The Art and Science of Virtual Selling with Steve Brossman
Mark Raffan: Welcome to the Negotiations Ninja Podcast, where we develop and deliver the most engaging negotiation content and training in the world. We host negotiation experts, business people and entrepreneurs, and discuss what works, what doesn't work and how we can improve our negotiation skills. Hello, Negotiations Ninja listeners. Welcome to this incredible interview, where we talk to Mr. Steve Brossman. Steve is an amazing and incredible sales coach. He's a former national professional track champion and he understands what it takes to be able to compete. He's also an Amazon best- selling author for Marketing And Sales. And in today's interview, we talk all about the art and science of virtual selling. This is a phenomenon that has affected all of us. We now can't meet with a lot of our prospects in person, so we've got to meet virtually. So, what is the art and science of taking things virtual? How do we do that? We also talk about how to increase buying energy, before a call and the DNQC conversation flow, which is something that I will leave up to Steve to be able to explain it. It is fascinating, I really enjoyed this conversation with Steve Brossman. Steve, we're here. Welcome. How are you?
Steve Brossman: Well, absolutely brilliant, thank you. I was just saying off camera, it's Spring over here in Australia, and now the sun is up and it's a great day. So, I've seen the future, I know what tomorrow looks like for you guys, and it's going to be a great day.
Mark Raffan: It's a good feeling for me, man. I'm glad that tomorrow's going to be an amazing day. I'm happy to hear it. For the listeners who don't know about you and don't know what you do, maybe you could tell them who you are and what you do.
Steve Brossman: Look, I've got a long career in business. And I never meant to get into business, I was a professional track athlete, training for the Olympics, broke my back, and you don't run real fast with a broken back. But, fell in love with the fitness industry and I thought," I could do this." And so, I was an arrogant young guy back then. I thought I could, but I wanted to do it differently, and I did. And we end up setting up programs, franchised into multiple countries, multiple programs. And from that base way back in 1983, I've been building and building and building to where we've got to now. Had a fairly lengthy career in and out of television, hosted and produced a network TV show, exec producer for Warner Brothers, but all the way along, had been gathering information from really good people, developing things that are new and innovative and getting to the point right now of helping people with their virtual selling, because everybody knows the last couple of years, we're not so much face- to- face. And with all the things that I've gathered over the last few years, I've been able to help a lot of people specifically on that. So, that's the short route to where we are right now.
Mark Raffan: Amazing. I find this very fortuitous. The timing of this is perfect, because there are a lot of people that were coming out of lockdown and they are like," Hey, this is great," and then immediately back into it again, and they're like," Oh, this sucks." And so, they're still trying to find new ways to be innovative and find new ways to sell online and find new ways to sell virtually between people, whether it's on a Zoom call, Teams call, whatever you're using to be able to have those conversations. And one of the interesting things that I like about what you talk about, is something called Buying Energy. And I feel, it's something that's desperately needed over virtual selling. So, maybe you could explain to the listeners, what is Buying Energy, and how do we use it?
Steve Brossman: Well, take a step back. And for the last 10 years, I've been working with people on their authority positioning, their getting out there and being seen, the videos, books, and speaking, all of those things. But, the last seven years, all the people that do my program say," Steve, this is the best sales training I've ever done." I said," But, I'm not a sales trainer." I've never wanted to be seen as a sales trainer, because I never wanted to be one of those guys that are perceived as the slick back hair, mustache, and the old car salesman's route. But, what we do is, as exactly what you said, is focus on increasing the buying energy from the minute they see people, and going back to positioning yourself. And we talk about the Brown Box Syndrome, we had a discussion on this earlier. A Brown Box is somebody that calls themselves by their title, their occupation, or their category. Whether, they're a coach, a consultant, an SAS provider, an advisor, a broker, they're Brown Boxes, because they're titled by the same as everybody else, they're sitting on the brown boxes on the same shelf as everybody else, but it's not until they unwrap it, that they see gold inside. And quite often, they're just judged and based on price. Now, nobody has excitement, or buying energy talking to another consultant coach, or whatever your profession is, so the buying energy is low. When you position yourself uniquely as a leader and authority in your particular market, and that may just be by creating your system within the systems, then the buying energy is elevated right back at the beginning. And you know the Jerry Maguire saying," You had me at hello." So, that's the first part of it, is just, how do we start the conversation by you being seen as a leader and an authority? And normally, the next step is, if I want to do some work with you, I pick you out, we contact and I qualify you,"Are you the right person for me to sell to you?" Now, that does nothing for my buying energy whatsoever. It was like," Okay, well, you're about to sell to me." whereas we talk about cultivating, not qualifying.
Mark Raffan: Mm.
Steve Brossman: And that's giving some good information. I think people with a whole heap of what they say, content," Oh, we have a seven email follow up sequence before we talk to them." They're not going to read it. And then. We're not going to read stuff about you, but how do we create that relationship? Now, when we do things, it's all about, how do we get that relationship? And how do we create that addictive personality? And that's being able to manipulate. And I will use the word manipulate, what we call the happy hormones. The serotonin, oxytocin, we go on. But, how do we get people to look at a video? Not just an instruction video about me, but" Hey, this guy, or this company, they've got a good personality. I feel like spending more time with them." Because, you go to a coffee shop, when we were allowed to. Go to a coffee shop and the barista there, or the waitress there just makes you feel good. And you want to go back over and over again. We want them to develop that feeling even before you get on camera and be able to talk to them. And the last bit that we teach, we're elevating that relationship and prior, well, there's two parts. And I'm sure many of your people would call their next call, a discovery call, or a strategy call, or a free, no obligation business health check, or whatever it is, or a presentation. Then, everybody knows that's a pitch. It's going to be a pitch. Where we turn things around and say,"How can we get the next step enticing, perceived to be high value?" Now, I work with professionals and organizations and some of the calls that I help people with and say," Well, would you like to book in for a, or click here for a prominence and persuasion review? How you are standing out in the marketplace and attracting the right people, and what is your sales process?" Now, that seems to be some value, not a discovery call where I'm going to sit on my credit card, or the company credit card before we get started. So, that's the process of increasing the buying energy. And the last bit, which has been a real killer, and I've been using it for over 10 years, is what we call a direct communication video. Very simple. And let's just say you are a professional coming to me for increasing your positioning and bettering your sales. And you've booked in." Hey Mark, Steve here. See, you've grabbed a call, wait to chat. I've had a look at your website, had a look at your LinkedIn profile. I've got some fantastic ideas that I'm going to share with you. I'm really excited to talk to you. I'll see you Friday." Now, here's the question though. What ratio of no- shows do people have when they're just booking, booking, booking, booking? Versus, what do you think that would do for people?
Mark Raffan: I have no deal with the ratio would be, what is it?
Steve Brossman: I've had a lot of people say that they have at least 30, 35% no- show, just don't turn up. I've had one person not show up, one company not show up in seven years.
Mark Raffan: Whoa.
Steve Brossman: I've had one group rebook a free call. Damn it, it's a discovery call, it's a sales call. But, because they perceive the value and they've seen the videos and they already had a relationship, they re- booked and apologized three times just to get a free call. They end up buying, which is great. But, the buying energy along the way sets the tone of how the conversation starts. Now, when you book a discovery call, a strategy call where it is perceived, it's going to be a pitch, buying energy drops 37%, where you go through the cultivation, they're getting on the call, excited to talk to you. And that's a massive, massive difference.
Mark Raffan: So then, my question naturally becomes, how do you teach people to cultivate that buying energy?
Steve Brossman: The easiest and the shortest way is, what is it that we need to get them to A, know, and B, feel. Because, I've got a thought process, that somebody makes three investments, when they're buying from you, ETM. Emotion, the first email, the first part of a video, the first part of anything, the copywriters will tell you the headline is to get their attention, sure. But, it's also to stimulate some emotion. Now, a lot of people say we're in B to be, it's not emotional. Rubbish, it's emotional. It's whether," Yeah, you're going to help me build my business, you're actually going to help save time." Somewhere, the connection, is because the pain of whatever's going wrong has gotten great enough for them to reach out and do something about it. And that's in business and that's impersonal. I do most of my work for people that have B, to be. So, the pain has got it. And that's an emotional pain, backed up by," Here's all the stats, the logic." So, what is it that we need you to feel? It is," Yes, you're an authority. There's some trust." You got to build the videos. There's the like, the no like, and trust factor, that is crucial. But, you can build that even before you talk to people. So, the suggestion is, whoever the sales person is going to be, they're going to need to show some of their personality, represent the company as a leader and an authority in their particular market and be able to connect and communicate that in a very clear, concise, and compelling way, so that, yeah, instead of being bombarded with lots of, about us emails, it's about you. I've been doing some great cognitive neuroscience research with companies over there. And the changing of the language of," We do this, we will work with you. Let's put our arm around you as a we." That basically, gets results less than 27% of those who it's all about," When you implement this, when we do this with you and your results will be," it goes up higher. So, it's the," I'm going to show empathy and care about the results that you are going to get." Not," I'm going to show how good we are and why we're better than our competition."
Mark Raffan: Mm. So, let's say you go through this process, you build up the buying energy, you get the sales call, you book the meeting. Something that you talk about, is moving from pitching to collaborating and confirming. What do you mean by that?
Steve Brossman: If we are doing virtual, the statistics are, it actually went from 65 up to 83%, over the last two years. 83% of people on a virtual call are multi- tasking.
Mark Raffan: Yes. We know that. And we see it all the time in my training.
Steve Brossman: Yup, you've got it. So, it's a matter of, if I'm presenting to you, I'm sharing with you probably, a set of slides, maybe a video, that I've shared with multiple other people and they know that and it's like," Yeah, there's a slide. Just check this email. There's a slide. Yup, I got a bit on my phone." So, if you are just presenting at them, they're doing their multi- tasking. When you are collaborating with them, it's harder for them to leave. And in a very visual world, one of the things that I use and we go through the three B's, the big picture is the three B's. Be the price, don't be the same as everybody else. Be the price, be the person that they want to work with. And that's part of the flow that we just discussed. The next thing is build the buying energy, which we've been talking about. But, the last B, is the Blueprint Conversion System. Have a schematic, have a blueprint, that is not just what you do and how you do it. But, how you work with your customers, clients, in a way that you can annotate on and write down and collaborate on some of the results. And we say," Mark, with our system, our software, or whatever I'm selling with you, you mentioned that you're having a problem with this. Part of our software does this. Now, if we were to implement that into your system, what would that mean in times of hours? Say, per person." All that's going to say, is much great." Okay. Well, what's their rough, hourly rate? How many hours, per month?" So, that's actually going to save you an extra 12,500 per month and you'd annotate. You'd write that down. So, that's the big thing to be able to- crosstalk.
Mark Raffan: Write it down on the screen, while you're talking-
Steve Brossman: Write it down on the screen. One of the biggest things, I've actually been doing it since you were physically able to do it, even back in Skype days, and share a screen. When you annotate, things are moving on the screen. Right back to our native days. If it moved, you've got to look at it. Is it going to kill mem or am I going to eat it? So, when there's movement, it draws you in and it gets your attention. When you are annotating, it's individualizing and collaborating on the presentation for them. And I've got a saying," When they're involved, they invest." So, when you're collaborating and we go from, and I call them pit stops, in your mind and your research before the negotiation, I've worked out Mark, that our product, and from what you've said in our pre- chat, is going to solve about three or four of your issues. Now, your blueprint may have 20 different parts to it, but we're only going to stop on those three, or four. So, Mark, also, from what you've said, this happens, a part of our system, this does this. If we were to implement this into your business, what would it mean? What would the returns mean? And it only boils down to one of three things. Save time, save money, make money. Ah, let's annotate that. And if your listenings are anywhere near a pen and paper, or typing something, if they could just write down DNQC. This is-
Mark Raffan: DNQC.
Steve Brossman: Yup. And I'll go through exactly what it is. And they will see this as a breakthrough in language sequencing. Now, again, with the research that I only got four weeks ago, it gives a greater return by over 21%. Now, D is data, or demonstrate. That's easy. People know, I'm going to give you some information, or I found some information, I'm going to give some information back. And that's when most people stop, or they'll keep going, or they'll just ask a question. But then, create an end, is the narrative. A story, a case study. And so," Yeah, we're implementing this and yeah, Mark, we're just working with somebody the other day that had the same situation, did this and we generated this amount of value return." So, data, or demonstrate, turn it into a narrative, because we resonate with stories. 60 second story, Q is quantified. And that's what I was just doing with you. Quantify the value of you putting this system in. And then, the C is confirm. Confirm that yes, from what you've said, this is the right value. But, one of the things that you can do on each of the spots around the blueprint, is confirm the priority. Wow, from what you've said here, and if we put this system in, that's going to save you an extra 24 hours per week,$ 37,000 per month. That's got to be a priority to get that fixed, hasn't it, Mark? Yeah, that's good. Great, fantastic. I probably write it down, move on. So, when we get the end of the blueprint, and the discussion, we add up all the value pit stops. So, we say," Hey Mark, by the look of it, if we put, whatever's going to be called, our system into your system, into your business, by the look of it, we're going to generate an extra X tens of thousands of dollars here, save you time. Above all, it's going to create less stress and the business is going to get to where you really want it to get to." I just got to ask a simple question mate, does it make sense where you get started on this sooner, rather than later? Because, you're selling the value of implementing it, not the contents of the system. Now, I know we're here and we talking about negotiations. So, let's just say I've got a product that we've just demonstrated that it's going to generate an extra$ 100,000 a month. My top price, that I want for it, maybe$ 10,000 a month, you go in hard at that. I've just given you$ 100,000 to pay for it per month. You go in hard, you go in high and you go in first, because you are only going to pay this out of profits. I've given you the money to pay for me, instead of letting them start at a low ball. And then, you try and bring them back up. They will feel embarrassed about low balling, because you are going to give me$ 100,000. And I think I'm only going to want to pay two grand for that? Getting paid out of the profits that you're going to deliver, or whatever the system, works. And it's a different way of selling the outcomes, not the inputs.
Mark Raffan: Hey listeners, I want to tell you about another company that I run called Content Call Out. It is a thought leadership, brand marketing company. Now, what does that mean? It means that we take you as an executive, or entrepreneur, a leader of a small, or a medium sized business, and we turn you into a thought leader online. We take your personal brand and we amp it up to 11, so that you can lead with confidence, knowing that people will recognize you, recognize your brand and recognize your business, because of the thought leadership approach that you've taken on social media, through content creation and content distribution, as well as engaging with all of your following online. How do you get involved in this? Easy, easy, easy. Just go to contentcallout. com/ get started. And you will see there three different options that will allow you to take your thought leadership brand for yourself and for your business, to the next level. We are super excited to talk to you about this. We've seen some massive growth with the businesses that we've been working with. Very, very exciting time for us. Look at that. We appreciate it. Now, back to your show. What I find where most salespeople get hung up, is I think, at least in the enterprise world, they do an okay job on the data piece. They do an okay job at the narrative, right? So, they can say," Hey, 63% of people who do this, do this. In fact, we had a story with Jim. Jim was a person just like you, who blah, blah, blah." Right? They got the data piece, they've got the narrative, but then that's where it all falls apart. They don't quantify and they don't confirm. So, can you maybe dive into quantify and what you mean by quantify, because that's where it all should tie together.
Steve Brossman: Yeah. And I'll take a slight deviation to show how to come back to it. And the old saying that I have is," What is the best way to get people on the same page as you?" And you'll come back, and every salesperson will come back with all of the different ways, the right questions and the rapport. The best way to get somebody on the same page as you, is have a page to get on. So, when we have the visual one page blueprint, that is a schematic of how all this fits together, and then you are collaborating and annotating on it. It's a matter of identifying, again, what I call the value pit stops. Where I know, from what you've have said, or research what your pains are in your business. And if it's automation and efficiency software, I've just done some work with a SAS provider that works in finance. And they were just basically pitching," Here is what it is, that's it." Instead of, sitting with them, having their blueprint, this is how it works. Now, you are doing all this yourself, you're doing it all in house. If we were to take this off, how many hours per, we be saving you? Great, okay. Now, on that, how much are those worth? We'd actually quantify, what is going to happen once they're put it in. Then say," Well, we take those people off doing the$ 25 an hour work. They're really going to be doing more of the$ 100 an hour work and we build it. Now, the collaboration on that is directing them, but them using their numbers. The power of that, is it's very hard for them to say no at the end.
Mark Raffan: Right. Because, they've given you the evidence.
Steve Brossman: Yup. When you collaborate... Now, I talk about three different levels of influence. The lowest, but the most common used, is the imposed influence. And that's the presentation. I am imposing all of this information onto you. I'm imposing that we are good, onto you. And a lot of people say," Well, if you give them enough good quality information, they will make an informed decision." No, you don't want that. You want to collaborate on a solution. Co- create the solution. Back them into a corner, that you are going to provide value significantly greater than their potential investment, in a way that it's harder to say no. So, I built a relationship with you before we've got on the call, your thought. A, the company's cool, the person I'm looking forward to spending time, we've got a relationship and you've put money in my pocket, with the numbers that I've given you. That's going to be hard to say no.
Mark Raffan: Yup.
Steve Brossman: If you have been in a personal relationship and it's a good relationship and we've built it up, it's highly unlikely for you to say," Honey, you know what? I'm going to go and be with the person down the road. They're the same as everybody else. We really don't have a good relationship, but I think I might go there and explore that." Versus," Hey, we've got a great relationship." You want to create that relationship, deliver value in advance, with their numbers. That makes them harder to say no, to break that relationship. Because, if you work on, the serotonin and oxytocin, mind endorphins, you work on that and have the personality that," Yeah, I really like that. I'm feeling good." Because, that's a chemical reaction. And to take that away, is taking a drug away. A lot of people don't think of it that way, is when you take that," Hey, I feel good working with this person. I've just got that feeling." Then, that is a significant part of it, as well as the numbers. I'm not discounting the numbers, they've got to add up. But, it's also," Yeah, if I'm enjoying, I trust, then it's a better place to be in."
Mark Raffan: I want to get into a bit of the nitty gritty around the tech conversation. When you're annotating on the screen, do you have a preference on how you would write it, or what you would use? Or, if it's a PowerPoint presentation, how do you make that look neat? Or, does it matter?
Steve Brossman: It actually doesn't matter. My scribble looks like a mess. However, it's clean enough and clear enough and I make it clear enough and clean enough, so that if they need to go and talk to somebody else. Now, that happens over and over again in negotiations. So, it's just on another training module and they were saying," Well, hey listen here, we've got to take it to here. We couldn't get everybody on the call." When you have got your blueprint, and when you've got it annotated... And I did one the other day for somebody doing my personal high level champions comp program. And we'd annotated, we'd worked out all the things that were going to happen with him and his company. And I said," Look, I know that$ 25,000 in a program is a significant investment. And I expect you to want to have a discussion with your wife." I said," Yeah, go and talk to her. Would it be helpful if I send this blueprint over, so you could share with her the value and the results that we are going to get when we work together?" So, instead of him, and instead of companies going," Look, here's this presentation, here's some of the things that they said." And you've done a presentation and you've collaborated on the blueprint with all of the significant value outcomes, it's easier for them to talk to." Oh yeah, that's right. And when we worked together on this, we worked out, that's going to be an extra 10, 000 a month. And when we work together on this and this whole system, when put into our business, it looks like it's going to generate all of this." You are going to be the only ones that collaborate on that one sheet and have them all add up. So, you annotate. And PowerPoint is the easiest thing to work with, because all you need, you can do it on Mac and you can do it on an iPad. I just have a very simple graphic tablet, USB into the computer and a pen. So, when the PowerPoint comes up, I write on it. If I need to, I save it, send it off. Giving them the ammunition to sell to the other people. A, you'll have authority positioning. The others don't want to do that, they'll just say," We're good." B, you'll have a blueprint and a system to deliver whatever it is, your service, your software. Most of the other people won't have it done that way. And the way that you present it back to the rest of the group, the hierarchy, the board, is here's what we're going to put back in our bank account, when we work with this company. Instead of, here's all the things that their software does and unless they're in the tech, or come from the tech, that'll go over their head, but they'll be able to bank the values on the blueprint.
Mark Raffan: I love it. Very logical approach, but utilizing emotion along the way to reinforce all the logic that goes with it. It's brilliant. Now, my guess is that there are going to be people out there who are going to want to reach out to you after this and follow you online. How do they do that?
Steve Brossman: Well, there's two things. I've actually written and I write back pocket guides. The Back- Pocket Guide To The Art And The Science of Virtual Selling. We're probably going to have it in the notes. It's just very simple, stevebrossman. com/ bpgvslp. We'll have it in the show notes, I'm sure. Or, the easiest way, is I'm old school, I'm old- fashioned. If you want to reach out and talk to me, let's talk, just send me an email, steve @ stevebrossman. com, and then we'll work out whatever the next steps may be, that we could work together and help. One thing that you just said in market, it's going to take about a minute. And I didn't get to cover, because everybody says," People buy an emotion. They anchor it in logic." And a lot of people," Do I talk emotion? Do I talk logic? Do I talk emotion? Do I talk logic?" The great thing with the blueprint, is you can actually infuse both. When you do this in the buying energy, you're actually talking logic in an emotional way. And so, if we put that in, what effect would that have, that's quantifying, that's logical? And what would that mean to you? Within two sentences, you are swinging between logic and emotion in the same part, instead of thinking," Well, I'm going to do this part here and this part here." No, when you infuse the logic and emotion in the one set of sentences, the power is immense.
Mark Raffan: I really like it. Very, very cool. Love the system. And Steve, this has been a fascinating conversation. For the listers, just so that you know, we will link out to all of those resources in the show notes. Encourage you to follow Steve online. Steve, thank you for being here and sharing your wisdom.
Steve Brossman: Been an absolute blast, mate. I really look forward to helping your people with their better negotiations, and just opening the mind to a whole new way. Because, particularly virtually, the one last thing, is get camera- confident.
Mark Raffan: Mm.
Steve Brossman: Know how to connect with the people through the lens, because lack of camera confidence, is quite often perceived lack of product confidence.
Mark Raffan: Good advice. Great way to end off. Listeners, thank you so much for being here today. Hey friends, thanks so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with friends and colleagues, so that they can benefit from it as well. If you find Negotiations Ninja Podcast worthy, please go onto iTunes and give us a cool rating with a nice review. We certainly appreciate every single one that we get, because it helps us to understand who is listening, how they're listening and what it is they like. If there's something that you would like me to discuss around negotiation, influence, or persuasion, give me a shout. You know how to reach me on social media, or you can get me on my website, which is www. negotiations. ninja.
Selling has changed over the last few years. No longer can we depend on the face to face opportunities to build rapport and gain trust. Virtual is the new thing and we have to adapt if we are going to survive as sales professionals. My guest on this episode is Steve Brossman, a former National Professional Track Champion, so he knows what it takes to compete and win and he applies that experience and knowledge to his role as a leading Sales Coach.