Momentum Podcast: 470
Don't Sell Ice To Eskimos
by Alex Charfen
This week was an incredible week. We got to interview sales candidates, and I interviewed two of the best sales candidates I've ever interviewed in my entire career. In fact, it was one of the hardest decisions ever, because we have space for one sales person right now, and I'm now motivated to go generate enough leads so we can hire the other sales person. They were just that good.
One of the questions I ask sales people is, “What do you think about this statement: if you're a good sales person, you can sell ice to Eskimos?” The answer I'm looking for may be counterintuitive, and it may even surprise you.
You want to protect yourself from salespeople who try to close every single deal. You don't want a salesperson who tries to sell ice to Eskimos. I know this sounds counterintuitive but stick with me. As an entrepreneur, you want to sell to the right people 100% of the time. Not everyone is the right avatar for you. When you sell only to the right people, you get consistent results. When you build a legacy of consistent results, you become the market leader in your category. Doing this any other way is going to cause you massive unnecessary pressure and noise. If you're selling the right product to the wrong client, you will not grow.
If you're ready to start building your business fast, reach out to us. Go to billionairecode.com — Let us show you how to grow like crazy and make the dent in the universe you know you should.
Full Audio Transcript
Alex Charfen: This week was an incredible week. We got to interview sales candidates, and I interviewed two of the best sales candidates I've ever interviewed in my entire career. In fact, it was one of the hardest decisions ever, because we have space for one sales person right now, and I'm now motivated to go generate enough leads so we can hire the other sales person. They were just that good.
One of the questions I ask sales people is, "What do you think about this statement: if you're a good sales person, you can sell ice to Eskimos?" The answer I'm looking for may be counterintuitive, and it may even surprise you.
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trail blazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds; those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.
Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then re-write them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few, who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future.
Instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive, human evolution, and we always will be.
This week, my team and I went through the process of ... first qualifying, then interviewing, and then extending the offer to a sales rep. I am incredibly excited to get this person on our team, and I can't wait for him to start. In that process, we ask a lot of questions. In fact, I'll be honest with you. I've been in sales in some way for most of my professional career, but interviewing and hiring sales people is always difficult for me, because sales people are different. Sometimes they're frustrating. They can be very demanding.
A lot of times they're a different personality type in a company that might cause some static or some friction, and so when I'm looking for sales people, I'm looking for something very unique in the world of sales. I'm looking for somebody that when they hear, "A good sales rep sells ice to Eskimos," that they're actually turned off by it, they're frustrated by it. So I asked both of the sales reps that we were interviewing this week that question, and they both gave me answers that I'm looking for.
Here's what I want a sales person to say: "Why would you sell ice to Eskimos?" Because the bottom line is, that's a really valid question. Why would you sell ice to Eskimos? It's like selling oxygen to somebody standing outside. It doesn't really make sense unless they're having an issue where they need oxygen that they can't get from the air. Here's the issue for entrepreneurs. You want to protect yourself from sales people who would try to sell ice to Eskimos. You want to protect yourself from sales people who try to close every deal. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but you want to protect yourself from sales people who are willing to make every sale.
Here's why. That protection is incredibly important because as an entrepreneur, here's what you want to do. You want to sell the right people into your program 100% of the time. You don't want to get the wrong avatar in your program, because when you sell the right people, you get consistent results. When you get consistent results, people start talking about it. People hear about you. You build a legacy of getting consistent results, and when you have a legacy of consistent results, what eventually happens is you are seen as the market leader in your category. You want to be considered the leader in your category.
One of the reasons that our business is exploding right now is when you look at the world of growing and scaling an entrepreneurial business, there's not a lot of other people out there like us. We are the leader in the category, and the reason is for the last two years, we have sold the right clients, we've consistently gotten incredible results, we built that legacy, and now we're considered the leader in our category.
So here's the flip that you're looking for in sales. You don't want somebody who says, "I can sell ice to Eskimos." You should actually be scared of that person. That is an immature sales attitude for any person who's in sales, because here's what you really want. You don't want someone who will sell anyone, you want someone who can sell anyone, but you want somebody who will qualify the right people, and only sell the right ones, because anything else is going to cause you massive pressure and noise.
Let me tell you why this is important, and why if you do the opposite, it's going to slow you down like crazy. See, first you want a sales person who's not going to sell. You want a sales person who actually is going to qualify, who's going to interview, who's going to make sure that you're getting the right person into the seat, because when you have the right person, that avatar that you're looking for will match up with the product you're delivering, and you'll get a successful result. That begins in the sale. That doesn't begin in delivery. That begins in finding the right person every time to come on and use your product.
Here's what's important. You want a sales person who's willing to say, "We shouldn't sell you." You want a sales person who's willing to say, "We're not the best solution for you." You want a sales person who when they qualify a prospect, they can tell them, "Hey, this isn't the right solution. We shouldn't be working together. There's other people out there who can help you more."
Here's why this is so crucially important to us. We help entrepreneurs grow and scale, which means we need to have someone who has an opportunity to scale around. If somebody comes out to us and applies to work with us, and we find out that they don't have a clear business model, they don't have lead generation, they don't really have an opportunity, we're not the company to come to. In fact, there's other organizations who can help you a lot more to get up and running to the place where we can help you grow, scale, and build a team around the business that you have.
Now, making the wrong sale is worse than not making the sale by an exponential factor, because here's what happens when you make the wrong sale. When you make the wrong sale, an entrepreneur has reached out for help, they have said, "Hey, I need help," they've committed to getting help, they've given you money to give them help, and then if they're not the right avatar, they're going to be let down across the board in that equation. That's where our reputations get crushed.
First, let's just say that individual never goes and tells anybody about what his experience or her experience is with you. You've taken an entrepreneur who's had the bravery to raise their hand and say they need help, and you've completely and totally let them down, because you sold the wrong person. That should feel painful. You should have a physiological response to hurting an entrepreneur like that. You should have a physiological response to taking money from somebody that you can't help.
And let's just say that person does start talking about it. One person today who goes out and has legitimate complaints on social media, or on anywhere that they want to complain, or on one of the complaint sites, it's going to hurt your reputation like crazy. You know, we work with dozens of fast-growth businesses, and a few of them right now are dealing with reputational issues because of people who bought their product, and have gotten upset about it, and gone out and made a lot of noise about how upset they are.
You don't want that to happen. Another reason why this is important is because high-pressure tactics, high-pressure closing skills where you handle objections, and you get somebody to do something, you psychologically manipulate them, they work, they work. Let me put it out there. They work. They absolutely work. You can get somebody to take action on a call using those tactics, but here's the problem. If somebody takes action on a call and you've used high-pressure tactics, the reality is, is that high-pressure tactics have the absolute highest percentage chance of backfiring on you. That's fact. That's not sometimes, that's not part of the time, that's always.
The higher the pressure that someone's under when they make a purchase, the higher percentage chance you have of that purchase backfiring on you, especially if it's not the right avatar. So stop with high-pressure tactics. Allow people to qualify. We sell a very high-level coaching experience in coaching ... one year coaching program, and what we do to help entrepreneurs. Very often, somebody will come to us, and we will have the qualification conversation, and we'll get to the point where we ask, "Do you have time to implement this program right now?"
We've had people tell us things like, "Well, I'm part of another mastermind. I have a major project going on right now. I have a launch that's happening. I have an event in a month and a half." Here's what high-pressure tactics will tell you, or closing skills, or closers would tell you. "Do whatever you need to do to get the commitment. Take a payment now, and wait until later," or "Accommodate them in somehow, but get a payment. If you let someone go, they're never coming back." I've heard that so many times.
I'd say 20 to 30% of the sales calls that we have result in someone telling us they're coming back later, and they'll tell us exactly when that is. I'd say 80 to 90% of those calls come back. Here's what happens often, is we have people come back, join our program, and when they talk about why they joined, they often talk about the fact that we said, "Hey, that's great. Call us back in six weeks."
They say things like, "I had a sales call. It was incredible. I wasn't ready to join the program, and I was shocked that I didn't get any high pressure. In fact, the person who I talked to agreed with me that I should call back in a few weeks when I didn't have so much going on. The fact that you guys cared about me coming into the program made me want to join this program, so I knew I was coming back."
So not only does the fact that we don't use high-pressure tactics work, we often get an additional benefit from it in that people feel taken care of. They feel like they matter coming into their program. They feel like we really do genuinely want to help them, which was what we do. So here's what we want to know. If you're going to stop selling ice to Eskimos and sell the right people at the right time, here's keys to growing your business, to scaling your business, to growing as fast as you can.
You have to have the right product with the right client, and it has to fit. If it doesn't work, you're not going to grow. If you're selling the right product to the wrong client, you will not grow. If you're selling an incredible, game-changing, world-changing product to the wrong avatar, it doesn't matter. It doesn't even work. It's not going to grow your business. The key is getting the right product, right person to grow.
Now, secondly, if you sell the right product to the right person, here's what will happen. If you consistently bring in the right avatar, and they consistently have the same issues and the same challenges that they're working through, that group, that group of people, your clients themselves, will help you refine, and grow your product, and make it better, and refine your offering, because when you bring in the consistent right client, they will help you make what you offer better.
The product that we sell today to our coaching clients is probably 100 times better than the product we sold in July of 2017 when we started, because we've had a consistent group of clients that have consistent issues, consistent challenges that they're trying to overcome, and driving towards similar outcomes. So we've been able to on a weekly and monthly basis improve the deliverable we have, because it's to the same consistent group of clients.
This is the last thing that you really need to know about selling ice to Eskimos. This is part of the entire equation of growing a business, but you have to remember, success creates deficit, and growth creates complexity. The more successful you are, the more deficit you will be creating in your business that you have to go and backfill, and fill in, and put process in place, and put projects in place, and put people in place.
Now, if you have to do that, and you have the wrong avatars coming in, and you're dealing with somebody who's selling ice to Eskimos, so you don't have the right clients in your business, and you don't have the right people that you're serving, that equation of success creates deficit and growth creates complexity will be violent. It will be frustrating. It will be difficult to deal with. It will be challenging. I want you to make things as easy on yourself as you can. Sell the right person the right product, and they will come in, and then your business will grow. You will have the consistent success that you should have.
So here's my thought for you. When it comes to sales, maybe you should stop selling and start qualifying. In fact, when we get on a call with somebody in our business, the first parts of dialogue that we go through is we say, "We get on all of these calls because we want to talk to people before they join our coaching program to discover three things. We want to make sure we can help you, we want to make sure you want our help, and that you're right for our company and our community." We tell them right up front that we're not selling as much as we're qualifying. We're not trying to convince them to do anything as much as we're trying to see if they're the right fit for us. By doing that, we completely reversed the energy of a sales call to make it more consultative, and then we can actually figure out if we can help someone.
When we have the right person on a call, and we go through our process in a way that is not high pressure, we close 60 to 80% of the calls that we have. You don't have to sell ice to Eskimos to succeed. In fact, it's one of the fastest ways that you can fall down, cause yourself a tremendous amount of operational drag, and increase pressure and noise in your life like crazy. If you're ready to start scaling your business fast, and you have an opportunity, and you've solved the sales equation, and you're ready to start moving forward even faster, reach out to us. You don't have to do this all on your own.
Go to billionairecode.com, fill out our application, and three things will happen. One, you'll get a copy of our book Billionaire Code Decoded. It's an eBook that shows the nine levels of entrepreneurial success, and exactly what you have to do to graduate from each one. Second, we'll tell you exactly where you are on the Billionaire Code so you know where you should be focused now, and what's coming next. And third, you will have an opportunity to set up a call with a member of my team, and we can't wait to talk to you. Go to billionairecode.com. Let us show you how to scale your company faster, grow like crazy, and make the dent in the universe you've always known you should. Billionairecode.com.