Episode 114:

Based in Dallas, Stephanie Chung and Associates offer sales training, executive coaching, and small business mentorship services nationwide. Among her products is the High Ticket Selling Made Simple course, designed to help small business owners sell more and make more. As a former sales executive in the aviation and private jet industry, Stephanie has mastered the art of high ticket selling and has mentored, coached, and developed some of the highest paid, most elite, sales professionals in the country.

Serving business leaders, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals, Stephanie Chung uses her proven executive coaching and sales training expertise to drive your top line sales. Chung is an executive coach, trainer and advisor backed by more than 25 years of team management, business development, and sales leadership experience. Chung is also a public speaker, a contributor on ABC, CBS, NBC and author of “Profit Like a Girl: A Woman’s Guide to Kicking Butt in Sales and Leadership” and “Embrace the Suck: How to Grow and Succeed in Business.”

 

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Doing sales right by caring about who you’re selling to and solving their problem
  • How to identify your ideal prospects and actually get in front of them
  • The importance of adding value beyond what you broadcast on your website
  • How letting people talk about themselves increases the chance of a sale
  • Why the agency owner is the best person to make the sale
  • What to do to get comfortable with sales
  • The five stages of sales
  • Making the close extremely easy by setting it up from the beginning
  • The importance of not being vague about when you’re going to follow up
  • The preemptive strike: overcoming common objections from buyers by bringing them up yourself first
  • Using silence as a tool when selling
  • Why you can’t afford to spend time chasing people around
  • How to get people to want to be your client

The Golden Nugget:

“Give buyers an opportunity to think by using silence as a powerful sales tool.” – @CoachStephChung Click To Tweet

 

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Speaker 1:

If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits too. Welcome to Agency Management Institute, Build A Better Agency Podcast, presented by HubSpot. We’ll show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invested employees, and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25-plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host, Drew, McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey, everybody, Drew McLellan here with another episode of Build A Better Agency. I know you hate it, I know I talk about it a lot, but one of the biggest challenges for agency owners is new business business development and sales. And while I know all of you wish that you could hire the perfect salesperson so you didn’t have to do it, you and I both know that in many cases, the agency owner is the best sales person for the job. So today, we are going to spend the entire podcast talking about sales, how to do it better, how to get more clients, how to drive high-ticket sales. And I have the perfect guest to do that.

Let me tell you a little bit about our guest today. Stephanie Chung and Associates, so we’re going to talk to Stephanie today, they offer sales training, executive coaching, and small business mentorship. Among their products is the High Ticket Selling Made Simple course, designed to help small business owners sell more and make more, which all of you should be underlying in your head already. Stephanie is a former sales executive in the aviation and private jet industry, and she has mastered the art of high ticket selling and has mentored, coached and developed some of the highest paid, most elite sales professionals in the country.

She’s got a bunch of freebies that I’ll tell you about in a little bit, but let’s dig right in and talk about how business owners can be better sales folks, and how all of you who typically are selling items that are pretty high ticket priced, how you can make more of those sales more quickly and more easily and ideally, and I’m sure we’re going to talk about this, aligning your business with prospects who are going to be long-term clients for you. So, Stephanie, welcome to the podcast.

Stephanie Chung:

Thank you so much, Drew. I’m so excited to be here.

Drew McLellan:

From the very early age, were you like the kid with the lemonade stand, you’ve always loved sales?

Stephanie Chung:

You know what I was? I was the military brat. I always say I was a professional new kid, which that basically meant I was the military brat, that we moved every two years of my life. So my dad was in the Air Force. And what that meant for me is I always had to be the new kid, I always had to be the one making new friends, I always had to figure out how to fit in, and all of that. So I believe that that really did set the groundwork for me to be able to connect with anyone, communicate with anyone, and to get everyone to know me, like me, and to trust me.

Drew McLellan:

Which is all about what sales is about, right? Know, like, and trust.

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly. Exactly. The most important part of the process.

Drew McLellan:

For many agency owners, and I suspect many business folks, regardless of the kind of business they own, sales is a little bit of a dirty word. And a lot of account people, so think of them as client service/salespeople inside agencies, bristle when we talk about the sales side of their business. Why do you think people are so adverse to the idea of the fact that they have to sell something?

Stephanie Chung:

Well, I think there’s really two things to that. The first one is that it was just done so poorly for so long. We all have that vision in our head of this pushy, obnoxious salesperson who’s pushing things down your throat that you really don’t want or need. So that’s part of it, but then the real, real root of the matter, Drew, is people just hate being rejected. At its core, that is truly the problem. There’s a long history there. But when sales is done right, it’s actually very, very easy because it’s nothing more or less than a human connection and a conversation taking place. That’s it.

Drew McLellan:

So when you talk about sales being done right, what’s the recipe for that? What does that look like?

Stephanie Chung:

Ooh, that’s really good. This is my definition of sales being done right, it’s not about sales. I would say selling is for losers, it’s really all about, how do you solve someone’s problem? And though we hear that a lot, really what that comes down to is really honestly, Drew, caring about the buyer in front of you or the prospect in front of you, what is it that they need? All of us are so incredibly busy, and I know you and I were talking about it before we went live, but everybody’s so busy these days. And so we know the research and I know that your folks, especially because they come from the marketing and the agency side, they really know the research.

So we know that well over 80% of all folks, before they agree to talk to us on the phone or communicate with us via email, they’ve most likely already checked out our site, checked out our any social media or a digital footprint out there. So they have a pretty good idea what it is that we provide. And so they’ve agreed that we’re worth their time. Again, we’re all busy. So the fact that they’re going to talk to you or meet with you, or at least return your email, says that they’ve done enough initial research, you’ve piqued their interest enough for them to have the conversation.

So when I say it’s done right, it’s really about you going in, asking the real questions that get to the core of the matter, not the fluffy surface stuff, but really the reason as to why am I here really? And once you ask those questions and you really listen intently, you’ll be surprised how much people will tell you. And so your job isn’t to go in and ask one question and then start shoving your product or service down their throat, it’s really all about, “Let me just keep getting you talking and asking you questions that are relevant. So that the more you talk, the more I can better understand whether or not I can, A, help you. And if in fact I am the best choice for you, then together we can co-create what that’s going to look like. How are we going to best solve your problem together?”

Drew McLellan:

So for a lot of agency owners, what I hear them say is, “If I can get in the room with somebody, if I can get in front of somebody, then we have pretty good odds, my hit rate is pretty good, but how do I get someone to give me that time?” So back when you were driving high-ticket sales, how did you get in front of somebody who might need to buy a plane? Because I don’t walk around with a sign on my forehead that says, “I’m in the market for a plane.” So in a difficult B2B sale, like what you were doing, how do you identify the right prospects and how do you get the opportunity to actually have that conversation with them?

Stephanie Chung:

That’s a really good one because there’s so many layers to that. The very first thing is you want to be able to do your research, and because they may not need it now, but maybe they’ll need it later. And so do your research to figure out who your ideal client is or ideal prospect is, where do they hang out? Who’s your current favorite customers? And what are the common denominators? What’s their educational background? Where do they hang out? How much money do they make? What’s their titles? All of that, what’s going on in their company?

And this is the piece that a lot of people miss. They are so focused on trying to call on that particular client, or prospect, or end user that they really don’t do the research to figure out, “Well, what’s going on with that company.” For an example, if I’m dealing with a high-net worth individual, well, he or she is a high-net worth because they either run a company or they ran companies, or maybe they’re a high-up officials in some type of government or what have you, but as much research and information as I can possibly get about not just them, but about the company as well, that will help me understand what’s keeping them up at night.

For an example, if I’m going after, let’s say in my world, it may have been CEO or my former world. So if I’m looking at a CEO who I know is a high-net worth because I can pull all their data in regards to how much do they make and what were their bonuses, especially if it’s a publicly-held company, but then I’m going to also start grabbing the annual report. What does that tell me? Because the first executive summary part of the annual report really does give you some really good insight as far as what are they at least trying to convey to their board members, or shareholders, or employees, or what have you.

So that gives you at least a good place to start. What’s the culture? What’s the tone? And what’s the priorities for that particular individual. So never skip the annual reports or any kind of press media stuff that you can find, because if they’re worth going after, especially in today’s day and age, there’s somewhere along the line, there’s some information on the web about them. So we want to do our homework. So we come to people correct. And I think that’s really important for everyone to know. No one has time to just meet with you for the sake of meeting with you, we’re just all too crazy busy. So you really want to do your homework on the front end.

And flip side, if you’re trying to sell your services, not every person’s the best candidate for your service.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely right.

Stephanie Chung:

Yeah. You don’t want to waste time with those people that are just not a good fit for you. So do the homework and the research on the front end. The second part is, also one thing I’m like, this is like a pet peeve of mine, Drew. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to go on a tangent for a second.

Drew McLellan:

Have at it.

Stephanie Chung:

It’s about time. One of the things that’s really, really, really important is that you want to make sure that you are adding value beyond what your website says. And here’s what I mean by that. If someone, they’re looking for, let’s say, a new agency or anything along those lines, well, they’ve probably gone on the web, done some research, they’ve talked to friends, they’ve talked to colleagues, they’ve talked to people maybe at the golf course. They’ve done a lot of due diligence in their own investigative research.

So by the time they agree to actually meet with us, the last thing we want to do is regurgitate the same stuff that you see on our websites, or our marketing collateral, or what have you, because then at that point you’ve no longer added value, you just are walking-talking website. And nobody has time for that.

Drew McLellan:

You’re just regurgitating the fact sheet.

Stephanie Chung:

Yeah, absolutely. So we want to make sure that we are respectful of their time, so that one, they feel like it was a good use of their time. And two, they invite us back, and three, they do business with us. So how you get in and really how do you get into the customers to do the research, figure out who they are, and then start really working that web, if you will. We’re all two or three people away from knowing everybody. So who do you know? Grab the social, LinkedIn’s a great place, but grab any of the digital footprint stuff off there to figure out who do I know that knows this person? That’s a very good place to start.

And then if you also, when you start connecting with people, whether it’s social media or just calling them or trying to figure out what associations they belong to, and perhaps you use that as a vehicle to network to break into that desk circle, if you will, but you want to make sure that you’re having the conversations, not about you and your service and what you do and how you can help them, again, only thing people care about, I don’t care how special we all think we are, Drew. The only thing they care about is how can you or your product make my life or my job easier? That’s it. So we have to come from that stance.

So I always say, when you’re at a networking event, the last thing you should be ever talking about is yourself. There’s so many other things to talk about, and if you do it correctly, then they start asking you, “Oh my God, I’ve been talking so much to you, tell me about yourself. What do you do?” And that’s when you know you’ve got the opening, and not one minute sooner.

Drew McLellan:

Right. Well, it’s the old cocktail party rule, Which is, there is no one you want to get away from more at a cocktail party than a person who talks about themselves all the time.

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly. And you want to hear something cool? Is that when we think about the brain science and a lot of what I do on the high ticket selling side, especially my coaching practice, is I work a lot on the science side of it. One thing I love about marketers, which is probably most of your listeners, is they are light years ahead of this than the sales teams. They get the brain science, and they get the neuroscience, and they get a lot of those dynamics that sales is just now starting to tap into. But when you think about what the brain is doing subconsciously, what chemicals are being created when a sales conversation has taken place, trust and distrust, remember I said earlier trust is the most important part of the entire process of sales?

Well, trust and distrust are created in two different parts of the brain. And so when we are trying to create trust, which ultimately, when we’re tapping into the prefrontal cortex, which will build the dopamine and the oxytocin and the serotonin and all those feel-good drugs, really, the best in the easiest and quickest way to do it is just to ask people questions about themselves, because that’s why we all love talking about ourselves, because it truly gives us a chemical reaction in our brain and we feel super good about it. And here’s the thing, they then will attach that really good feeling to you.

So they’ll say things like, “I really like that Drew. I don’t know, there’s something about him, I really like him.” And all Drew did was ask a couple of questions and let him just keep talking about himself.

Drew McLellan:

Are all of those chemicals produced if I’m asking you about you but we’re talking about something like your business challenges that is stressful or has you worried, or does that not trigger the same chemical?

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly. That’s a great question. So when you start getting more into almost the second phase of the stages of sales… There’s five stages of sales, so that’s really like stage two. You start asking people questions to get a better understanding of what it is that they need. Absolutely, you’re tapping into the prefrontal cortex at that point as well, but it’s not necessarily creating the same chemical effect. It’s thinking, it’s doing some problem solving, it’s doing some decision-making, all those processes are held in that part of the brain, but it’s not necessarily producing the same type of chemical at that point.

Drew McLellan:

So I want to produce the good chemicals first to earn their trust, and then I have implicit or explicit permission from them because now they trust me at least to a certain level to tap into something that maybe is more challenging?

Stephanie Chung:

Yes, absolutely. And that’s a really good point because the brain itself is pretty lazy, and so it’s always trying to conserve energy. And so every conversation, everything that goes on the brain is constantly scanning, and it’s asking itself, “Do I need to exert energy into this, or can I conserve the energy and put it towards something else?” It has a whole body to run. And so you’re 100%, your wording, Drew, is perfect. The more you can get someone to trust, we get those feel-good chemicals going, then what happens is the brain does release and go, “Okay, well, now we’ll let you in.” And then that’s when you get more into the executive thinking, and the problem solving, and to your point, really trying to discover what it is that we’re trying to hopefully help them with.

Drew McLellan:

I know that you talk a lot about, and I know a lot of your experience as a whole, this whole idea of high-ticket selling. And obviously, in the agency world, most of what we agency folks sell comes at a pretty price. So what’s the nuance or the difference between if I’m trying to sell you something for $100 versus $100,000? Where does selling shift and become different? And I’m now looking for the dollar amount, I’m looking for the behavior, or what do I need to do different if I’m trying to sell you $100,000 marketing package versus I’m trying to sell you a $100 raffle ticket?

Stephanie Chung:

Yeah, absolutely. So really, the technique of sales is the exact same, regardless of the ticket item price, but what makes the difference is, one, the sales person. Let’s reverse what you just asked me. What would you expect from a sales person who’s selling $100 item versus the quality of a salesperson who’s selling an item for $100,000? You would expect them to be completely different people. Right, exactly. So I like to use that, and that’s why I love your question so much, because I want people to reverse it. So it’s not the technique itself is the exact same, but really, it’s about, how different do you want to be perceived out there?

Do you want the prospect or the buyer to feel like, “Yeah, this person really knows their stuff. This person, I want to do business with because they didn’t just come in here and tell me about how great their product is, but they really sat, listened and truly understood what it was that I need, and I felt like we were a partner trying together solve this problem, versus them just trying to shove something down my throat I really didn’t know if I needed in the first place”? So it has less to do with the technique and more to do with your own personal branding, in how you’re trying to build that trust and create the feeling that that prospect, client, buyer will have about you moving forward.

Because we’re all a brand within the brand, it doesn’t matter what company we work for, we’re our own personal brand as well, and that’s who they’re deciding to do business with first, before the company comes into play.

Drew McLellan:

I’m thinking in my head as you’re talking, which is exactly why the business owner, an agency owner is often the best suited person for the sales, because they are often the most knowledgeable in terms of the work that they do, the results they can deliver. And so they have a different level of conversation around the business challenge with a prospect than an “sales person” is going to have.

Stephanie Chung:

Absolutely. It’s like when you think of, I go on back again, not have to pick on retail salespeople, but we’ll use them as an example. When you go into any retail outlet, they’re not going to ask you a lot of questions unless they come from the luxury side, then they may be trained on doing this, but your average, you go into Macy’s or JC Penney’s. If they talk to you-

Drew McLellan:

Right, if they acknowledge your presence.

Stephanie Chung:

Then they’re not going to really ask you any in-depth questions. Because at the end of the day, they don’t care, they’re just like, “Can I help you?” You say, “Well… ” And then they just walk on before you can even answer the question. So that’s different than, going back to your point, the agency owner. The agency owner, when they’re in the presence of a prospective buyer, they’re going to expect, because this is the brand, this is the person, they’re going to expect a completely different conversation from the agency owner, as they should. Because this person started the business, has a story behind, not just what they can do. Because for the most part, everybody can do the same thing, honestly, but it really comes down to, why would you do business with me? What makes you different? And that’s a story that only they can tell.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and they tell it uniquely by… The best agencies’ sales people that I have seen, the best owners who are also good salespeople are the ones who just roll up their sleeves and dig in and start asking interesting questions and then follow-up questions. And at a certain point in time, to your cocktail party example, the prospect almost has to say, “Well, wait a second, tell me about your agency.”

Stephanie Chung:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), exactly. And they’re telling the story from just a place of authenticity. I always get messed up with that word, but you know what I’m saying, right? Just a unique place that, again, others can say it, but it’s not the same because they lived it.

Drew McLellan:

As much as I hate to do it, I’m going to stop you for a quick second so we can take a brief pause, but I want to get right back into this conversation.

If you’ve been enjoying the podcast and you find that you’re nodding your head and taking some notes, and maybe even taking some action based on some of the things we talk about, you might be interested in doing a deeper dive. One of the options you have is the AMI remote coaching. That’s a monthly phone call with a homework in between. We start off by setting some goals and prioritizing those goals, and we just work together to get through them. It’s a little bit of coaching, it’s a little bit of best practice teaching and sharing, it’s a little bit of cheerleading sometimes. On occasion, you’re going to feel our boot on your rear end, whatever it takes to help you make sure that you hit the goals that you set. If you would like more information about that, check out agencymanagementinstitute.com/coaching. Okay, let’s get back to the show.

So for agency owners that are listening and saying, “Intellectually, I understand all of this, but I hate sales, or I’m afraid of sales.” What are some things that they can do to get more comfortable? Because I don’t care how good an agency you are, there is client attrition, there are clients who have business slowdown. So an agency has to keep going and finding more clients. And many agencies rely on the referral method, which is, whoever walks in the door, I have to take as a client because somebody else told them to come see me, whether that fits the kind of business I want to build or not. I’m not suggesting that referrals are not a great way to grow your business, because they are, but sooner or later, even the most reluctant of salespeople inside an agency has to get off their duff and go out and try and get a new client or two. How do they get more comfortable around that?

Stephanie Chung:

Yeah. What I would say, Drew, is, this is going to be my tough love, because I tell this to everybody. I was speaking at a conference recently and someone asked me this question in regards to sales. And they were all business owners. And I said this, and I’m going to say this, and I hope you’re listeners still like me when were done. But you have to come to grips that if you own a business, you are first a sales person, and then you are an entrepreneur second. So whatever it is that you own, that’s secondary, the first primary goal and where you have to really come to the realization is that you’re a sales person, period.

So if you like it, you don’t like it, you’re afraid of it, it intimidates you, whatever, you’ve got to get over it, because without any sales-

Drew McLellan:

So in other words you’re saying, get over yourself?

Stephanie Chung:

Get over yourself, yeah. No sales, you have no business. And so, one thing that I would say is, first, make the decision that you’re going to stop using that as an excuse. No longer are you allowed to say, “I don’t like sales, I’m not good in sales. I just can’t get it. Nobody wants to buy from me. Everybody wants to… “You can’t say all that because a lot of it is just-

Drew McLellan:

“I’m an introvert, I’d rather do the creative work,” blah, to blah, to blah. Right?

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly. If you’re an introvert and you’d rather do the work and you hate selling and you run the show, then you may need to think to either hire somebody else or go work for someone else. That is the honest truth. You have to, one, make a decision that you’re no longer going to play the victim in the process, and to realize that there’s not a business on the planet that doesn’t start first with sales. Nothing happens until someone sells something. So that’s the first thing, make a decision to no longer use that as an excuse. The second part of it is you’ve got to get your sales confidence going, sales and self confidence, because they have to go hand in hand.

But how you get sales confidence, Drew, is you’ve got to know your stuff, you have to get results for people, and then you have to get training. Sales isn’t one of those that I’m just good with people and thus, therefore I’m good in sales. No, that’s crazy. Just like you have training for what it is that you do, sales is no different. And there’s a lot of great sales training out there, so whatever, you can Google it and find the gazillion different places. So you have to learn how to come to grips that sales is actually an art form, there’s a psychology behind it. I’ve talked a little bit about there’s science behind it. So it’s not a go and wing it kind of thing.

That’s like saying I hired a copywriter who I don’t know if they actually know how to write anything. It’s like, come on go into a dentist with no teeth. Somewhere along the line, everybody has to have the training if you want to show yourself to be approved. And that’s how, by the way, that’s how you command high pricing. You can’t just ask people for high pricing if you don’t have anything to back it up, so you do have to make the decision, get over it, get your sales confidence going. You most likely already know how to get results, you’re probably really good at what you do, but none of that matters if you can’t articulate it. And how you articulated is get the sales training itself.

So spend the money, invest in yourself to really get a handle on this thing called sales.

Drew McLellan:

Earlier in our conversation, you said there are five steps or stages to sales. Walk us through those real quick.

Stephanie Chung:

Absolutely. The very first one is you’ve got to get people to know you, like you, and trust you. So I would say trust is the first step. Without that, then the other steps don’t really matter. But you’ve got to get the trust built and how you do that right is just asking good questions. And really, the rule of thumb is you want to ask three personal questions to every one business question. The second part, after you’ve built the trust, well, now we have to start asking questions to figure out what is it that you need? “Why am I actually sitting here?” Again, we’re all so busy, so a fact that they’re allowing you to meet with them means that there is something that they see that you could provide for them.

And here’s the catch, they may not know how to articulate it, that’s why it’s important that we know how to ask questions. So you’ve got to ask questions to uncover the need and what we call in sales, the need behind the need. Then after you do that, well, once you understand what it is that they need, well, you need to be able to present a solution. And that solution could be your product or service, or honestly, it could be somebody else’s product or service. Because that is another piece too, to your point, not every customer is a good customer for you. And so we want to go ahead and present a solution.

Once you present the solution, then you have to be prepared for them to actually have questions, ask clarification, come up with objections. So the fourth part is, you need to handle the objection. One, expect the objection, and then you need to handle the objection. And then the fifth part is, if you’ve done the first four right, the fifth one is the easiest part, and that’s the close. So if I’ve done stages one, ask, get the trust, stage two, ask, so I uncover what it is that they need, stage three, present them a solution, now that I know what they need, and stage four, be prepared to answer any questions that they have, handling the objections that they may have.

If I’ve done all of that, then closing, which is the easiest part of the process, that becomes very, very simple. And if I’ve done it really, really well, when you’re really trained, you can get the client to close themselves.

Drew McLellan:

I’m envisioning my listeners all shaking their head no at you right now that closing is not the easiest part. So tell us how that becomes easy and what that looks like, and give them the holy grail of what it looks like when a client closes for you.

Stephanie Chung:

Yes. So the first thing you want to do is you want to set the close up at the very beginning, very, very beginning. I’ll give you an example of what I do in my world, and I’m going to give your listeners a bunch of little tricks of the trade that they can incorporate as soon as they’re done listening to us. Is that fair?

Drew McLellan:

Perfect, yeah. They’ll love that.

Stephanie Chung:

One, you want to set up the close on the front end. So how I do that, just to give you an example, is really I incorporate it into my agenda. So I will say, let’s say the first part is trust, so we’re doing small talk about maybe pictures that I see in their office, “Where was the vacation?. How old are your kids?” Blah, blah, blah, blah. We’ve transitioned, now we’re going to get into business. So here’s how I’m going to set up the close on the front end. I’m going to say, let’s say if I was talking to you, “Drew, thank you so much for spending the time with me. So let me tell you a little bit about what I’m hoping to get out of today. I’m going to ask you a lot of questions to really get a good understanding of what exactly it is that you need. If it’s something that I believe I can help you with, then we’ll go ahead and talk about next steps and how we might work together. If it’s something that I really don’t believe I’m going to be the best person for you or the best company for you or the best coach for you, then I’m going to refer you to something else or someone else. Is that fair?

And you’re going to say, “Yep. That sounds great.” “Great. Is there anything else that you’d like to have included in to make sure that we hit your needs as well?” Let’s say they say, “I want to know about this.” “Great. No problem.” So I’ve set it up on the front end. Now, then we go through, I start asking questions and trying to figure it out. So let’s fast forward, let’s now act like we’re done with handling objections and now we’re getting towards the close. So I’ve already said on the front end, if I feel like I can help you, then we’ll talk about next steps. So now I’ve gone through, I understand what they need, I’ve handled objections.

So here’s how I’m going to start to close it out. So I may say to you, “Drew, thank you so much for the information you’ve shared. So here’s what I understand you need,” blah, blah, blah, blah. “What I’ve also done is given you a couple of solutions,” blah, blah, blah blah, “And you felt that they would be ideal solutions for you, correct?” You say correct. “Great. So now let’s talk about next steps. And I’m sure that includes, in my world, I’m going to go into pricing. In your world, you may not, you may have to go back and put it together. So now I’ve said, “Let’s talk about next steps.” That’s the key, because that’s what I said on the very front end.

So now I will start to lay out the information. So again, in my world, I’m going to talk about price, “Here’s what the price is. Here’s what it entails,” blah, blah, blah, blah. Once I’ve done that, them I’m going to ask them if they have any questions. Because now I’ve got to get prepared to go through objections again. So they may say, “Well, the price is too high,” whatever. So we’re going to hash through that whole thing. Here’s the secret sauce. Once I’m done with that, then I’m going to say, “Drew, what is it that you would like to do at this point?”

See, now I’m putting it on you, because I’ve told you everything, and now what you say will dictate everything else for me. So let’s say you say, “Okay, well, great. Well, this sounds really good, let me think about it.” Because we all hate that one, right?

Drew McLellan:

Right.

Stephanie Chung:

So you could say, “Absolutely, no problem. And just for my own education, Drew, could you help me understand, what specifically will you be thinking about?” Silence is powerful. Silence is the only time you can actually apply pressure in the sales process by using silence, because if I asked you-

Drew McLellan:

Oh, yeah. That’s a good one to remember.

Stephanie Chung:

Yes, I’m not going to answer it. One of us has to talk, and it’s not me, because I’m the one who’s asked the question. So that’s the first way to do it. So you ask the question, “And what would you be thinking about?” And you say whatever, “I’m going to be thinking about this, that, and the other.” And then I’m going to try to handle that objection right then and there. Now, let’s say they really do have to think about it, maybe they have a partner or somebody who’s not there, and it’s a legitimate reason why they have to think about it. Then now what you’re going to do is say, “Okay, well, no problem. So let’s get in alignment here, Drew. So you need to talk to your partner about it, which I know your partner’s in wherever right now and out of town. So walk me through what timing you’re looking at. So when would you like me to follow up with you?”

So now I’m going to keep pushing this back to you. So you say, “My partner comes back in town on Tuesday. We’ll talk Tuesday night. So why don’t you call me on Wednesday.” “Okay, great. So I’ve got Wednesday available at 10:00 or 2:00, which do you prefer, Drew” And you’re going to tell me whatever time, and we’re going to nail that down. Because what happens, Drew, a lot of times, people think of the close as “the close!” And it’s not necessarily this big grandiose thing. Sometimes the close in this case is just closing for the next call. But all is, don’t let people off the hook, that’s the goal. Because if they say, “Well, I’ve got to talk to my partner. You know what, just call me next week.”

I want everybody to always remember, there is no such day as next week.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. That’s a great point. Even when you were saying 10:00 or 2:00, I was thinking, “Oh, I bet a lot of people don’t do that.” They say, “Oh, I’ll call you on Wednesday,” but it’s not a firm commitment, it’s not an appointment, it’s just a vague someday.

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly. And the reason why people do it, they don’t want to be pushy or they don’t want to be rejected or whatever. So it’s important that we nail it down. Here’s why it’s important though. So let’s say, they say, “Yes, call me Wednesday at 2:00.” Perfect. So you write it down. Here’s what I do. All right. Now, you don’t have to do this, but this is just what I do. I would say. “All right, Drew. So I’ve got you down for next Wednesday at 2:00 PM. And let me tell you, I’m a woman of my word, so I promise you, I will call you at the designated time.”

And the reason why that’s important, Drew. Let’s fast forward, now it’s Wednesday at 2:00 and I call you, I go into voicemail. Because we know that happens, I’ve already said something that’s going to make you think. So now, when I leave the message for you, Drew, I’m going to say, “Hey, Drew, it’s Stephanie. I’m assuming you probably got held up. I told you that I promised I would make this phone call because this is the day I committed and the time that I committed to call you. So when you get a moment, feel free to give me a buzz,” blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m throwing it in there because I really do want you…

I’m my brand, you’re your brand, the agencies owners are their brand. So this is more of an integrity issue. And here’s the thing, not on my part because I said I was going to call you on Wednesday at 2:00, and I’m calling you Wednesday at 2:00. This is an integrity issue on your part.

Drew McLellan:

Right. Because I wasn’t there at 2:00 to take the call.

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. And so I’m going to feel more obligated to call you back. Yeah. Oh, that’s smart. That’s sneaky and smart. I like it.

Stephanie Chung:

And you say it with the smile, but you just see it so that they understand because they’re not going to not call you back after you’ve made that comment. That’s one nugget I wanted to share. Here’s the other thing, you want to know another… Let’s say if you know you always come up against the same objections, we’ve all been in business long enough, we know the same two or three are going to come flying at us. So I want to share with your listeners what I call the preemptive strike. Are you ready to hear this, Drew?

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. I am ready.

Stephanie Chung:

All right. All right.

Drew McLellan:

Bring it.

Stephanie Chung:

Yeah. The preemptive strike is so cool, I use this every single day. Preemptive strikes simply means that I know and you know, we all know the objections that people are going to throw our way, price is too high, I need to talk to my wife, whatever objections, I’m looking at XYZ competitor. So if you know what they are, one, make sure that you bring it up yourself so that you can control your messaging. So in my world, I know that usually what people bring up is, if I’m doing one-on-one coaching, let’s say, they may say, in their mind, my price is higher than some of the local area coaches.

So if I know that that’s an objection that always comes up, then I’m going to bring it up. So now let’s go back to I’ve handled the objection, now we’re in the close mode, number five, step five. So here’s Drew, how I would say it, I would say, “Drew, now I’ve already told you at the beginning, we’re going to talk about next steps.” So now it’s like, “All right, Drew, well, and let me recap it. Drew, I understand what it is that you need. You said that you needed this, that and the other, and as you and I discussed, there’s a couple of different ways that I think that we could help solve that issue.”

“As we’ve mentioned before, we could do this, we could do this, we could do this. You and I have agreed that option B would make the most sense for your organization. So now let’s talk about next steps, which includes price.” And then, here’s how I’m going to do the preemptive strike, “Drew, before we get started, let me just be completely transparent. I am one of the more expensive coaches in the area, and here’s why.” So I’m going to bring it up before you bring it up because I can control the message that way. And if I am the most expensive coach, I should be able to back it up, why am I the most expensive coach? Why are you the most expensive agency? That kind of thing.

So you give those details and then when you’re done, then you can say, “Here’s what my price is going to be. And so now, I’m sure you have questions for me.” And again, you use silence, because they have questions.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. Or concern or something.

Stephanie Chung:

Something’s going on. Now you give them the opportunity to talk about it and you circle back to getting prepared to handle that objection.

Drew McLellan:

If you get the-

Stephanie Chung:

Wait, can I tell you one more?

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, yeah.

Stephanie Chung:

I’m thrilled, Drew. Let’s say you don’t do a preemptive strike, let’s just say it’s time to ask for the sale. Remember I said, this part is the easiest part of the whole process. So here’s how I ask for a sale, if I haven’t gotten them to be able to close themselves, and what I mean by them closing themselves, when I say, “What is it Drew that you’d like to do next,” This is for Drew to now give me direction what we’re supposed to be doing next, “Call me on this day. I should have an answer here,” whatever. If all that fails, then your fallback is now it’s time for you just to ask.

Here’s what I do, and I’ll just, again, recap, because recapping is really important, “Drew, I understand this. I’ve offered you that, you said that that made the most sense. And so now Drew, I’d like to ask, is there any reason why we couldn’t get you started today?” Very simple.

Drew McLellan:

And again, be quiet.

Stephanie Chung:

Yep. And the key is, is there any reason why? Because if there is, they’re either going to say, “No, actually I don’t think there is a reason.” Or they’re going to say, “Well, yeah. I really… ” And then they’re going to throw out an objection, which I can circle back and try to handle it. So the key is, is there any reason why? That’s really important.

Drew McLellan:

And again, they’re going to probably come back with why I need to think about it or I need whatever, and then you’ve given us the tool of, “Okay, help me understand what kind of things you’re going to be thinking about as you weigh this decision.

Stephanie Chung:

Yeah, definitely.

Drew McLellan:

I think one of the things that you have said that I think agency owners struggle with, and I’m curious how you’ve learned how to do this, they’re not great at silence.

Stephanie Chung:

They are the wordsmiths and the creatives. Yeah.

Drew McLellan:

And you come off as being exuberant and extroverted and all of that, so my assumption is that, was that a learned skill for you as well?

Stephanie Chung:

Absolutely, because silence, most people, just to give comfort to your community of listeners, most people hate silence. And so it really becomes a discipline, because we all hate that weird, awkward pause. And so we have to discipline ourselves not to speak because silence is really, if you don’t speak, someone has to.

Drew McLellan:

How did you learn how to do that? Is that just a habit and practice? Do you have a trick around that?

Stephanie Chung:

I don’t. I would just say it’s very much just habit and practice because it’s funny, and you’ll have to have me back on and we’ll talk about body language, because when you’re asking a question and you’re being quiet to give them… And honestly, you’re also trying to give them an opportunity to think. Just think about our own lives, again, we’re all super busy and life is just really fast these days, so how do we all love just a moment when we can just have silence and think for a minute? And so that’s no different in the sales conversation.

So you do really want to give people an opportunity just to give themselves a moment to think through it. And here’s the deal, when you ask the question, make it a game. If I ask the question, the game is, I will not say anything, I’m not going to say anything, I’m going to force this person to speak. He who spoke first loses, is what we always say in sales. So once we ask the question, we just have to really discipline ourselves not to say anything. And it takes a little bit of practice, but it’s easier than you think.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. it’s interesting when I’m coaching or teaching agency employees, and they talk about the new business process, oftentimes what they struggle with, how to correct is that the agency owner typically will speak over someone else or fill all of that silence. And what they talk about is that that creates a sense of distrust. What it suggests to the prospect is that the boss doesn’t trust their own employees.

Stephanie Chung:

That’s powerful. That is good. That’s good. I like that. It’s funny, a lot of my clients who owned businesses, I help them with interviews. If we’re trying to make sure we get the right people in the right place to drive the business forward, oftentimes I’ll come in and help them interview people. And so I use that all the time. I’ll purposely ask a question that I know is a deep question, hopefully it makes them have to think, and then I’ve always coached everybody beforehand, especially if it’s a whole panel interview. When I ask a question, I’m going to ask a question that makes them really have to stop and think, and I want you to not say a word.

Drew McLellan:

Right. Don’t help.

Stephanie Chung:

Don’t help. Yeah, exactly. All the people pleasers and the nurturers, don’t help, just discipline yourself and let that silence linger.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. So true. Such an important lesson. So if you get the, “I need to think about it. Yes, you’re going to call me on Tuesday,” or whatever, and you keep getting either voicemail dodge or email dodge, how persistent should someone be before you are reading between the lines of they’re not ready to buy?

Stephanie Chung:

That’s a really good question. I’ll give you this statistic and then I’ll give you my opinion. The statistic is that 80% of all sales are done after the eighth touch point, but yet, 80% of all salespeople give up after the fourth. Those are the statistics. So really what it means is to hang in there and to keep, I would say rental apprehended. So keep touching point until they tell you to stop. Now, that’s the national average. I like to put a disclaimer on that, which is really simple. Most people don’t necessarily follow the five stages correctly. So that in my opinion is why you need so many touch points. And also the fact that we’re all super busy.

But once you get your sales technique really down to a solid, just you’re really good and you’re at that top percentage or the elite level, if you will, then those stats no longer hold true, because just as I’ve shared with the team today, you’re going to start asking people for things that are going to close that sales cycle time inward. So that’s the first thing. So it’s really important, never walk out of a meeting or a call without knowing what the next steps are, who’s supposed to be doing what, when. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is, I personally work off of three strikes and you’re out. And really what that means is this, if you and I have agreed that I’m supposed to follow up with you, or you’re going to follow up with me at XYZ time, then I’ve called and I did what I was supposed to do and you weren’t there, I’m going to talk it out, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, maybe something came up, no problem, it happens. So second time let’s say I call and same kind of thing, I’m constantly watching to see, and the reason why I say three strikes you’re out, because I’m constantly watching to see, do I want to work with you?

This isn’t about just do you want to work with me, it’s really, this is a relationship. And so do I want to work with you? So one of the most powerful things you can do in sales is to really understand your value and your worth. And self-worth is really important. And so there’s no reason, if you’re going to have a client that you’ve got to chase them around, run around, it’s like becoming a chore, then you really need to think, “Is this kind of the client that I want?” And so for me, when I get to that third time, it’s truly now an integrity issue, because we’ve already said we were going to do this and you didn’t follow through.

Drew McLellan:

It’s still disrespectful.

Stephanie Chung:

It’s very disrespectful. So some of the things that I actually say, and you can probably use this for sure, because I know that you coach people, but on the coaching side, one of the things when I have prospects who will call, we have a conversation. Let’s say I say, “What would you like to do next?” They say, “Well, I want to talk to my, whoever about it, my partner and see if we can fit it in the budget, blah, blah, blah.” No problem. And so then what I’ll say is, “When would you like the next steps?” “Well, let me go ahead and let’s talk next week.” “Great. When, next week. Great.”

And then I will also say to them, “Here’s what I have, I have it down that you’re going to call me Tuesday at 4:00. Let me just give you your first coaching assignment. I will not call you, I will email you, I won’t chase you around. If this is something that you’re interested in, then I will expect to hear from you Tuesday at 4:00.” I’m going to set the rules because not every client is a good client. If you know your self-worth, if you know that you as an agency could really help drive their ROI or increase their leads or whatever your value proposition is, then somewhere along the line, you have to put down the gauntlet and stand behind what you really believe you know you can do for this client, this company, etc.

Because time spent on one thing is time away from something else. So you don’t want to spend a whole lot of time chasing people around when you could be taking that same time, energy, and effort, and go prospect for new people who will appreciate what it is that you have to offer them.

Drew McLellan:

Well. And I also think, and I often preach this is, I think sales is stronger and better when you come from that place of confidence that I’m not chasing after you, I don’t need your business that badly that I’m going to beg you for the work. And we’re good at what we do. I’ve clearly identified how we could be helpful, so you have to decide if you want it or not.

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly. And you know what’s really another cool thing, to your point, to add on to that, there’s a lot that goes on. So remember at the beginning we talked about trust and distrust being built and stimulated in two different parts of the brain. So here’s what’s really interesting, when you’re in a sales conversation, one of the best things you can do on the front end, let’s say we’ve already gone step one, building that trust and rapport. Step two, we’re going to start asking questions to uncover the need.

Well, when you start asking questions, it’s not uncommon for people to feel like they’re a little bit on the hot seat. And so therefore they may shut down or only give you half the information, they just hold their stuff because their trust perhaps is not 100% full throttle. So one thing that you can do to easily release that, and I do this all the time, it’s just to say, in my world, I’ll say, “Drew, Great.” Let’s say we’ve talked about your kids, your vacation, where you went to school, all that stuff, so we have some good rapport going.

Now, I’m going to say, “Let’s talk a little bit about why we’re here together. And let me just first say this,” now, this is really important, and I would highly recommend that your listeners do this as well. What I always say is, “Let me first say this, I’m not a coach for everyone. And so my job today is really not do anything more than understand what it is you need. And then once I understand what you need, if I can help you, we’re going to talk about next steps. And if I think that you’d be better served with someone else, I’m going to point you somewhere else or something else.”

So I will say on the front end, I’m not a coach for everyone. What that does is that gets the brain to release. So the amygdala is no longer on the high alert thinking, “She’s going to try to sell me something.” So now once I’ve said that, then it can calm itself down and go do something else. So that’s one tool and trick of the trade that your listeners can use, and just say, “You know, we’re not an agency for everyone. We’re very, very, very good at what we do in certain areas, but my job today is to figure out what you need and see if this makes any sense for us to talk about next steps. And if I don’t think that we’re the best agency for you, I know everybody in this space, we’re a close knit community and I am happy to refer you to someone that I think that could serve you far better.”

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Well, and in fact, what happens sometimes then is then they try to convince you that they’ll be a good client, right?

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly, exactly. And one of the other things that’s really cool-

Drew McLellan:

Because everybody wants to be wanted.

Stephanie Chung:

Everybody wants to be wanted. And let’s say the time and it comes and you have to talk about your price. So let’s say, and this happens, I’m sure this happens to you and your community as well. Let’s say it comes down to price and you say whatever your price is and they’re like, “Ooh, that’s higher than I thought.” Let’s say that we get that response. So what I always like to do is to say, “Okay, well, understood. So tell me a little bit about what were you thinking the cost was going to be.” Because if it’s higher than you thought, you had a thought in your head.

And so let’s say they say it’s half the price, and then you could say, “Okay, well, so let’s do this,” I’m going to make up a number. So let’s say they thought it was going to be $1,000, $2,000. Or let’s say your price was $2,000 for a project or something and they thought it was $1,000, and you know you’re not going to go down to $1,000. So what you can do, and this is some of the things that I always do is to say, “Okay, so $1,000 is your budget. Well, that’s obviously that’s not going to be something that I can work with, but let me think of someone else that I can point you to.”

“Now, one thing I can tell you is I do know everybody in the community, I’m not sure that I know people who can do it at $1,000, but I can certainly give it some thought. I am certainly happy to refer you to someone who might do it at somewhat cheaper version, who might do it at $1,000, I just can’t tell you what your results are going to be.” Now, once I say that, then the average person is going to go, “Wait a minute.” You know what I mean?

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, “I kind of wanted results.”

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly. Because here’s the rule of thumb, when it comes to sales conversations, it’s never, ever, ever my job or your job, Drew, or your listeners job, it’s not our job to figure out what everybody has to spend. That’s not our job. Our job is just to understand what it is that you need present a solution to you, and of course, if we are the best solution than to be able to explain to you our pricing, the value that you’re going to get for that pricing. That’s the only thing that we’re responsible for. I could care less how much money you have to spend, because that’s not my concern.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. That’s a mind twist for many agency owners, because a lot of times they are trying to guess how much money a prospect has and then tweak or twist what they offer to match that, but it’s a position of weakness.

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly. And let’s say they say, “Well, it’s $1,000.” Because it’s easy for us to say, but let’s say you’re a brand new agency, just started out and $1,000 is better than zero. So if that’s the case, let’s say you came in at $2,000, they said, “That’s higher than I thought,” they’re asking for $1,000 and you decide that, “Okay, I got nothing and I got to pay my bills today.” So you go with that. Then what you do then is take something off the table for whatever you do, don’t bring the price down, you then start taking things off that, “So $1,000, well, let’s figure out together what you can live without, so we can meet your budget.”

So it always has to go hand in hand, you can never just do a price drop and not take things off the table.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. And I’m pushing on that all the time, because otherwise, what you’ve done is you’ve proven that you have no price integrity and that every price you have is negotiable.

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly. And you’re setting your buyers up to treat you the way that they choose to treat you, and that’s miserable.

Drew McLellan:

Like a vendor rather than a partner or whatever. And it also, I have to think it triggers distrust because if I told you it was $2,000, and then you tell me that you only have $1,200 and I go, “Okay, I’ll do it for $1,200,” there has to be something that happens in your brain that goes, “Well, what the heck, he was about to take two grand for that.”

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly. Exactly. Very common, very common. I love what you said, pricing integrity is so important, especially if you have other clients. You’re going to charge somebody else, supply and demand, so as you get more busy, your pricing is going to go up and so on and so forth. And the bottom feeders that perhaps you brought on at the beginning, are just going to pull all your numbers down for starters, but then you run the risk of them talking to each other and then finding out like, “Oh, they’re charging me half that amount.”

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. Well, and I knew that we would go deep into this conversation, I feel like we could talk for another three hours about this. So I definitely want you to come back, I would love to have that body language conversation that you talked about, but I want to make sure that all the listeners know all of the ways that they can get more of your smart. So let’s talk about the book and the website, and the blueprint you were telling me about, tell everybody about all of those tools so that they can track you down.

Stephanie Chung:

Well, thank you for that. I appreciate it. The easiest way to get in touch with me is just to go to my website, stephaniechung.com. Chung is C-H-U-N-G. So stephaniechung.com. I have got tons of free resources on there, great videos on there with some cool sales tips that will be really helpful. If you want to read one of my books, it’s called Profit Like a Girl, and for your listeners, you shouldn’t go on Amazon and download it and pay whatever the rate is, but for your listeners, you can really go to profitlikeagirl.com and download it for free, download the ebook for free.

Drew McLellan:

And let’s be very clear that although it is Profit Like a Girl, this is for boys too.

Stephanie Chung:

Exactly, exactly. It’s actually called Profit Like A Girl: A Women’s Guide to Kicking Butt in Sales and Leadership. So the truth of the matter is, it’s all about kicking butt in sales and leadership. So you can be a girl, you can be a guy, it really doesn’t matter.

Drew McLellan:

A little bit of marketing spin there, I suspect.

Stephanie Chung:

There you go. Exactly. I should have the same book and say, Profit Like A Guy.

Drew McLellan:

That’s right.

Stephanie Chung:

And then the last one is you can certainly, I have a blueprint that you can go to called, get more clients, with an S, andsales.com, Get More Clients And Sales. And that’s just a 20-day growth plan blueprint. So it gives you ideas on how you can get more clients and more sales in 20 days.

Drew McLellan:

That sounds like plenty to keep them busy until we get you back on the show.

Stephanie Chung:

I love it. This has been so much fun, Drew.

Drew McLellan:

This has been awesome. Thank you so much for sharing so generously your experience and all of the tips, and for firing people up and reminding them that they need to get over themselves and go out and sell something.

Stephanie Chung:

Absolutely. There you go. Nothing happens until somebody sells something, right?

Drew McLellan:

That is for sure. Well, and the flip side of that is, new business cures just about everything.

Stephanie Chung:

Yeah. It’s so true. It’s so true. I love that.

Drew McLellan:

That wraps up another episode of Build A Better Agency, hopefully you found it incredibly helpful and inspiring, and that you are ready to go out and do some great things. I also want to talk to you about another tool that we’ve built that I would love to offer you. So, as you’ve probably heard me preach, I believe a lot of agencies chase after the wrong new business prospects. And I think we do that because we have not taken the time to clearly define who our sweet spot clients should be. And the way you do that is by looking at your current clients and then developing out who your prospects should be based on your best current clients.

So we’ve put together a Sweet Spot Client Filter, say that five times fast, that I would love for you to take advantage of and for you to use inside your shop to figure out exactly who you should be targeting for new business. To get access to that free tool, all you need to do is text AMI, for Agency Management Institute as you might imagine, AMI, text that to 38470. Again, text AMI to 38470, and we will get the Sweet Spot Client Filter out to you right away. Thanks again for listening. If I can be helpful, you can find me as always at [email protected] Otherwise, I will touch base with you next week with another great episode. Talk to you soon.

Speaker 1:

That’s all for this episode of AMI’s Build A Better Agency brought to you by HubSpot. Be sure to visit agencymanagementinstitute.com to learn more about our workshops, online courses, and other ways we serve small to midsize agencies. Don’t miss an episode as we help you build the agency you’ve always dreamed of owning.