Episode 10: Setting Expectations for Sales Success


Welcome to the show everyone. on this show, we talked about one of my favorite concepts. And one of the things that I’ve seen the most improvement from implementing into my sales conversations. And that is setting and managing expectations. You might call it framing your conversations. And what this allows us to do is it allows us to work with a net. And I use it a lot more than the co-hosts, Clint, Nannette, and Al, they don’t lean on it as much as I do. But as a C, it’s the way that I get out of uncomfortable questions and uncomfortable situations. But it ranges, right, sometimes it’s about recapping or changing the topic or asking an uncomfortable question. Sometimes it’s a much bigger frame around, “here’s what we need to cover today, and what happens at the end of this conversation.” But if you use it well, it sets you up for success in the long run. If you know someone who’s struggling with their time being wasted by prospects or relying on help to try to close the deal, please share this with them. leave us a review. Reach out to us on social media, everything is at Sales Throwdown. If you’re a YouTube person, subscribe, and I hope you get a ton of value out of this. Thanks.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the main event. In the D corner, we have Clint The Cleaver Bigelow. In the I corner, we have Al The Gambler Daniel. In the S corner, we have Nan The Promoter Fallman. In the C corner, we have John Small Mountain Hill. Let’s get ready to throwdown!

Welcome to the show everyone. Today, we are going to talk about, in my opinion, the Jedi mind trick, the magic sauce, around what makes someone good at sales? Magic sauce! Versus everyone else who’s not as good. And you it’s called different things depending upon who you talk to. It’s framing, it’s setting expectations. And what it really does is it build some rapport, build some trust, but it also it can be used to do anything. Change topics, you know, warm something up for an uncomfortable question to do anything that is necessary as part of your sales process to get them across the finish line.

Let’s get it going.

Now, I’m sorry, magic sauce. Like there’s so many things that pops in my head. But the first thing I’m thinking is that Thousand Island dressing on that Big Mac?

I almost said the same thing.

So funny

Two all beef patties. Yeah, I mean…

We obviously didn’t prep for that. But anyway.

That’s the magic sauce. So the, in my opinion, here’s why this is so important, right? Everyone is scared to death of talk to a salesperson, right, to open up, share, to have the real conversation around concerns and pain points and to talk about money and to talk about all these things. Because everyone views sales people as like these magical wizards who can talk you into a spell, and all sudden you wake up with a brand new damn car that you didn’t even want. And so, well put, what happens, at least in my role, and I’ve seen this happen a bunch of times is that they’re so concerned with, okay, when’s the invoice? Where’s the pitch going to happen? Where’s the pressure coming? That they’re not even engaged in the conversation that I’m trying to have about let’s understand your world? Let’s figure out if what I do is even a fit for where you are right now. Because if not, I should go. So let’s have that conversation. And that doesn’t happen if you’re concerned about is he going to ask me for my credit card number. Is he going to send me an invoice? Is he going to try to like put the full court press on me like, you know, Grant Cardone or something like that. So.

Yeah, that that breaks you off really quick from all those other traditional sales people that they hear and repetition every day, and they get sick of, of that speech, or that presentation or, and all that stuff. So when you come in and you do what you’re talking about. You can kind of, its old Jedi mind trick maybe. But it’s it really changes the tone. And, and they’re hearing something for maybe the first time they’ve ever heard it in that way. And you already stand out just a touch from that.

Well, but let’s go back, you said it’s magic sauce, you said it’s, you know, framing. Talk about that process, talk about, you know, hone down on what we’re talking about. Because people may not have either done this or seen this. Bring them up to speed.

So let’s talk about what sales used to be. It used to be the race, right? You call me, which is why everyone was like AAA auto mechanic. Right? So that way, the first listing in the phone book, so you’re gonna call me first. So then I’m going to put pressure because I don’t want you to go talk to anybody else. Because you’re relatively uninformed, right? We’re not dealing with that anymore, right, with the internet. And everyone’s putting out so much content and educating their customers and everything else. You talked about buying journeys, and digital marketing and everything else. Everyone is already so informed. So it’s not a race to get them to say yes before, before they can to someone else. It’s more about what are your expectations? And can we talk about how you want to work? Right? Because, you know, life’s too short to be treated like a vendor, right? You want to be a partner. I want to work very closely with with my clients, I want to know the inside track. I want to know what, as cliche as this question is, what’s keeping you up at night? Because if we can’t have that conversation, you’re not going to talk to me about budget. And I gotta have that conversation. So that to me starts with setting expectations, right? And you can do the big version of it, which is where you’re kind of setting expectations for the whole meeting. And sometimes it’s your transition, or, hey, is it okay, if I recap what I heard you say just now, just to make sure I’m on the same page? Those are all versions of setting expectations, and I call it a Jedi mind trick. That’s not to say that it’s disingenuous or inauthentic or a gimmick? I mean, really what it is, is, if you play a board game, you read the rules, right? So you’re going to have a sales conversation with someone who has their walls up. So if you set expectations well about, hey, how long are we meeting? What do you want to cover? Here’s what I need to cover.

So gain some knowledge before you get to this conversation. Don’t just go in there haphazardly, you know.

What do you mean by that?

Well, I think you should know what your expectations, what their expectations are going to be, what you’re going to be able to bring to the table. You can’t just expect them, and they potentially could just sit there and look at you. So you better expect what they’re they potentially could, could be expecting from you.

Can you give me an example of not doing that and how that shows up in your world?

Yeah. So quite often, you’ll go in and talk to someone, you’re gonna, you think you’re gonna, this is what I have to offer. And they are like, just sitting there looking at you, you better have questions for them. I mean, if you don’t have questions, and you’re just delivering, then you’re not going to find out what they’re paying any of their issues are. You need to know what their issues are.

Well, I think, and Nan hits on a point, in in certain arenas, you got a big book of business in other arenas, you’re selling Toyotas, right. And you still may have a big book of business when the patient, or the I say patient, when the the prospect comes on to the lot. So in every one of these arenas, I think what we’re talking about is reducing confusion. Right? Yeah. For both parties, and really striving to reach some kind of understanding of what, you know, where do your issues lie? And how do my solutions either fit or don’t fit your needs?

Yeah. Okay. No, I agree completely with that.

And then and that may be simple, but it’s really the, yeah, it boils it down to the least common denominator, right. Yeah, I agree. Problems and solutions. Absolutely. Right. But we want to put these walls up, like you said, because we’re thinking all right, you know, how many add ons my getting with this?

Yeah, you can’t over promise.

I don’t want a sunroof? Why try to sell me one? Right. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I like big white walls on the side. But no sunroof, right.

Clint’s being oddly quiet so far.

I mean, to even go back simply, real simple version would be, you send an email, because you’re going to, you know, maybe come visit them for, you know, a first meeting. You’ve got to set the framework, as you said earlier, to what you’re going to talk about, who’s going to be there? What is the goal out of all of this? So you’re walking in with, you know, an agenda, so to speak, that you’ve created and that they’ve agreed to, so that you can hold everybody to task and to point and get, you know, real life situations and problems and get all these things out of them?

Well it creates buy-in, right, because if I put this out there, and I’ll do this, and it drives Clint crazy, but I do it with everybody. Hey, can I can ask you? Right? That’s a little bitty setting of expectation, right? And if it’s a big question, hey, can I ask a question that makes me a little bit uncomfortable? Right? When you say yes, I now have, you know, full rein to ask whatever question I want. Right? So if I say, can we talk about budget for a moment? You say, yeah, you know, where do you see yourself? You know, you probably had a range in mind. You know, before we got on the call today, would you mind sharing that with me? Oh, no, I don’t want to talk about that.

I’m in the free lunch line.

Can we start there?

I know a guy that he went, he bought a truck. And it was just a plain truck. And he wanted to make it a little more interesting. I don’t know what all the terminology of the upgrade of the drug is. But so he said, I want to upgrade this truck. He gave him some parameters. And when he went to pick up the truck, he’s like, I’m 50. This is, this is for a 16 year old. I was like, what the heck, how did this happen? Well, they didn’t talk to him. He didn’t talk to them and they didn’t get, you have, that’s what I’m trying to get across is you have to communicate, you have to be the master of communication when you’re with your client. Because otherwise, they’re not going to be happy. You’re going to be like, oh, well, sorry. And then they’re like, Oh, god.

Are we talking about Al Daniels?

Those running boards drop down from underneath the truck? Like I needed that? Oh, yeah.

No, no, it’s wonderful.

Definitely handicap enabled.

But that’s, that’s a silly example of what happens if you don’t master the communication with your client and figure out what they need, what you need. And everybody’s going to be happy at the end of the, you know, negotiate, basically.

But that brings to a point you use, you.

With me. I apologize.

You made fun of me, which is okay. I’m alright with that. The shoe fits so I’ll wear it.

To your face.

But don’t you think it goes a little deeper than that, that you look at your prospect or the person that you intend to sell to? And try to figure out what makes them nervous in this situation? Oh, what, what would put them on their heels and not want to do business with me?

Well, let’s talk about the prospects real concerns, right? I’m going to get my time wasted. Right? Everyone’s done the car buying situation where like you, you walk in, and you’re like, yeah, I have a couple of hours, I can make this happen. I’ve already got financing lined up, I’m good to go and everything else. And then seven hours later, you’re still haggling over some dude about like the clear coat and gap insurance, right? So

I bring a sandwich in a cooler when I go to buy a car. I’ll sit on the cooler, eat the sandwich and and let them do their tricks, right. It’s a show.

So but that’s a clear, clear cut example of my expectations are different than theirs. So just by that example, we’re going to be at odds, and I have other shit to do. Right? I thought this is going to be quick, and you’re keeping me here all day. Because this is about you getting your needs met. This isn’t even about me at this point, I can leave and you can talk to your manager and you can call me later. Right? So by, by setting expectations well, you, you even that playing field, right? And that’s an important thing. If you are confident in what you do, you set expectations in a completely different, and you’re not scared to set expectations around, hey, you might got to tell me no, and I might have to tell you no, because not everyone’s a fit.

So before I bought the truck, that they did the add-ons to, I went down to the dealership to try to buy a truck with a checkbook.

What, like a, like a brand new truck?

Brand new F-250, not loaded, but you know the way I wanted it. So I’m sitting there with a checkbook and all I want to do is buy a truck. My other one had gotten stolen, right, it was on its way to Pakistan or south of the border. Well, I needed a truck. I had a real pain that I wanted to solve, I was solving it for myself. So I’m in the barbershop getting my hair cut. That’s the story that I knew these guys were looking for. Anyway, guy from the dealerships getting his hair cut. Hey, I’ll come by and see you. Easy enough. I walk in and he wants to go through the whole sales process. He wants me to find it. We’re $2,000 apart. And I end up leaving because he won’t take my money because he’s going through his process.

I love it so much. Right? So I have a 4Runner, right. And Toyotas are notorious for having really good resale value. So, Toyota lots won’t budge, right? So I knew what I wanted to spend on my 4Runner, I found 15 of them within a 500 mile radius like, like this is my C-ness flaring so hard. I email every one of them. And I’m like, Look, this is what I want to pay. You have one listed for this amount. It’s got all the options I want on here. If you want to play ball, that’s great. If not, I understand. And the only, like, there’s a place in Houston, you know, and they’re like, like, well, why don’t you drive down to drive down to Houston to talk about this thing? So that way I get down there, and then you’re like, well, you’re here. And we’re not going to gave you you know, we’re not gonna budge on the price. But like I set expectations with these guys, right? Because that’s how I want to be treated, right? Because when I set expectations with the prospect, you either play ball or you don’t, and I and I can draw that line in the sand, right? And I can leave the room if I want to, or move on to the next prospect. But what you didn’t do is you didn’t set expectations with the guy in the barbershop.

Well, it goes even deeper than that. If he had looked at me and said, hey, I really want to take that check out of your hand, how about this? But he kept going back through stuff that I didn’t care about, right that I could get this or I could get that and I was like, no, no, here’s what I want. Can we do the deal? So I’m actually forcing the hand, but he keeps going back to his crappy sales process.

Features and benefits and not selling to the pain.

It’s not what you wanted, that’s so important.

And we never got past that process.

So if he would ask you a simple question to this point. Why are you here today? You might have just said, I’m here to buy that truck. Yeah, cool. Let’s do that. And that could’ve been that simple.

It could’ve been that simple. And he could have gotten up and he could have gone back to his manager, or he could have done a ton of stuff that would have said what I wanted to hear. But we could never get past this. He’s talking Greek to me, and I’m trying to speak English. It was, it was it got awkward at the end? And I’m like, this is crazy.

And your, and your expectation, right? Because you know, we’ve all bought vehicles, is look, I’m going to lowball the crap out of you. You’re going to take it to your manager, and he’s going to say no, and then we, we, this is, this is tried and true dance, right? Everyone knows how this thing works. So if he had just said to you, hey, look, can we talk about your budget? And you’re like, yeah, sure. I’m, I’m willing to pay cash. And he’s like, okay, you probably not going to move forward, though. If I can’t like hit your number on the dotted line, even if it’s everything you want.

Absolutely. There, you just, you just went right where it should have gone.

Absolutely. Right. That’s just setting expectations around the budget conversation. Absolutely. It’s why it’s so important.

And better yet, instead of trying to, well, let’s jump through these hoops, and then you get a rebate, and then you can get, you, I’m like this. God, that, that was not my style. Instead of saying, hey, I know we’re two grand apart? What do you will, you know, what’s, how do we work? And you know, slide this gap and we’re talking to $72,000 truck? Yeah, I mean, so you think I’m getting a little antsy? I’m like, you’re telling me two grand keeps you from doing this deal? And if he says absolutely, because, you know, here’s my dilemma, and then worked me the other direction. Yeah, we’d have been fine.

So, Clint, you bought a new vehicle recently, and you weren’t even looking for a vehicle. So the story sounds like you got sold. But I love it. Because it’s this, the, the purest example of you going for the no right? Which is really the topic for another show. But I love this idea of…

That old boy was sweating.

Talk a little bit more about that.

I think I was there eight, eight and a half hours.

So there was my problem, I didn’t bring my cooler and my sandwich.

I didn’t have anything. You know what, I went in to get something done to my, my truck that I had. And I had nothing to do.

That was my problem. I could have gotten where I was wanting to go. Though the checkbook was good.

You know, I figured out pretty quickly that when I want, this is a big, big lot. You know, it’s Texas, everything is ginormous. We have 60 football fields between one end of the lot and the other.

You need a go-kart.

Yeah. And so I figured out pretty quick that if I wanted to test drive this truck, he had to go all the way back inside to get the keys and come all the way back out. This is middle of July. Hot, hundred and three. And he’s probably, I don’t know, 350. And, you know,

And he’s got to clean the seats after he gets out. Right? You’re driving, he’s gonna go wipe them back down. Right?

I don’t remember how many it was to this day. But it was, I don’t know, six or seven trucks that test drove.

God, I so screwed up.

And by the time he, he was, he yelled at me. Are you gonna buy this or not? Like, I don’t know, man, can you meet my price? I don’t know you. But I had, you know, I just had it. But uh, yeah, patience, and just going for that, you know? Yeah, letting him get emotional. Yeah, which is funny for me, because usually it’s the other way. You know, on this, setting expectations, I was thinking about what you guys were talking because I wasn’t listening. But I…

Thank you.

You’re welcome. What I was thinking about is this is probably one of the few areas in sales that you don’t really have to tiptoe around the fact of DISC personalities. Because this works. Like for example, your question, John, can I ask you a question? Yeah. That works in all, all realms. It’s a simple question. True. It gets to the point, and it gets to the point with an S, I, C, D. There are a few questions, right, you’re going to start asking me, once you start digging, there’s going to be some tonality and stuff. But this is one of the easier machinations.

The many versions of it absolutely. But, you know, once again, there’s there’s a scale and a range of things, right? Because if I’m setting expectations around my our meeting. Right.

The discovery side is a little harder for sure. The expectations up front of what we’re doing here. What do we plan to get out of this? Those are really simple questions that you can say, in your natural tone, to just about everybody in the room, and it’s okay. It’s even better if you match and mirror.

Yeah, but I ask it differently to you than I do to someone like Al and Nannette.

But, but you’re also good at it, right? But what I’m trying to say is to give you to give people a little bit of confidence, to not, it’s going to be a little awkward at first ask these questions, because one, you don’t do it naturally. Maybe you do. But if you’re trying to break your typical sales process and get a little bit better, you probably don’t ask this and people across from me aren’t used to hearing this. Epecially from you because you’ve never done it. So don’t be afraid to screw it up. You gotta go for it.

Absolutely. Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up.

It’s experience. I mean, you have to come through it.

Can we talk about how movies and TV portray the salesperson of how they’re perfect all the time? And like, and like the silver tongued bastard, you know,

Don Draper.


And that’s so much…

Love that guy.

…fucking pressure to like, have to show up and be perfect. And I can’t fuddle a word, I can’t make a mistake, because I’m pitching and the pitch has got to be. That’s complete nonsense. I make mistakes. I stutter. We talked about the fact I have a stutter. I talk really fast. And then I’ll I can just, hey, I messed something up. Is it okay if we back up? Right, which is once again, setting expectations around the idea, Hey, I got to back up a little bit because I missed something. Right? I mean, so it shows up if you’re doing a good job of keeping the rapport built and keeping them on the same page with you, it shows up through an entire conversation.

Because you’re going to, you’re going to have that those moments where they’re just going to like you because you were honest about it, for sure. And they’re going to see some genuineness in your approach to making some mistakes. And that’s going to make, because remember, they’re going to feel better, because you’re not feeling so good. Absolutely. Right. And that’s, that’s a key point. And that works in relationships with your children, with your significant others.

When you’re, when you’re genuine, I don’t know that there’s any profile out there that dislikes that.

Right? Because if you’re going in and you think everything’s going to be perfect, and everything’s going to go great, it’s not. And I like to always say that I have two, just today, two big accounts, that something came up. And I was like, all right, talk, let’s talk about it. Let’s figure it out. Let’s and you want to, you know, you don’t ever want to over promise in the beginning. But you always want to deliver. And so today when these issues came up, I was like, it’s all right, you know, you just make everyone calm. And at this point, in both of these accounts, there’s already, trust is already been acquired. So everyone’s like, Okay, are you going to take care of this? And I’m like, yep, and here’s, and then you lay out the plan. But when people get scared, man, you can really bring people out. But it is communication. Again, I know I said that all the time. But communication is the key.

This is this is the S’s wheelhouse. Really, really it is. It’s not super comfortable for the I, because because a lot of I’s view it as a gimmick, right? And that it feels disingenuous of like, well of like, I’m running, I’m running some kind of sales silver bullet on you. But really…

I do think Al, I think I’s just want to please, you know, like, make everything not, I want to make sure everything goes well. But I’m not that worried about like, okay, if you’re unhappy, let’s talk about it. Where I think Al’s like, I just want it to be great. I want everything to be perfect. And I don’t, you know, I don’t know, do you disagree Al, with that face?

So what, what I was going to say is that when I, when I get annoyed or offended by a really high I, it’s because he didn’t set those expectations. Because one thing that I have a couple high I friends and colleagues that will walk into like, you know, they’ll say, they’ll ask me a question. And it’s just like, dang, it’s, it pushes you back. And it’s like, if he’d have prepared me a little bit for that question, it’d been okay. But I’s think everything is just kind of a big story. And it’s fun. And we’re just, hey, look, we’re bros. We’re friends. Yeah, it’s a joke. It’s like, whoo, man, it’s a little deep. You know, you got it, you got in there a little too fast. You could have warned me up a little bit.

So for sure. So…

So you like foreplay?

I like a little foreplay. I’m not brand specific.

Get the juices flowing before we get down to the nitty gritty here.

I’m down with that.

It can even happen after the sale. Right. In, in my in my past life, right? In website world. We had a lot of partners who didn’t want to do websites themselves, but they were marketers or they were agencies, and they would work with us because they want to do websites. And what I would say is like, yeah, we’ll use you on the next one. Okay, awesome. I appreciate you letting me know that. The first project together with a new partner is always a little bit rough. Right? There’s, you have your ways of working, we have ours, you know, and we don’t know what we don’t know until we go through this process together. So no matter what happens on this first project, can we just agree that we’ll sit down and do some sort of like after action report, figure out what you liked and what you didn’t, what we liked and what we didn’t. So that way, on the next one we’re better prepared. Right? Also with websites is that everyone sees it and like, cool, now that I see it, I’ve got all this insight about things I want to change. And so I would, I would have to set expectations around that, around, hey, you’re gonna see this thing. And the way that most people think, if you’re not a creative is, once you see it, then you can get to this idea of cool. Now I can make changes. I got to tell you up front, right, the reason why we’re the affordable guys is because we don’t give unlimited changes. That costs money. Absolutely right. I’m happy to talk about why those changes are important to you and see if it makes sense to like derail the projects that we can do them. Or we can go ahead and get this thing launched, and then change it later. Because perfect is the enemy a good? Agree. Right. So, so I’m I’m setting those expectations after the, after money’s changed hands. Right? Because the relationship doesn’t always stop. I mean, it’s different for every every company and every salesperson and how how much service you have to do after the sale is done.

And I was about to bring that up, that, you know, you this is a journey. It’s not. Now in some cases it is I mean, it’s 7-11, I buy my cup of coffee, our journey’s over with and hopefully I don’t spill it on the way the truck, right, absolutely. But for things that costs more than $1 98, there is a little more invested on both sides of the equation, because you have to meet expectations. But before you meet them, you better set them yeah, or somebody who’s going to be butthurt over the process or less than happy or less than just thinking you’re the you know, a guy that they want to continue to do business or a gal that they want to continue continue to do business with, right?

Or let’s just say you want to sell it the premium, right?

Absolutely. Why would you not?

Well, that’s a topic for another show. We’ll talk about that. But let’s just say that you make it up in your head of like me, and my shit is the best. And because of that I’m not willing to budge on my price. So then you have to satisfy, “man, why are you so expensive?” “Hey, great question, I’m glad you asked.” Right? How many other people you’ve talked to, right? And so then you kind of go through this process of trying to figure out what’s expensive in their world, right? Because I can make I can make a bunch of assumptions. But that doesn’t help me. As a good salesperson, I need you to tell me I need you to share with me why you think this is expensive? And really honestly, a lot of times people will will ask a question like that and not even make it a question and then every salesperson will fall over themselves trying to… This looks really expensive. The right answer is, “and?” right. But most salespeople are like, well, let me tell you why. And they go to justification.

Because you failed to try to understand what expensive meant to them. Because you automatically jumped on what expensive means to you. Well, guys, it doesn’t matter what it means to you. You’re not buying them. They are.

Yeah. They own their objections.

Abs… And they, as they should, you want to own yours. Yeah. So show some respect out there and quit being an idiot. I’m sorry. I’m thinking just because you feel that way, they should.

Right? It’s back to the car. Do not think you know what kind of car someone wants and what how much they want to pay.

Or even the kind of car you want. It seems like, right? Hey, hey, hey, don’t decide what I’ll decide for you. Just give me your checkbook.


Sorry, Al.

So Clint, for your world, specifically, right? Yeah. It’s always a bid, right, and in my world, I’m constantly… I don’t have to deal with bids very often. I had to a lot in the website world and it was kind of the bane of my existence, right. But I’m trying to set expectations around this idea that at least in website world with bids, like it’s the Wild West, right. So how do you compare my bid to their bid to to company C’s bid? Does that happen in your world? Or is everybody pretty much aligned and on the same page?

No, I mean, there’s… So first of all, I’ll say that I, I vet the people that I’m bidding to, you know, first off, to get down to hopefully, I know these people well enough that if I have to compete against somebody, that they’re of equal stature, in the professional realm, they can do the same job that I can do. They can do it at the same cost. Pretty relative?

How do you uncover that when you’re talking to the prospect? I mean, do you just ask?

Yeah, I do. Who do you guys normally use? Okay, I’m pretty direct about that. And I usually get an you know, usually get the answer. Who’d you guys use on the last project? I heard it was successful. So you know, build it up a little bit. So it’s not just a harsh gut stab?

Well, because this is an important point, you don’t, you don’t build any rapport, you don’t build any trust, you don’t gain any ground by bashing.

No, it’s the worst, in my business, one of the worst things you can do because instantly, they, most people, when a project is done or anything, you go on, you go on vacation, you have a crappy vacation. A month or two later, you remember all the good things about the vacation. You hardly ever remember the bad thing. So, same in the construction world. Even though you might not have had a successful project, you still built something, you still got through it. It might not have made all the money that you wanted to do. But most everybody looks back on it a year afterwards and says, oh, man, I like that guy. Oh, yeah. But you guys were at each other’s throat the whole project. So to that point, if I go in, and I say, you know, oh, yeah. Who do you guys use?

I love that tone. It sounds like a bad time.

Well, you know, we use these guys. And hey, we were, we were great. And then all sudden I’m building up my competitors in their own mind. Yeah. So little bit on the other flip side, usually what I say is, Hey, I heard that project went really well. Because the other side of it too, is they may dump a lot of information to me. So you know, and say, oh, actually, it wasn’t, let me tell you why. Great, good insight that I’m about to gain.

Because they’re going to feel like well, we covered it up, because everybody doesn’t like to buy a mistake. I might not say that. No one wants to buy a mistake. So if you come in after the fact, and maybe they knew they had a lot of problems, they still hold face, that they maybe got the wrong guy.

Sometimes it’s a joke.

And then they begin to tell you because they build that rapport like oh, let us tell you, right?

Sometimes I already know the answer. And they know the answer. And I know that they know that I know the answer.

Now you’re putting it at another level.

So sometimes it’s just a joke, like, Hey, I heard that was a great project, you know, and they instantly like, yeah, you know, shit happens. So the next move off, next move off of that is, you know, okay, so what, what do we, as we partner together, you’re looking at us on this project? What are some of the things that they did? Or what can we build off of? What do you, what do you guys like to see, learn from that experience, good or bad, because I need the good side, too. I always use the past experiences, whether it’s me that did the job or somebody else, a competitor. I’m always trying to build that. Just information, you know, build up so that when I do bid this project, I’ve got everything that you said you wanted to see in this project, it’s right here. Some of the some of the downside of that, that I, that I do forget sometimes, is I forget to set the expectation that when you tell me all of this stuff, it’s gonna probably cost more. So I forget that step. A lot. Okay, and so that I trap myself sometimes, and I’m getting better at it every day. One of the things that I do now is I set all this expectation. Be like, okay. So on your last project, if you would have added all this stuff, would you have still been successful? Or would that have put you over budget? And I probably would have pushed us over budget. Okay, how do we get to that here? Yeah. How do we develop the budget a little more now? Now, I’m a team member helping you develop a budget for a winning success.

You’re the consultant trying to get them to the finish line, and not the salesperson trying to sell them something.

There’s, it’s a, all I’m doing is asking questions. Absolutely. So I’m not, I’m not playing the game, because I truly want to know. That, that’s, as a D, that’s hard. But I truly care about this because it’s getting me to my end game. So I want to know all this information, and I’m trying to dig it out of you. And if you word it the right way and, and be direct. Like, ask the question simply. I’m not saying go in and gut punch ’em. What I’m saying is, don’t, don’t give him a wordplay. Don’t give him a game, don’t give them a you know, a pop quiz, where they’re going to think on the fly. Just ask the question that you want to know.

For sure, right? Because a couple of points here, that I think are super important talk about. The first one is that you can’t bash the old partner, the incumbent or anything else like that. They can, right. So…

It’s like talking bad about somebody’s kids or their wife.

Absolutely. Right. So, you know, my, my business partner would talk about, put it in, build a situation where you and him are not fighting, they and him are fighting, which I love, right? And we’re gonna have a whole episode about like how to build your questions in a way so that way, you know, positive slant versus negative slant and things like that. But one of the one of the biggest clues when you’re talking to someone is if they bought something or if they got sold something, right. Because if you got sold something, it’s almost always a negative experience. Because, because no one gets sold something that they love, right? They bought something, right? Because then you’re bragging about it. Oh man, I bought this thing and I talked the guy down, it was a great experience. Whereas you got sold the thing that you hate.

So this hap, you know, this happened to me at a, an event that I had, not too long ago, I went for some drinks afterwards with just a select few. And just me, let me drink. Weird. But anyway, I was sitting across a little more intimate setting with just a few people talking about some, a little deeper into, you know, the day to day. And I had said, you know, the word on the street is that you guys are doing quite a bit of work with our competitors out of that facility. How’s it going for you? I heard and I, and before they could answer, I kind of stopped them, I heard that, you know, they’re doing a good job. And I’ve seen them work, it looks great. You know, talking about my competitors work. And instantly for whatever, you know, across the table, every one of those people are like, no, let me tell you. And all they did for the next 10 minutes was tell me everything bad and all I did was write as fast as I could. I was just

I was going to say, that’s when you, yeah, bring that note pad and get it done.

We were literally, we’re just about to bid them a project this week. And I literally took all that stuff back to our pre-construction team. And this is what they want. This is what they’re looking for. This is what they don’t like, let’s not do this.

So you do a lot of business development, right and not and not in, like the tech way of doing it to where you’re scheduling appointments. But like, traditional tried and true business development, right? Networking, entertaining clients, taking them out, showing them a good time, everything like this. So in that moment, right? You’re out at a bar someplace, and you pitch that question up, and it’s like, now let me tell you, you don’t, you don’t think you lose trust or rapport? Or like, how do you? I mean, do you really break out the notebook in that moment?

John, they’re drunk.

Okay, that’s fair.

I can tell you what I did that might make this a little bit easier on your ears. I said, Hold on, I gotta write this shit down. And I got back in. Okay, they just laughed, and then they kept going.

I love that. Right, you’re setting your expectations.

You’re being true. It always works.

I’m not writing a book here, people. It’s just what I did. And it worked.

That’s nice.

That could have, it could have went another way. But it didn’t.

But it didn’t. And that’s a key point. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Right, right. If you’re not putting some skin in the game and trying to be creative with the way you approach your sales process, whatever that may be did,

That’s a good point. Because…

If you’re gonna stand out, you got to do it different.

So even, even going back all the way to the you know, we were talking earlier, if you don’t have to have all that tonality, just figured out just yet, just ask a question. That’s first step, right. If you’re trying to change your own process. I’m still trying to figure this shit out. I’m a little further down the road. And I’m still trying different little things. Okay, that worked this time, I could have done a little bit better. I saw the reaction, changed my tonality and boom, I’m there. Now I’ve got another tool in my toolbox. But don’t ever be afraid to try something. At all, I mean, the good part about that setting is that you got a lot to blame it on.

Oh, I was drunk, or hey, it was loud.

Did you guys remember any of that?

What’d we talk about?

What was that?

Well, I took notes, let’s see.

So, for, for Al and Nan, you know, you get past the gatekeeper, right. You get to the surgeon though, like, yeah, I’ll give this a shot. You know, and then you have this whole other sale, which is beyond interesting to me. He then had to go get it cleared with the hospital. Right?

Yeah, there are layers. Yeah, we just went to whole nother round and all that stuff.

Exactly. So, I’m curious, which one do you have to set more expectations about what the surgeon or with like the billing department in the hospital who’s going to pay you ultimately?

There are different expectations. And we have a lot of help with that. Because we deal with, you know, people who sell coast to coast like the manufacturers. So that’s where we bring kind of a team effort into the equation. When you can find the person that’s going to champion your idea, right, so the guy who’s going to use the product becomes your, you know, your inside guy, or the person who’s supporting the project. From there, then the institution, you know, you kind of play the middle, meaning they don’t want to make this guy mad, because the way hospitals make money is doctors who aren’t owned by the hospital come in, and bring their patients and say, we want to do these high end processes that we can’t do in our office, to your facility. And then we have to match a vendor with that process.

So, you’re kind of passing the baton to the next person, I mean, it’s not a, it’s not a single person race, you have to move on to the next person. But I have to say, if you don’t get the surgeon….

Well, that’s part of the process.

You have to get the surgeon.

Or your, or your stuff’s just gonna sit on the shelf, it’s not going to be used. But then you have pricing, then you have, you know, we almost have to go back and, it’s changed a little bit, but at a certain point, we had to make sure the manufacturer was willing to go to that price point if there was a deep discount. So there’s a juggling act, and there’s what they, you know, what they expect? And so, to answer your question directly, you know, you have a materials manager, you know, they’ve got it in, you know. First thing out of their mouth is, I got 20 of those on the shelf, why should I put that one up there? Well, you know, I, my doctor, the guy I’m working with, the guy that pays your bills, is interested in it. Should we have that conversation? So you that’s another sales process? Absolutely. Absolutely. And you have to sometimes it’s, so thank you for telling me that. Should I tell the doctor that this is a no go? I mean, it’s it he or she sits at the back dock and has their office, but they’re not the CEO and they’re not, you know, so you gotta kind of figure, you know.

It’s a different version of a gatekeeper really, is kind of, you know, they’re, they’re that right hand of the hospital, but like, don’t you have all the leverage at that point, right? Because it’s like, the doctor wants to use this. It’s on its, you know, okay.

Well, said he wants to try this.

Okay, sure, use, try. Right.

Well, but meaning he says, yeah, bring it on in, let’s see if it’s better. Because his competitor didn’t go, my competitor did, did not go away. He didn’t lose his job. He still has a relationship. He’s still probably walking around the hospital, little pissed off now. But he’s still walking around and breathing and wanting his business back. He didn’t just go, oh, Al got the bid. All right, well, let me go find somebody else. No, absolutely. But, and he knows some materials managers as well, and he knows people in the hospital. And he’s a little butthurt. So you run those cycles. And there’s been fistfights out in the parking lot, right. And there’s been underhandedness that comes into play, and you leave your stuff up there and somehow finds its way to the trash. Right? You know, now you want to kill somebody.

I’ve seen some crazy things in the short time that we were together, but but some of the stories you have told me about shit that happens in the halls of hospitals is, is insane.

Now, I will tell you though, there’s no arguing in the OR. There’s no arguing in front of these doctors. This is all behind the scenes because one misstep, and you’re done. You’re out of the hospital, because, you know, the patient comes first. You know, when it’s your time, you’re up. And I mean, it happens in all arenas of like heart transplants, organs, all of that has value. And these guys who sell into those arenas do a good job, my competitor looks just like me. And he’s usually not a jerk. He’s just not going to be happy that I got his business, and he’s going to want it back. That’s all. Now, you know, you get some missteps. And those get funny over a decade, you’re going to see some guys get steamed, and want to go to the parking lot and do some stuff. But then down the road, they’re either dead or not in the game any longer because they misstepped and the hospital won’t let them back in.

The, the best nugget that Al just said that, that to encapsulate it and make it a little bit tighter is, your best client is someone else’s best prospect. So if you have any kind of fulfillment, or maintenance, or relationship and like, that’s part of like you managing that book of business, and you’re not all over it, somebody else is. Yeah.

And a little bit different world than maybe your business now. I know you’ve operated in others.

Lots of jobs. We’ve talked about that.

Yeah. Yours, yours right now is, they don’t need two CRM management companies. So when you win the bid, you’re their only rep, so to speak, until you’re not. Yeah, or you continue to be. In our world currently, especially in mine, I have, I may be dealing with a customer that has seven others of me, with their, with their load split between all of us, right? So I’m constantly compare and contrast to my competitors. If I say or do the wrong thing, I probably just move down the scale a little bit. So it’s a little more. It’s kind of a segue. But I just thought that is my P’s and Q’s minding my stuff every day is a little bit. I got to mind that, I gotta maintain that relationship constantly.

Yeah, and I’m lucky now, like super lucky, because in website world, man, you want to talk about competitive. Yeah, I mean, every, every 17 year old kid in a basement with a good internet connection can build a website. And that’s all we did. We were not a full stack marketing agency. We were focused specifically on building websites. And we did that purposefully. So that way, we could partner with agencies who didn’t want to do websites anymore, right. But now, I’m the only guy or not the only guy. I’m the only guy who I know who I’ve seen who I’ve talked to who’s focused on this idea of like, Look, I want to help you build this thing for the salesperson, right? There’s a lot of marketing agencies that can do a lot of automation around sales processes, and things like that. But it’s all typically tied to this is, let me get you in the door. And then we’re going to do this thing. And then hopefully, this is going to segue to a much bigger digital marketing play. That’s not what I’m about, right? Like, I just want to help sales people’s, like in, make that conversation better between management and the reps and, you know, give everybody what they need.

But that’s your separation between you and your, you know, let’s say 17 year old competitor with a good internet connection, that’s your separation. And it’s mine too, a lot of times, if I have four competitors working, and we’re all working for the same person. If they’re all selling against each other with traditional sales and features and benefits. My separation comes from Hey, man, I’m asking you some questions, because I truly care about this project. I want us to do this together and win and be successful. That little bit is separating me. Maybe they like traditional sales and separating me on the bad side. But that’s okay, cuz I don’t want that customer anyway. Right.

Well, you bring up an important point there. Sales and, or I’m sorry, features and benefits are not inherently a bad thing. Right. But there’s…

It’s worked for a long time.

Absolutely. Right. But there’s a right way in a in a not a successful way around bringing those up and drawing attention to them and having a conversation about them. If I make the assumption, right, if I’m the car guy, and I call you a year later, because you bought a truck for me a year ago, Al and then I’m like, Hey, man, I got the same truck. But I got leather, when you want to come in? I’m making a huge assumption. You say leather, we, we’re in Texas, guys, it was 114 today with the heat index, I see no value in leather. So if you leave with that on the call, I’m done. I’m not coming in.

Yeah, there, there’s a, you know, there’s something else to the that we forget to put in the mindset of the buyer. Our customer is probably a traditional buyer. They’ve been ingrained and in trained that way for so long that features and benefits might be heaven on earth for them. Right? Oh, man. So not only do you have to break the cadence of yourself and your competitors, but you might also have to get them to realize that what you’re talking about and why it’s important that you’re asking these questions. And and a lot of this setting expectations and framework that you’re talking about. It’s really important to, for them to understand why you’re asking these questions.

And get buy-in.

Well, it’s…

I’m going to ask you some hard hitting questions around like your sales and how you measure that stuff and everything else. And if I don’t get your permission to ask those questions, when I say hey, you know, what is your pipeline look like for the next 12 months? Right? That’s it? That’s an illumination question for me, right? Most salespeople are like, Oh, I have no idea. Okay, is that a problem? Because if not, I don’t need, I probably don’t need to be here. Right? But hopefully it is, right. And we’re gonna have a whole episode around like question and strategies and why they’re important everything else, and that’s gonna be later on. But you know, I need your buy-in. So that way, I can run my process as effortlessly as I can. Al’s got something to say, sorry.

Well, no, it was back to Clint talking about people who are used to features and benefits. But if you reverse that angle, and I say, Clint, so tell me about the features and benefits that you really liked about the, you know, and then they begin to come back at you right? With or they don’t and now you got another dilemma on your hands. You know, it’s…

But it’s all discovery. And what you did was you you used it to discover something?



The more they can tell you about their buying process, or what…

What, what they like, what they don’t like, I mean, how they buy, how they don’t buy.

And that may sound like a simple question, but it is, or, or, simple and hard, right? Because people like well, of course, why why would they not? Well, because you’re doing this dance? And if you’re not,

Sorry, finish your thought. But then, no, no, not yet.

He’s already lost it. He’s an I.

No, I still have it, you know, you’re doing that dance about features and benefits, or vice versa. But if you can get their engagement by using, you know, the tried and true method, but put it as a as a reverse to them. Yeah, right.

Remember, right, as a salesperson, there’s questions we have to ask, and inherently some of those questions are going to raise their walls, right. And when their walls come up, the conversation changes a little bit. So in that moment, right, set expectations. Hey, I don’t want to talk about a bunch of shit you don’t care about? Yeah, I’m probably not gonna say shit to a prospect. But I don’t talk about a bunch of things. I don’t care, though. Absolutely, depending upon the prospect. So I’m curious with with the person you’re working now, what do you, what do you love about him?

You know, some, you hit on something right there, because you do this to me a lot. And I’ve seen do this to other people. And it and it’s a really good way to bring the walls back down. You say things like, Hey, I asked that question. Your walls went up, you got a little defensive, got a little, you got a little closed, closed up? What did I say? What? What offended you there? Once again, you’re setting an expectation? And they’re going to tell you? Well, you know, I just I don’t feel comfortable talking about that. Can you tell me a little more, you know, I mean, you just keep you keep going. But you do it in such a way that, you know, you end up getting, getting it all out there.

Or you tell a story so that way they feel like they’re not the only person sometimes, right? No one wants to be the only person on the island with the salesperson, like, like no one in the world. So if you can tell a story around someone else who’s had the same concerns, or the someone or someone else is like, Hey, you probably don’t talk about budget, you probably had a bad experience. I’m not really sure where to go from here.

I don’t typically do it. You don’t I? I wish that came naturally to me to say. But I do back up. So as soon as I ask a question, I see them kind of pull back. I just want to 80 it and go back to a couple questions go. Yeah, and then ease back into stuff. So it’s a little bit different process. But the point is, is when you see negative things go on across the table, you’ve got some decisions to make there to move forward. And one of the best ways to move past that or through that is for them to tell you it’s okay to go through that.

For sure. Right. And that’s hard for the C’s and D’s that are task oriented, right? Because for the D, it’s like, hey, man, I’m here to run my process. I don’t really care about you. And for me, it’s like, I will ask, I’ll ask questions and my girlfriend will like pinch me like, why the hell did you ask that question? Right? Because it’s like, I can look it up online. Right? This is a nice house. I’m curious how much it cost? That to me is not a taboo question, right? But because we’re so task oriented, I’ve got this thing I want to know, I’m gonna find out. It To me, this is a logical question, right? So to your point, you know, you gotta be able to have those conversations and do them and do them well and set expectations around, hey, this is an uncomfortable question for me, or my girlfriend hates that I’m going to that I’m going to ask you this question. But I’m curious. You How much was the house?

I could ask you one question. Everybody’s walls would go up. How much you make a year?

Not enough.

Yeah, you get a lot of different answers. But it wouldn’t be the answer that you’re looking for. Right?

Absolutely. Right in in consulting. Sorry to cut you off. But the fancy answers is what does it cost? Well, the answer that everybody hates is that it depends, correct? Right. And I will and I… but this is my, this is my tried and true answer is like, Look, here’s the deal. This is the, this is going to sound salesy, and I apologize in advance, but I don’t know enough. So the answer is honestly, it depends. Can I ask you some questions around the concerns that other people have shared with me? See if those are relevant to you, because then we can have an honest conversation around budget, and I don’t have to inflate it to cover for all things. I don’t know.

Yeah, that’s good.

Alright, so we are at the throwdown time of the show, right? Every person at the table gets three minutes to speak to their team, team D, team I, team S, team C, about things that you can take into the field tomorrow, and your next interaction to try to get better. So go ahead Clint, what do you got?

I don’t know that on the three minutes here, for the first time ever. I will say that you have, we kinda always go back to your tools in your toolbox. D’s, high D’s have directness. This is one of those instances where directness is not so bad. I will tell you to pull, pull some tact, figure out how to ask that question, figure out who you’re talking to across from the table, or who’s across from you on that table. But this is one instance where being direct and asking those tough questions, this should be pretty natural to you. And that, and that’s a good thing. Because you, you need all this information move forward, if it’s truly in your process. And you just have to have a little bit of tact. Tonality is an issue for us, you know, not taking those big face punches to our customers, maybe, you know, stroking them a little bit, telling them how good they look. And then and then ask, you know, but the point of what we’re talking about on setting expectations is get permission. That’s really hard for us, because we don’t feel that we need permission to ask these questions. So one is be direct, but get permission to be direct. Have some tact with it. And I think that you’re going to find out a lot more about your customer because a D usually feels, most people when they look at a D, they feel attacked by D just because body posture, the way we talk, the way we use our hands in conversation. Everybody feels a little bit attacked. So rein that stuff back in. Have a little emotion involved in it. Use your tools, be direct still, but just, just have some tact.

Awesome. Al, for I’s?

For I’s, I would have to say that we need to remember it’s not our expectations, it’s their expectations that we really need to focus in on. Because ours are way up here. They’re overinflated, a lot of times with a lot of extra verbiage. We’re going to go into the song and dance, we’re going to make it a show. But at the end of the day, if you want to talk about features and benefits, ask them to tell you what features and benefits they enjoyed or liked about their last process. And then shut it down from your side and let their side come your direction. Because you’re already great, right? You’re already, well and I, that’s tongue in cheek, but you can already go to the bar with them, you can already hang out with this guy, but that’s not what you’re here to do. You’re here just say, what’s the expectation so that I meet it, then get on your horse and get it done. That’s all I got to say about it.


So I’m always going for the client having confidence in me, and that doesn’t happen. It takes a minute. So I go in with as much knowledge as I know about them, and, and my product, and talk about that. I don’t try to do you know all the benefits necessarily, but I try to find what they need, how this is going to benefit them. And then I start building on that confidence. I think, with all of my, any success I’ve ever had is just the confidence that the client has. And I try to capture that immediately. But I think it’s really hard initially that think that’s one of the downfalls of an S is it doesn’t happen, you know, I think with a D, especially in an I, it’s immediate, pretty immediate, because they just automatically love Al because he’s an I, and he’s fun, and you know, funny. And with the D he’s very direct, he’s going to give exactly what they want to hear. And, and you’re probably like that too, a C. Where an S, we’re just gonna you know it, it is just building that confidence that I’m gonna take care of you. And you’re going to do well. Because I’m overseeing whatever, I’m bringing in, I’m going to, whatever. So it is just, I always say it’s communication, you’ve got to communicate well, from the very beginning. And, and carry it on throughout.

Awesome. Alright, for all you C’s out there, there are some questions that you shouldn’t be asking. Right. And this is hard for C’s, right? Because I’m kind of like, Hey, this is a question. I’m just going to ask it. There’s facts involved, you know, but some things are off limits, right? So be aware, you know, set an expectation around, around an uncomfortable question, get them to buy into it. And then, then you can proceed. Also be aware that you should be looking for things like body posture, right? Because if someone shifts in their seat, and they were relaxed before, and now they’re not, you did something bad. And it’s on you to be aware enough to say, Hey, I just lost you right there. Can we back up a minute? Because we said we could talk about these things. But obviously, I did something bad. Can we, can we back up? And it’s hard for us to admit to being wrong. But when you’re, when you’re dealing with a prospect, it’s okay to be wrong. Because remember, I’m allowed to be not okay, because most people are going to come in and want to save me and that continues the conversation. You’re not ever really allowed to make a prospect not okay, because that’s pressure. So awesome. Alright, guys. This is a fun episode in my opinion. I think I think we, I think we covered a lot. This is my favorite topic. Really, honestly, if you do this well…

Imagine that.

Of course, right? If you do this, well, everything else is easier, in my opinion. So…

And you hit on a good point, this is the start of the real sales process. Yeah. Because now you’re in the crux of here are the expectations. You want to know what there’s are so that you stay in the lane that gets you to the end, which is them buying and you selling? Absolutely.

Absolutely. Alright, everybody. If you got any value out of this, please share it with someone else who you know, is struggling around, maybe, maybe they don’t set expectations well at all. And it’s burning a bunch of bridges, or they can’t maintain a relationship with anybody. Share this thing. Leave us a review. Be honest, right? We want to get better, and we only get better with your feedback. So whatever.

Send all the negative reviews to Team D, Clint will handle that.

So I can burn them down.

He’s our customer service department.

Yeah. So, so leave us a review. Follow us on social media. Everything is at Sales Throwdown. If you have questions, send them to us. Well, if it’s a good, we’ll talk about it right. We’re open to that. Check out the website. Sign up for the email list. If you’re watching on YouTube, and you’re seeing these awesome cups and my sweet shirt today. Subscribe, and we’ll be back next week.

Go sell something.