What exactly is sales and why do a lot of small business owners shy away from it? In today’s episode, Terri Levine talks to Carl Utter, the Founder of Carl’s Way Works, a coaching system that provides online and offline coaching programs, sales, and client acquisition training. Carl talks about their client-centric approach and clarifies what selling and marketing are truly about and why the former can be considered as obsolete. Learn more about Carl’s method of selling and growing a company in this episode.
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Client-Centric Selling With Carl Utter
Carl Utter is a sales trainer. He has a client-centric sales program. Carl, welcome to our show.
It is good to be here, Sam.
Sale, that’s a four-letter word and a lot of small business owners shy away from it. What can you tell us about sales?
It’s one of the three core parts of owning a business. In other words, a business only has three tasks. They have to find clients, they have to satisfy those clients and they continually have to update and upgrade how they find and satisfy clients, which is innovation. Sales and marketing are at the core of any growing business.
How do you help people get over that hurdle of sales? Many times, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs and there’s a little bit of hesitancy of either, “I can’t sell or I don’t want to sell.”To be in business today is more expensive than ever. Click To Tweet
That’s right, I see that as well. It’s one of the things that they have to get past as a business owner. If you don’t, then you’re not going to drive revenue. To be in business, it’s more expensive than ever. The only way to offset those costs is to increase revenue. Sales has got to become a major focus or they have to hire somebody. What we do is we start with the business owner, whether it’s a solo entrepreneur or a small business owner that maybe has someone that they want to groom. We give them a structured approach to selling. A lot of people think telling is selling. What we teach is that if you’re talking, they’re going to send you walking. It means what we want to do is take these business owners and give them a very structured approach to have a meaningful conversation that first and foremost qualifies your prospect. Is this an ideal prospect for you? Is this a tire kicker that’s going to use you for information then move on? The first thing we want to do is determine, these people that you’re talking to, are they a legitimate process? Do they meet your criteria? If yes, how do we structure a conversation that allows the prospect to discover that what they need most is what you do best? That’s exactly what we teach entrepreneurs.
The Client-Centric approach that you are talking about, we’re going to discover what the qualifications are to be our client, and then we’re going to have a structured conversation to find out more about their needs or how we fit together?
It’s how we fit together. One of the things that I always say is selling is an antiquated behavior. That old school of getting in front of people, telling them what we do, that’s an antique. What we want to do is get in front of people. We want to develop a deeper bond with them, deeper rapport. We want to build a rapport. We call it bonding and rapport. If you’re a salesperson, you’ve heard this concept before. If you’re a business owner and you’re trying to grow your business, you’re trying to find clients, that may not be a term you’re familiar with. All it says is that people buy from people they know, like and trust. What we teach first and foremost is that let’s take all that knowledge you have about what you do. Let’s get that out of your head. Let’s forget about that. Let’s remember, we’re selling to another human being. Let’s focus on relationships first. The more someone likes you, the more they trust you.
The way we do that is to create that internal state in the buyer called to know, like and trust. It starts there. From there, what we want to do is understand what are the challenges they’re having? How our solution helps them solve that challenge? We want to withhold that presentation a little bit. We don’t want to jump into telling them what we can do. We want to find out does this potential client has a compelling reason to spend money and solve a problem with you? That’s at the heart of Client-Centric Selling. Everything we do is always about the prospect and for the prospect.
Sometimes, what makes the most sense is for the prospect to seek services elsewhere. What we want to uncover is that match or that fit that you referenced between, “What does Sam need most fit what I do best?” If that’s the case, then we have a good match. We want to move that down through the conversation. The first step is we want to create that deep sense of know, like and trust. We want to uncover, “Does the prospect have a compelling reason to spend their money to solve this problem?” If so, how do we position ourselves as the best fit for them?
We have to figure out the trust, figure out what their compelling reason enough to move them, then position services. Let’s go back to basics because this is where some of the misconceptions start. Selling is not telling. It is about establishing rapport and trust. How do we get to that first step? I think once the first step is done, the other two fall into place in a conversation.
What we teach is that the more someone likes you, the better able you are to set up favorable selling conditions. The better you are at getting favorable selling conditions, the better you’ll be at getting good, compelling reasons to move forward with you. The better you are at that, the better you’ll be at getting money, getting paid for what you do. How do you do that? Stephen Covey coined this phrase, “Seek first to understand.” Put first things first and prioritizing, our first mission is to seek to understand. Where people get tripped up is that they go out into the marketplace with the belief system that we have to make people understand what we do.
It’s all about forming messages. Marketing teachers, we formulate messages around our offering and we say, “This isn’t marketing. Marketing is finding people to sell, selling to people you find.” How we do that is by building that know, like and trust through finding that common ground. Where is that common ground? Do our kids play in the same Little League system? Do you have grandkids? I have grandkids. What do we have in common? It’s that commonality. Human beings seek commonality.
We get to know them on a human level. I always say, “What kind of conversation would you have if you met him at a dinner party?” It is not like, “Here’s my business card. Here’s what I can do for you. Where do you live?”Selling is an antiquated behavior. Click To Tweet
Sometimes it’s awkward in a business situation to do that. I feel bad because a lot of entrepreneurs are very good at what they do. I’ll never forget. I met a gentleman in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. He ran a software firm. He’s still a good friend of mine but when we met Walt, his company was hemorrhaging money to the point where he was going into his personal savings to the tune of about $28,000 a month in order to keep his business afloat. It was all because he was smart, good and knowledgeable about what he did. That’s all he had. That’s what he led with. Once we were able to give him a structure to follow a Client-Centric structure, sales took off to the point where he doesn’t have to sell anymore. He has somebody go out to do it. We had to teach him to get past his discomfort with sales and get past that need to be telling people what they should be doing.
Once we’ve got that trust and that rapport, do we go into the presentation right away? Does that nature of that relationship need to be nurtured a bit?
We think it needs two steps. The next step is once we have that know, like and trust, the way to speed up your sales is to slow down the sales call. The way to shorten your sales cycle is to lengthen your sales call. We don’t want to rush into what I call premature presentation. What we want to do instead is to understand the problem from three perspectives. What’s the problem? What’s the cause of that problem? What’s the impact of that problem? Does it hurt enough to spend what it’s going to take to solve it? That’s the conversation that takes place inside of Client-Centric Selling.
We want to know about the problem, “Tell me a little bit more about that. When did it start? When did you first notice it? What have you done to try and fix it? Obviously, you’re talking to me so it hasn’t worked. Why do you think the approaches you’ve taken haven’t worked yet? Could it be because of this? Could it be because of that?” One of the things I do when I’m on a sales call is you go out and you have these conversations with people and they go dark, “Could it be that you didn’t gain commitment when you were on the sales call?” “I think that’s probably it.” “Did you not do that because you’re uncomfortable or you didn’t know how to do it?” What we want to do is start asking some questions maybe the prospect doesn’t know the answer to and then offer up some possibilities, which fits what we do best.
Is it painful enough for them to commit some money to it because many people are overweight, but I won’t pay for a gym or short driving out there? Finding out that thing is fascinating. I feel like our readers would want more in-depth information. How can they find out more about you?
There are a couple of ways you can do that. I am the author of How to Become the 800LB Gorilla: 90 Days to Get More Leads, Outsell, Outperform Your Competition and Put More Money In Your Pocket. That’s available on our website, which is CarlsWayWorks.com. I also offer this in an introductory masterclass, which is free. People can get on it and see what we teach. What we know is that companies that are high performing have an organized and structured approach to sales. What we want to create are entrepreneurs that have high-performing sales organizations, whether it’s them or they have a team.
This has been helpful, especially getting that Client-Centric approach for heart-centric heartrepreneurs, How To Become The 800LB Gorilla in the room. Carl, what one thought do you want to leave our readers with?
Sales is not about personality, it’s about structure. It’s about having a system. I’ve taken engineers that hate selling. They said they could never be trained to sell. We trained them to sell at a very high level. Why? We gave them a step-by-step system. If they follow the system, the system works. If you don’t get your system from me, get it from somebody but get a system.
You can find out more about Carl on CarlsWayWorks.com. I am Sam Mak, your guest host. You can connect with me and Carl on Facebook at #Heartrepreneurs with Terri Levine. Find out more about diversity and inclusion consulting at www.SpeakerAuthorMotivator.com.
- Carl Utter
- #Heartrepreneurs with Terri Levine – Facebook
About Carl Utter
Founder of The Carl’s Way Works coaching (2014 to Present)
Founded Training Group Inc. and owner of Carl’s Way Works Coaching Systems providing online and offline Business experience I have provided business performance coaching programs, sales and client acquisition training. During the past 18 years of real entrepreneurial business coaching, sales training and sales force development consulting.
I have written and developed numerous programs like “Client Centric Selling”, “5 Ways to Double Your Business Without Making Cold Calls”, and “How to Become the 800lb Gorilla Nobody Wants to Compete Schedule Your Client Strategy Session” Today!
+1 (610) 715-8000
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