josie the courage to quote the price we’d agreed on to the client who had walked in as Sarah left.  Her response gave her the courage to do it again … and again … and it wasn’t long before she really did discover the joy of owning a business.

The point of telling this story is simply that Josie is like many business owners – they can’t charge the prices they need to, because they don’t value themselves as they ought and Perception IS Projection!

Meta Description: Pricing-Value-Money – how your understanding of these can lead to success or failure and how they can turn your business around.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


It’s a pretty consistent fact around the world that approximately 50% of small businesses fail within the first two years of operation and only about 8% of them make it to 10 years.  Michael Gerber discusses the reasons for this at length in “The E-Myth Revisited”, but I’d like to discuss it briefly here and tell you a story to illustrate it.

Are You A Technician?

A lot of small businesses are started by ‘technicians’ who are very good at what they do, and angered when they think that their employer doesn’t value them enough.  The accountant who leaves a big firm to start his own practice because he knows he’s being charged at $180 per hour, but only receiving $90, the chiropractor or physiotherapist who knows what each patient is being charged, but only receives a percentage of that fee, or my friend Josie, who is a hairdresser.

Josie worked in Angie’s Salon and she was paid $15 an hour.  At the end of every week Josie saw that her income is far less than the total takings that Angie has in revenue.  She worked out what each client paid for her services and compared that with her weekly wage and said to herself, “How come Angie gets paid this much and I’m only getting $15 an hour and I work much harder than her.  I’m a much better hairdresser than she is and I see more clients!” 

After a while Josie decided to start her own Salon. She knew that she is a really great hairdresser, in fact, she loves hairdressing so much she told herself that this would not be work!  She worked really hard, put in long hours (all that administration as well as hairdressing!) and to encourage people to come in she started discounting her services. Josie was now working much harder now than when she was employed by Angie.  When we sat down together and looked at Josie’s numbers in a Business Coaching session, we worked out that her new pay rate as a business owner was $1.20 an hour.

You see, what Josie didn’t understand were all the other tasks that Angie did behind the scenes.  Things like rent, utility bills, doing the payroll, looking at how she’s actually going to get business walking in through the door, (Angie’s clients didn’t just show up with their money on the day she opened the Salon!), and managing stock levels.  Josie only saw the big picture with all the zeros at the end of the week’s takings, she didn’t even consider the rest of the picture.

In this classic example of the standard Small Business Owner Josie went from scoffing over $15 per hour as an employee to buying herself a very stressful job for the bargain price of $1.20 per hour!  Wasn’t that a great move?

Josie was down – but she was not out!  She had signed up for a 2-day Confident Closing workshop that I ran because she was determined not to go back to being an employee.  She was going to make this work!

We started by laying out all the bad news … the tasks she had to do, the bills she had to pay, etc – and then the good news … the clients she already had, the staff she had working for her and so on.  The picture was pretty ugly, but with all the facts in front of her, Josie could see clearly why she was feeling so stressed and she could make a plan to get out of it.

Find out what happened next … Part 2

Meta Description: What many small businesses owners don’t consider before they start their business and how this leads to despair and failure.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


Do you sometimes feel under-valued?  Do you sometimes feel that people would buy your product or service if they only realised what it could do for them?  Many people do.  I used to feel that way all the time (sometimes I still do, but I know the problem lies with me), and I frequently talk to friends and clients who feel that way.

The easiest way to find out whether other people are hearing and understanding what you say is to listen to their response.  At networking meetings, people will often say to me, “Most people don’t value my work for what it is worth.”  The reality is that they have not managed to communicate the value of their work to others.  It’s a pretty natural response when we don’t get the interest and buy-in we’re expecting, but the truth is that there is something you can do about it – and that something is to take responsibility for the response you get.

The Meaning Of The Communication Is The Response You Get

I’d like to illustrate this with a true story about Sally, a client of mine who was having trouble relating to her co-workers.  One day she walked into my office and said, “I’m so over my boss, he is impossibly inconsiderate!”  After a series of questions to uncover what the heart of the issue was for Sally, I learned that she had been in a meeting with her boss and had stated, “It’s a little bit draughty in here, isn’t it?” and then got very hurt and angry when her boss didn’t offer her a glass of water.

Somehow, when Sally had said, “It’s a little bit draughty in here, isn’t it?” she had expected her boss to understand that she was thirsty and needed a drink.

Now before you say to yourself, “Well, clearly Sally has a problem!”  I’d like you ask yourself if you’ve ever made an indirect request hoping that your friend, partner, or colleague would understand that you are asking for help.  You know what’s really interesting?  This is how we communicate every day. You hear people saying, “I told her, she has to know – she has to know that I’m upset with her!”

“What did you say?” you’ll ask, and they respond, “Oh she just knows, I’m sure of it.”

“Don’t be!”

The real meaning of the communication is the response you get.  If her boss doesn’t get Sally a glass of water then she can’t have made it clear that she wanted a glass of water.  If your significant other doesn’t change their behaviour, you probably didn’t tell them clearly what the problem was and what response you were looking for. 

If it happens once, the problem might be the other person – if it’s happening often then it’s probably time to take a good look at how clearly you communicate.

How Does This Apply to Sales?

In a sales context, that translates to, “If someone doesn’t want to pay your fee then YOU didn’t make it clear enough how valuable your services are to them.”

Now whose fault is it if the client doesn’t perceive the value of your service?  Is it the client’s fault or is it your fault?

Many people don’t like to take that sort of responsibility on themselves.  If you are taking charge of your own life and living at cause rather than at effect … if you’re empowered to influence others, then you should be willing to realise that you haven’t communicated in the most effective way that matches the needs of the person you’re talking to.

If you feel that prospects who are a great fit for your services aren’t taking you seriously then look at the value proposition you are sharing with them, the words you are choosing, and the mindset that backs up everything you say.

Meta Description:  Do you ever complain that people don’t understand or appreciate your product or service as much as they should?  NLP teaches that the meaning of your communication is the response you get and you can change the response by changing your flexibility.

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Book your FREE Deep Dive Discovery Session here and move forward in your life and business, now.

By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


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