Updated: Oct 20, 2020
Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash
This month I got a chance to interview a sales coach/facilitator named Bernice Schnick, from a company called Your Business Wings. She, like myself, teaches sales, and typically teaches entrepreneurs who have preconceived negative feelings and emotions towards doing it.
The thing is, if you don’t or can’t sell, you won’t succeed at your business and therefore you will not make money. Hiring someone to sell is a challenge and can be costly since training in sales professionals can prove to be time-consuming.
I met with Bernice and interviewed her about selling in today’s marketplace. Now, I must warn you, when you get two energized coaches and facilitators together, well, suffice to say, we did a lot of talking, laughing and sharing.
Here is my interview with Bernice about how you can maximize your sales results and feel pretty darn good about doing it!
David: Bernice, you call yourself a new business engagement specialist, why that title as opposed to a sales specialist?
Bernice: Well David, I have been called a Sales Specialist many times in my career and even now, and it feels great! However, I prefer A New Business Engagement Specialist. To me, it’s more empowering, Purpose driven, and Truth centered. The transition happened once I did some inner work and shifted my thinking. In a nutshell, sales is what you do, so that’s more about doing the act or art of sales rather than “Just doing sales.”
Business engagement involves being engaged in the conscious and continuous process and flow of a committed 2-way conversation, being present and involved and moving to the end-result or objective of creating an opportunity or new business relationship.
A lot of business owners get into business and forget that getting new business is the key to everything. It is the key to success, the rewards, to being able to make money, buy new business equipment, pay off business loans, yet when we get into business, as a new business we shy away from selling. Why do you think that is?
Definitely getting new business is crucial to sustain your living, make money, buy things, have success, increase your reach, your customer base and take pride in a job well done!
I believe we shy away from selling because of the way we were taught to sell, or it may go back to an image we hold in our mind as to what selling is and means to us. Perhaps we watched someone sell and it wasn’t a pleasurable or nice feeling for us, so we created that visual in our head and said “I don’t want to come across like that”.
Then it becomes a facade of setting limitations on yourself. It almost causes a paralysis of picking up the phone or meeting a new prospect or going to a networking event.
So, we must first change the mindset as to what we feel about sales.
David: What do you think some of the fears around selling come from?
Bernice: Could be various reasons from having a bad experiences with “not so good salespeople”, feeling like they were taken advantage of or schmoozed or bamboozled into buying something they didn’t want or need, or just an inner gremlin dialogue such as “oh my I am not a salesperson”, “I cant talk to people”, “I’m too shy and feel awkward probing or asking questions like that”, “why would anyone listen to me”, or “I have no value”.
David: What about this notion or belief a lot of us have about selling? Many think that selling is icky, sleazy, that you force or push people, cajole them, or worse, you are intruding on them.
Bernice: Ah yes, visions of the ruthless car salesman or tempting timeshare talker.
David: How can we reframe this belief, based on some of your business development philosophies?
Bernice: People are prospects, they do have to purchase stuff. However, also remember that your prospect loves to and must buy things! It’s your style, approach or way that they will resonate with, and that will make the difference in the experience for them and in the outcome for you.
I can demonstrate this by sharing my balloon theory … so if you imagine blowing up a balloon, you first must stretch it out, then blow into it with all your air until it’s a quarter blown up and then you take a break and begin to blow more of your air until it reaches halfway capacity. Then, again blow to reach full capacity; you must pinch the front to secure all the air and then tie it up to secure it.
So the sole purpose is to first stretch your thinking and also the thinking of your prospect. Then slowly and cautiously move your prospect from comfort zone to safety zone to commitment zone, while along the way testing their temperature (taking a break). Your strategy will be about the following: using open-ended questions, proof or stats or sharing case scenarios, educating, building rapport, trust and intention.
All that wonderful air is your goodies to share, your intrinsic value, your story, your passion, your energy, your well-thought-out questions, your rapport-building, your unique gems!
Now imagine taking one full breath into the balloon and sharing everything at once. This is overwhelming and not effective in the end and all your left with is a deflated balloon, feeling breathless, and maybe even with a deflated ego too!
And sorry to say but that’s how some salespeople come across. I am wanting to change that way of selling.
David: How do we begin to integrate the “J” philosophy and how does integrating this philosophy help us to shift our relationship to selling and customer acquisition?
Bernice: Let me share with you that when the caterpillar as it drops in its cocoon and is hanging on a branch, it forms the letter J. This J letter represents when the caterpillar is just about to transform, so it now makes the identity transformation. If it could speak, it would say “life as I know as a caterpillar will end but I will change into something more meaningful and that has a much bigger purpose for me in my life”, similar to the business owner or budding entrepreneur (which I call a chaotic caterpillar). Once they make their “J” connection (meaning head core and heart alignment), that is the only time they will transform because now they know who they are. They are authentic and purpose-driven at their core.
Photo by Niv Singer on Unsplash
You must do the inner work and exercises that will help you, and your prospect will feel that by you connecting your head, core, and heart.
– pull the right knowledge to share (head)
– feel the belly burn and passion for what you do and who you are – (core)
– deliver your message with warmth, care, compassion and sincerity (heart)
All 3 must align, just as the universe’s thoughts, feelings, and actions must all align in order to manifest.
The prospect feels your genuine truth, energy and intentions to want to help them.
That’s when a J connection is made and a commitment to engage in business happens soon after.
David: Bernice, for those that are reading this and are new to their business or perhaps they aren’t getting new customers, what actions can they and must they begin to take in order to a) overcome some of the fear and loathing they have around selling and b) to develop new customers with ease, grace and enthusiasm?
Bernice: So first your focus should be on your thoughts. These are most important because they will determine your habits, your actions, and then your destiny.
Think about why you got into this business in the first place, so allow yourself to step back into the moment and time when you might have said, “I’m going to quit my job or there is something better for me or am I taking my destiny and future into my own hands? Or is just time to be my own boss, or entrepreneur?”
If these feel true to you, then own it, feel it, let it breath into you, and hold onto that feeling!
Don’t let your fears hold you hostage to your dreams!
Believe in yourself, then look at what those attributes or characteristics are that you see in yourself that will make you successful. That’s your power and you have intrinsic value to offer. Make a point to do daily and nightly affirmation around those attributes and your strong suits. For example, “I am creative”! “I solve problems for my customer easily”!
Envision the word “Fear” in your mind and close your eyes. Now envision you with an axe or hammer crushing that word and it is crumbling into tiny little pieces. They are then specs of dust and a big wind storm comes around and just blows it all away and there you stand in victory and say, “I crushed my fear”. Be sure to have fun with it, don’t let it take over and win. You have the control of you, your thoughts and beliefs!
David: Bernice, I teach a 6-step sales process. I am a big believer of process and to follow it again and again. Now, that isn’t to say you need to adlib and customize the process, but it generally works. It starts with research, knowing your customers, understanding their pain, challenges and goals, then knowing how what it is that you do in your business can help the customer get out of pain and get to their goal for an improved result.
I then get into step 2 which is prospecting, or basically doing different marketing tactics that will attract customers to you. You need to be sure to share the “Value” or the “What’s in it for them” (your customer), when you are prospecting, advertising, networking etc. Then, the goal of prospecting is not to sell, but to meet the client, and that moves you to step 3 which is to book a meeting or discovery session. This is where you sit down and really dive deeper into your clients’ needs, challenges, buying habits, pain points and goals. If you agree that you can work together and you like them and they like you, I ask to book a follow-up meeting to make my presentation.
The presentation step is step 4. This is where I go back and deliver my proposal, ideas, solutions, quotes etc. Now within this step are 3 mini steps. Step one is I ask for the business, if we have an agreement. Then I may have to overcome objections and then negotiate an outcome or sale, based on the objection.
If we agree to business, then we move on to step 5: doing great work and checking in with the client to ensure they are happy. Finally, step 6 is to continue to build on the relationship, because the cost of getting a new client is much more than keeping an existing one. Plus, a happy client is a good source for referrals and repeat business.
What is your methodology Bernice, what is your sales process for acquiring new business?
Bernice: I truly admire a sales process or step-by-step system, and therefore I have created a four-wings process if you will.
OWN YOUR VISION – build the foundation for your success and ensure there are no cracks with the diagrams and areas discussed. Be crystal clear on what you want to create and stay anchored in that.
BE BOLD AND BRAVE WITH YOUR RDM (REAL DEFINING MESSAGE) – do exercises and inner work to dig a well and go deep enough in the mud in order to find your real defining messages.
YOUR BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT CONVERSATION MATTERS – explore techniques and strategies, role play scenarios and vision exercises. Remember that 2 I’s are better than 1. Be an information getter not giver!
GET IN FRONT OF READY-MADE SALES – mindset shift, no longer chasing leads, prospect profiling, Balloon Theory, J connection, Sales VTO methodology (no more long-winded proposals) commitment and EBF Emotional Buy Factor determined, Objection Illusion and Game and do interactive exercises.
So, in essence I believe you cannot get in front of a ready-made sale which is the end game, unless you follow stages 1 2 3, and make sure they do flow in that order.
The challenge is that everybody is impatient and just wants sales and more customers and more money and more success. It does not happen that way. In order to be successful, they must trust in the process.
Just like the caterpillar goes through a process of sloughing off layers of skin before its wings can unveil, you as a business or budding entrepreneur must go through the process and be committed in order to prevail.
David: How do you move a client from objection to a “heck yes” and close them?
Bernice: Now that takes practice and some guts and like I say moxie. It’s a combination of making that J connection, Envision exercise, determining what it is that drives their decision at the emotion level. Sometimes you just have to use more moxie. For example, you may say, “Looks like we’re engaging in a great business relationship and our next step is to discuss our Value Transfer Offer together.”
David: You are a big believer of showing up differently and to honor your uniqueness. What are 3 ways our readers can do this?
Bernice: Flip this … firstly, honor your entrepreneurial spirit and know that you are here on purpose. Know what makes you different and exceptional, show confidence and share your message with authority, believability and be compelling and enthusiastic in your delivery. Remember to practice your affirmations that we spoke about before too. Simply look into a mirror and say, “I have intrinsic value to offer, I am servicing the right people who need my help and make a difference for them”. Trust me that you will be noticed, appreciated and remembered.
David: In order to minimize sales reluctance, what are 3 actions one needs to take to be able to make sales happen and be totally cool with doing it?
Bernice: I recommend these 3 actions steps to take:
Give yourself an X-ray machine (metaphor) and scan yourself to make sure you love the sales arena, whatever that is for you. Be there on purpose. It will be measured on several key areas, such as your energy, tone, demeanor, and confidence. Those areas need to light up bright and if they don’t, you just need to work on those areas or take some truth serum and reconsider your options.
Get clear on who you can and want to help, get into their shoes and ask the defining questions. Ask what their struggles are and why are they experiencing struggles and make notes. Most sales professionals may discuss pain points. I look at PAIN as the following:
I- I do
Because even though you address the pain, and they confess to their pain, usually nothing provokes any changes.
How am I proposing to help my client? Now pick up that phone or attend that networking event, just don’t sit there and think more. Move towards new business engagement!
Create a real and relative conversation template that determines a prospect’s readiness first. It should not be sales-driven but more flow and effortless and focused. Just like you’re having a chat with a friend, then ease into the harder deeper questions to ask in order to understand readiness for your help or solution, buying motive, intent and some buy-in. Discuss what it looks like and feels like and if your prospect is not ready to buy or commit to the next steps, that’s OK. Be OK with it and send them a note or email saying, “Thank you, I appreciate you’re not ready now and it its not good timing now, may I reach back out to you in a few months?” Or you can ask your prospect, “What do you envision as next steps”?
Remember that we’re not in the business of convincing. Your business growth is inevitable.
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David is an author, business coach, and facilitator and the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show heard weekly for over 9 years. David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in helping small business owners mine their strengths, get clear on their value, their markets and then begin to develop a sales and marketing game plan that gets results. He also can be booked to do his keynote presentations; “The 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear that life and business might throw your way. He leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs. David is passionate about helping others live with joy and passion and to lead successful, heart-centered businesses