I’ll reach out and I’ll shake his hand. Good. Let’s make a deal. I’m going to go through my product with you or my service and then I’m going to ask you, “Would you like to have it?”What have I done? Tell me how you feel right now? I’ve taken away the sting of the no. I’ve taken the pressure off of you so you’re not sitting there trying to make up some excuse for you, “I’ve got to go home and talk to my wife about this.” I’ve given you permission to go and tell me no. That’s a different attitude, isn’t it?
It takes all the pressure off of you, the buyer. It takes all the pressure off of me, the seller. Early on in my career, probably a year, maybe two years max into it. I started reading and studying everything I could about sales. One day I just came with the attitude, “Most of this stuff that’s written is a bunch of crap.” Just have a conversation with your client, “I want you to buy some life insurance.” Long term clear, this mutual fund, this annuity, whatever. What do you know about? Most people will say, “I don’t know anything about it.” “Would you to learn more?” Just be yourself, be authentic, and all of a sudden people go, “I like this guy. I want to learn more.”
That’s a critical; it’s just being authentic, being a human. If you look at the books that are out there, a lot of the sales training out there, you’ll see a lot of advice that will suggest doing what you described. However, even though it’s out there, I don’t ever experience anybody doing it when I’m buying.
Nobody treats me that way and I’m just jumping to tell you what happened to me just recently. It happened the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I went over to Best Buy to buy two televisions. I want one for my conference room; I want one for the house. The guy said to me, I can almost quote it, but I’ll paraphrase it.“I don’t need to tell you a lie. I’ll tell you like it is because I’m not a commission salesman. I don’t get a commission if you buy.” I was offended and I said, “I’m not buying this TV.” Put him back on the shelf and I told his manager I thought about it.
I drove less than two miles. Went into Walmart and they happen to have a bunch of TVs on sale and I bought one almost the same television, a bit larger size, 55 inch to 50, for $298 each instead of $397. What was I thinking? The dummy is basically insulting what I do for a living that if I make a commission, therefore I have to lie, cheat or steal to do it. That is bullshit. If you were an honest, ethical person and you have an honest to goodness product to change these people’s lives then take the attitude, mindset, whatever word that you’re going to help as many people get that as possible. That’s the difference.
You can develop that from day one. You know how quick it is? That quick to say, “This is my mindset. I know I’m good at what I do. I know my product is good and that’s what good politicians do.”We’ll go way back to Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, George Firestone, all these guys who did stuff and people criticize and you’ll never make it. You’ll never make Henry Ford. Did they listen to people who said no? Of course not, but it’s very few people in our history and that’s the kind of stuff I read. I read about people from 100 years ago what they had to fight and deal with and I love biographies and autobiographies. That’s another way of developing the attitude and the mindset that what you’re doing is right. It goes back to where you started with at the beginning of this discussion, that is purity of intent.
If I’m trying to make $1, you can smell it. If I’m truly looking out for my client and me, it’s a two way street. I can’t just help you and go broke. Which I have a problem with, because I’ll be honest with you, there are many times I spend way too much time with clients, I don’t charge for it. I’ve done a lot of unpaid consulting in my life. Probably still will because that’s my nature. If I’m in front of you and I can help you, I’m going to do it. I’m not going to let you walk away unhelped if I have the power to help you.
As I listened to you, the thing that comes to mind is, and this has helped me tremendously over the years, is what I call the Surgeon’s Posture. It helps you distance yourself from the outcome. I want you to imagine, if you’re going in to see a surgeon.
I did, a heart surgeon.
Yes, you did. I had a shoulder issue a couple of years ago and I thought I was going to have that surgery. I went in and saw an orthopedic surgeon. Knew him, he’d already done surgery on my wife’s shoulder. I was familiar with what was ahead and it was not going to be fun. He comes in and he’s got the lab coat on, he’s got x-rays. We’ll talk about your lab coat in a minute. He came in and started to examine me and he’d moved my arm around. He’s listened to my description. The guy never smiled.
No bedside manner.
It wasn’t even about that. That’s what I like about this image. He never smiled. He didn’t completely believe everything I told him. He took that as input and he went and verified. He verified through examination, through further questions, in my case physical tests and MRI. I’m thankful that he didn’t take my word for it because his goal was to figure out what I needed, help me get what I needed and the best way to get there. Turns out the best way to get there wasn’t to sell me a surgery. We all know that medicine, especially surgery, surgeons they’re in business. That’s how they make money.
However, he had this posture that he was passionate about it. He didn’t care what the outcome was other than that the outcome was the best possible outcome for me, given my goals and given my current condition. I take that now as I go into every sales conversation with a potential client. Take a moment and say, “I’m the surgeon. My job here is to dig into this problem. This person needs help or they wouldn’t be here. It’s my job to go in and figure out what that is. Whatever the help is, whether it’s help I can deliver or they need to get someplace else. My job with this other human being, with his business that they’re running, is to figure out what the problem is.”
That’s what an ethical person does and make no bones about it. People in the medical field, surgeons they’re in sales. They position themselves to be someone of authority also they’re in sales. An ethical surgeon would do just what yours did. “You don’t need surgery if you do these things,” because he knows if he does the right thing, that story gets out but that’s who he is. On the other hand, I won’t even come close to using a name, but we had a surgeon who was basically kicked out of the medical profession here about ten years ago. He was recommending everybody had the same type of surgery even though you didn’t need it. That’s illegal; they took away his medical license. He was selling surgeries to make a buck.
Since taking what I call the Surgeon’s Posture, sales have gone through the roof. Sales are dramatically different than they were before I did that. That’s a little bit counterintuitive because you think, “If I’m not pressing, I’m not trying, I’m not ABC, always be closing, it’s malpractice in sales. By backing up, almost leaning back instead of leaning into the prospect, imagine yourself leaning back, being a little bit skeptical. I’m not sure that you’re the right fit. It’s interesting what happens when you give the prospect that space. When you have the mindset where you can, you’re open enough and confident enough to give them that space, they lean into you.
It’s having the courage to admit when your product is not the right thing or your service. I have a different take on that than you do, and mine’s a little harsher. I have a lab coat and it says, “John H. Curry, The Secure Retirement Doctor. I’ll walk in sometimes with that lab coat on and a stethoscope. Especially I’m dealing with a medical doctor, just for shock effect, have fun. Look back as a seasoned experienced salesperson, 42nd year since 1975. If you sit down in front of me, I visualize not only being a surgeon, I visualize a specific surgeon, a heart surgeon, because of what I’ve been through with my heart surgery. Triple bypass to be exact. I look at you and I go, “You have a problem.” In my case, it was three blocked arteries. One 10%, one 90%, 100, the 90% percent they called the widow maker. When my cardiologist said, “John, you know what they call the widow maker?” I said, “I got a damn good idea.” “You’re not going to Orlando in July, in the hot sun on my watch because if that gets just a little tiny bit more blockage, you’ll be dead when you hit the ground. That’s why we call it widow maker.”
What did he just do? He visually graphically painted the picture for me. That was a big weekend coming up because I was going to speak at a professional association, unveil a seminar program or I knew that was going to make $50,000 that Thursday and Friday before the weekend. Did a nice weekend at Disney with my wife and my grandson, then another conference where I suspected another big pay day. I didn’t get to do that because I did open heart surgery. The visual I have more so than ever was the fact that it’s not my problem, it is your problem. I have the power, the ability, with my knowledge, my wisdom, my skill to help you get rid of that. If you choose to be in denial, because I could have told the doctor, “I’m going down to Orlando to Disney World anyway. I think you’re wrong. I don’t need your advice.”The way he presented that though, I knew he was loving and caring, but he was fumbling. Most salespeople have been taught to suck up and kiss up. People don’t want that. They want the surgeon’s attitude like you described.
They want a leader. They want someone who will tell the truth, identify the problem and help them understand the problem. No one likes to be browbeat, nobody. If I develop a relationship with you, will you know that I have the purity of intent? That I’m doing the right thing for you? I can be like coach Hemsley with me in high school, grabbed me by the face mask and say, “Give me your best,” but if I don’t care, then you don’t care. I can’t do that. That’s what you described. It’s looking out for protecting the person that you’re working with and doing the right thing. Don’t do it in such a way that you’re pushy. Let them identify with you that there’s a problem. This is a mindset. There are not 50 people on the planet strong enough to change my willpower on this one. It is not my problem. It is your problem. I am the solution to the problem. If you don’t buy that, that’s okay. I’ll feel badly if something happens to you for talking about why.
In 1982, in May of 82, my wife’s brother committed suicide, left behind a young widow and two little kids. August 2nd, same year, three months later, my brother committed suicide, left behind a young widow and two little kids. I tell people I was in the life insurance business until then. Then the life insurance business got in me. I still sell life insurance, proud to do so. If I just still sell the product that’s not wrapped, identify everything. What do you want? What do you need and help you customize. You have to co-create. I still saw a lot of life insurance. Most people, my business would love to sell what I sell but the product isn’t to them. It’s identifying what you want. Do you want to take care of your family in the event of your early demise? Do you want to plan for a secure retirement? Once we’re in sync with what the client wants, selling the product, it’s not even a sale. It’s like, “Do you want to do this?”
I know you run across people who come into you and are dead set against buying what you’re selling. In particular, what’s talked about by some of the “financial gurus” who have written books and show up on the morning news shows. They don’t want anything to do with whole life insurance. People will come in and tell you, “Whatever we’re going to do here, I’m not buying whole life insurance,” and then you figure out what they want. You diagnose the problem. You get enough trust and they understand that you’re in it for their good and only they’re good. They walk out of there buying a metric ton of whole life insurance if that’s the right solution to them and they’re damn happy to do it.
My point is because you take this approach, you’re able to get people to do things that at the beginning of the relationship they tell you they absolutely are adamantly against doing. Then they realize because of the approach that you take that this thing that they were vehemently against is actually the solution they’ve been dying to get. They walk out happy to have it. No pun intended, but they walk out happy to have it and not only happy to have it, but now have a deeper relationship with you as a business owner than they had coming in. That’s the point of everything we’ve talked about is that if you take this approach and you can train yourself to have this mindset as you approach sales, you can get people to do things. I don’t mean manipulate them into doing it. That’s not what we’re talking about at all. You can get people to do things that at the outset they will tell you they absolutely are not going to do.