~~ An Introduction to Introductions: Antonio Garrido, or The Best Questions from Miami ~~
Antonio Garrido just finished his first book, Asking Questions the Sandler Way: Good Question, Why Did You Ask? which uses the Sandler System to listen and ask the questions that let the buyer tell them how to sell them.
Antonio was motivated to write the book because at Sandler the keystone to our system is the reverse and our rule is answer a question with a question. We casually say that we’ve got to ask more questions, but what occurred to Antonio is that it is difficult for some people to ask more questions. We all struggle asking questions of questions rather than simply answering the question asked.
There are lots of different techniques and strategies when asking questions. In our research on how to ask questions: good questions and bad questions, and how to reverse and the book reveals 18 or more separate reverses. For most people there are two reverses: that’s an interesting question, why did you ask? or you’re probably asking that question for one of three reasons, reason a, reason b, and reason c.
We get into the groove of our reversing and ask the same one or two questions which are comfortable to us. Think of this from the perspective of a boxer. If you use one move then your opponent figures it out pretty quickly. If all you do is jab then the other person can change their strategy to complicate what you’re doing. The book is a longer book in the Sandler Sales catalogue, but the book is written for the average salesperson and sales manager in the street, this book is not written for those within the cult of Sandler and it’s accessible to anyone.
This book also has its own tool with hundreds of questions and what to say when you’re at a specific spot in the sales process. It’s a hugely practical approach to asking questions and aims to enable individuals who are unfamiliar with a closer familiarity and access to success for individuals.
Answering questions interrupts the conversation. When we interpret the question from our own perspective, but don’t have the ability to look from the framework of the other. We need to trust our empathy or use questions in order to enable conversations.
~ The Conceptual: Asking Questions the Sandler Way, or Questions Reinforce Conversation? Really? ~~
One of the rules we live by is Sell Today and Educate Tomorrow. When someone asks us a question we want to educate them and give them the answer because it’s an ego play that makes us feel smart. If someone asks a simple question, we want to give them the simplest answer to the question, but the problem is that if we allow ourselves to answer questions we’re trying to impress someone, maybe even our latent teachers of the past. But the simplest question might lead a prospect to think they’re dealing with something that’s too large, too small, or too specific for them. If we don’t ask questions of the questions that are asked of us, then we don’t enable ourselves to know what exactly the individual we’re speaking to is looking for. Even the most harmless question comes with a motive and intent to discover a piece of truth. The worst thing we can do is give a simple answer, so rather, we should restate, rephrase, and then reverse the questions asked of us. We want our prospects to understand that we understand what their question is, but we don’t want to stop the conversation flow.
When you do your precall plan you should write out a minimum of reverses that you plan to use in a conversation with a prospect. This use of the reverse works as reps, sit-ups, and this creates a facilitated avenue of growth to engage the process of learning how to reverse and reinforce why reverses work through actual felt experience.
~~ The Technical: Newsletter Pro Sales, or a Unique Way to Reach Clients, What Should I Ask? ~~
Salesperson: I know you’re trying to build a business of real significance, so I’ve been thinking of our agenda. Clearly you’ve got a list of questions to me about how we help build that business, what services we could offer and, how we might help your marketing program. Make sense, is there anything else we should add to the agenda?
Prospect: The basics, how long, how long till we see results, how much time it will take for me and my staff.
Salesperson: I’ll make sure we cover those things. On my agenda I’m going to ask you things like what have you tried, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, who else is gonna be involved, how do you make a decision? And then at the end we’ll talk about next steps or decide not to work together, that maybe it isn’t that important to get control of your top line on marketing. I don’t want you to be uncomfortable telling me no, does that make sense?
Salesperson: Before we start can I tell you my biggest fear?
Salesperson: So, we’re certainly not the cheapest marketing option that’s available. I’m not saying we’re the most expensive, but we’re not like other newsletters. So, if we get to the end of the meeting and I haven’t explained that, would you be sure to remind me to explain that?
Prospect: Sure, be happy to.
Salesperson: So why don’t we start with this. There is a reason you’re here today, why you’ve taken an hour out of your busy schedule. So why don’t you start and spend some minutes explaining from 30,000 feet why you’re here today?
Prospect: We’ve used things like direct mailers, adwords, radio, purchases from google, I’m not getting the results I want and I’d like to see a bigger impact with engagement with our past clients.
Salesperson: What I heard was return on investment is critical in the process on this, did I miss anything?
Salesperson: Tell me the three or four things that are the criteria you grade success on and let me write these down, because these are going to be important.
Prospect: I expect the company that I work with to own the responsibility to reach out to my target audience and get them to connect with me. Get them to get on the phone or shoot me on an e-mail.
Salesperson: At what level do you think this will make sense and what level will you ditch?
Prospect: I think a 10% increase in revenue is reasonable. I want to see a three times return on investment otherwise I’ll pull the plug.
Salesperson: Am I hearing that if we can demonstrate that then you would be prepared to invest?
Salesperson: okay, I’d say the same thing. In an ideal world, resisting the urge to say yesterday, when would you like to start seeing the results?
Prospect: I wouldn’t be talking to you if I didn’t need it today, but I realize there’s a lag time between a campaign and seeing results, and since you’re the expert, I’ll ask you, how quickly should I see results?
Salesperson: How committed would you be to this program?
Prospect: I’d be 100% in when I get the return.
Salesperson: Yeah, I get that, but what about your people? I know what we can do from our end, but what can I expect from your end via pushback, etc. How committed are you going to be to this program?
Prospect: Fair question. It’s a priority, I’ll assign someone the responsibility of being a point person who, when you ask, they’ll get you what you need.
Salesperson: Okay. Another pretend question. Let’s pretend I’m not the solution or for whatever reason you don’t like the look, sound, or feel of us, then where would you go next?
Prospect: I’m taking it one step at a time. I flush what doesn’t work while looking for something that might work. I might go somewhere else, but my concern there is it might not work. What I like is that you start with my client base. If you could get them to refer me or pick up the phone that’s what I want.
Salesperson: That makes sense. Let’s take two situations. Let’s say it goes tremendous well and let’s say it goes tremendously badly. Paint a picture for me of what that looks like?
Prospect: I guess I don’t feel qualified to answer that question, you’re the expert. How much will it make me and what’s the timeline?
Salesperson: I’m not asking you how much you think I can make you. I’m asking you what’s the delta between where you are and where you want to be in dollars per year?
Prospect: 150,000, 200,000 per year.
Salesperson: So we want to close a gap of 200,000 and a return of investment three times. Let’s assume this goes terribly badly. Nothing works out and you can’t get a solution to this, what’s this gonna do to the business. A year out from now where will you be?
Prospect: Not growing is standing still, if you’re not changing with the marketplace you’re stagnating and that’s where businesses die.
Salesperson: Without being too rude, why even do this, is this an exit plan? What’s the plan? Paint a five year future, are you grooming for sale?
Prospect: No, no, no. We like what we do—we want to do more of it and we want to make more money.
Salesperson: Other than return on investment and phone ringing how else will you measure success?
Prospect: If you can minimize the responsibilities of my staff. We have attempted our own newsletter multiple times. It never gets done on time. The finished project typically looks poorly put together at best.
Salesperson: When you told them to do a more professional version, why didn’t they do it?
Prospect: No talent. They don’t know how to.
Salesperson: If I said to you that this will take quite an investment in terms of money and time. We’re going to have to be crawling over everything like a rash, you gonna be comfortable with me asking you questions at five oclock on a Friday afternoon?
Prospect: If I spend that time and I don’t get results, I should be able to see a noticeable distance, but if I don’t see any results then I’d be disappointed.
Salesperson: Disappointed means I’ll be fired?
Prospect: I’ll let you know you’re on a short leash.
Listen to the rest of the interview to hear the play by play of how Antonio Garrido and Jim Stephens dialogue and roleplay out this sales call. What tips could you take away from it? What are Antonio’s best moves? What are his signature moves?