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Overcoming The Fear Of Selling

FROM BULLETPROOF SELLING:

The fear of selling does not come from speaking with people – something we’ve been doing our whole lives. It comes from not understanding the value our product or service can have in the lives of the people we’re speaking to. The fear then comes from beleiving we are selling a commodity and not wanting to interrupt our buyers with an offer we’re not entirely sure can help them. To solve this, it’s vital that every sales team or individual map out the real value their product or service provides and then take the time to discover what goals each prospect has that your product or service can help them achieve. 
From Chapter 5:
Systemizing Value
 A MAJOR PART of the Marines’ jobs in Iraq was to patrol local neighborhoods and keep them secure. Our opponents quickly realized they could do more damage to our personnel by avoiding direct engagements and simply planting explosive devices on the side of the roads we traveled on. Less risk to them, more risk to us.
Because a 40-millimeter mortar round with a bunch of colorful wires laying on the side of the road is a clear indication of danger, these improvised explosive devices would often be camouflaged. This made them hard to spot and led to a lot of false-positive identifications. If something looked like a disguised bomb, we’d halt an entire convoy to investigate. A patrol could be held up for hours because the lead driver spotted something that could be a problem.
What happened next in these situations was no less impressive than watching a team of snipers clear a building – troops would unload from their vehicles and take up defensive positions on either side of the road, run to the tops of nearby buildings, and do everything they could to proactively meet a potential ambush.
And then we’d wait. For what? For the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team to arrive. These men and women had the especially dangerous job of getting close enough to confirm whether what we spotted was indeed a bomb. If so, their job was disarming it or blowing it in place. They were masters of communicating and leveraging their value – something that many salespeople have replaced with product specs and pricing sheets as their primary sales tools.
Thinking back, watching these EOD teams work was the first time I saw how a salesperson could assess the situation, recommend value-added solutions, and get to work delivering them in a systemized way.
If these EOD technicians had been like most salespeople, they would chat all of us up upon arrival until they discovered who had the most rank, and then negotiations would begin, whereupon we’d all be regaled with the history of bomb disposal. Then the EOD team would open up their bag of goodies and display all the ways they could disarm a bomb or destroy it. At that point, they’d select their tools and get to work. Once done, they’d offer the bomb as a souvenir to the decision maker so they’d have a memento of the great work the bomb disposal team had done. And of course, before departing, they’d be sure to ask if the convoy commander knew of any other units in the area that might be encountering bombs so the EOD team could … you know … get referrals.
That would turn what should be a half-hour mission into a multi-day affair. The EOD teams figured out something vitally important salespeople should remember when communicating with prospects – no one cares about how something solves a major problem. What folks care about is how fast and effectively the problem can be solved. Unless speed and effectiveness are impacted, it does not make sense to talk about upgrades, upsells, or which colors something comes in.
What actually happened when the bomb disposal team arrived to one of our halted patrols? And what can our salespeople do to model the way they communicated value?
First, the EOD team would immediately locate and speak with the ranking officer, ensure troops were pushed out to a safe distance in case of an intended or unintended detonation, and confirm that civilians were cordoned off from the potential blast area. Then, the team would get to work providing the benefit they existed to provide: allow the mission, in this case the patrol, to be accomplished as quickly and safely as possible.
The EOD teams were Bulletproof salespeople, even though they’d rightly claim to be experts at simply blowing stuff up.
If that example doesn’t get you thinking about how to connect your salespeople with the value your company exists to provide, here’s another:
Linda is a solopreneur and running a nutritional consultancy, a fancy way of saying she teaches people what to eat and drink in order to perform better. One of her prospects was the local police department, but she was having trouble convincing their police chief to let her present to his officers. The police officers were busy, worked in a stressful job, and were infinitely more concerned with staying on the right side of the law than they were with what they ate in their patrol vehicles, donut jokes aside.
When I asked Linda what the benefit of her talk was, she began telling me about how eating refined sugar led to early onset diabetes, poor energy levels, etc. I encouraged her to think of this from the perspective of her decision maker – the person with the ability to cut a check for nutritional advice.
I asked, “What is top of mind for a police chief, the things they think about and are most concerned with?”
Some answers she came up with:
Following policies and procedures during traffic stops
Maintain proficiency with weapons and arrest techniques
Abiding by HR policies
“Those are good,” I told Linda, “but let’s go deeper. What’s the one thing that could happen in the course of a given day that would ruin a police chief’s mood even if everything else went right?”
She decided that obviously, it would be if one or more of their officers didn’t make it home.
“Right!” I said. “And can you link nutrition to better decision-making, enhanced focus, response time, and better memory?”
“Yes!” she replied.
“Great, then that’s the value you’re talking about the next time you speak to the police chief – increasing the chances all their officers survive their next shift.”
No surprise, she got the gig.
What happened was not magic; it was simply examining the benefits of the service she offered, not from her perspective but from the perspective of her prospect. She needed to identify the biggest need of her prospect and build a bridge from her expertise, product, or service to that goal.
Systemizing Value
Trigger: Standing up a Bulletproof campaign system.
Bulletproof Impact of This System: Understanding how your product or service creates change in your clients’ lives and businesses. Allows your salespeople to expand their potential customer profile across industries, identify the most pressing need in their prospect’s lives, and position your product or service as a solution. Overcomes the ‘show up and throw up’ method of selling and positions salespeople for strategically oriented, solutions-based sales.
This is an exercise that is essential for entrepreneurs and those providing intangible services, but it’s also valuable for product-based sales teams to examine the actual value provided by what they sell. It’s these value statements that will form the bulk of sales scripts, generate discovery questions, and improve the closing ratio of proposals (all systems we’ll reveal in coming chapters).
It’s an old adage that people don’t buy features – they buy benefits. Yet few sales teams, and even fewer solopreneurs, take the time to define the value their product or service provides, and even fewer prioritize communicating that value in their sales conversations. Because we’re preparing salespeople for the most challenging environments they might encounter, it’s not enough to just train them on remembering product specs. They need to be versed on the solutions their products or services provide and be able to communicate them to busy, distracted decisions makers. Instead of assuming prospects want to know all the features of a product or service, Bulletproof salespeople take the time to learn about their prospects’ needs first. Only when a clear match between prospects’ goals and a way their product or service can deliver the solution should salespeople attempt to sell.
Let’s examine how to do that for what you’re selling so we can get to the heart of the value your company’s products or services provide. That value will be woven into all of the sales conversations, outreach systems, templates, and marketing material that we’ll walk you through creating in upcoming chapters. 
Start by mapping out the below columns and their titles on the top of a sheet of paper. Set aside an entire sheet as you’ll need the space:
 
Features
Specifications
Benefits
 
In the ‘features’ column, write down everything you or your salespeople would normally say if someone requested, “Tell me about yourself and what you sell.” This includes the life story of the salesperson, your company’s founder, the history of the product or service, the way it was smuggled across a battlefield to keep it from falling into enemy hands in the big war, etc. This is the column salespeople tend to spend the most time in when speaking with prospects, and it’s not an effective way to capture attention or move a sale forward. Prospects sometimes will buy something just so the salesperson will stop talking about features. Most, however, will say, “Leave me your information and we’ll get back to you.”
In the second column, write the specifications of your product or service – just the facts. Salespeople often spend time memorizing dozens of these on the off chance someone will want to know how many cubic feet of floor space their widget takes up. While specs are valuable, they’re nothing that can’t be kept on a reference sheet. For service providers, this column would contain all the ways they provide their services or communicate their expertise for their clients: consulting, speeches, coaching, counseling, training, advising, etc.
It’s the third column where Bulletproof salespeople live. To fill in this column for the product or service(s) you sell, ask yourself and your team, “How are our clients better off as the result of column one or column two?”
Top-line responses to this question usually include answers like more money or less problems for our clients, but it’s essential to dive deeper. Follow up with any initial responses by asking, “And how does that look in the lives and businesses of the people we sell to?”
That second layer of responses will uncover how what you sell benefits your client’s particular businesses and lives. But the benefits don’t stop there. The third and final layer of this line of questioning for items in the third column is asking, “And what does that allow them to do that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise?”
Here’s an example of this system’s flow:
Question 1: “How are our clients better off with our widget?”
Answer 1: “It saves them money and allows them to produce more gadgets at a faster rate.”
Question 2: “How does that look in the lives and businesses of the people we deliver widgets to?”
Answer 2: “They usually increase production 20%, making them more money. They get fewer defects which saves them a few hundred grand a year in return costs as well.”
Question 3: “And what has that allowed them to do that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise?”
Answer 3: “Well, one of our clients was able to sell their business because of an increased valuation. Another was able to hire enough people to establish a third shift and created more jobs in their community. Someone else won an industry award and was featured in their association’s magazine because they out-produced everyone else.”
‘Producing more widgets’ is a commodity that is available through multiple channels, whatever the industry. ‘Increasing company valuation while hiring more employees and being recognized as best-of-class in the industry’ is something not everyone can provide – and something folks will pay a premium for, especially if they’ve expressed an interest in those outcomes!
As we’ll share throughout this book, Bulletproof salespeople become Bulletproof because they don’t position their product or service as a commodity, but rather as something that solves critical issues their prospects and clients face. For that reason, once we identify that we are speaking with a decision maker, we encourage salespeople to be familiar with how what they sell solves strategic problems.
Systemizing Success with Systemized Value
The messaging that your team will be building throughout their Bulletproof campaign systems and call scripts comes from that third line of questioning, which is why we’re addressing the value of your product or service before we get into building campaign systems within your pipeline. For now, capture the ways your clients’ businesses and lives are better with your product or service from your own experience or by surveying your sales and customer support teams.
Before we begin communicating our value to prospects within campaign systems, outreach scripts, or messaging templates, it’s important to know that not all communication is created equally or has equal impact. Devoting too much time communicating value via email will not yield us the same result as dedicating time to making calls or through in-person appointments.
It’s often said that nothing happens in business until something is sold. I’ll add to that – nothing is sold until something is communicated. That makes communication the chief role of any salesperson, regardless of their product, service, prospect, or deal size.
An outreach system that converts meetings and sales relies on effective communication, because without it, sales don’t happen. To make selling systems predictable, scalable, and continuously improving – or Bulletproof – we need to understand the types of communication available and the power they each have. Only then can we effectively leverage each type of communication as we build or revamp our pipelines and their outreach campaigns.

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We are a leader in systemizing sales processes and solutions for salespeople, teams and organizations. We systemize selling processes so salespeople can replace hope with certainty, close more deals and provide more value to their clients.

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