I got my butt chewed (again) last week,
For my best sales training class EVER.
By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.
FYI – this is not a sales pitch. I want to share a personal story with you (just like I did a few years ago) so that ultimately you can sell more pools.
A few years ago, I started teaching a sales training class called “Swimming Pool Selling Tips from a Marketing Guy.” I created this class because (1) I’d been working intensively with “struggling sales reps” who just weren’t selling as many swimming pools as they should. And (2) I realized that all of your/our marketing efforts and advertising expenses will be washed down the drain if your salesperson blows it in the one-on-one meetings with the homeowner.
So I started offering sales training. And for the last several years, I’ve been teaching it at all the major pool industry shows in the country, including the International Pool and Spa Expo last month in Las Vegas. Just a 90 minute class, but chock full of no-BS, cut through the crap, no-holds-barred, real-world advice and tips for improving your closing ratios and selling more pools.
And quite frankly, of all the times I’ve taught this class, I think this was my best-received session ever. The room was full, the acoustics were good, and I was on fire. I was working my way up and down the center aisle, from front to back, and looking people right in the eye as I shared my advice.
I spoke from the heart when I explained
such bizarre-sounding tactics as
“Scare your prospects” and “Don’t be a doormat.”
And based on the responses afterwards, it was a hit. People shared such reassuring comments as:
- Great guy- exciting. Valuable presentation.
- Lots of excellent information- thank you!
- Very insightful and capturing. Thanks.
- Great interaction. Very good speaker. Very informative.
- Excellent . Overall amazing presentation!
- Very good, again as always.
- Great tips on selling.
- Brett is awesome, best speaker at show.
The only problem was – I really did get my ass chewed.
I was so deeply connected with this audience that I let my guard down a little. Like a football coach in the locker room, trying to pump up my team, I let my language get a little “colorful” as I explained such concepts as “calling their bluff.” For example, we talked about keeping your prospect “engaged” in your conversation. I explained how all human brain waves are either in the normal relaxed (lazy, bored) and disengaged “Alpha mode,” or a highly-engaged and energized “Beta mode.” And if you let your prospect slip from “Beta” to “Alpha,” your sales meeting is OVER.
Someone then asked “What should we do
if we see the prospect’s eyes glaze over?”
So I said “If I suddenly noticed that I had ‘lost’ the prospect, I would immediately stop and say something rather SHOCKING, such as ‘Am I boring the <crap> out of you?’” THAT would snap them back from Alpha to Beta.
Yes, my audience laughed. But more importantly, they got the point– that as a salesperson, you’ve got to be gutsy and courageous, and take risks, and be not afraid to stand out and look different from all your competition.
My “colorful language” continued to be sprinkled throughout my presentation, and you can bet my audience stayed engaged. However, by the end of the session, I started to feel a little guilty, and mentioned that I hoped I hadn’t offended anyone. In fact, I went so far (perhaps foolishly) as to suggest that “if my colorful language has offended you, you should probably make a note of that on your class evaluation.“
And a couple of people did. (Which caught the eye of the professional in charge of scheduling all these classes in the first place.) In hindsight, I recognized my mistake, and found it to be explained most elegantly with this particular comment here:
“I am good with colorful language in a personal conversation, but I do think you would be a more respected professional if you refrained from using it during a formal presentation.”
Ouch! But I agree 100%. We can snap people from “Alpha” back to “Beta” WITHOUT resorting to questionable language. So here’s to me being a more respected professional. Lesson learned.
Now here’s the good news. I still think this is a bad-ass – whoops, I mean “darn good” – sales training, so I’m going to share the best of my tips with you in my next few newsletters.
And again, no sales pitch here. Just my free advice, to help you sell more pools. (Even though I may have to sit on a seat cushion for the next few weeks, thanks to all this butt-chewing.)
To your success,