Episode 70 – Secrets Behind Effective Conversations To Increase Your Sales Revenue And Close Rate With Bill Caskey
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What are your top strategies for effective communication in sales?
The right communication is key to increasing your sales revenue and close rate. Join Doug C. Brown and Sales Development Leader Bill Caskey as they discuss sales mindset and the art of communication. They also discuss the right challenges to focus on to become a better salesperson, strategies to prepare for sales conversations, and much more.
In this episode you will learn:
Episode’s guest – Bill Caskey
Bill is giving away a copy of 5 Reasons You Don’t Have Enough Clients. This is a 10-page document that will help people sort out why they may not be attracting the quantity and quality of clients they want. Learn more at www.5reasonsclients.com.
Secrets Behind Effective Conversations To Increase Your Sales Revenue And Close Rate With Bill Caskey
I’ve got an amazing guest. His name is Mr. Bill Caskey. Bill is an expert in sales communication. We’re going to talk about what to say, how to say it, how to have effective conversations to increase your sales revenue, your close rates, and more including your profitability. We’ve got some interesting things to talk about. Bill and I go down through a deep dive into the sales mind, the mindset of people, what they should have, what they shouldn’t have, and why they’re either succeeding or why they’re not in their communication skills.
Communication skills are not for sales in general, but let’s face it. Probably from the moment you wake up in the morning, you’re selling yourself on whether or not you might want to get out of bed at that time. You’re selling yourself on different avenues of what you’re going to do for that day. Your significant other, if you have one, or your friends are selling you certain things. You’re selling them on certain things. As time goes on throughout the day, you’re continuously selling.
When you’re in a formal business setting, selling, it’s no less as important to have effective communication as you’re doing throughout the day. The one thing that will prove to you is monetarily gaining or monetarily stagnation or loss. We all want that gain. Bill and I going to cover multiple points during this interview. It’s a great interview. You’ll get a lot out of this. Have a digital pen or a real pen and something to write on. Take copious notes. I’ve read this thing a couple of times because there are a lot of gems within. Let’s talk to Bill.
Bill, welcome to the show. I’m so grateful you’re here. Thanks for being here.
Thank you very much. Congratulations on the show, man. I’ve got two of my own. It’s fun, but it’s a challenge and you’re off to a good start. I’ve read. You’re good at it.
Thank you. I appreciate that very much. We’re going to talk about what to say, how to say it, and how to have effective conversations to increase sales revenue, which you’re a master of. That’s why we’re here. Let’s talk about it. I would love to know what you find here. I’m sure the people have solid conversations most of the time or is it one of those things that they have a conversation about and they’re not even measuring or understanding the effectiveness of it? They pick up sales here and there, but if they measured it, they probably would pick up more sales and understand what they’re saying and what they wouldn’t. What are your thoughts?
Language and our words matter. I wrote this word down here a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been working it here for the last few weeks and that’s intentionality. A lot of times, if you’re a CEO and you’ve got a sales team, you have probably been out on calls or heard those calls with them. You’re probably like, “Why did we go there then? Why didn’t we wait on that? We never did bring this up.”
There’s a lot of confusion about mechanically, how to execute a sales call. I’ve got some thoughts on that. We can dive deeper, but I do think mechanics are not tricks and tactics. It’s language. It’s how we position ourselves and our values, and how do we control the process and yet not be belligerent about it? There are a lot of dimensions to this language thing.
I’m in full agreement. I liken it all the time to two people having a conversation about fencing. One of them thinks they’re buying sword lessons, and the other thinks they’re buying picket fences.
That’s good. At some point, you have to define why you’re there and what exactly fencing is to you and make sure you’re not in the wrong place.
Let’s talk about the mechanics of a sales call because I get asked this all the time, “How do I approach a sales call?” Sometimes it’s from veterans who are making lots of money selling, I don’t know what to say, how to say it, why to say it, and what not to say. I have a conversation and I get a percentage of sales.
We think about it here as a sequence of events. For context purposes, maybe we’re talking about a first call, a first meeting. Maybe they’ve invited you in or maybe you’ve begged and showed up uninvited, but let’s say it’s the first call. The first thing that I teach my clients to do is set the tone, because if the tone is not set, then it becomes an interrogation or could end up being that way. What are you doing? What do you about it? What don’t you about it? What are you trying to accomplish? When we interrogate, every time we ask a question, the defenses go up.
I the idea of setting the tone up front saying, “I appreciate you inviting me. I’m going to give you some words here. If you want to cut this out, you can. I’m looking forward to this. Here’s what I thought we could do.” Lay out the agenda for the call. That sets the tone and also keeps you, the sales professional, on track so that you’re not tempted to go off into Never-Never Land. They can’t even figure out where you are. Setting the tone up front is important. I’d be curious to know what you think about that.
It’s of utmost importance. I love what you said. Otherwise, the salesperson will go off into Never-Never Land, La-La Land, or whatever. All of a sudden, we are talking about sword lessons and they’re talking about picket fencing. It’s one of those things I see this time and time again where they don’t set the frame and the agenda. It’s setting the tone for the meeting, and then out of the blue, the first question that comes out of a CEO’s mouth is, “Tell me why you’re here.”
They’ve lost that lost control can control and commonality in the conversation. The business owner or CEO is immediately going to say, “Let’s get to the point.” They’re going to commoditize that conversation if they don’t come up with something brilliant. Setting the agenda is a must for most people, but the thing is most people don’t do this.
Think about how many times you’ve been called on by sales professionals. You might even be interested or want what they have, but they don’t help you. They don’t help you buy because they don’t help you conduct the process of buying in the right way. I do think it’s setting the tone. You did say something else that is important. A lot of times we get into this rut where we think the person calling on us or the person we’re calling on is up here. We’re down here psychologically or financially. I hear this a lot.
I just got off a call with a coaching client. She said, “I need to go call on the CEO, but he’s busy.” I’m like, “They’re a client of hers, too.” I said, “What could be more important to a CEO than the thing you do?” She does some big strategy stuff. What could be more important than that? You diminish yourself when you put somebody else up here and you’re lowly down here on the totem pole. it’s probably politically incorrect. The point is that we have to see ourselves as equals, and then you are more likely to execute that upfront tone and frame better because you’re two people coming together to see if there’s anything you can help them with.
That’s so important because when somebody looks at somebody like, “They’re the Queen of England or the King of England,” sorry for all our UK readers. It wasn’t to be anything meant but respectful. The reality is that when people think that way, then they position it that way. They’re not positioned as the expert. Can we imagine if we go into a doctor’s office and the doctor goes, “Mr. Caskey?”
“I don’t know what you have. I don’t know what to do. Did you bring any surgical instruments with you, sir?”
You’ve got to be like, “My wife once several times told me that her mother always told her, ‘If you don’t value yourself, other people will value you.’”
I wrote the quote and put it on LinkedIn because I believe that, and it was Shakespeare who said it in maybe one of his plays, “You can’t be of value to another until you’re first of value to yourself.” That’s exactly what you said. That must be the phrase of the day right there.
All of you reading, write that one down because this is a universal fate coming together. That came from my wife’s mother. Why do you think people do that? Why do you think they don’t look at themselves as an equal? You said that was a CEO and she was saying, “It’s my client,” but why don’t people position themselves as equals?
We’ve been taught from the word from birth that there are different levels of human beings and we’ve been taught to, “Don’t bother your dad when he’s busy. Don’t call the teacher by her first name because she’s up there and you’re down here.” A lot of the messages we get scripting from childhood is that there are people at different levels and I don’t buy that.
Probably almost all your readers are CEOs. I bet you they’ve got as many pains and problems as anybody else in the organization. They might have the wherewithal to fix those and the money and the power to fix them but everybody has problems. I talked to a CEO last week of a shipping company and he was like, “If we don’t get this problem fixed, we may not be here in five years.” That’s what’s on his mind. If to the extent I can help them, I’m an equal and I’m not above, but I’m not below.” I wanted to bring that up because that does get in the way of us executing some of this language and some of these mechanics.
We’re speaking with Mr. Bill Caskey, BillCaskey.com. I want to stay at this point because the mind part of this thing is a major part of the reason why people do not have effective communication. It’s interesting. You brought up your CEO and what he said. I had a call with someone who’s got a successful company, but the pandemic has thrown this whole company off.
She’s like, “This is the first time we haven’t made a profit in a few years,” and she’s worried. This is the question. If we understand as sellers that these people are human beings and we have scripting from birth that says, “If it’s the mayor of the city or the or the governor, you should be positioning this or that way,” what are some of the things that you may give people some advice on? How do I change that thought process? It’s been ingrained for several years and then somebody comes along.
We are trained from birth. I agree with you 100% that we’re always taught by our mother, father, preacher, teacher, caretaker, or whatever that this is how you walk on the right side of the road. If you go to London, they drive on the left. They don’t expect that you are going to drive on the right. What can somebody do? If they want to take a few simple steps and say, “How do I combat this or figure out how to overcome it?”
That’s a good question. I have a whole area of what we do with our clients on mindset. You can call it mindset, psychology frames, or whatever. The number one thing that gets in our way is our call intent. What is our intent on this call? The wrong way to think of it is, “I’ve got to get up to his level or her level. I’ve got to impress them. I’ve got to prove to them that I’m the best supplier east of the Mississippi.” Those are faulty intents that have nothing to do with them.
The right intent can take all of the anxiety and fear out of the process. The right intent is, “Does this person need my help?” My intention here is to understand their dilemmas, their circumstances, their problems, their visions, their goals, and unattained goals, and see if I can bring anything to bear, to help them. Once that’s your intent, it doesn’t matter whom you’re calling on because the intention is about helping, serving, supporting, inquiring, and being curious. It takes all the fear away because I’m not worried about what I’m going to get out of it. I’m only concerned that they get value out of this interaction they have with me.
This is interesting to me because one of my clients has a new daughter, the first one. I was asking her to send pictures because she’s like my third daughter. I helped her grow and the company grow to the third, fastest, and largest company of her type in Europe. She’s always sending me, “Grandpa, here’s your granddaughter’s pictures.” Every time I look at it, part of me feels a little older and a part of me feels warm and fuzzy about it but the point being is children. When they’re early, before they get that scripting, they don’t have those frames. It hit me with what you said. I was like, “Wow.” Her name’s Rose and she doesn’t have those frames.
She goes up to somebody on the street corner and if she’s outgoing, she might say hi. We don’t say, “That’s the CEO of Oracle. You can’t just walk up to him.” They don’t care. It’s a human. It’s a soul. It’s a human being. It’s a soul in a human body. We get too busy with labels. If your intent is right, like a child, maybe that’s the way to look at it. Your childish intent is to help somebody, although children aren’t always willing to help you. The point here is to get rid of the scripting about who’s who, labels, and whom you deserve to call on and all that stuff. It’s just garbage in.
There’s a difference in a label. The labels are part of the key here because there’s a difference when we put a label on ourselves, we own it. It’s a difference between me doing something stupid which I’ve done and then me believing I am stupid. It’s the different labels. When we put that label on ourselves, all of a sudden, we act as if. As we act as if and if we believe based on our scripting, I grew up in a household where children would be seen but not be heard. All of a sudden, you enter a job where, as a salesperson or you’re in your own business, you got a cold call, let’s say. What happens?
You probably revert back to what you know and how you were brought up. As you were talking, I was listening. We want to solve big problems. When you go into a company, you don’t want to solve a little tiny problem that costs them $5,000. You want to solve a multimillion-dollar problem. I’m the same way. Our clients, our prospects, and our readers should be the same way. If your intent is to find the biggest problem you have and bring attention to it and then bring a solution to it, you want to go to where the big problems are, and that’s not the purchasing manager. I’m not saying don’t call on him or her. I’m saying that the big problems are at the top of the food chain.
The worst-case scenario is that they say, “Talk to someone else,” or they say, “No.” I’ve never died from someone saying no to me, Bill. I don’t know about anybody. If anybody
I’m sure you’ve heard no before.
Sometimes more than I’ve ever heard a yes, but that’s part of the frame. Knowing you’re going to go in with the potential and being vulnerable and knowing it may not work out and being okay with that.
You got to be okay with it. That’s part of the mental construct, too. It is detachment. I teach detachment. I’ve had sales trainers who have followed me up on stage and they don’t like detachment. They want to be eager and attached to everything and have the expectation that you’re going to make the sale. I’m like, “Why would you do that? You don’t even know whether the prospect has a problem. You don’t know if they have any money or a commitment or desire to fix it, if they even have one, or are willing to admit it to you.”
Have a no-expectation strategy because then it frees you to be in the moment versus trying to get someone and trying to get the sale. It is not helpful. People who aren’t wise to it hate it. Once you understand it, I’ve had people who have doubled their income over the course of 1 year or 2. When I ask them what happened, it’s detachment. It allows them to be free to move in and out and say the things they need to say and do the things they need to do. When you’re attached to a particular outcome, you’re a hostage to that attachment.
This goes back to human relationships. I agree with you on this point. It’s one of those things I’ll speak for the men reading. Men, go out there if you’re single and go with an agenda that you are going to get a date and then approach the lady that way and see what happens. You’re going to get knocked down most of the time. When you go with the no attachment thing, you’re not trying to be the lounge lizard, the slick lines, and all of this other stuff. The reality is that people sense what you’re saying.
People pick up on vibes quickly. Have you ever gone into a 7-Eleven at 2:00 in the morning? You’re trying to pick up some aspirin or something for your partner or spouse. The energy in there is sucked away. There are people in there who are low energy. Maybe they’re addicts or they’re homeless. There are not a lot of people who are professional consultants like you or me in there at that time. Sometimes we feel that energy. It’s not like anybody did it to us. Prospects pick up on energy. They pick up on the vibration. If you vibrated a higher level, at a higher level means my intent is to help you discover whether you have a problem or not. If I can help, great. If I can’t, great, that vibe is so attractive.
When I worked with and for Tony Robbins, he used to talk a lot about frames and the mental state frames. He told the story one time about how he was overloaded and didn’t feel well, but he met a taxi driver. The taxi driver had such a happy frame that Tony was like, “I didn’t even want to play with this guy. I just wanted to be quiet.” The guy had such a happy frame that he overcame Tony’s frame of being despondent at that moment. Tony said that he hired this guy every single time he went back to that location because he went there.
To me, that’s the ultimate sale. You’re making a friend. You got somebody who believes in you. When we have that status with our friends, we do anything for them for the most part. I like the fact that you said, set the tone, have that call intent, have no expectation, and be detached. Are there any other gems of wisdom before we realize the time?
From a mechanic standpoint, at some point, you have to start to understand the dilemmas or the circumstances of your customer and your prospect. I always teach people to have a bank of questions. You don’t have to ask them all, but I even teach people to have a document where you have the questions right there because they will answer your questions.
If you frame up the meeting properly and the tone is right, they will probably answer anything because they see you as a possible solution to a problem. The idea where we go in and wing it and if, “I meant to ask that question, but I forgot. How can I be so stupid?” If you have them all written out and documented and then you have it in front of you, they’re not going to say, “Wait a minute.”
I always say that when the captain of the airline takes off before they do, they have a checklist and they go through the checklist every time. They don’t say, “We made it in from Denver. We’re going to La Jolla. Screw it.” It’s no every time. That’s an important element, too. You, CEOs should ask your salespeople or VPs of Sales, “Document the library of questions that we ask our prospects.” If they can’t do it, they got a problem. They’re not asking the right questions.
It’s an excellent point. When I see the pilot with the checklist and the copilot with the checklist, I’m like, “Thank goodness.”
As opposed to him putting it through the shredder.
“Let’s go to 33,000 feet and let’s see how this works.” Be prepared. Come with a list of questions and if I pulled out a list of questions and a notepad, say, “I’d like to take some notes. I wrote down some questions for our meeting,” I’ve never had a business owner or a CEO in all the years I’ve been selling go, “No, this meeting’s over.”
They respect that. That’s part of that vibe. That’s part of that vibration. I always say that if the CEO or whomever you’re calling on feels like they’re in good hands with you, they will be much more forthcoming with information than if they think they’re being called on by an amateur. Being in good hands, part of that is, “I have a plan. I have the questions here.”
I know that your audience is primarily CEOs because that’s the name of the shows. CEOs need to also keep in mind that this world has changed a little bit from the, “Let’s show up and ask a bunch of questions.” We need to be more digital in how we approach prospects. Here’s an example. Let’s say I’m on a call with somebody or they email me and say, “I’ve heard about your work from Doug Brown. “I want to talk to you.”
I will always send a calendar invite for a discussion, but I’ll also send a video talking about some of my philosophies because if our philosophies are a skew toward each other, it’s not going to work. I can’t tell you how many times people have said, “I watched the video, I watch most of it. It was helpful. Here’s what I’m looking to do.” It’s almost like that’s half the sales call and yet CEOs and VPs of sales, too, we don’t think digital enough, not nearly enough. How people consume information is on their phones. If we can’t give them something to consume prior to a meeting, we’re selling ourselves and selling them short. That’s my tip for the day.
I love that because it’s pre-framing and positioning the meeting, but it’s also qualifying. They’re going to qualify themselves in or out. Who wants to waste 6 meetings or 8 meetings a week on somebody who’s like “Nah.” You booked in half an hour, an hour each, and you lose 6 or 8 hours of your time because you got some prep time and uptime and downtime. That is a brilliant strategy. I agree 100%. When my clients, the ones we’re supporting on the sales side, on bringing commission-only teams to them, we’re doing this prior to because I can see a difference in the close rate by doing this upfront. It’s a lot fairer to the person that we’re going to be speaking with.
It’s a courtesy. Think of it as your intention is to find the problem. Eventually, it’s a courtesy to share with them how you conduct yourself. if you conduct yourself while on video, you’re 80% of the way home. It doesn’t have to be video but a video is a good medium for that. You’ve got to script it, write it, and shoot it. Once you shoot it, you’re not doing one for each prospect. You’re doing one that foretells what’s going to happen on the call.
You can use that for everybody. I agree. I’m glad you’re doing it. We have to get into the modern age here. A lot of sales organizations are still pounding out cold calls, not sending anything up front, trying to work their magic with their moves, and their one-liners and all that stuff. That ship sailed years ago. It sailed after 2020, what we went through.
I’ve seen statistics that show that sending a video and an email upfront prior to the cold call has increased above 40 the acceptance rate of taking that phone call.
That’s before the phone call?
Even before the phone call. If you do that after the phone call on top of this, we’re creating engagement. The more engagement we create, the more people go, “Yes. That makes sense.” They’re getting into yes states. The more yes states we can get them into, the more that we’re going to bond as human beings and that effective communication that you were talking about, putting the call intent, detaching, setting the tone, and being prepared.
I wrote down another one which is consistent process. If we carry them through a consistent process, position them upfront using digital, and qualify it all, people are going to have a much better effective conversation that leads to conversion in increasing sales revenue, just from the things we’re talking about here.
If you take that 40% and add another 20% to it for the post-call video or whatever, you take that extrapolate that over a year of all your sales team, making hundreds, if not thousands of calls, that is pure profit. Saying no to that and saying, “We don’t need video,” is a fool’s game. You’re giving up money that goes straight to the bottom line. I like your statistics. I believe them. You have to go implement. You got to go execute.
Bill, if somebody is reading and they go, ”This guy’s brilliant. I want to get ahold of him,” what’s the best way?
Unlikely they’ll say that, but if they do want to consume more, go to BillCaskey.com. I’ve got two podcasts, The Advanced Selling Podcast, and also the Bill Caskey Podcast. I’ve got a lot of free stuff there. If you want to get ahold of me, the calendar is there. You can book a call and we can chat about your team. I appreciate you inviting me on. It’s good. I feel like we’re simpatico on a lot of things here revolving around sales, process, and mindset. It’s been a real joy to be with you.
Thanks, Bill. Once again, thanks for being on the show. I’m grateful you came here, and the readers are too.
All the best.
I’ve got a whole page of notes here to share with you, guys. This has been an amazing show. Bill and I have similar philosophies on and around what sales success is and how to get there. Part of that process is our mind. Believe it or not, our belief systems, the way we frame things, the way we value things, and the value and beliefs that we have will determine our communication levels. I love the rules that we came up with.
Bill did a great job. The first one is setting the tone. It’s about laying out the agenda. It’s important to do this because if you do not lay out an agenda, the person you’re communicating with, especially in a business situation, is going to lay out an agenda in their own mind. You’re not going to know that part of the script that they have in their head. The reality is they’re going to start asking you questions and they’re going to start bringing you down a path.
If you can show that you are a professional and that you should be here in front of them, no matter what level they’re at, then they’re going to respect that. They’re going to give you that respect, in most cases, to follow the agenda, unless the agenda is not something that’s making sense to them. Set that call intent right up front with the right intent. That right intent is win-win selling. That right intent is, “I’m going to help this person solve a problem and gain an opportunity.”
If it’s a problem or an opportunity, talk about the big ones. Talk about the big opportunities, the big problems they’re having. Don’t solve a $50 problem. Solve a $5 million problem. Whatever size company you’re talking to, that could be $5 billion. That could be $50,000, whatever level it is, but have the right intent to serve these people.
Detach from the outcome. I can tell you personally when I was especially working in corporate sales or any type of sales job, the months that I would blow out quota or the annual quota knockout that I used to do, at one time, I was outselling teams of nine on quota on my personal. I was doing more than nine people. I can guarantee that I was detaching from the outcome. I had a no-expectation strategy going in. I just played win-win. This is what we want to do.
Be prepared. What does that mean? Do your research. Have some knowledge about this person. Don’t go talk about the fish on the wall. They’re not interested in that unless they bring it up. Be prepared with questions that are going to allow you to follow that process that you’re doing, that continuation of the intent in setting the frame.
It’s okay to have questions in front of you. It’s okay to take notes. They’re going to think you’re more professional doing that. You must have a process around everything you’re doing. This includes follow-up and everything else. If you haven’t set a process out, write it down. If you’re the owner or the CEO of the company and your sales team doesn’t have a process, you’re dropping sales all over the place. I guarantee you, just on the follow-up alone, you’re probably losing 80% of the sales that would’ve happened without having the follow-up in place.
The next thing is digital strategy. Bill brought this up. Send out a digital strategy ahead of time. Send out a video. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out video, 3 minutes tops or 5. Something short can be 2 to 3 minutes long. People will watch it. If it’s too long, they may not watch it all. The reality is they’re bonding with you when they’re doing this. It’s positioning. It’s telling them, “Do they want the meeting or not?“
It’s a qualification tool. Why spend time with somebody who is never going to buy? Here’s the thing about the video that Bill and I didn’t talk about, but I wrote down afterward. It’s got to be retold. In other words, that video should be something that if somebody took that video to someone else, it conveys the exact intent and the exact information that you want that decision maker to hear. Sometimes you might miss on the influencer side. That’s okay. You get talking to influencers and you think they’re the decision-makers, but give them something that is re-tellable.
In other words, if they bring it to someone else, it’s coming from the first party, from you, not from them because otherwise, they’ll be telling the story about the favorite movie they saw and you go see the movie and you’re like, “I didn’t hear this. I see this but that wasn’t what I heard.” That’s what happens when we do tribal training, passing it down from human to human. We get a degradation many times in the story. Sometimes the story shows that the hero is the villain or the villain is the hero. We want to have clear information going by. That does it.
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