When we know the psychology of sales and truly understand how people want to be sold to, that’s where the magic begins. Jeremy Miner, voted in the top 50 best salespeople worldwide, has some knowledge to share with us about approaching the sales process in a way that sets you up for success from the beginning.
Not only can you ditch lengthy sales pitches and pretend to care about the weather in your prospect’s city, but you can also get to the root of their needs much more efficiently and teach them how you fit into that equation. Your prospects win because they learn about their company’s problems, you win because you know how to solve them, and you both win again because fixing those blind spots helps you both make more money. What do you have to lose?
A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.
What You Will Learn in This Episode:
- Jeremy’s first door-to-door sales job
- How to get sales prospects to pull you in rather than you pushing them to make a decision
- Getting to the bottom of your prospect’s problems and figuring out how to solve them
- The least persuasive way to sell
- Leading sales conversations with emotion instead of logic
- The NEPQ approach to sales conversations
- How Covid impacted selling to prospects
- Building a visual gap between where your sales prospects are and where they want to be
- Asking the right questions
“We're the least persuasive when we tell people things, or we attempt to dominate them, posture them, manipulate them, push and pressure them into doing something we want them to do.” Jeremy Miner Click To Tweet
“You're not selling services, you're not selling marketing strategies, you're not selling branding strategies, and you're not selling higher quality leads. You're selling the results of what all those things do for the prospect.” Jeremy Miner Click To Tweet
“Look at selling as being collaborative instead of you against the prospect trying to win them over just to make money.” Jeremy Miner Click To Tweet
“It's not very persuasive if your presentation is more than 10% of your entire sales process.” Jeremy Miner Click To Tweet
“Selling makes people very comfortable when you understand the right way to do it.” Jeremy Miner Click To Tweet
Ways to contact Jeremy:
- Website: https://7thlevelhq.com/
- LinkedIn Personal: http://linkedin.com/in/jeremyleeminer
- LinkedIn Business: https://www.linkedin.com/company/7thlevelhq/
- Sales Revolution Pro Facebook Group: https://salestraining.clickfunnels.com/optin1645488287272
- Podcast: https://7thlevelhq.com/category/podcast/
- Book: The New Model of Selling: Selling to an Unsellable Generation
- Build a Better Agency Summit: https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/babasummit/
- Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BABApodcast
- Virtual Peer Groups: https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/networks/virtual-networks/
It doesn’t matter what kind of an agency you run, traditional, digital, media buying, web dev, PR, whatever your focus, you still need to run a profitable business. The Build A Better Agency Podcast, presented by White Label IQ, will show you how to make more money and keep more of what you make. Let us help you build an agency that is sustainable, scalable, and if you want down the road, sellable. Bringing his 25+ years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.
Hey, everybody. Drew McLellan here with another episode of Build a Better Agency. Excited to bring our guest to you today. Before I tell you a little bit about him and his background and what we’re going to talk about, I want to remind you that the Build a Better Agency Summit is coming up May 16th and 17th. If you’re an AMI member at any level, you can attend Family Day, which is May 15th. We’ll have speakers in the afternoon and then all go out to dinner together. Then the conference itself starts on Tuesday morning, so Tuesday, May 16th and May 17th. One of the speakers that is coming this year is brilliant woman named Andrea Shup. Andrea is an estate attorney who specializes in working with entrepreneurs and high wealth individuals. You may say, “Well, I’m not high wealth.”
Number one, we want to get you to be high wealth. Number two, you are an entrepreneur and you own a business. All of those assets are subject to probate and all kinds of other things that basically if something happens to you robs your family of what is rightfully theirs. Andrea is going to talk about the strategies and tactics that any of us can put into play to protect our estate from unnecessary taxes at the time of our death. Not a happy topic, but a really important topic. Also, I will say that a lot of her strategies have nothing to do with the day you die. It’s really about tax planning as well.
So, she’s going to give us the nitty-gritty on how we can protect what we have built, both the business and any of our personal assets, and give ourselves as greatest tax advantage as possible, and also to protect our loved ones if something happens to us. So, she’s super engaging, doesn’t sound like a lawyer at all. She talks in normal language. You’re going to love her and you’re going to love what she teaches you. So, another reason to come to the Build a Better Agency Summit, May 16th and 17th. Okay, you can get your tickets by going to the website agencymanagementinstitute.com. Upper left corner, it says BABA Summit. Just click on that link and it’ll drop you down and you’ll see the register button.
Grab a ticket while we still have some and make sure you grab your hotel because that room block is going to sell out. So, please do that. Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about today’s topic. So, my guest is a gentleman named Jeremy Miner, and Jeremy has been in sales for his entire career. He was actually named the 45th highest earning producer out of more than 108 million salespeople selling anything worldwide. So, his earnings as a commission only salesperson were in the multiple seven figures every single year. He has now started a company called Seventh Level. It’s a global sales training company. It was ranked number one as fastest growing sales training company in the US for the last couple years, 2020 and 2021, by Inc. Magazine. Jeremy has cracked the code on sales.
What we’re going to talk about is the psychology of sales and why we’re uncomfortable selling, why that doesn’t feel right to us, and why the fact that we’re uncomfortable actually means that we can be great at sales if we do it the right way. We all think of sales in a certain way, and there’s really actually a whole psychology and human behavior science behind how people buy and how they want to be sold. So, we’re going to walk through some of that and I think you’re going to get some great tips and tricks from Jeremy as we delve into his methodology. He also has a brand new book out called The New Model of Selling: Selling to an Unsellable Generation. I think it’s number three on the Wall Street Journal Bestsellers list as of this recording. So, clearly a great book, clearly an expert in the topic, and I want to just start picking his brain. So, let’s get to it. Jeremy, welcome to the show. Thanks for joining us.
Drew, thanks for having me on. How are you doing out there, man? You staying warm?
You know what? I think we’re going to get about 10 inches of snow today. So, we are inside staying warm. In fact, we had Jimmy John’s just bring us lunch, and I was like, “I got to say, one of the things I love about COVID is it got everybody to just bring everything to your house.” That’s a beautiful thing.
Yes, that’s valid. I love it. Well, thanks for having me on the show. It’s an honor. Let’s get started. How can I help?
Yeah, let’s talk about it. So, first of all, let’s tell everybody a little bit about your background and how you came to have this insight and knowledge that we’re about to pick your brain on for an hour.
Yeah, yeah. I’ll give you the snapshot version. I want to bore anybody to death, but I got started in sales 22 years ago as a broke, burned out college student. I got my first job selling home security systems door to door. If anybody’s listening on here, who started off selling door-to-door, who had a door-to-door sales job? You know what I mean. So, basically, the company hires you. Everybody’s paid straight commission. So, they hire everybody to see who’s going to stick. They basically give you a script, a couple of books from the sales gurus and basically drive you out in a van. I would say even kick you out of the van and say, “Hey, go make some sales. It’ll be easy. We’ll pick you up after dark,” that mentality.
I was actually the last one dropped off in the neighborhood, and I still remember it’s like this flash moment. I remember looking back at my sales manager dropping me off. His name was Exen. I still remember these words that haunt me the first couple months I was in sales. He said, “Hey, make sure when you knock on the door, show them how excited you are about the product. If you show them your excitement, they’re going to be excited as well and they’re going to want to buy.” I’m like, “Hey, what do I know? I’m a 21-year-old kid. Okay, sure, That makes sense. If I show them I’m excited, they’re somehow going to be excited too.” Makes complete sense. So, I started knocking on the door and I was really excited.
I started talking about the features and the benefits and how we had the best this and it was going to help them with this. We were the number one this. I started noticing from the very first door that I was getting all of these objections. Yeah, we don’t need it. We’re not interested. We’re good. That was always, we’re good. We already have somebody for that or we just talked to you guys two months ago or it’s too expensive for me. I don’t have the money. I need to talk with my spouse. Can you call me back in a week, a month, a year later? It’s those type of objections, right? I remember probably seven, eight weeks into that, the nonstop rejection, barely making any sales, because as everybody knows, if you’re a straight commission, you don’t make sales, you don’t make any money.
I remember probably about two months in, give or take, a couple days there, I remember standing on a curb. I think it was on a Friday or maybe Saturday night. It was towards the end of the week. I remember I had worked 12 to 13 hours that day, which was pretty normal in that type of job that you’re doing. I still remember my legs completely worn out. When you walk door to door for 12 straight hours, as anybody knows that’s done that, your legs feel like jello. I remember the sweat, the hot humid July weather just rolling down my chest. I remember sitting there thinking, because I’d made zero sales for that day, so I made $0. In fact, that entire week, I made zero sales. So, I’d worked like 60 hours for $0.
In a lovely environment, it sounds like too.
A very lovely part of town. Let’s just put it that way. I remember sitting there thinking, “Maybe selling just wasn’t for me.” Has anybody on here ever felt that themselves, where you just don’t want to get out of bed and get on the phone or knock on a door, talk to anybody? You just hate the non-stop rejection. I remember when I got into the van that night, the sales manager, he popped in this Tony Robbins CD. I’m assuming everybody knows Tony Robbins.
Great guy. Tony said something like this and I’m probably butchering what he said, but he said, “You will fail if you don’t learn the right skills necessary to succeed.” He said, “You will fail if you don’t learn the right skills.” Now, he actually went on to say in that CD, because 22 years ago, people listen to little round things called CDs. I know it’s hard.
Yeah, I remember.
It’s hard to even think about, but he went on to say that everybody’s taught skills. But he said, the people who fail are the ones who are not taught the right ones. When he said that, it was like this light bulb moment went off in my brain. I would say divine intervention from the heavens itself, that there was a difference in skill level. I mean, I was a 21-year-old kid. I never had comprehended that all skills were just the same. So, I sat there thinking about that that maybe what the company was training me, what I was learning from what I now called the old sales gurus. Maybe they just weren’t the right skills. Maybe they were just outdated. Maybe they didn’t work as well anymore with today’s consumer. So, I really didn’t have a choice at that point.
I had to commit to myself and my family that I was going to have to acquire more skills because I know you on here like me want to provide for your family as well. I remember at the same time, I was going through this major dilemma because I was being taught these traditional selling skills from the company and all the gurus, some of the books behind me here or if you can see us on YouTube or something on video. I would notice that some of their techniques when I used them, even though it felt uncomfortable, they would work, but I also noticed many of the techniques they were training in the books and programs didn’t work at all.
In fact, when I used them, it seemed like I got even more sales resistance. I got more objections, and it seemed like I lost even more sales. Has anybody ever noticed that? At the same time, I was in college and I was learning from my professors. One of them was by the name of Robert Cialdini. You heard of Robert Cialdini?
He’s the head of behavioral science here, actually at Arizona State University, just down the road where I’m at here. I was reading his works. I was taking an online course, that was the new thing 20 years ago, whenever that was, these online courses that were coming out. He was teaching me and some other professors that I had in behavioral science in college that the most persuasive way to communicate was over here, but the gurus in their books and programs, they were saying it was over here. It was completely opposite. I’m like, “How does that make any sense?” I’m like, “How do I take the theory of behavioral science, human psychology in the way the brain makes decisions, and how do I wrap that into a sales process?” That’s what I started learning how to do.
I didn’t really have a choice. It was either get out of sales and get a real job or whatever or I’m going to have to get better skills, more acquired skills. So, I started learning how to use techniques that worked with human behavior that caused my prospects to pull me in instead of me trying to push them. Really, we’re talking overnight. Selling became very, very easy and extremely profitable, because unlike you, Drew, or maybe people watching me here or listening, I wasn’t born out of my mother’s womb with advanced questioning skills. I wasn’t born out of my mother’s womb with advanced tonality skills.
In fact, I wasn’t born out of my mother’s womb with advanced objection handling and prevention skills. I had to learn those skills. I had to acquire those skills. So, that’s how my story started. You with me?
I am with you. So, then you have had a very successful sales career for your whole life. You never had to leave sales. Yeah. Well, you didn’t open a franchise. You didn’t open a dry cleaner. So, this worked out pretty well for you. Yes.
Some would say, yeah.
Yeah. Well, in fact, we know that you’ve won a lot of awards for your sales. You’re being very modest, but this has been a rewarding career for you. But again, to your point, you brought different skills,. In fact, you developed a methodology that you call NEPQ that you really leverage to be successful. So, tell us a little bit about the methodology and how you used it to be so successful in sales.
Yeah, this might make more sense with everybody listening to me and watching if I break down, let’s say, the different type of sales techniques quickly so they can see where they’re possibly at, because sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know. I hate being in that position. I always ask, “What’s the biggest problem in sales?” People are like, “It’s this. It’s the leads, it’s the mindset, it’s this.” I’m like, “No, the biggest problem in sales is the problem that you don’t know you have. Because if you don’t know what your problem is, you have no idea how to fix or change that problem. But once you learn what your problem is, then whose responsibility is it to change?” It’s ours. So, like I said, my background in college is behavioral science and human psychology.
So, if you go back into behavioral science, this is geek out stuff, but it might be important for sales if you want to make more sales or scale your company. Behavioral science in a nutshell is really the study of the human brain, behavioral patterns, and how we make decisions socially, just behavioral patterns that human beings have had since the dawn of history that we know of. It seems like now we’re like, “Oh, the humans here 300,000 years ago, but 10 years ago, we thought they were here 5,000 years ago.” It’s just evolving all the time. So, it’s really recognizing how does a human being make decisions? Why do they go left instead of going right? Why do they say no instead of saying yes? All right, so check this out.
According to behavioral science, there are actually three forms of persuasion. I would suggest everybody listening here, write these down. Because once you understand the differences in persuasion and where you are now, even if you’re already doing good compared to where you could be, it’ll completely change everything for you. So, the first mode of communication, I won’t give the scientific term for it. Drew, I’m going to ask you this. If I said the words boiler room selling, what would be the first image that came to your mind?
Yeah, that’s somebody reading off a screen.
Yeah, it’d be more like you see the Gordon Gekko, the Wall Street films, Wolf on Wall Street. Hey, I’ve got a great opportunity for you. Then we talk about the features and benefits and how we have the best this and we push and manipulate them and tell them why they need to go with this. So, according to the data, we’re actually the least persuasive when we tell people things or we attempt to dominate them, posture them, manipulate them, push and pressure them into doing something we want them to do. What’s the biggest reason why so many business owners and salespeople feel so uncomfortable in selling?
Because they don’t want to do that, right? Yeah.
It goes against human nature. We’re not built as human beings to be aggressive and push and pressure and manipulate. It’s just goes against the way we were built by God in my mind. All right. So, it’s just like if you tell your spouse or your teenage son that, hey, you really, really need to do something and then you push and pressure them, well, what do they do back? Push back. It’s just human behavior 101.
So, I’ll give you a few examples of the least persuasive way to sell. Presenting, crazy, right? We’re all taught we have to have this great presentation. Show them the 60 minutes of our slides. Here’s our corporate office. Here’s all of our customer service awards. Here’s our owners. We have the best this, we have the best that, which, by the way, doesn’t every single company or salesperson say they’re the market leader?
Absolutely. They have the best employees, all of that.
So, everybody says that, everybody, right? You even have TV shows like The Bachelor that says the most dramatic season ever. You’re like, “Wait a minute, you said that the last 22 years straight. That doesn’t make any sense.” So as a society, we become very skeptical when salespeople or companies say those type of things to us. Why? Because we’re used to everyone that’s ever tried to sell us a vacuum cleaner to a car, to a life insurance policy, to even cybersecurity for offices say, “We’re the market leader. We’re the number one.” So human beings actually trust us less when we say things like that, especially if we talk down about our competitors.
So, according to the data, it’s not very persuasive if your presentation is more than 10% of your entire sales process. The average salesperson or small business owner typically presents in any industry… We train 158 industries, including the one that tunes into your show, presents about half of the time. That is a major information overload and that’s why you get so many, “I want to think it over. I need to keep looking around” objections. Telling your story, I hate to tell everybody, nobody cares about your story when you’re selling one-to-one. Whose story do they care about? Their story, right?
It’s a sales pitch. We’ve all been taught you got to give a great pitch. Very low on the persuasion poll, especially if it’s early in a conversation. We hear a problem. Oh, well, let me tell you how we solve that and you go right into your pitch. Then all of a sudden, your prospect just puts up the wall and it’s over. So, you got to get rid of the pitch. Putting sales pressure on people. There’s a massive difference. Getting the prospect to feel so much internal tension from your questionability of where they are compared to where they want to be, that builds urgency compared to putting external sales pressure and trying to push them forward. Once you’ve learned what I just said there, nine-day difference in your results as a company to expand.
The big one, assuming the sale. I know everybody’s heard you got to assume this, ABC is a closing according. I’m just going off the data, pesky facts, according to the data, very low on the persuasion poll. That’s where we really believe the term sales is a numbers game comes from, because we’re forcing it to be a numbers game because we’re only focused on the quantity of conversations rather than the quality of each conversation. It’s a big difference in that. That’s the first mode. Now, the second mode, not as scary, that’s more known as consultative selling. But a lot of people have heard of that.
Consultative selling came out in the late ’70s, ’80s with methodologies like Sandler Institute, books like SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham, college professor, never sold anything, by the way, but taught that you needed to ask logical based questions to find out the needs of the client. That was revolutionary in the ’70s and ’80s compared to [inaudible 00:19:38] selling, right? We call those logical based questions more surface level questions, because when we ask logical based questions, what type of answers is our prospect going to give us? Logical answers. The human beings, as you know, do they buy on logic or emotion? Emotion 100% of the time. Brain studies prove that at this point.
So, when we ask questions like, “John, tell me two problems that keep you awake at night, or who besides you would be involved in this decision, or what are you looking for in a solution?”, those are surface level, logical based questions that do not emotionally involve the prospect. So, I want to re-language that. If you’re selling to a company and you’re trying to find out who the decision makers are on that company, you want to re-language that. You might say, “Mary, can you walk me through your company’s decision making process when it comes to solving X, Y, Z problems like this? Can you walk me through?”
That’s more of a lead in phrase that gets into think deeper about the question you just asked or getting on a sales conversation early on and saying, “Well, what budget do you have set aside?” Well, the problem is, how could a prospect know what budget they need five minutes into a conversation when they don’t even know what their real problems are yet? Because your questionability has to get them to see what problems they really have, because most of your prospects don’t know what problems they have. They might have an idea, but they don’t know the depth of the problem. They don’t know the consequences of what happens if they don’t do anything about solving the problem.
So, when you ask budgeting questions that early on in the conversation, the prospect might think they need a budget of… Let’s say, I’m just going to throw out random numbers. They might think they need five grand a month, but in order to solve their problem, after you’ve taken them through that process, they start to realize, “I need 15 or 20 grand a month to get me where I want to go.” So, we have to be careful.
Plus, it’s weird to ask people about money that early. It’s walking up to a stranger and saying, “How much money do you have in your wallet?”
“How much do you make each year?”, two seconds in a conversation.
Now, if you do get signs, let’s say you get on there and they’re just like, “Is this going to cost many money? I’m homeless now.” Obviously, you got to qualify, but for the most part, with what you’re talking about, most people are in that situation. So, that’s the second mode. See, it’s more persuasive than the first mode of boiler room selling, putting pressure on people, but you’re still having to play the numbers game because very little emotion is brought out by simply asking logical based surface level questions. Third mode of communication is more known as dialogue. So, according to the data, we’re the most persuasive when we allow others to persuade themselves by asking what are called here’s where it comes in, neuro-emotional persuasion questions.
That stands for NEPQ. Now, I always get asked, how do you get a human being to persuade themselves, Jeremy? That’s like the $1 trillion question. We don’t even deal with billions anymore with our country. It’s more trillions now. So, that’s the $1 trillion question. Can you just show up and say, “Hey, dude, go ahead and persuade yourself. By the way, here’s our wire directions”? Now you have to learn three things. You have to learn specific skilled questions, when and how to ask those questions. When I say how, the right tone, because there’s certain parts of your sales process and certain questions that you have to use more of a curious tone. Can you walk me through what you guys do now to generate new leads and clients for your industry? That’s more an industry specific.
That’s a curious tone. Okay. There’s other parts of that conversation that requires more of a skeptical or challenging tone, not early, more later in the conversation, after there’s more trust. Then there’s other parts of that conversation that require more of a concerned tone, a tone that shows empathy. Well, how do you know which questions to use that type of tone? Because once you learn that, prospects, well, 99% of the time they open up because they feel that you’re in it for them, not just to line it in your pocket. You see what I’m talking about there?
That’s what NEPQ means in a nutshell. There’s a lot more to that.
I suspect there is. So, I want to take a break and then let’s dig into more of what that involves and how we learn what questions to ask, which tone to use, and how we create those dialogue conversations. So, first, we’ll take a quick break and then we’re going to come back and get into the specifics about how you guys can dial in these skills and these specific questions and tones to drive better sales. So, we’ll be right back.
Hey, everybody, I promise I would keep you more than a minute, but I want to make sure you know that at AMI, one of the things that we offer are virtual peer groups. So, think of it as a Vistage group or an EO group, only everybody around the table, figuratively in this case, is an agency owner. So, you have to be an agency owner to belong. The virtual peer groups meet every month for 90 minutes on Zoom. This was not a COVID creation, it was pre-COVID. You see the same people in your cohort every time. So, you get to create relationships with them. It is facilitated by AMI staff Craig Barnes, who has owned his own agency for 25 or 30 years.
So, plenty of great experience, both from Craig and but also learning from each other. So, if you have any interest in learning more about how that works, head over to the AMI website. Under memberships, you will find the virtual peer group and you can get all the information there. All right. Okay. Let’s get back to the show.
All right. Jeremy and I are back, and we have been talking about all the ways sales doesn’t work and the evolution of sales. I’m curious, the dialogue methodology has been around for a little while. How did COVID impact it? Because one of the things I have agency owners say to me all the time is, “Man, if I can get in a room with someone, I can make a sale, but now I don’t know how to find them. I don’t know how to talk to them. I don’t know how to have that first conversation, because I’m not bumping into them at a trade show or a conference or something like that.”
Well, all that tells me is they don’t understand the psychology behind why a human being buys and why they don’t buy they. That’s okay. We all each have our own specialties, but how COVID has changed in our mind, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the prospect is this or that. It just changed more of the logistics part of it. So, when COVID happened, I’ll just give you an example of two of our big clients. So, we started about four years ago. So, it was probably about a year before that we launched the company. So, about a month before COVID happened, actually at that time, one of the biggest used car dealerships in all of Canada. I think they had 17 or 18 dealerships. Now they have 47, and I’ll tell you why that is.
But in Canada, their lockdowns are really strict compared to the United States. I mean, they were locked down. You’re talking like over half of the time. So, you couldn’t walk into a car dealership to buy a car. There was chains on the door. You would go to jail if you went in there as a car salesperson to try to sell a car. So, they’re freaking out, because they’re like, “We’re going to have to close down. We’re going to file bankruptcy.” I’m like, no, no, no, no. So, we taught them how to call leads from their salespeople. The salespeople would just be at their home and they would call leads and we taught them NEPQ and took them through the process. They would get on Zoom.
They’d make a first call, discovery call, sometimes cold calling, and then they would book them into a Zoom call. They would make that sale on that Zoom call and then they would drive. They would schedule the appointment later that day. They would drive to the dealership, the customer would drive to dealership, they would meet outside in the parking lot. They would authorize the agreements and paperwork, and here’s the new car