Episode 1: Learning How to Sell Your Product or Service
Hello and welcome to the first episode of the Joseph Stevenson Podcast. For those of you who don’t know me I am the author of Wealth after a Recession How I went from 20,000 dollars per year to 1 Million per year in the course of 3 years. The book is just being published now and it details my beginnings and failures in business along with what I did right for the last few years to grow my business and income at such a large rate. I also explain in detail what choices I made that lead to my biggest successes so that you can take those same choices and apply them in your own business. The book will be available in Amazon as well as most major book stores this summer. If you would like to get a copy you can go to my website at www.josephseo.wpengine.com and then visit the books page.
I am starting this podcast to keep the principles I teach in my book relevant to the current times. Right now we are in February of 2016 and currently the business principles I follow on a daily basis net me over a million dollars a year. So this is not a ten year old plan that isn’t relevant anymore but a day to day plan that I assume will change as time goes on but will remain relevant through updates on this podcast.
I plan to divide my episodes up between business experiences I am currently having, interviews with successful business men and women and occasional episodes where I will answer frequently asked questions from listeners. If you would like to submit a question for me to talk about please use the contact form on my blog at www.josephseo.wpengine.com.
This first episode I would like to talk about my experiences with running a business in 2016 from a standpoint of sales. My business is a Web Design and SEO agency that is based out of Las Vegas Nevada. We also service quite a few other cities like Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake, Albuquerque, San Diego and a few others. The majority of my customers are businesses looking to drive more sales to their business through the web and particularly search engines. It is my job and my agencies job to help my customers websites rank well in search engines so they can then get more leads and more customers.
I’m not going to talk in this episode about the process that is required to get your site ranked well in the search engines. I’ll save that for another time and I would recommend if you are new to SEO to go look at a couple of sites such as searchengineland.com or moz.com for helpful resources and tools.
Instead I want to go into some detail on what should happen when you get the lead and how to close the sale. I have heard numbers like 50, 30 and 10% close ratios for leads that come from some of my customers. Sometimes this is due to the leads being from an unqualified audience but oftentimes it is the fault of the salesperson. There are a few tricks and really I shouldn’t use that word and you’ll see why in a minute but there are a few principles you can follow in sales that will get your close ratio consistently in the 90% range. Just to clarify when I am speaking about these percent ranges I am referring to the percent of closed sales so expect to close 9 out of 10 leads if you have a close ratio of 90% or higher.
I will be referencing some principles taught in Neil Rackham’s book SPIN selling SPIN being an acronym. If you haven’t read this book I would recommend going on amazon and picking it up. You can also go to my blog under resources and find a link to it there.
I would recommend you grab a notepad while listening to this podcast as I like to cover items that will benefit you if done in the right order and it is helpful to take notes to review later. You can always listen to the podcast again but then you will have to skip around looking for specific things that help you in your business.
OK so with some of the chores out of the way lets talk for just a minute about resonating with people, then I will review the SPIN acronym Neil uses in his book and finish up with some techniques I use in my sales on a daily basis.
So first on resonating with people. If you haven’t read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie go on Amazon and pick it up for around $8 new. It is one of the best books you can get on working well with others. Depending on your personality it may be easy for you to talk with others or it may be very difficult. If it is difficult for you then talking to strangers is probably extremely uncomfortable let alone trying to get them to buy something from you. Selling something means you are asking someone “Hey, I have this great widget I want to sell you. Will you give me some of your hard earned money for it?” If that person doesn’t have a reason to believe or trust you, then the sale will never go through. If they hardly know you, then the sale won’t go through, and even if you seem trustworthy but are nervous and not confident only out of being shy then they won’t buy from you. You have to exude confidence in your product or service or people won’t buy.
With that being said I only want you to focus on confidence and a positive attitude. Don’t worry about selling your product at all right now. In fact take that dirty word “my product” out of your mind right now because that is one of the biggest reasons sales aren’t ever made by some salespeople, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
What you need to do first is learn to become likable. That does not mean learn to be fake but instead you need to be someone that people want to talk to. What I am about to say may seem obvious but it is ignored by so many people. First stand up straight, look people in the eyes when talking with them and have a happy and confident demeanor. Be proud of who you are and why you are there, again don’t talk about your product but expect that they are happy to see you.
I am not going to talk much more about becoming likable because Dale Carnegie does a much better job in his book so go get that first.
Now lets talk about the SPIN in SPIN selling. SPIN stands for Situation Questions, Problem Questions, Implication Questions and Need-Payoff Questions. The questions are the most important part of the equation but the order is also important. The idea between the SPIN method is that nobody wants to be sold something they don’t need. However if someone is interested enough to let you come pitch them something then most likely they need something and they think you could offer it to them. Knowing that you would think more salesmen would listen more than try to close the sale but that just doesn’t happen.
Situational Questions refer to asking questions to your potential customers about their situations. For my business they are usually something like “What is the situation with your website?” “Are you happy with your current hosting plan and if not why?” “How many customers do you get from your website?” and so on. Asking these questions gives the customer the opportunity to open up and tell you about the current state of their business.
The second set of questions which are Problem Questions are very similar and usually merge in nicely with the first set of questions. My questions range from “What are the biggest problems facing your company with marketing right now?” to “What are some keywords you have needed to show up in search engines for but haven’t been able to?”. Be ready for your customer to vent a lot during this part but its good for the trust to be built between the two of you.
Asking these questions offer a two fold solution. One it will allow you to build trust with your potential client that they probably don’t have with their current vendor assuming they have one. Secondly it will allow you to provide a better service knowing what exactly it is that they need from you.
The last two questions I will leave to the book and let you go get it or google them to learn more. The focus needs to remain first on building the trust with the client. When they know you have really heard them and are going to help them out the sale will be easy.
So what do you do once you know what they need and or want? ADAPT. Adapt in this context means to adapt your product to meet their needs. If you sell IT and your client hates their phone system then replace their phone system or offer a solution that will make them love their phone system. If you don’t do that then go find someone for them who does that you trust. I have had a lot of clients that didn’t need my services until much later because I didn’t offer what they were looking for. I tell you what though having someone willing to not make any money to help someone else out will make them a customer and a friend for life. I have a lot of customers that haven’t spent a dime yet but when it comes time for them to need my service there won’t be any question on where they go.
I’m going to leave it there for now. I am a big fan of goals and in order to get the most out of things you learn it is always helpful to set milestones and achievements that will get you to your goal. My recommendation is that you set a goal to have at least 3 meetings in the next week or two that result in you simply listening to what the customer needs while taking notes and then letting them know that you are going to get back to them on resolving their problems or needs. By telling them you will come back it shows that you take their problems serious enough to do your homework instead of just spouting out advice that you may or may not be qualified to give.
Do this until you feel comfortable enough to ADAPT your services real-time to what your potential clients need and then close the sale.
Well that wraps up our first episode. Please don’t forget to follow the Joseph Stevenson podcast on Facebook and Twitter, subscribe to the newsletter on josephseo.wpengine.com which is also where you can grab show notes and if you are interested in my book you can find that under the books section of the site. Until next time thank you for listening.
How to submit questions to Joseph 1:55
Explanation of what we do at Joseph Stevenson SEO Consulting 2:28
Resources and tools about SEO 3:14
Resonating with people 5:14
How to speak to people 6:56
SPIN Selling 7:50
Solutions and Trust with your Customer 10:36
What do you do once you know what they need 11:32
Setting a goal 13:13