The #1 reason why “offline consultants” fail

ok, this will be uncomfortable reading for some, if not most readers.

But, alas, real growth comes from facing your demons and gently pushing the boundaries of your comfort-zone,
so, read on in the knowledge that this is meant to help you;-)

Probably THE most popular type of “offline marketing” course you can buy is of the “this is how you generate lots of lovely leads”.

You get excited.

Very excited.

Because this one promises to give you leads by the boatload, and all without having to do any cold-calling, face-to-face prospecting and selling.

Instead, ‘they’ will see the value in what you have, immediately jump off their sofa and go “this is what I’ve been looking for”, and call you eager, with credit-card in hand.

Only it never works out that way.

Even if you were to take action, and it actually worked (quite of the methods do actually work and give you a nice stream of leads), once they phone you up, it’s not as easy as “hey, just follow this script”.

“Dang, those pesky prospects just don’t follow scripts” (how dare they!;-)

Here’s why “tons of lovely leads” courses generally don’t work for you:

if you want to do offline consulting, you need to expand your comfort zoneYour Brain Is Stopping You From Actually Reaching Out

Early on in my ‘self-employed’ career, right after leaving the safe harbour of corporate life, I put mhyself through one of the toughest direct-selling experiences you can ever have:

selling insurance through cold-calling.

When I got started, I was blessed with a mentor and supervisor, who didn’t let me buy into my own BS “hey, I’ll just take this list of phone-numbers home with me, and I’ll make the phone-calls from there”), but instead, sat down with me, the list of numbers and one very scary looking telephone.

And then we started dialling.

And calling people.

And despite my brains every effort to get me to stop doing it, because surely people on the other side were going to bite off my head, nobody did.

Some even had a good laugh, like the head of another insurance company (one of our main competitors) who played along very nicely and at the end actually complimented me on my selling and said he was going to use some of the elements for his own people.

Overall, the experience was extremely valuable, insightful, and of course, bloomin’ brutal.

One of the most rapid expansions of my comfort zone EVER!

Here’s the thing:

without that mentor, I would not have done it.

Why?

Because my brain, just like your’s, is hardwired to protect us from harm.

No matter if it’s real or imaginary.

And, just like you, I had imagined that the other side was definitely going to bite my head off.

And “head off” is definitely considered “harmful” by our brains, and therefore to be avoided.

So, is “yet another lovely leads breaking down your front-door” course going to change that?

No, the ONLY way to do it is to take whatever you have, and start facing the demons.

Who – as your comfort zone expands – will (most likely) turn out not to be demons, but lovely people instead.

But your brain doesn’t know that … yet.

But, as they famously say: “wait, there’s more”:

shutterstock_7555756None Of The Courses Prepare You For The ‘Real’ Questions

Not content with expanding my comfort zone through selling, I then added public speaking to the mix, and started teaching sales to newspaper advertising sales-reps.
The people who sell advertising so small business owners. AKA: your competition;-)

Without fail, before our trainings, they’d go into a business, and launch into their sales-presentation.

And without fail, they’d close 1 or 2 out of 10.

That’s terrible!

And it was all down to 1 thing:

they didn’t (don’t) listen!

Hardly anyone knows how to listen.

Ey?

Here’s what I mean by this:

The REAL secret to selling is to put yourself in the shoes of the other person, see the world from their perspective, and then ‘transfer confidence’ – from you to them.

Your confidence that your stuff works, translated into a representation THEY understand, and that makes THEM feel comfortable.

In our trainings we’d often go out on client visits and I’d be sitting in.

To listen in, so I could give feedback later on.

And you won’t believe how often I’ve been listening to a business owner express in so many ways that THE most important thing to them is “being perceived as ‘high quality’ and reliable”.

only for the sales-person to hammer home the message that they’ll reach a wide audience at the cheapest rates in town.

FFS. LISTEN.

Well, don’t beat yourself up.

Walking in someone else’s shoes is probably THE hardest thing to do in your lifetime.

I intellectually ‘get’ early-risers, they must see something magical in being there with the rising sun.

but only intellectually.

I’d rather have a nice lie-in!

And exactly the same is true for selling to anyone, especially business owners:

before you can sell, you MUST be able to walk in their shoes.

And that does take a bit of practice.

Er, ok, a LOT of practice.

If you don’t know how people make buying decisions, if you don’t know how to find out what they really value, if you don’t even know what clues to look and listen for, then no step-by-step script is ever going to get you there.

I guess in a next post we should look at some of those factors, but for now: what’s your take?

What’s your experience with this?

What’s working for you, and what isn’t?

Veit

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Comments

  1. Hi Viet

    Been there, done that but I really couldn’t bear to stay long enough to get my T-shirt.

    Everything in my brain said don’t do it. But I did, for a short while. As you say nobody bites your head off, most are very polite, but I didn’t make any sales. However, it did gain me a lot of confidence to do slightly less brain damaging tasks later. Like ‘Sell on the night’ bedroom & kitchen sales. I lasted 2 years at that before I finally admitted I wasn’t cut out for that either. I’m more ‘managerial’ so that is where I ended up.

    Once you find a way into the prospects conversation and turn them into talking about your subject then you have it made. It was amazing what we talked about other than bedrooms or kitchens.

    Have a great time.

    Cheers

    Tony

    • lol Tony, fabulous: “couldn’t bear to stay long enough to get my T-shirt” pretty much hits the nail on the head.

      and I second your comment in the last paragraph:

      the moment the ‘selling’ is out of the equation, and you start talking to them like they’re a good friend and you’re just having a chat, then it’s all sorted.

      And of course, “talking to them like a friend” is all about walking in their shoes – basically condensing years of friendship into a short conversation where you find out so much about them, that they feel comfortable talking to you like a friend.

      Cheers

      Veit

  2. Solid advice Veit – I had similar mentoring in my 20’s (akin to a regular ass kicking) but it was great for me to learn how to sell. The transition to selling via copy was easier when I heard Dan Kennedy say that copywriting was salesmanship in print. I don’t need to buy lead gen courses or software. My blogging is producing plenty of killer leads. Its getting the process of follow up and fulfillment behind me that I’m dealing with now…

    • Scott,

      and how true it is too:

      salesmanship in print.

      Most people view copywriting as something where they use ‘ninja’ sales-psychology to somehow magically ‘persuade’ the other party to buy their stuff.

      Whereas the real magic happens when you view it as having a conversation and simply asking yourself at every stage: what might they be asking now? What would we be talking about right now? And of course knowing WHY they’re asking that and how it ‘looks like’ in their heads – aka: walking in their boots…

      Cheers

      Veit

  3. I was told by a non sales person… at first do >80% listening, <20% talking (other than clarifying questions). Once you can see/hear that they have told you what they think their issues are, begin to change gear where you end up doing about 80% of the talking.

    Being a man with an ego (yes I know that is unusual :))), I like to strut my stuff. Being a marketer I like to listen. The only thing for sale is the real business of developing the relationship. I reckon that sale is priceless.

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