Growing up, your mom probably told you to never talk to strangers. She also said never ask anyone for money. So…fast forward 20 years and find yourself at your desk, a newly minted college grad and a fresh-faced and newly hired sales professional at a great company. And what does your boss tell you to do on your first day? “Um…Josh, I need you to take this list of leads and I need you to call them (i.e. talk to strangers)…oh and then, if they’re really friendly, I need you to ask them to buy something (i.e. ask them for money…or even tougher, ask them for time). Um...ok?”
So how do you step up and actually tackle these taboos and address the social baggage that we all have been taught? How do you reduce fear and build trust…especially since you are even worse than a typical stranger…you are an invisible stranger! In this episode, Chris and I have a little fun in this episode of Market Dominance Guys and discuss “Stranger” Things.
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The complete transcript of this episode is below:
Chris Beall (02:06):
In cold calling is "how do you step up"? And it turns out there was a very powerful way to do it, which is to break the taboo against being the problem and be straight up, just admit, in fact, proactively declaim, you are the problem. I know I'm an interruption. And that's why the phrase is said like that. I know I'm an interruption. I agree with you. You know, I'm an interruption. I don't have to tell you that, but I'm telling you, I know I'm an interruption. So not only have I broken the taboo, which gets everybody's attention, right? It's like blood, it gets everybody's attention. You can't open a cold call with blood and that one doesn't work. And you could, somebody answers the phone. You say: "Hey, Corey, you know, I've got a lot of blood right here. That's kind of pouring out of this side of my arm."
Chris Beall (02:54):
You'd probably go: "Oh my God, I might get your attention. But I think it might be a little difficult to the conversation." But if I say: "I know I'm an interruption and I break that taboo against being the problem." Then suddenly you've got to deal with the fact that I've done that. And this is by the way, how I was successful as a brush man in Phoenix. I would knock on the door and imagine your kid has never sold in his life. You're selling under pressure, real pressure. I've got to make money in order to deal with the financial consequences of a miscarriage said, miscarriage, by the way happened, just on the other side of this counter, in the middle of that kitchen, that's 10 feet away from me. It happened. And guess what it was: it was pool of blood on the floor.
Chris Beall (03:41):
So, I mean, imagine a pool of blood spreading across the floor, underneath my wife. So that's how, that's what I came to as this miscarriage is watching somebody in her, in her house, coat standing in a pool of blood. Right? So now I've got to deal with this and we're about to move the next day. We're going to move to Colorado. Well, now I can't move to Colorado. There was a hospital visit. There's...
Corey Frank (04:07):
And you're selling Fuller brushes?
Chris Beall (04:08):
And not, yet, I'm moving and now I need a job and I need a job in one day. And the only job I could find in one day was to be a Fuller-brush-man. And I met the Fuller-brush people at Denny's, the boss, you know, the district manager or whatever he was. And the training was almost non-existent. It's like: "here's the bag?
Chris Beall (04:31):
Here's the stuff. Here's what you do. Here's how you fill out the order, your territory dude go." Right? So I thought about it and I said: "Hey, this is what they said to do is knock on the door and then try to sell them something." And I thought that's impossible.
Chris Beall (04:44):
Why would somebody buy something from a stranger knocking on their door when it's 114 degrees out? That's just nutty. They have a perfect excuse to close the door, you're costing me a dollar, a minute of air conditioning. "Thank you very much goodbye."
Chris Beall (04:58):
So I thought, you know, typical of my approach to things as a physicist mathematician: is to break it down into the pieces and then ask which piece can I do? So the piece I realized I could do was this: I would knock on the door and I thought, what I need is information and permission to come back.
Chris Beall (05:15):
Those are the two things I need. I need to know who I'm dealing with. I need to have them tell me I can come back. So I can't sell them. So when I'm selling them, I'm selling them the opportunity to learn something about them, which I can do just by looking at them. Okay?
Chris Beall (05:29):
So I got to get a look at them and then I need to get permission to come back; so that's my sale. Can I come back? So the way I did it was this: I broke a taboo and knocked on the door. They would answer, I said: "Hi, I'm Chris Beall I'm your new Fuller-brush-man. You probably don't know what Fuller-brush is, I sure don’t." Huge taboo, Right? I'm ignorant of my own company. That's like a crazy thing to say. A hundred percent of the time people kept the door open. There wasn't one person who closed the door in my face. I don't even think my mother would've done. And she was an expert, she was like, God of closing the door.
Chris Beall (06:11):
So, then they would say, how can I help you? That's what everybody said: "How can I help you?". Because I had said that I was vulnerable because I didn't even know what my company was. And so they asked for the opportunity to help me. And I said: "Well, here's what would be really helpful for me. I've heard, and I don't know if this is true, that our company has some products that can't be bought in stores and that are unusually good around the house".
Chris Beall (06:41):
And what I would like to do is to go look at those products, which I haven't had a chance to look at, at all yet. And if I find one or two of these that I think would really make a difference in your life, do I have your permission to come back in and waste five minutes of your time showing them to every single person I talked to said, yes, there were no exceptions. So I had a door to close rate in my first week here, my territory of 100%. And now I had information. So it was a woman 30 to 40. Obviously had some kids. There's an oil stain on the driveway. Hey, they have a garage, it's Arizona and know that they have black widow spiders in there, and I know how to find them because I grew up here. Then I went off, you know, I took my notes on each one and went to the next door and, and did this and did this and did this.
Chris Beall (07:31):
And it took five days to do my whole territory. I was very efficient because I didn't have to waste any time selling them anything. It was just this one thing. It took less than two minutes. It was done. I'd watch, take my notes fast blocks with they do the next door, compose myself a little bit, and then knock on that door and just repeat the same thing. Now I got all this information and I went and found, I figured out there were seven demographics that were significant. And I found a person that I knew in each demographic. And I went through the catalog very quickly category by category and found two products for that demographic that that person told me that they would buy. One was very inexpensive and it was something you would only ever need one of in your life.
Chris Beall (08:12):
So you would buy it from me unless you hated me. And then the other one was something that was relatively expensive consumable, and that if you wanted it and you thought it was never coming back, you'd buy a lock. That was that two products. So 14 products. I sold that of the thousands in catalog. And then I just went back in the evening when people were a little more relaxed, it's not quite so hot, sun's just gone down. So it took me twice as long to go through the territory. And I shared those two products and I always made sure it was only five minutes and everybody except for 6%. So 94% bought something from me and other 72%, bought at least $30 of the thing that you wouldn't be able to get again. And some would buy a hundred dollars plus, and one in 10 would buy my electrostatic-force-sweeper. Cause my mom liked it.
Chris Beall (09:06):
And I became the number one Fuller-brush-man in Arizona history, I believe in two weeks. By doing something very simple, by breaking the taboo of ignorance of what you're selling by not posing as the product expert, but by being vulnerable. And then them offering me help and me doing a service for them, which is researching the products and then keeping my promise, which was five minutes.
Corey Frank (09:32):
So, but everything else that you read, it seems as about establishing star power, credibility, respect; that you know, your product. And I almost hear you saying Chris, that vulnerability supersedes that, it it's a, it's a super highway to trust because the reaction that your prospects had said to you after you showed vulnerability, you probably physically threw up your arm.
Corey Frank (10:05):
So I don't know anything about right. And so just the mythological statement of having [inaudible 00:10:12] being vulnerable led to them saying, well, how can I help you? You've given, you've opened up. You know, let me, let me see. I can, how I can help you. And is, or, or is it, is it a temporary condition? Is it a parallel condition? Does it, is it like the word blood where vulnerability shocks people into wanting to render assistance and, now you're in the trust circle. If you will? Where they're going to be listening a little bit more intently because they're not going to have their hand on their wallet or their hand on their holster because you've already kind of bypassed that, that emotion. That's what I hear you saying. But,...
Chris Beall (10:59):
And it's very powerful because it's universal. We're not pulling a trick on them. You're actually telling them the truth, that's what's especially interesting.
Chris Beall (11:07):
In the cold call, when you say, I know I'm an interruption, you're not saying, I know I'm interrupting you. I know I'm interrupting your day is not interesting. It's not about me. I want to tell you that I'm the problem. And then, cause you think I'm the problem. The circumstance is not the problem. We can't throw the circumstance under the bus, but we can throw me under the bus and that's it. There's subtlety in here. This is why this is so hard to teach and so hard to learn because taboos are very, very hard to break. And we drift away from breaking the taboo to the non-taboo version, which doesn't work at all. By the way, it has no effect. When I say, if I were to say know, I'm interrupting your day, I get nothing. If I say, I know I'm an interruption and I emphasize the word, no, then I get something. And what I get is you're listening to the person who just said he was an interruption. Why did he say what was an interruption?
Chris Beall (12:11):
I mean, I know I agree with you, right? But nobody ever, nobody ever admits that and it doesn't go. It doesn't go stale at some point you only have to use it once or only that person once.
Corey Frank (12:24):
Versus, "Hey, did I catch you at a good time to catch you at a bad time? Do you have five minutes to talk? Can you have 15 minutes? Maybe I can get in your calendar?" Too soon and no trust and no empathy.
Chris Beall (12:35):
Yes. And it's only four words: I know I'm an interruption. It's Five words after which you get to offer a solution to the problem after all, why would I tell you about a problem that I believe you have?
Chris Beall (12:50):
Which, happens to be me unless I'm going to offer a solution to the problem. So if I just called you up and said, I know I'm an interruption and just stopped after a while, you'd be thinking, yeah. "Okay. Like, what's next?" What if I say: "I know I'm an interruption." And then I changed my voice to playful and curious, and I offer a solution. So I'm going to change the mood here from an acknowledgment of flat, very flat acknowledgment of a fact, which is, I am the problem to a question which is basically: "might we play together for a little bit of time?"
Chris Beall (13:38):
Can you, will you come out and play? So now we're back to knocking on the door; "Hey, can Corey come out and play? Mrs. Frank, can Corey come out and play?" That's that voice, right? You wouldn't say: "Hey, Mrs. Frank, can Corey come out and play?", that would be ridiculous. Right?
Corey Frank (13:56):
Chris Beall (13:56):
You have to say it in playful curious. And it has to be that knows Okay. "No, sorry. Corey is doing his homework right now and he's a little bit behind in school. He's not the quickest kid in the entire place. And he has to do the extra work. Sorry. He can't come out and play"
Chris Beall (14:11):
Right? You have to let Mrs. Frank say whatever she's going to say. And that's who you're asking. Actually you're asking their parents if they can come out and play. So that is, it's interesting to them that the solution to the problem might be as simple as coming up and playing for 27 seconds and they don't have to do anything. They just have to listen.
Chris Beall (14:32):
So, when you asked the question, you're actually asking a funny question. You're not asking permission. People often say to me: "Oh, so then you ask for permission to talk."
Chris Beall (14:42):
That's not what you're asking at all. You're asking about a circumstance, which only they can know about. And you're doing it in a way that you're presenting a plan to solve, to solve the problem. So you're showing that you're competent to solve a problem they have right now, The problem is: you.
Chris Beall (15:02):
So you offer a solution to the problem in a classic way. That's been heard thousands of times, which is:" can you come out and play?" That is:"are you free for a moment? Can I have 27 seconds?" So at that point I've shown vulnerability. I know you want to help me at that point, by the way your inclination is to help me. So I'm going to give you a program where you can help me. Can I have? "You're going to give me something: 27 seconds."
Chris Beall (15:30):
That's funny, that's playful. For purpose to tell you why I called; can I have 27 seconds to tell you why I called?
Chris Beall (15:37):
And that voice, which has got a little up rollercoaster is not a standard question. It's not a question of the sort like where you would answer:"Yes I have a bag of coffee; no, the dog is sick."
Chris Beall (15:52):
It's none of that, it's a question of, are you willing to come out and play with me for 27 seconds in order to solve a problem that I know that you have, which is that I'm an interruption
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