Transcript – Discussion of “Same Game, New Rules, 23 Timeless Principles for Selling and Negotiating” with author Bill Caskey
Paula Williams: I’m Paula Williams. I work for ABCI. ABCI helps aviation companies sell more of their products and services.
John, if you wanna go next and we’ll let Bill go last.
John: Well, she’s the rock star. I work for her. I do all [inaudible]. My [inaudible] stuff.
Paula: Absolutely. John’s got a cold today, so he…
Bill Caskey: No. Yeah. A lot of people are sick.
Paula: Right. John took a COVID test and came up negative, so you won’t get that from him today.
Bill: No. I’m not worried about it. I wouldn’t be worried about it if he was in the same room with me.
I’m Bill Caskey. I have worked with the business-to-business sales team and salespeople over the last thirty years. Basically helping them to grow their business without all the grinding and the burning out that sometimes occurs with high growth. So, we’ve figured out a way to take another look and an alternative look at selling, and marketing, and messaging so that people can grow their business without the burnout that companies got. So, that’s my story that I will stick.
Paula: Well, fantastic. Happy to hear it. Happy birthday, Bill, by the way. We’re…
Bill: Thank you.
Paula: …honored that you would spend your birthday with us. I mean, geez.
Bill: Well, you know what? The fact is that my birthday was yesterday but the birthday thing, the video that I sent out didn’t get sent out until today. So, you are not interrupting my birthday because it was yesterday.
Paula: Oh, well. I hope you had a great birthday.
Bill: Yeah. I did. It was like any other day. When you’re my age, you just keep working.
Paula: There you go. Same with us.
Bill: Yeah. We go out to a nice dinner last night, going out to dinner tonight. We always kid and our family birthdays tend to go for days and days, sometimes weeks, because we wanna celebrate. Not everybody can do it at one time. So, basically, long protracted birthday.
Paula: Exactly. We like to celebrate birthday weeks.
Bill: Yeah. Good.
Paula: Include a weekend, of course. So that’s great. Great. It looks like we’re having a couple of other people join. If you would like to introduce yourself, you are welcome to do that and do a fifteen-second sales pitch for your company, your product, your service. That’s one of the things that we practice. If not, that is totally fine, too. But I think we’ll just go ahead and get started.
I have to say this is the only book that we have ever had twice as a Book Club selection. The reason is because last time we had, it was several years ago and we’ve had a lot of new people join us. I think it’s probably the most useful book on sales that I have ever read.
Bill: Thank you.
Paula: I don’t wanna sound too biased just because you’re here, because I told people that before. Haven’t I, John?
Bill: Thank you. Thank you. John’s not talking. So that’s good.
John: [inaudible]. I tried to catch the mute but I needed to cough. I missed it that time.
Paula: Absolutely. No. I’ve talked about it a lot because I really enjoy all of the examples and the thing that I like the most is that your style is so much more appropriate I think for our industry, than a lot of the sales teachers and professionals who are used to retail, used to other markets where hype is your friend. That’s really kind of not your thing. I know you have a lot to do with energy. But that’s a totally different thing I think, than the artificial hype that you get from a lot of sales folks.
All right. Yeah. I know we’re here to hear from you. So let you take it away, if you don’t mind.
Bill: We’ll get into it. All right. Well, thanks, Paula, for having me in. I appreciate it so much. We’re celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the book this month. It came out twenty years ago. It was released in February of 2001 or whatever that is, 2001. So we’re doing a little celebration here. I’ve been posting some things on LinkedIn. I know you’ve seen and commented on a couple.
I think when you look at a book like this that’s twenty years old, you have to ask yourself, “Is there anything new? Or you saying in same book applies?” I’d say probably 90% of it still applies, because a lot of it was about the mindset, the inner game, the mentality that we take with us when we’re going out to the market to either pursue a sale or be involved in the sales process. I think all the same principles still apply. There were some things in there that I would do differently if I were to rewrite it. I probably need to rewrite another version now that it’s been twenty years. But most of it applies. But I wanna share with you and the gang today some things from the book but also some other things that I think are a little bit more modern on terms of how we– especially in the world that we’re just coming out of the COVID pandemic world. I think there’s things that we can alter so that we can reinvent ourselves appropriately.
The bottom line is, and I always tell people this. If you have a question, you’re welcome to put it in the chat, or you can raise your hand, or whatever. I’m gonna go through this kind of gently for maybe fifteen, twenty minutes and I’ll open it up for questions or comments. If there’s none, I’ll continue on through it.
I’ve got some PowerPoints here. I don’t overload you with those. I’ve got five. So if you wanna take a screenshot of something, there’s a couple of things in here that I think might be good screenshots for you to kind of keep with you, if you are so inclined. So feel free to do that. Books copyrighted, but some of these PowerPoints are not. So feel free to use it, however you see it fit.
I started in the training business in 1990, ten years before the book came out, I would come home at night and document some of the problems that my clients were having. There were problems like, “I can’t get to the right person. I can’t generate enough leads. I feel like I’m used for information. I feel like they just kind of put me through the ringer [?], then there’s nothing at the end. I spend a lot of hours with proposals, then nothing happens.” All those things that I heard, I would write down. Then I would attempt to solve them. ‘Cause I solved a lot of these problems or remedied some of them in the training, but I wanted to document them. So I started this process of doing that and it eventually turned into a book, “Same Game New Rules”. I still do the same thing today. Whenever somebody has something they share with me, that’s kind of a weird one or it’s a more modern problem. I still document them and I probably got enough for several more books but I need to sit down and write them. They don’t write themselves, I find.
So, over the course of those twenty years, I find that salespeople, generally, the game is the same. We are out there trying to acquire clients or customers, however you call them. We are trying to shorten the sales process as much as we can. We’re trying to position our products and our services in a manner that will cause people to say, “Yeah. You know what? I need to talk to you.” Sometimes that’s done personally. Today, it’s done more digitally on LinkedIn, Facebook, some of the platforms. But it’s still they same concepts. They same concepts still apply.
So, whether you are a sales VP, a sales professional, a front lines, or a CEO of a company, I think all these principles work, because everybody is in the same game. We wanna grow our business. We wanna acquire new customers. We wanna do it in the minimum possible time. We don’t wanna do it with pressure. Because the brand that we all have in the market should not be one of high pressure sales.
I know there are some organizations who kind of pride themselves in that. I don’t find most business-to-business operations wanting to be high pressure. But unfortunately, it’s like, whenever I get in front of accountants or engineers or any kind of non-salesperson, I always ask them, “What do you hate most about salespeople?” Of course, they’ll say pressure and manipulation and all those things. Yet when they go out, they do the same thing. It’s not because they want to be manipulative or high pressure, it’s because they don’t know another way.
So, I think in our heart, I don’t know that any of us are born salespeople. I think a lot of us have learned the craft over the years. Unfortunately, some of the things we’ve learned as you said Paula, are not good. They actually, many ways, force the prospect away instead of attracting them and that seems counterintuitive. If you’re trying to generate business, you would think that you would want to do things that attract people rather than repel them. I’m okay with repelling non-prospects. But when somebody gets in your funnel and is a real opportunity, I think we wanna be mindful of how we take them through the process. So that’s what “Same Game New Rules” is all about.
So I’ve got a few slides here that I wanna share with you. Maybe we can have some discussion on that. I think I have the ability to share my screen. Yes? No? Yeah. Should. Okay. So hopefully, you can see this.
I believe that if we’re going to create a sales process, why not start with the ideal sales process? The ideal process is not you banging out phone calls to the tune of a hundred a day, although, I know some business development people that’s all they do is cold [?] outreach. I think the ideal sales process for most business-to-business organizations should be this. I’m gonna go through this really quickly. I call it “The Journey.”
There’s first a trigger. A potential client or prospect has a trigger. They become familiar with a problem they have or an unrealized opportunity. Now, they might become familiar with that through an article, through a friend, through some kind of content that you publish. Or it may be through a cold [?] outreach or some kind of networking event.
So I think that there’s always a trigger that causes the prospect to think a little bit and say, “Wait a minute. Do I have that problem? Do I have that problem solved? Is there any way I can do better at that?” At some point after that trigger, there’s a search that goes on. Typically, that search is they might ask a friend. They might ask a colleague, somebody else in the company, “Hey, we’re looking to solve this accounting problem. Do you know somebody who does that?” Obviously, they’re searching on Google or online. But there’s always a search, once the trigger happens. Then, hopefully, they find you. Again, we’re talking about the ideal sales process as they search for, “How do I solve the problem of X?” Your name pops up, or your company pops up.
Now, that’s a little difficult. You can spend a lot of time and a lot of money trying to get high in the search terms. But the fact is that you can do it. Even if it’s on LinkedIn, you can create content that speaks directly to that problem.
Those of you who know, a lot about SEO know that the best kind of SEO is where you write an article that deals with a specific problem. Like, how do I grow my business without giving away the farm, without discounting? So whatever that problem is, that’s a really good way to create content around that, because you will be found that way.
Sometimes it’s referrals. Sometimes they say to a neighbor, “Hey, we’re looking for somebody who does that. Do you know somebody?” You don’t have much control there. If they know you, and like you, and they are client of yours, they will probably give the prospect your name. But that’s a really hard thing to manage.
Got some newcomers. Phil, Doug, good afternoon. Glad you’re here.
Doug: Good afternoon.
Bill: I did a whole song and dance routine. You missed all that, so you’ll have to watch it at home.
Bill: I’m glad you missed that.
Phil: No. You’re a whole better already. So it’s great. Thanks.
Bill: So at some point, they find you. When they find you, they either invite you in, they email you. There’s some kind of connection, a correspondence. Then number four is the reveal. That’s where they’re revealing to you the full set of issues they have, the four, the dilemmas they’re in, the problems they’re in. We’ll talk about this here in a little bit. You got to make sure that you are mindful that how you show up determines how open they are. How you show up– and I don’t mean how like what are you wearing, although that could be part of it. By the way, I’m wearing a golf shirt today, because it was sixty-five in our city last three days, although today it’s twenty. So I got spring fever. So I thought I’d put a golf shirt on.
How you show up mentally, and emotionally, and tactically from a language standpoint determines how open they’ll be. If they feel trusting in you, if they feel like you’re a colleague and you’re going to help them, you’re a helper, you’re a server. They will share everything with you. I’ve had clients who say, “I’d like to schedule a fifteen-minute phone call, go for an hour.” Because once they start talking about their problems, they can’t stop. All I’ve got to do is just shut the hell up and listen. I know that you’ve all probably experienced that as well.
This is part of the old training is sell hard, convince, put pressure, lead them through the process, get to the close. That kind of stuff just doesn’t work today. People are on to that. They know what that’s about. They want no part of it. So the reveal were the prospective customer client is sharing with you what their issues are. We’ll talk about what issues those might be a little bit later.
At some point, number five in the ideal sales process is you tell them, “Look. I appreciate you sharing this with me. Let me go back and think. Or let me go back and talk to some of my people. Or let me analyze the situation. I never make recommendations on the phone.” If somebody calls and says, “Hey, I want you to come in for a three-day sales meeting. I wanna know how it works. What’s the price?” I never do that on the first call. Sometimes I’ll do price if I feel like I’ve got to disqualify them. But generally, I always say, “Look. Let me give this some thought. You’ve given me some good notes. Is it okay if I call you back in the next couple of days? Let’s talk about a solution.” People always are okay with that, if they’re in the right position.
So, I like thinking about number five here as a recommendation rather than a proposal, or a presentation. I always feel like the word presentation kind of conjures up. You’re putting on a show for them, hoping they clap. I don’t like that. I think that takes all the power that you have and gives it to them. So I prefer to think of it as a recommendation. That’s what consultants do. That’s what surgeons do. That’s what doctors do. They give you a recommendation on how to fix the problem that you’ve brought to them.
Then, number six. The ideal is they are thrilled that you came in. They are thrilled with the solution. They can’t wait to start. How quickly can we get started? That is the ultimate outcome after the recommendation step. So again, some of you have probably seen this before. You have clients, customers, you work with now where this is exactly the thing that happens. But I always use this upfront because this is the ideal. This is our vision. This is how we want all sales processes to go ideally, even though, I fully understand that they don’t always do that.
So as you go through your process, we talked today a little bit about marketing and mindset message. I think you have to throw it through this filter. If you do that, I think you’ll find some holes in your process where you’ll say, “You know what? Now that I think about it, everything we talked about proposal or presentation. We can just change that word. It’s a very slight tweak.” That’s what all this is about. It’s just slight tweaks. I don’t wanna reinvent your entire personality. Nobody wants to do that. I don’t know how to do that anyway. I’m looking for the slight tweaks, the little things you can do differently. Some of the language you can use is different.
Does everybody cool with that? Does anybody have any questions about that? We can stop after each one of these slides and just feel some questions. Or, does everybody kind of understand what I’m getting at here?
Paula: I’ve got one question and that is, I think, especially in your video from this morning or from yesterday that came out this morning. You mentioned that what happens before the process starts, before the call, before any of this happens is the most important thing.
I guess, in this process, as a salesperson, it comes before the trigger and before the search, it becomes before the find. Before I reach out to someone or before someone picks up the phone and calls me, if I don’t have a process, and a lot of people don’t, then you’re already sunk.
Bill: Most people don’t. I mean, on this call, everybody probably does or might. But…
Paula: That’s true.
Bill: …most people don’t. Most people rely on just sheer brute force to get people into their funnel. So here’s a suggestion based on that, Paula. LinkedIn has become a favorite go-to for a lot of people today. We have all these connections. I bet between the six of us there’s thousands of connections we have. But we don’t use them very well. They just kind of sit there in the cloud, or as my friend calls it in the clouds.
Sometimes I think it’s good. If you wanna reach out to somebody on LinkedIn instead of reaching out like we’ve all been reached out to and say, “Hey, Doug. I noticed we were connected. I thought it would be good to get together for a cup of coffee sometime.” It’s like, if I drank coffee with all these people, I’d be jittery as hell all day.
So, that’s not a good way to start. A better way to begin is for you to shoot a video where you talk about the five major problems, or three or whatever, facing your client base, put it on YouTube or put it on one of your websites. Then when you reach out to somebody, you say, “Hey, Doug. I noticed we’re connected. I just did a video the other day where I address some of the key problems that CPAs have in trying to get new clients. I thought you might like to see it. Here’s the link.”
Bill: So now, before you even talk to them, they’re more likely to watch that than they are to join you for a cup of coffee or dinner at a country club, just because of how we’re all wired today. I’ve had a lot of success. My clients, almost all of them have some kind of process upfront where they consume content of some kind, before they ask for the appointment. It works. It works marvelously. But, it means you’ve got to shoot a video. You’ve got to have a camera or a phone. You got to have a mic or grab lighting, and all that stuff.
But think about how you can scale your business. If you reach out to a hundred people on LinkedIn over the next month, and you link that video, you’re gonna have twenty people who watch it. Then you can follow up with them later and you’ll get some appointments from it. I like that better than trying to arm wrestle people for a meeting. It just feels like that’s such an old thing. It doesn’t work. Of course, you arm wrestle enough people, you’re gonna win some. But I like the idea of using digital technology to scale my lead generation, so that it’s not always up to me. ‘Cause they can be watching that video at midnight when they can’t sleep, because they couldn’t wait to watch it. Now, I’ve got something out there working for me as I’m laying down at night resting my eyes.
Bill: So that I don’t know if that answers it. But that’s part of using the upfront part of the process to trigger. So you can create the trigger. But it’s got to be valuable for them. It can’t just be meeting for lunch. I’m not insinuating, you guys do that. But I get that email, that message all the time, “Let’s get together. Let’s jump on a Zoom call.” I don’t have time to jump on a Zoom call. Give me a three-minute video. I might watch it especially if it really interests me.
Okay. I’ll shut up. Anybody else have anything on the ideal sales process? Any lesson here? Anything that you look at and say, “You know, we’re pretty good at four of these but God, the one, we’re just not quite there yet.” Or are you comfortable sharing that?
Paula: Wow. I think you got a great crowd.
Bill: Great crowd.
Paula: We do consultation. I think we call our recommendations a– well, that’s not necessarily true, because that happens during the reveal our consultation happens. We do that as one step. We do a consultation and then a report as a result of the consultation.
Bill: Good. Is that a free consultation? Or do you get paid for it?
Paula: It’s a free consultation.
Bill: Okay. So that’s part of the reveal step. It’s where they reveal to you. Yeah. I like that.
Bill: I like that a lot. Then you provide them something after that that kind of fine tunes or recaps that?
Paula: Yeah. It’s a recap with a more specific recommendations.
Bill: Course of action. Excellent.
Bill: I’m not gonna get into presentation today. But I did have a quick story I’ll tell about, how to not do it and how to do it. I wrote here. You might have seen it if any of you connect with me.
I fell on the ice the other day. I’m in Indiana. We have a lot of ice. It was a day we had some dark ice or black ice or whatever it is. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t see and I stepped on it. Boom. Feet went off under me. I tried to catch myself with my left hand. Bad idea. Better just to drop. I had something in my other hand.
I went to the doctor, ‘cause I was recommended a surgeon who does rotator cuff. That’s what I have. I got a torn rotator cuff. Went in. He said, “Yup. You need surgery.” He did an MRI. He showed me where the problem was. He said, “Yeah. We need to operate. We need to do in the next thirty to forty-five days ‘cause our experience is that it’s better if it’s done quickly.”
I said, “What are the chances of me fully recovering? He said, “You’ll never get it all back. You just won’t, because it’s traumatized. You get maybe 80, 90% but at your age.” You always hate it when doctors say, “At your age.”
Bill: He said, “It’s your non-dominant hand. So if you’re gonna be throwing with your grandkids or kids, it’s not gonna affect you. Eighty, ninety percent. But it can helpful.” I said, “Okay. Great.” So he hands me this seventh-generation copy of a copy of a copy for pre-op. He said, “Here. Be here next Friday. Here’s your pre-op stuff.” He gave me a sheet. This is a legitimate operation. This is not like a hole in the wall orthopedic surgeon. I thought, “Okay. This doesn’t feel right.” I said, “What’s the post-op? Once we’re done, then what? What does the rehab look like?” He said, “Well, it kind of depends.” I said, “Do you have something I can look at here? What it looks like to recover?” He said, “No, not really. I don’t really have anything. We’ll get that set up when you’re done with surgery.” I said, “Okay.”
So my wife said, “You need to get a second opinion.” I knew if I went to another surgeon, I knew what the opinion would be, “Yup. You got to operate.”
So I went to a physical therapist. He specializes in shoulders here in Indianapolis. So I went to him. I told him the situation. He said, “You know, we can get it 80 to 90%. We can get it there. It might take a couple of months, few months but you won’t have the surgery and all the rehab from that.” He said, “I’m gonna do the same rehab whether you have surgery or whether you just come in here. It’s the same kind of process.”
I said, “What does it look like?” He said, “Well, phase one is we’re gonna work on flexibility.” He handed this sheet to me that has phase one, phase two, phase three. Phase one, flexibility. Phase two, mobility or those might have been switched. Phase three, strength. He said, “Each one takes about three to four weeks, six to seven sessions each. That’s my goal is to get you here in ninety days.” He shared with me where he’d like to get me in terms of percent mobility.
I looked at the sheet that he gave me. I looked at nothing that the surgeon gave me. This PT is a couple grand. The surgeon’s probably fifteen. I mean, I’ve got insurance, but I know that it’s expensive plus all the downtime. I may have been wrong in going with the PT. But I felt comfort. I felt like, “Well, this dude knows what he’s doing. At least, there’s a plan here.”
Bill: I think that’s one thing on the recommendation that you’ve got to realize what your potential customers is. They wanna feel that you’re gonna take care of them. If you don’t tell them, here’s what happens. This is one thing that I’ve encouraged all my clients to do is, as you get down to the eleventh hour and you’re getting close to the end of close or whatever, share with them any event we work together. Let me tell you what it looks like. Phase one, we have three meetings. Phase two, we start working on the problem. Phase three, we measure metric, whatever. Whatever that is, give them some kind of sense that you’ve got a plan. Because they have to have confidence not just in you personally but you have a systematic way to solve their problem.
So many companies forget that. They’re so interested in making the sale, they don’t think that part of the sale could be hurried up by letting them know, “Here’s what’s going to happen once you sign. In the event you decide to use us and we decide that you’re a good fit, here’s what it looks like.”
So that’s another way to do the recommendation is actually lay out a timeline. Some of you might be in a business, “Ah, it just doesn’t make sense. It’s a simpler business than that.” But if it’s a big ticket sale, ten grand, fifty grand, five hundred grand, I think people need to know, what’s going to happen once I say yes.
Bill: So it’s just a little…
Paula: Absolutely. I love that.
Bill: Long story with a little tip attached to it.
Confidence is the main thing there. We always talk about confidence, our confidence, which I think is important, self-confidence. But they’ve got to have confidence in your ability to solve their problem. They’ve shared with you all their problems. After the reveal, they’ve shared with you everything you need to know about their business, and their issues, or dilemmas, and their vision. Now, you need to put that into action and the way you do it, I think is through a timeline or the solution process. We always talk about sales process, seldom solution process.
Okay. I’m gonna keep moving if there’s nothing.
All right. One of the things that I put in the book in the very beginning and have changed this a little bit, so I’ll share with you how I’ve changed it. I called “The Fundamental Shift.” I think we need to have a mental shift in how sales is conducted. I have witnessed people who use these five elements really alter their confidence level and also the confidence level their prospects and clients have in them. It’s five areas that I think will radically improve your results. We covered this in the main book but I’ve changed it the diagram a little bit.
You see around the outside, there’s four elements. There’s one in the middle. I’ll go around the outside first.
Abundance. We have to have in our mind that our market is abundant. It doesn’t mean it’s infinite. It doesn’t mean it never ends. But it means that as I look to the market, I can see a lot of opportunity. This helps you, as you’re going out to the market, to not get so attached to a deal. If you say that, “Man, there’s a lot of pain here. Customers have a lot of pain.” Some of that pain they know about, some they don’t know about. But I think that helps you to take on this attitude of abundance in the market.
It’s better for the prospect, because they don’t have a hostage-taker on their hands. They don’t have a salesperson who’s constantly persistent. I always say, “If the prospect’s not behaving properly, tell them it’s over. Tell them, look. I kind of get the feeling that this is not working. Or I’ve said something. Or it’s not a fit. Let me know. Tell me that.” If you’re in scarcity mode, you can’t say that.
Number two. Around the corner, there is high intent. High intent takes care of all fear in sales. I know that’s a bold arrogant statement, maybe. But, when your intent is all about you, what’s going to happen to you? Am I going to get this deal or not? How am I gonna spend my commission? What am I going to tell my people at the office if I come back empty-handed and don’t have the order? I used to work that way. I don’t works that way anymore. But high intent is where it’s all about them. Your intention is about them. It comes in at a high place. It’s about their problems, their situations, dilemmas, visions.
If we are always focused on the customer and their problems and less so on ours, I see, and I’ve witnessed it where you have a higher closing percentage when you operate from a place of high intent. Plus, I don’t know if I said this in the book, I don’t think I did. When you’re operating from a place of high intent, you can demand the prospect operates from that place, too.
If you’re operating from, “What’s in it for me? When are we gonna close the business,” you have no power in the relationship. You’re a hostage. You’re down here. You’ve elevated them up here. They got the money. You might have the solution. But their money is more important to you than your solution is to them. Terrible dynamics.
So, when you operate from a place of high intent, all fear goes away, because it’s not about you anymore. It’s about them. If they decide that they don’t have a problem were solving, or you decide that they don’t have a problem were solving, the deal’s done. You move on. There’s not this fear and emotional attachment, things like that. So high intent, it’s hard because sometimes we can have high intent on the first call, we can really be there for them. As we get sucked into the process, we start wandering, “When this gonna close? I told my boss thirty days. It’s the twenty-fifth day. He’s pressuring me.” Now, the intent, you’ve lost the intent. So, high intent is really a big one for us.
Number three, and I’ll stop here. At the end, you can ask any questions or critique it. Expert status. I’m just going around the outside here. Expert status is where you are the expert, you have some expertise that you’re bringing to the table. Sometimes that expertise doesn’t have to be technical expertise. It can just be, I’m good at finding problems. Your expertise could be in the sales process and the problem-finding process. But you need to position yourself and to carry the kind of the banner of expert, not the world’s foremost authority, but just somebody who knows what the hell they’re doing.
I find salespeople sometimes have so little expertise, technical expertise. They’ve been told, don’t worry about technical expertise. Let our technical people be concerned with that. But the prospect wants to know what you know or what your company knows. So I think expert status is huge.
The last thing here on the upper left is the buyer/seller dance. This is the dance that occurs between you and the potential client. Most of the time, the dance, the way it’s traditionally been done is you are the seller trying to get the buyer to buy. Convincing, persuading, trying to hold their feet to the fire, follow up when they told you to follow up. Then you get crickets. The whole buyer/seller dance, I think is broken.
I would prefer we flip the script there and say, “How can we create an atmosphere where the seller– I’m sorry. The buyer is selling me on why they need what I have. Either because they have severe problems, they have problems that cost them a lot of money. They have a vision for their life that’s been unrealized yet. So I wanna flip the buyer/seller dance to be in control of it.
Important point here. You’re not in control of the people in the dance. You’re in control of the dance itself, the process itself. This has been a huge win for our clients. When they go in with the old, “I’m here as kind of a pawn in this game.” It’s a whole lot different than when they go and say, “Look. Are you looking at me deciding if I’m the right person for you, the right solution? I’m also looking at you asking myself, is this the kind of company who can optimize the value that we bring?” So we’re both in that same situation. So before we decide anything, let’s go through the process. Let’s decide. That positioning is different than any salesperson that you probably come across today.
Bill: I’m looking to change the entire dynamic. I almost don’t want them to see you as a salesperson. I want them to see you as a problem-finder, as a problem-solver, as a vision-accomplisher versus a salesperson.
Let me get to detachment, then I’ll stop. The center of all that, we used to have detachment as one of the four, there were five things on the outside.
Bill: Detachment is the idea that, I am free to operate however I wanna operate. I’m not attached to a sale. I’m not attached to whether people applaud for me when I walk in the room. If I shoot a LinkedIn video, I’m not attached to whether people are gonna love it or not.
Michael Gervais has a podcast called Finding Mastery. He works for the Seattle Seahawks. He’s a sports psychologist. Good podcast. He says, “The biggest fear we have is the fear of other people’s opinions of us.” Abraham Maslow said, “We are not truly free until we’re free of the good opinion of others.”
This allows me to detach from all that. It doesn’t mean that I’m arrogant, that I’m indignant. It doesn’t mean that I’m a jerk. It just means that whether you wanna work with me or not, either way is cool. Either way is okay. When you operate from that position, people are attracted to that, because it delivers strength. It causes the person to say, “Yeah. You know what? I like this person ‘cause they don’t need me.” Nobody wants a needy person around them.
I’ve had people that I’ve reached out to before trying to buy products. If they’re too needy, it doesn’t work. Because I know, they’re not really interested in me. They’re only interested in what they can get out of the relationship. So detachment is at the center of all this. Probably, if you were to put another little circle in there, even within detachment, it’s self-worth. How we think about ourselves and how we value ourselves is really at the core. But if we value ourselves adequately, we will naturally be more detached. It’ll allow us to move around the outside of this much easier.
Okay. I will stop, answer any questions. I’d like to hear what you learned from that. Anything unique? Anything different? No. I’m doing all that right now. I wanna hear it.
Paula: To kind of position this for the aviation industry, I think most of the clients that I have, have zero problem with expert status. They’re all experts at what they do, because in this industry, we have a huge bias for the meritocracy of things. People who have all the check box, all the boxes checked of their qualifications. People who are engineers, people who are pilots. Those are the people that are recruited as salespeople whether or not they have any sales skills or background or anything else.
Bill: But they have all the expertise.
Paula: They have all the expertise. In some cases, it almost is a very unbalanced circle in the sense that they tend to think, well, I’m the expert and everybody else knows all the same words I do. Everybody else understands all these concepts. So we have to back them up a little bit and say, “You really need to focus on the rest of this process and bring your prospect along with you and feel that your prospect is just as intelligent as you are but just not in the same direction.”
So that’s a coaching item, I guess, that we have in our industry that maybe…
Bill: You’re saying technical knowledge can sometimes get you in trouble if you share too much. If it’s out of balance, absolutely. Absolutely.
Paula: Or else they feel like the rest of this isn’t important because, I am the expert.
Bill: Exactly. Yes.
Paula: So if they don’t buy for me, it’s because they just don’t know enough. It’s like, no. You are responsible for all of this. You are the sales guy or girl.
Bill: The world is full of people who know a lot who can’t sell.
Bill: Let me just tell you. I mean, I’ve got three other clients right now. They’re in the benefits business. They’re really technical. They’re really good. I mean, they can solve any benefits problem. They can’t get in front of anybody.
Bill: They can’t master the process. They can’t lead people through and guide them through. So therefore, their talent, their technical talent kind of goes to waste.
Anybody else have a lesson here before I move on?
John: I got to think that when you do this right, at least in my case, I’m surprised at the outcome. In other words, I go through all this thing, then the guy says, “Fine. How do we make this happen?” I said, “Well, you give me your credit card.” I got so shocked when that happens. I said, “Oh, okay. We’re good.”
Bill: You insist. It just happen to have my card reader right here.
John: That’s right. I don’t know…
Bill: The perfect outcome or the perfect reaction once you get through the sales process is, how quickly can we begin, how do we start, what’s the next step, I’m in. But if you’re hearing, “Well, let me talk to some of my people.” You know that you’ve done something wrong in the process. If you’re not getting, “Hell, yes. Let’s do this.” Then recognize, don’t blame them. You have to look in the mirror and say, “What did I miss here? Did I miss finding out what the problem was? Did I miss any of these attitudinal things? Did I let them control the process?”
Doug: I think that comes back to where you mentioned that it’s your dance. You control your dance. You don’t let the consumer or the customer control it. That’s good reminder. That’s part of the sales process that I have to use. But, sometimes I get in situations where I forget about that.
Bill: As the stakes get bigger, it becomes…
Doug: Maybe right.
Bill: …easy to forget about it. Yeah. Well, that’s good on a ten-thousand-dollar-thing bill but this is a million-dollar opportunity. I say, “I don’t care.” They don’t care anymore about your quota than the thousand-dollar guy or gal does. So, it’s still relevant. But yeah, it’s easy to forget when the stakes get high. The noose tightens a little bit. Your voice goes up, “Oh, God. I got to do what they ask.” There you go. There you go.
Good. Keep moving.
Phil: I gotta, let’s say, words of appreciation maybe one of the biggest things that I’ve pulled out of this is just that market abundance right I mean and just realizing that there is an abundance in the market. It’s so liberating to say, “If there’s somebody that doesn’t need a solution that I can offer, then that’s fine. There’s a lot of other people out there that can use it and could benefit from it.” So, to move on or do not take it personally and internalize that as a defeat but rather see it as somebody that’s words not a good fit as you say so. Yeah. I find it really liberating.
Bill: Absolutely. It is. I think that we are better when we’re free and when we’re liberated. I think as human beings, when we feel like we’re a hostage to something, we don’t operate from a place of spirit. We’re not present. We’re thinking, what’s gonna happen if he says this? I think that if you get these things down, you are totally present with another human being across the desk or on a Zoom call. Totally present.
You don’t probably have too many people in your lives. Not judging, but there’s not a lot of presence today. A lot of people are thinking about what they’re gonna say next or looking at their phone in between questions. Or there’s just a lack of presence, presence being in the present moment. So, I think it’s good.
Okay. I’m gonna move on. We have several steps here that we’ll go through. One is mindset which we’ve talked about a little bit. I’ll talk about this here in terms of marketing. Marketing is what actions are we taking when we go out to the world to generate discussions, or generate leads, or start conversations. I think there’s some mindsets that we need to have. Whatever, I’m not gonna talk about marketing tactics today, ‘cause that’s not the point of this.
What I’m more concerned with is how is your mind? Are you thinking about marketing and business development in the right way? So there’s five things here. I just did this program today with a group of people and they got a lot out of this. So I wanna share it with you.
Get your mind right about business development. Number one, feel like you are almost obligated to share your story. “People are silently hoping to be led,” Jay Abraham said that. They wanna be led. They wanna know what you have. They wanna know what you have is useful for them. But if we have no obligation to share, and we are afraid of our shadow, and we’re not posting on LinkedIn, we’re not doing live video, we’re not doing anything where we share and educate the prospect, then you can’t hope to be found.
So our mental adoption and mindset, mental mindset needs to be, I’m obligated to share it. What they do with it, if they are not interested, great. If they’re interested, great. But when you feel that sense of obligation, good things happen. Number two. Never have any expectation. I know this goes against a lot of what you’ve been taught. I’ve been taught over the years, expect everything to happen. You have to expect they’re gonna buy. I always feel like, “Wait a minute. I don’t even know if they should buy. Why would I expect they’re going to buy if I don’t know what their problem is? I don’t know whether they have money to fix the problem. I don’t know whether they’re going to allow me to see other people inside the firm, so that I can get a real perspective on what the issues are. Why would I have any expectation?” The fact is you shouldn’t. You should detach from all results. It freeze you up, ask the right questions, in the right order, at the right time, to the right people, when you have no expectation.
This is hard for people, because we have been trained and groomed. Quick train, is a friend of mine says to have expectations all the time and that expectations are good. But in sales, I don’t think it leaves space for the other person to share what their issues are, what their problems are.
Number three. Abundance mentality. I already talked about that. Number four. Mindset, you have to have is, how are you building your personal brand? Are you posting content? Are you educating your suspects to why they should maybe consider a meeting with you? Are you creating anything that causes the phone to ring? It’s causes inbound action and energy.
I do two podcasts actually. I do the Bill Caskey Podcast and the Events Only Podcast. Not a week goes by I don’t have somebody who reaches out and says, “Hey, I heard the podcast on this. I’ve got ten people, or I’ve got a hundred people, or I wanna help for myself.” That’s just a matter of building my brand and delivering good content. It doesn’t take me that long each week to produce a podcast. But now people are calling me. So I don’t make cold calls. I don’t do cold outreach. I just would rather field calls. But you still have to do the behavior which is you still have to turn on the mic. You still have to record a podcast. You still have to plan out your articles or your content strategy. But if you’re not findable online, then you’re not in the game.
A lot of people have fought me on this over the last twenty years. You know what? We’re not an internet marketer. I always say, “Wait a minute. I know you’re not an internet marketer. It doesn’t matter. People are going online to look for people like you. If you’re not there, you’re out of the game. You’re on the sidelines. I don’t want you to be on the sidelines.”
Number five. The ultimate is I want this to be a joyful. I want marketing to be joyful, not full of fear and anxiety. How do I go out and figure out a way to manipulate somebody into a sales call or a meeting? I hate that. It’s too much effort there. It’s too much grinding. I’m not saying don’t make calls. But when you make calls, get on the right attitude, and those calls will go better.
One of the things I say is always start with, “I have no idea if I can help.” What I have, I proudly what I have, we help a lot of people. But until I know more about what you’re trying to accomplish, I don’t know if I can help. You’ve got to believe that in your heart if you’re going to say it can’t be a con game where you’re saying that, hoping they say something else. No. No. No. You really don’t know if you can help.
So, marketing is important. But I think the mindset around ‘cause mindset, if we don’t have our minds right, it makes marketing harder, or we just don’t do it. So any thoughts on that?
Paula: So disarming. If somebody starts the conversation from, “I have no idea if I can help. I’m here to find out.” I love that. I think that’s a really good place to start. So many people are afraid to not be in a position of, “Of course, I can help.” It takes a certain amount of courage to be in that state.
Bill: It does. It does. Part of that is the old paradigms that we’ve grown up in. A lot of times, when I started working with a company, they’ll say, “But we know we can help anybody.” I always say, “No. You don’t. You don’t know. You don’t know if they’re ready to move, ready to change, have any problems, have the money. Probably they’ll go bankrupt. Hate [?] people like you.” I mean, there’s a lot you don’t know. I would rather start with that, “I have no idea.”
Bill: How are we doing on time, Paula? I don’t have my watch in front of me here.
Paula: Oh, we’ve got about ten minutes.
Paula: Yeah. I’m fine however long you wanna go. I’m gonna listen.
Bill: Okay. Good. Let’s go to the next one here.
One of the elements is mechanics. I think there’s a mechanical part to selling, a language part. It’s very tactical. But if you don’t get the tactics in the mechanics and the language right, which is all very small stuff, sometimes it can derail you. So, just put together here First Call Flow. You’re welcome to take a screenshot of this if you care to, or if you’re inclined.
First Call Flow. Number one. Whether it’s Zoom, virtual, webinar, I always think it’s important to acknowledge people for being there. I’m really glad you invited me in. I appreciate the time that we’ve set aside today. It’s not, “Thanks for letting me in.” It’s just an acknowledgement that you’ve made the invitation of, “We’re here together.” I think people need to be acknowledged. People aren’t acknowledged today. So that’s a good way to begin. Don’t be flowery and over the top about it. Just say, “I’m glad we’re able to meet today.” That could be something simple. That’s cool.
Number two is the upfront agreement. It sets the stage for you controlling the process. It’s easy. It’s elegant. Basically, it’s just, I don’t know if there’s anything that we can do to help. What I thought we could do is ask each other some questions. We can decide as we go, whether there’s a reason to go further, have another meeting, or bring other people in. It all depends on the business you’re in.
I’ve got a client who’s in the geopolitical consulting space. They’re frantic right now, because all these big clients are trying to figure out what’s gonna happen in Europe. They’ve started doing this. They said it’s amazing how much the prospect opens up or the client opens up when you do the upfront agreement. So we’re setting the stage not only for you controlling the process, but for them feeling comfortable to share with you.
Number three. I think it’s important to tell a story, to start with a story. Is it okay if I give you two minutes on, how this company that we have, if you’re the owner or representative, how we do business, or how we started, or how we deliver value to people?” I think it’s always important to have a story. It could be your personal story. If you’re in a business where your personal story matters, then I would maybe tell that. Or you can tell both. I just don’t want this to go on for thirty minutes telling your story. ‘Cause people get bored with it unless you’re a master storyteller.
Bill: Number four is then at some point, you’ve got to find the problem. So I want you to have a bank of questions that will help you find out what they’re really struggling with. I call it pain. There a lot of people call it pain, problem, needs, whatever it is. I just wanna know, what’s the dilemma that they’re facing today? Where do they wanna go? Where are they? What’s the gap?
The farther the gap is between where they are and where they wanna go, they’ve got to really tell you legitimately where they wanna go. You’ve got to make it comfortable for them to do so. Farther the gap, the better the opportunity for you.
So you’ve got to master this questioning process. I always say, always, whenever they answer a question, acknowledge it in some ways. Some of these tools and skills are just so basic, but people don’t do it. They just don’t do it.
Number five is you always wanna have a clear action of some kind after the meeting. A clear action could be the next call. It could be, “I’m gonna take it and think about this for a couple days. I’d like to reach out to you on Wednesday afternoon and book a call. Are you okay with that? What time would be good? Three o’clock. Okay.” But I wanna have some kind of clear future action. There’s always got to be something to follow up on something to do. A lot of people miss this, even though it’s real basic. So, I’m not implying that you wouldn’t do this already. But you never leave a call without a clear future.
Okay. That’s all I had today. I’m not gonna get into that. That’s too much. Does somebody have any observations or lessons that they’ve learned here? Any lesson they’ll take away and are able to use in the next…?
Paula: I’m just kicking myself about the last call that I did. Because I did almost all of this. I know this, because I’ve read the book so many times. But I did not leave with as clear of a future action as I could have.
So I really just need to set this up on my screen or somewhere so that when I’m making a call, I actually check every box on this, even though I think they know it. It’s a checklist item that’s…
Paula: …so hard, easy to lose track of.
Bill: That’s what this is. It’s a checklist. I mean, if you have a document that you take notes on when you’re talking to people, I would just take a screenshot of this, pop it up in the upper right corner. I don’t know that you want your prospect to see it. But I don’t know. I don’t know if that matters. But if you make it small enough, it reminds you. So when you’re looking at the notes, you think, “Oh, God. I forgot the story.”
John: On her case, she’s got two screens. She only shares one of them, so she does.
Bill: Yeah. Plenty of screens first.
Paula: [inaudible] to put it. There you go.
Bill: Phil, anything for you? Any….
Phil: Just on the upfront agreement. If you could expound on that just a little bit more. What might be an example of how you might approach? Or what would be the verbiage in talking about an upfront agreement?
Bill: Well, it depends on a lot of things. I mean, let’s just say it’s a brand new potential client. You’ve never talked to them before. You’re on a Zoom call. The upfront agreement would sound something like we did earlier. We just, “Look. I’m really glad that we were able to connect here today. You got thirty minutes. I’ve got thirty minutes. Are you still good with that?” “Yes.” Here’s what I thought might work best today. If I share a story with you, kind of how our company works and how we got started, then I’d like to hear from you as to what is on your mind and what some of the issues are that prompted this meeting. Then I’ll share with you anything you’d like to know about how we work. I may share with you a little bit more about our story. Then at the end, we can decide if there’s any logical next step.
Phil: Okay. It’s basically being clear about the process of the call or yeah.
Bill: That’s correct. Clarity helps you and it helps them. Clarity is always, yeah. Sometimes my clients will record phone calls, or they’ll record Zoom calls, and I’ll be able to go back and watch. It just amazes me how we know we should do this, but before you know it, you’re in, “Hey, what’s going on?” “Hey, not much.” “Well, tell me, Paula. Tell me what you do there.” Boom. You’re into it.
Paula: You just get totally derailed.
Bill: You get swept away.
Bill: I always say, “Don’t rehearse minutes, two through fifty-nine of the call. Rehearse the first minute. Get clear. What is my upfront agreement going to be here in this meeting?” Get really clear on that, because then you can have fun, kibitz, talk about the Super Bowl, or whatever. But at some point, you know you got to go to the upfront agreement. If you have it memorized and have it laid out, it will be easy to say, “Okay. Well, let’s get started today. Here’s what I thought we could do.”
You take control. They like it, because you’re not resting control away from them. You’re just saying, “Look. Here’s a plan. I’ll share it. You tell me if you like it.” Sometimes people say, “No. You know what? I don’t wanna hear your story. I wanna jump right to the problems we have.” “Okay, fine.” I’m not adamant about it.
Phil: I appreciate that. I mean, yeah. As pilots, we create a flight plan, right? You build a flight plan. Here’s the plan. It doesn’t mean you’re always gonna follow the route that you originally planned. But it’s a clear start from the dispatchers and the flight crew. Everybody at ATC, they know what the plan is. Everybody knows that can change but in the end, the goal is to get to the destination. How you do that can take different ways, but I appreciate that.
Bill: I mean, if I were in your business, I would use that very example every time. Look. We’re in the air business, business of flight. Here’s what I know about pilots. There’s always a plan. I’ve got a plan. Let me share it with you. Then you tell, boom. Now, they understand. They’ve connected. “Yeah. You know what? We got a checklist. We got a plan.”
Bill: I really like that.
Paula: Yeah. People in this industry love checklist. You may be off the plan, 99% of the time, but you’re gonna get there.
Bill: Very well. Well, I hope this has been helpful. I tried to make it go quick but still answered some questions. Hopefully, it was helpful for the people who attended.
Paula: Absolutely. I really appreciate you taking the time with us today. This was so helpful I think for everybody in our industry. Like I said, this is probably the best sales book. Everybody that gets into one of our workshops and things like that gets this book whether they want it or not. We end up talking about it and then laugh a lot.
Bill: Okay. Paula, thank you very much. John, Phil, whoever else was on. Doug, he left. He got Doug burned him out quickly. I hope you all have great weeks.
Phil: Thanks, Bill. Thanks, Paula, for hosting this. Appreciate you. Thanks for the invite.
Paula: You’re very welcome.
Bill: Thanks, Paula. Okay.
Paula: Thank you. Have a great afternoon.
John: See you guys later. Stay safe and happy.