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Author Allan Langer On Selling More By Selling Less – The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 24

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On this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, sales expert  and StoryBrand Guide Allan Langer shares his strategies for breaking away from the persona of a pushy used car salesman and selling more by selling less.

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Sales is one of the most critical aspects of a successful business. But what do you do when your team can’t seem to meet their quotas? And, as a salesperson, how can you close more deals during the crazy times we face today?

Allan had a natural approach to sales that has helped him excel in sales positions. For close to 30 years, he’s been a top-performing sales rep. He didn’t give much thought to his process. But when an employer told him he couldn’t help fellow reps get better at closing deals because what he had “wasn’t teachable,” he took it as a challenge. He put his process into words and turned it into a book, The Seven Secrets to Selling More by Selling Less

 

 

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Allan’s alternative approach to sales focuses not on a streamlined process but on people. After all, you’re selling to human beings, not robots. His seven strategies are essential techniques based on natural human behavior. They help salespeople understand why humans act the way we do so they can create a sales process that makes humans more comfortable. That, in turn, leads to more sales.

Another issue Allan believes salespeople struggle with is using too much logos in their strategy. While facts and statistics are great, people don’t make decisions based on logic alone. They need pathos: an emotional connection. He explains that you can do this through storytelling, empathy, and body language. Body language in particular can be a tricky thing to nail down, and it’s something he dives deeper into in his book because he understands the importance it plays in creating a friendly environment for customers.

COVID-19 has changed the sales landscape for most of us. Door-to-door sales and in-person meetings have suddenly become obsolete. Allan notes that just because you can’t sit in a room with someone doesn’t mean you can’t have a one-on-one conversation. With the right strategy, a Zoom meeting can feel just as (if not more) personal than a traditional in-office appointment.

Allan is currently working on another book that focuses on the fact that many salespeople struggle to feel comfortable with their job. He hopes this future book will help them see their role in a new light, embrace it, and feel proud of what they do. Your hard work helps keep the doors open, which helps countless other people provide for their families and do what they love.

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You can learn more about Allan here:
https://allanger.com/
Listen to Allan’s podcast: https://allanger.com/my-podcast
Read Allan’s book: The Seven Secrets to Selling More by Selling Less

Read the books referenced in this podcast:
Talk Like Ted  by Carmine Gallo 

Get your copy Steve Brown’s book, The Golden Toilet. Also available on Audiblefor free when you sign up for a 30-Day Trial Membership!

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Topics: Marketing, Podcasts, Story

Allan Langer : 

But then when you start telling stories about the copier machine, make a checkmark. And if you're and what I've found in the in the research that I've done is the majority of salespeople are almost 70%. Logos statistics, they concentrate on the features of the product, and not the emotion of what it's going to be like to own the product. It really has to be completely flipped on its head, you have to lead with emotion, figure out a way to tell a story about your product. Nobody gives a crap about the 27 features that your product has. They're only interested in one or two. That's what you got to find out.

Steve Brown : 

Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI online podcast where we believe you. The courageous entrepreneurs of our day are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion but you Make our world better. I'm Steve Brown. And this is a place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Welcome, Allan Langer to the ROI online podcast.

Allan Langer : 

Thank you, Steve. I'm really excited to be here.

Steve Brown : 

I learned about you I was listening to podcasts that Donald Miller was running. And that's where I learned about you. I listened to that interview. And, and of course, I went and bought your book and listen to it. I really enjoyed it. And I think we connected a lot on it some other areas, because recently, I published a book as well. And I address some of the topics not as in depth as you do. But I think they're things that need to be discussed. And so when I'm doing my research, and this is why everyone needs to know about you, is that this is not the seven secrets to selling more by selling Less is not the first book you've ever written. Actually, the first book you wrote was a story about dogs taking over the world.

Allan Langer : 

That is correct. And it was on yellow loose leaf paper. Yeah, when I was writing has always been my happy place I call it what what's make what makes my heart sing. I like to ask my kids that and when I'm coaching people I'm like, what makes your heart sing? Is this something you really enjoy doing? and writing has always been that way. And the very first story put on paper was this about dogs attacking the world and my mother God, God bless her and rest her soul. Everything I wrote was wonderful. Like, oh my god, this is amazing. It was like, I still have it actually. It's in it's in my file. And it's hilarious about you know, all I wrote because I'm, I think I was a 12 year old boy and all I'm writing about is don't ripping arms out of sockets and blood and guts and everything. It was hilarious. So yes, that was my first my first official story.

Steve Brown : 

So are you a cat person is is that is that what's going on?

Allan Langer : 

I'm a horror person. I'm a huge Stephen King fan, my favorite author ever. I've written, I don't know, probably 100 source stories than I would say 80 of them have something to do with horror or death or, you know, suspense or something like that. I like eliciting emotion from people. And horror is a good way to do that.

Steve Brown : 

Well, that's a that's a great segue to go in and talk about sales because most people would rather poke themselves in the eye than talk to a salesperson or actually call themselves a salesperson. And you talk about that a little bit that your your book the seven secrets to selling more by selling less, comes from a place where you are Like, everybody hates salespeople, and you wanted to write this wrong.

Allan Langer : 

Exactly, you know, as I went through my career and pretty much worked for like three main companies and my close to 30 years and every one of those companies and then have subsequently learned that majority of companies, they have the sales pitch that they train, you know, the people that they onboard, which is which is understandable, you need a training process, you need some sort of process, but the process was never about helping a customer or listening to a customer the process is always about making a sale. And consequently over the, you know, the last hundred years people hate meeting with salespeople, because it's all about the salesperson, it's all about, you know, let me make the sale and let me You know, they feeling like they're getting ripped off the classic car salesman, used car salesman persona. And I started to think like, that's the problem here. I go into a home or I go to meet someone they didn't want To meet with me to begin with, they're meeting with me because they actually have a problem to solve, but they're like, you know, like, oh, like they're dreading it. And that should not be the reason you know, a salesperson should be someone if you have a problem, I'd be excited to meet with someone who's going to solve it. But I'm like everyone else. I'm like, I gotta meet with a sales rep. Is he actually gonna listen to my problem? Is he actually gonna solve it? And and charge me a fair price for it, or am I going to get ripped off? So that's what I said, that was the genesis of the book, like, how do I change this? And that's how I started changing my sales approach as well is not selling. Forget about the sale. I never worried about the sale anymore. I always worried about am I going to help the customer solves the problem, which doesn't sound like rocket science, but it's amazing how many reps don't do that.

Steve Brown : 

You know, I was always pigeon holed in sales. And I related with a comment that you made and I don't know if it which if it's in a book or an interview that you were having, but you know, the same comment was, hey, we can't really teach someone that You've got this natural knack that makes you good at this. So we're going to keep you over here because there's not many of you weird, weird, unusual, just, oh my gosh, it was just by happenstance that we found this person that accidentally is good at this. And, and it's wrong.

Allan Langer : 

It's amazing. That's a great. So what you just said was the actual so the genesis of the book was the problem I saw. But what actually kicked me in the ass to say, you know what I love to write, I had, I had gotten away from writing for years, I was just doing sales. And my boss who was a very good friend of mine who's who's now retired, but he used to bust my chops all the time, because I would he knew I didn't follow the sales pitch. And I remember one day in the office, we're chatting and three, three of the new guys that were there, they were closed. This was at Andersen windows. They were closing like 20% it was just pathetic. You know? If you have a plan should, you know sell two out of the 10 people you meet? So I said to him, let me help let me run with these guys. Let me help them. And he looked at me says, No, no, no, I don't want you to go with them, you're gonna mess them up. And I said, mess them up their closing 20% What's worse can they get? And he's like, No, no, they have to hone the sales process. He goes, what you do? Can't is not trainable. That's what he said to me. And that's what I'm like, You know what? I took it as a challenge. I'm like, you know what I think? I think what I do is trainable. Let me figure out how I can get it down into into a book and that's how I that's really, I always call him and I'm and when we when we chat. I'm like, thanks for giving me that kick in the ass to start this book. So that was it, because he told me what I did was not trainable. And I didn't agree with him.

Steve Brown : 

So I think that here's here's my read is that most all companies need some deliberate process to do well in the sales conversation, or at least the stage where someone has gone from evaluation of you as a potential solution to what would this look like, in my scenario for my, you know, my solution. And so the dilemma is for these business owners is how do I, how do I put a system in place here like we have in, in collections? Or how do we put a system in place like we have in producing the product or the or the service or whatever? And they're like, I think it's something that they almost don't give themselves permission to actually believe there is a way to do well in that area. Would you agree?

Allan Langer : 

I agree. And and here's the problem not the problem. here's here's where they trip up most companies trip up is they have their systems in place for payroll and accounting and like you said, all that stuff. And that was a system processing. They don't involve human beings. You know, the human beings are running it. The system has actually do the numbers, right? You have human beings talking to human beings in sales, so it doesn't follow a formula, you know, so that's where the book comes in, or that's where my philosophies come in, because all of my strategies are I hate to call them techniques because it sounds too salesy, but all of the things I talk about all the secrets are based on human behavior. This is how human beings react when you do this, this is how human beings react when you act this way, or when they're sitting a certain way and body language. And it's just stuff to make salespeople aware of what's happening in front of them and how to make a customer feel better based on how their mind works. And it's not manipulation it's not unethical it's like if my mind works a certain way and I'm going to feel better because you tell me that Tony on the block, overbought windows that's just my natural way of feeling but I'm like Oh great. I feel much better buying windows from you because my neighbor a block away but windows and here's the sales I'm talking about Joe in Topeka, Kansas who bought windows well I have no relation to Joe I don't care give a crap about Joe. So those little things so tiny are such a big deal and it's just simply based on how we're wired as human beings and that's where I think the sales process that I came up with works because I know it works because it's based on human behavior rather than based on numbers and based on you know, my My all time I have a lot of sayings and stuff in sales that I hate like closing percentage I hate closing percentage and ever use the term. Yeah, but one of them is also sales as a numbers game. Yeah, if I could if I had a dime for every manager told me sales is a numbers game. It's it's not a numbers game. It's a human game.

Steve Brown : 

Well, I want to deconstruct that statement. So it's sales is a numbers game. Or, or let's just rephrase it. Burn through the emotions and don't care. about most of those people until you find one, you get to trick into buying our stuff.

Allan Langer : 

1,000% It's just like don't care about the customer care about your numbers. Yeah, I did a blog saying sales is not about your numbers. And all sales are based on numbers forgetting about the human component of it. And you're you're so right, because if your mindset is right, I have to meet like, I'll sit down with a lot of the small business owners like here's a great example. I was doing some coaching with this gentleman who was doing sales for what do you call it like a disaster remedy company they go in and if you have flood disaster restoration, yeah, disaster restoration. Yeah. And their business model, their sales model was walking into insurance agencies, for the most part property management companies, cold calling, walking into a door, leaving a calendar for the Patriots, you know, and walking out. That was their sales philosophy and hit He was considered successful if he visited 80 businesses a week. That's all it was that and I was like, Well, what about set? Well, that's secondary and they want customers but they want me to visit 80 people a week, like 80 a week, just walk in and find a calendar and introduce yourself and how many times you get to talk to the owner is like a 2% of the time. So it's right if it's if your philosophy is based on numbers, you're you're just going to be a mediocre company and a mediocre salesperson, and and you're going to be a salesperson that nobody likes. And you're probably going to feel not great about yourself either because you're because you're selling not from a heartfelt standpoint, you're selling from a numbers standpoint.

Steve Brown : 

So that statement that we deconstructed, the other one is quotas. So this, this, here's where, Mike, my journey started was the argument about cold calls and quotas, and I believe that quotas are exactly what's wrong with this. Sales world as it is because all the quota does is put me immediately at odds with you. Because if all I'm focused on is making my quota, then I don't care if it's right, if this solution is right for you, and what it's going to do an impact or serve you or not serve you, I don't care because I gotta meet my quota. So let's just get paper signed, and I need to move on to the next victim.

Allan Langer : 

Exactly. And, and, and again, that puts people in a selfish stamp, a selfish mode, a selfish personality, where they're forgetting about the customer in front of them. And what's ironic about the whole thing is I tell people quite often and they don't they don't understand the statement, but I'm like, you're actually going to sell more when you don't worry about the sale. Yeah. I if you walk into an appointment and tell yourself beforehand, I'm not here to sell this customer. I'm just here to help them whether they buy or not, you know if they have a problem, and I don't even need to make a sale. That's another thing is like you can actually do the right thing. You can sell with integrity and do the right thing and not sell a product that will come back to you in spades rather than trying to sell something to someone who doesn't need it. Or worse can't afford it.

Steve Brown : 

So, so that so let's assume you're an enlightened salesperson. And you you innately get this right. Yep. Well, what you're doing is you're or this is me, I struggled with finding the company where I could flourish in that, that didn't try to get me off. Well, Steve, you're not making enough cold calls. You need to make more cold calls. But I'm hitting my number. Yeah, but your your, how many cold calls did you do today? Mm hmm. And so is like, you need to go bargin interrupt that person, no matter if they're in the middle of firing someone, maybe their wife. Just Call them in once a divorce or are they just learned that they can't, they can't collect on a big account or something and you're going to go in and insist that they talk to you right there without an appointment and be all fascinated with what you've got to sell them. Okay? That is that is the ultimate and rudeness and self centeredness in, in not even being a good citizen of your community. It is offensive and that person is socially punished if you act that way. In a in a backyard party.

Allan Langer : 

If you write you wouldn't you wouldn't. You're right you would you act the same way socially to a to a stranger at a backyard party than you would in a sales situation. The answer is no.

Steve Brown : 

No, but but those trying to they are not enlightened. So I started to recognize that most people that own companies, they're trying to just click check that box off in the sales management. And so they'll, they'll just go Okay, I'm what I'm okay. quotas is what I'm supposed to enhance cold calls. Okay, there are two things I can try to control this area I have no clue, nor do I really care because I don't want to be called a salesperson Why did I even start this company because I don't want to be a salesperson. But guess what, I have to bring these people along as if they have leprosy or something and we have to include them because they got to go out and infect people and bring something to us so we can have something to pay our bills with. But all I know to control it is you have to do these cold calls and and you have to make a quota that's the only thing I know to control. I died in environments like that those were like the most acrimonious unfulfilling disappointing places to work for. When we had all this cool opportunity had they just backed off a little bit and let's just treat people like humans. Not, not quote as

Allan Langer : 

well. The other thing you're touching on here is, and this is, you know, a little sneak preview I might be I got another book brewing in my head and it's going to be on the other side of this is, you know, stop hating yourself because you're a salesperson doing, you know, like, so many salespeople Don't, don't, they're not proud to say yeah, I'm a salesperson. They're like, what do you do for a living I work for I work for Joe Incorporated. They don't say I sell for Joe Incorporated, because the perception is Oh god, you're a salesperson who get away from me. So there's there's that as well as like people struggle with the fact that they're selling because it has such an awful perception to it. Because and personal ception is reality really because there's a reason for the stereotype of a salesperson because it's happened for years. And I talked to a lot of people and I'm like, why are you a salesperson? here's here's something that that kind of blows me away. 99% of salespeople will say, I'm a salesperson, because I want to make money. You want to make money. Sales is where the money is okay? I've only met one group in my whole career of salespeople who didn't answer that question that way. And you know who that group was. I was flown out to Colorado last November before COVID. To train a week weed dispensary. They were selling they were selling weed and edibles and things. But their clientele mostly were was for medical marijuana. And most of the salespeople the counter sales people were kids, they were 1921 some of them 25. So the owner of the dispensary flies me out because for sales We're down and she's like, we just need a kick in the ass we need to do some training here. But when I got out there my my normal training didn't it starts from the fact that you need to stop hating the salesperson you need to stop getting the money out of your head. Well, they didn't start there when I went out in the room and I say why are you a salesperson, almost to a person they said, Well, my grandmother died of cancer and I want to help people medicinal Lee, and that's why I sell weed. And there was some kids that weren't honest to go I want to get weed at a discount. Now one of them said I'm here to make money. And it blew me away I'm like, wow, these are these are kids who don't care about selling they just care about helping which is completely opposite of salespeople that you meet. So I had to turn my training until Okay, you guys are already got the helping gene. I mean, that's that's we just passed you know, the first seven secrets are like that you got them all ready. Now here are just some some techniques from a sales standpoint of making people feel any more are comfortable of maybe buying two edibles instead of one so I kind of just did some some retail sales training for them but other than that nobody answers that question I'm here to help anybody and and because again they're in it for the money but they're also they don't feel great about themselves doing it and you need to you need to not only once you start helping people and not worrying about your sales not only we our sales go up but you'll actually sleep a lot better at night because you'll feel better about yourself. Yeah.

Steve Brown : 

I think about you know, my journey in sales is I Why did I enjoy sales? Well, because there was freedom. I didn't have to like sit somewhere eight to five I can go out and meet people. There was a an aspect that my pay would be impacted by my performance. But I just did I enjoyed it was like something that no one else wanted to do. And then then There was like the superpower that you got from from other people that admired that you could actually go in and talk to someone and discuss the solution and sign them up. And I'm I liked that and I think I was always disappointed when the organization didn't kind of set up the parameters where it did not incentivize unlimited performance in that the more you do, the more you make or the that was, that was always like a disconnect that it would be disappointing when I'd have to leave one organization go to another and start all over. And it just bothered me and and you and I are now connected because as storebrand your your story brand guide as well as we are now and in the thing that appealed to me about storebrand was a way to start to finish formulate your communications based on honoring the rules our brain desires to consume information. Mm hmm. That's what appealed to me so much about storebrand was like this easy framework to quickly, succinctly upgrade our communication process and in the sales process that applies as well.

Allan Langer : 

Oh, yeah, absolutely. That's why I became because the same thing appealed to me. And that's why I became certified because I wanted to put the two together because I do talk to I normally lead with sales. I'm a sales guy, but I also have, you know, I've been doing this for a long time. I do know what marketing works, but getting trained and knowing and helping people like okay, you've got a sales group of 10 here. And then the five marketing people you have have no idea what the salespeople are doing. And the salespeople have no idea what the marketing people are doing. nobody's talking anyone. The messages are all different. And I'm like, well, so when I go in, I'm like, you know, I can help with your marketing as well because these guys can be the greatest salesman People in the world but if their message doesn't, is not congruent with what the marketing is right now, the customer is confused. And you're not, you're going to sell a lot less.

Steve Brown : 

But the thing that really appealed to me about your book is when you started talking about the, where we're seeing humans, we're, we're pro human, we're wanting to help humans. And when you approach someone, not as a quota, not as a number, but you go in and you go, I'm seeing my grandfather here, or I'm seeing, you know, like my dad, they're just like, my family. They're wanting what they want in Windows at work, are they wanting this website to somehow improve their business because there's a lot on the line here. And that's what I really loved about it. And, and that's this thing I call h. e. human experience optimization, pro human. We like humans as opposed to SEO search. engine optimization, optimization, anti human. Yeah, we're robots. And in our world, I think the thing that really seemed about me in our world, our communication has become industrialized. And you talk about it, we'll get there in just a second. But our communications become industrialized, instead of humanized Hmm. And, and I think of the seven secrets that you talk about your most, the one I like the most, I think the most important ones where you designate logos ethnos and path house. Mm hmm. Okay, and explain this to us. I love how you approached it in that chapter.

Allan Langer : 

So, I loved when I discovered this because a lot of these what was interesting about writing the book was I knew I was doing these things. kind of naturally. I'd never I never like sat down and thought about Okay, what am I actually doing here? So that's, that was, for me. That was the cool part of writing the book because I had to really say, Okay, these are really the seven things that I actually do. And, and one of them was I realized that I barely spent any time talking about the specifications of the product, let's say the window in the door. I spoke about how the customer would feel once they own the product. I was just doing that naturally. Yeah. And I realized it's actually a scientific thing that Aristotle came up with, like you said, logos, ethos, and pathos or paths. I'm not sure how you pronounce it. But yeah, so for the audience, what that means is, if you're a salesperson, he'll let me back up. So the the one book that I read, that I highly encourage is by Carmen Gallo called talk like Ted. And what he does is he analyzes, I don't know 5000 TED talks and the ones that are the most popular, the ones that get the most downloads, have he broke them into what percentage of the talk had logos, ethos and pathos. So logos is statistics. You know, the specifications Have the product launch. pathos is the authority behind you. I you know, I've been doing this for 10 years and my dad owned the company and all that stuff. But then ethos is the emotion, telling a story, connecting with the customer on a human level. So the most popular TED talks that are on the TED website, have a ethos score of 68% or higher meaning 68% of their talk was ethos. 20% or 18% of forget the actual numbers was logos and very small percentage to under 10% was Logos with the statistics. So what that's showing you is people pay attention to a story rather than statistics. So when you are selling, I encourage people in my book, if you can record yourself either you know auto audio, even better video, you know, a video recording And then watch it back and actually go through and and make checkmarks. Okay. When I mentioned, like say it's a cotton machine when I mentioned, you know, it does 600 pages a minute and it does color and it does this and does that put a checkmark every time you mentioned one of those statistics. Then when you start talking about well, my dad started the company and we've won 17 Awards and a checkmark for pathos. But then when you start telling stories about the copier machine, make a checkmark. And if you're, and what I've found in the in the research that I've done is the majority of salespeople are almost 70%, lower logos statistics, they concentrate on the features of the product, and not the emotion of what it's going to be like to own the product. It really has to be completely flipped on its head. You have to lead with emotion, figure out a way to tell a story about your product. Nobody gives a crap about the The 27 features that your product has They're only interested in one or two. That's what you got to find out.

Steve Brown : 

Right. I want to pause here just for a moment and talk to you about a program that we have just released called the ROI quickstart Academy for authors every day, I talk to business owners just like you who struggle with quickly getting their fundamentals in place. We want to create a great foundation and we want to grow our business, but the things that are in our way, our lack of knowledge about the specifics, we should put in place, what kind of technology what kind of messaging and what kind of campaigns and that problem exists for authors as well. And we just gel so good with authors because, well, I'm an author, and I understand everything that you struggle with. You have a great idea you have a great book, but what do you want to do? You want to get your book in front of more people, you want to make it easy for them to find you learn how they can schedule a time to talk with you hire you for free conference or maybe sign up for the services that your book promotes. So what is the Quickstart Academy for authors? imagining working with a small group of like minded authors, and the experts from the ROI quickstart team, it's a great way to get your messaging clear to be confident with the technology in your marketing automation, and how to run a strategic campaign to get you more of what you want from the investment of your book. To learn more about the Quickstart Academy for authors, you can visit ROI online comm or click in the link in the show notes below. And now back to this episode. So the so I'm like currently in city slickers when I want to, when I want to convey so if I read your book, what I like to do is I'm just going to there's one or two things Things that I'm going to grab and I'm going to apply those really well, then I'll come back later and work on the rest of the details. But then somewhat I think about what is it that I want to convey to to really get this point across? And why why is it that ethos is so impactful? Well, here's how I look at it. There's a book called marketing mind states by will Leach. And he talks about your brain and the system one and system two and, and, but the essence of it is this and you you call it the limbic part of the brain. But our brain has a brainstem so old part of the brain so what we share with our lobsters or dogs, or even though dogs are going to attack the world, but it's that one part, and I call it the body guard and its sole purpose is to for survival. It's number one imperative is to keep us safe and it does not process lightly. And it doesn't process it doesn't do that it processes feelings. But no decision is ever made until that bodyguard gives it a thumbs up. or thumbs down. Mm hmm. That's why the ethos, the feeling how we feel about something is that body guard is going, you're safe here, you're safe here, you can spend a little more time and explore. But if I notice something that's not not right, I'm going to yank you out of here. Whether it's their attention, or actually they go, I wasn't feeling good. I just didn't have a good feeling about that your body guard. That's why that ethos part that you're talking about is such a competitive lever. And it's not about manipulation.

Allan Langer : 

No, not at all. That's what I try to tell people. You know, they think when I say these things, oh, you're you know, you're you're manipulating the brain when I'm talking about persuasion like no, you're not you're just tapping into the human the way the human brain acts and Don't you want your customer to feel good about your product for purchasing it? Well, this is what you're going to do that because their human brain is realizing, wow, this is a very comfortable, I like this. And that's what you want it you want to get them to liking you and your product. And there's ways to do that without, you know, the ways that are trained. Don't do that.

Steve Brown : 

And you know where you hit, it's on the safety thing. When you go in you go, look, I'm here to see if this is a best fit for you not to make my quota. And you just said, You're safe. And I'm going to be ethical. And I'm just going to tell you, you know what, this may not be the best fit for you. But we got to have a conversation, right to discover that. But the other thing that's going on Allan, when you draw a picture of how they would feel with that solution, you're leaving out all these little details about the features and facts and, and power and strength and all that stuff. you're drawing a picture but guess what? bodyguards doing it's filling in all the details on the feeling side. And it believes what it draws. Right? Oh, yeah. And it's very critical about what details you talk about, because it's going to check every detail make sure that they still safe.

Allan Langer : 

Yeah. And and you know that when I was selling day to day, the best comment or the best, you know, I was big on body language, I have a whole chapter about body language. And when someone would say to me, you know, I really, I feel comfortable with you, I really like you. They're saying, Thank God, you're not a typical salesperson. I had three other people in this house and I wanted to kick them out and they're, like, relieved that you're not the same person and selling the same product or maybe the products better maybe it's not, but you're making them feel comfortable because you're actually tapping into their emotion and not just shoving feature, you know, a feature dumped down their throat. Let me tell you, I'll tell you this story that I use or the example I use in the book. Would you read it but it's really a good one. So in my windows selling days, I mean you can talk for two hours on on technical details of windows and doors. It's it's could be nauseated and a lot of reps do that. They'll just they go through ABCD sales pitch. So if I'm in front of a window and there's a lady saying my windows drafty, I could tell her Well, the reason why it's drafty is because the the actual energy passing through the glass is caused by the influx of heat from the outside and the solar index. And then in the wintertime, there's convection and you can go through all that and her eyes will glaze over. And you're then you would end saying, but when I put my double pane insulated, you know, thermally treated glass with butyl and argon gas, you're going to be much warmer, gone. They lost them on on thermal glass. I would take that same exact scenario and say, you know, Mrs. Smith, you see this window here. The reason why it's drafty is because you have about 45 Little pinhole size holes that are letting air in. And if I put all those 45 holes together, it's going to make the it's going to make the size of an iPhone. And then I would put my phone on the wall and say so basically you have an iPhone size hole in your wall, letting air in your house 365 days a year, we can fill that in. Well guess what made her feel a lot better. And she understood exactly. I didn't say one thing about glass or anything. I just painted a picture that she has a hole in her wall 365 days a year. And same exact you want to sell the same exact product. She's buying the one with a hole in the wall. The other one is kicking me out of the house.

Steve Brown : 

Totally. Which one of those seven? the seven secrets which one is your favorite?

Allan Langer : 

Oh, I get that question all the time. I think it changes by the week. Which one?

Steve Brown : 

Which one do you hate the most? Which one? Do you like struggle with it?

Allan Langer : 

I don't think I struggle with any of them. I really I love the pricing. That's the one you heard on the Donald Miller pocket. Because pricing is so psychological. It's like It's like in depth psychology, you know, people think that's the other thing is is pricing is almost an afterthought. And companies like the let the bean counters or the or the software figured out, okay? This is the price it should be this is you know, your times this by 2.7. And this is going to give us our profit margin margin to pay the commission and to pay our rent and to do all this, it's got to be sold at this particular price. They don't know so and that price comes out to $765 and 31 cents. Okay, great, but that price, companies don't realize psychologically doesn't do anything for the customer. The numbers numbers have an effect on a person's brain. And there are so many things you can do psychologically to position pricing better to why in a retail environment, you see everything ended and I you know, it's because 999 looks and feels psychological. Better than $10 it's not because you're saving a penny, it's because it looks and feels better. So pricing is really one of my favorite ones. Body language is another one I really get into I kind of geek out on body language because again, and all the sales trainings I've done and seen, and all the millions of sales books that are out there. There's a lot of body language books out there, not a lot of body language books talking about sales, which surprised me. So that's another thing. You know, it's amazing how many reps do not pay attention to body language. They just plow through what they're saying, completely ignoring what's happening in front of them, and going through their sales pitch. So I would say body language and pricing, my favorite to

Steve Brown : 

hear when that salesperson is just plowing through. If you think about where they are in their their life cycle, maturity in their profession, if they're just plowing through as fast as they can, they haven't come to the point where they realize hey, I need to back up here and Instead of just going through the emotions, where can I improve? They haven't they haven't confronted that yet. Or maybe it hasn't, conceptually hasn't clicked, or the lightbulb hasn't gone on at that time. Where do you think your book really scratches the itch in the life cycle of a professional that actually calls themselves a salesperson or wants to be a really good salesperson?

Allan Langer : 

Well, I think my book can can fit in, in any lifecycle because I think I actually think if you're young, and you're just starting, and you just learn the sales process, reading my book will really help you because you'll have the process in your brain, you'll you'll know that you have the product knowledge, you'll have what the company wants you to do, but then the book will help you with the human element of that as you're starting out. But also if you're if you've been in sales a while and you're kind of just on cruise control, and you're okay, I make a decent living. I don't make you know, I make good money. I don't make great money. I'm like, Ah, you know, it's just it If sales has become a job for you, I think my book will help you get out of that if you want it to. Or if you're, you know, I meet salesperson say, Listen, you know, I'm in the top 50 in my country and my company, but I want to be in the top 10. And your book, I'm hoping your book will help me do that, or your training will help me do that. So I think it's designed because there's no really there's no spot that I made the book fit better in your life cycle. It just helps salespeople become better human beings who just happened to sell.

Steve Brown : 

I agree, I think I think there was a point in mine where I started to view look, even though I have a job with this company, as a salesperson, I started to look at what I did as a business. So what would I do if I was running this as a business? Well, I would invite certain things I would apply little system. So when they say when they say, Well, I'm busy right now come back in two weeks. I put a little tickler and I show back In two weeks, and you know, wasn't a no, but it was like here, I want to test you to see if you're even paying attention or if you really are committed. So I just implemented and I started to look at it as, Oh, I have some autonomy here. I can run this as a business, I can read books, I can get better, I can color outside of the lines, I can test, test the script, so to speak. But I was like, you know, I, I didn't want to hear a script. Don't try to teach me a script. It feels wrong to me. And it feels wrong to the person I'm telling to now. I need some guidance. And I need to kind of understand there's one thing you were talking about is how when they start the training, they brought you in, they teach you for two or three days all the features and functions and components of the product. And that's like your first introduction ago. Well, if they're teaching me this, I guess I need to emphasize it in the sale. Yeah, like the wrong place to start.

Allan Langer : 

Wrong places. All right, and that was about a so I was a young young rep but first first job I ever had selling. After I did fundraising was was selling sunrooms talk about features and product and all the different things that go into building components in a sunroom and they spent, it was a seven day training. They spent five days on that. The last two days almost as an afterthought was like okay now this is how you actually present it. It was never about you know, let's teach you about the whole room. Now this is how you present it. You talk about the doors first you talk about the roof panel. Second, you talk about the glass third, it was never ever about the customer. And it was crazy. And all the testing at the end of the week or throughout the week was basically you know, did you get Did you get the component questions correct? Is this 75 pounds per square inch or 85 pounds per square inch? And I 99% of that stuff. I never met a customer who asked any of those questions. You might meet the engineering And then we need to know it. But other than that, you're gonna people just want to talk to human being they want to feel comfortable with you. And they want to know you're going to solve their problem I would sell when when I would go into Andersen windows I been in homes, it was in home sales, it was a first call clothes model. The average rep was in a house for two and a half hours. Which to me if I was the customer, I unless I was the cause of that two and a half hours, I'd be like, Get the hell out of my house. It's just Well, yeah, my average sale like in the door sign papers and out was under an hour about 55 minutes because I got to the need and the solution and and made them feel comfortable very quickly, rather than and here's the other thing. You know, I shouldn't say this out loud, but I don't work there anymore. So But anyway, they always said you have to bring the window in the house you have to bring you have to show the sample. And that's true. People want to know what they're buying, but only certain people want to know that. Right? And people just want to look at a picture and if they don't want to see the window then Don't bring it in if they don't want to see your cod machine or they want to see this, don't bring it in. You know, car dealerships are different people are going to want to drive the car. But how many people are buying stuff online that they don't see or touch or feel? They just say, so it's the same thing. You just, yeah, you got to read the customer and then give them what they want. That's the biggest thing.

Steve Brown : 

Did thousands and thousands of in person sales. Okay. Then what I started this company, there came a time where we started to get people reaching out to us that weren't here in town. I've got clients I've never shaken hands with. Mm hmm. They've been clients for years. And, and I think about I had to really up my game to do a sales presentation via zoom. And now we're in this situation where I think more people have been forced into adopting this environment to, to see themselves successful in this. What are some things that you could kind of how would you approach coaching? a company that's needing to conceptually going, Oh, crap, we have to start doing zoom calls instead of drive over and shake hands and all the press the flesh and body language stuff.

Allan Langer : 

Yeah, so it's, it definitely has that the world is flipped on its ear. That's, that's for sure. Like, you know, now and when I talk to people, it's like, let's get on a zoom call four months ago, we would have never ever said that. It would be like, let's make a phone call. Or you just go back and forth with email. So zou, and I and I, I was the same way I didn't do zoom. Now I love it. I don't want to talk to anyone without being on zoom. I want to see your face. I want to see your reaction to what I'm saying. Yeah. There's a couple things come to mind when you ask that question. One of them is I was speaking to a company who was telling me about about their experience with looking for a human resources company. This was a very, very good example. They said they were contacted by someone, they needed human resources. So they they had them send a proposal, they had another company send a proposal. And then they did zoom calls. The one zoom call was the one person that contacted them. Very warm, very friendly, answered all their questions. You know, the zoom call was the one person who contacted them with five other people on the call. And every time she asked the question, they'd be like, Okay, well, Tony, can you answer that question? Bill? Can you answer that question? You know, Teresa, do you have this solution for that? And she was thinking, well, if I have a question after I sign this contract, who's going to answer my question, I don't have a contact. I don't have any human feeling here. Where she said I felt great with this other person, it was a one on one connection. So that can be made over zoom without the handshake. The thing you got to remember on zoom and the basic stuff is obviously have a you know, don't have a crappy background. Don't be sitting in the bathroom or something like that, or, you know, have Van Halen, you know, poster behind or something like that. But, um, you know, be professional, just be gregarious, but the body language is going to be tough because a lot of people have the zoom like right here, it's just the neck up and now you're now you're looking at just the face. And that's tough, but you just have to, you just have to get used to it, Be comfortable. Let them talk, listen to them, especially on zoom. Because on zoom, you you people get anxious to keep talking because now they can see themselves and they don't want to see themselves sitting there not saying anything. So force yourself to ask a question and listen, and then ask more questions and listen, and just make them feel comfortable. It's a different world, but everyone's doing it now. So, you know, just be better than the next guy and don't spend the time talking about all your features and benefits solve their problem, and it's the same thing as meeting face to face.

Steve Brown : 

It totally is. Thinking about whatever you're selling, let's say you have a zoom call, it's going to be an hour. Really, if you're doing it right, the person that's evaluating your product or service as a solution, they're going to, they're going to spend about 40 minutes. conveying to you what they're thinking what they're wanting how they're asking you questions, you really only have 20 minutes to be impactful. Make them feel like they're understood, to make them feel that they can trust you and to make them see or envision your product or service in the future with the vision they have, and so all the things that you're promoting your book are applicable in play regardless. Right? Right. And if not even more.

Allan Langer : 

Yes, I agree. Because, I mean, the one thing that is is More difficult is the body language. You know, if you look at the body language chapter, you'll see, you know, the question I asked and this is very The answer is very surprising to most people I asked is what do you think the most the one part of the body that is the most accurate to read and body language? And everyone answers the face or the eyes or it's actually the feet, the feet, yeah, the feet and the face because it can be manipulated so easily even even on you know, not consciously like, you know, you can do a fake smile and someone will take that as a real smile, you can raise your eyebrows on purpose, because you're trying to pretend that you're paying attention, things like that. You can't do that with your feet, your feet will always tell that's the limbic part. That's your body guard. That's your that's your part of your body that saying I like this or I don't. And when you're in front of someone I like for example, when I was in a home, I would very rarely or try the best I could to not sit at a kitchen table. I would like to sit in the living room because because First, it's much more comfortable for the for the people, you're more of a guest. And I can watch their feet. And if they cross their legs a certain way, or they're or they're wiggling them a certain way, I could tell what I was saying was either hitting home or like I need to, I need to change course here. So that's hard on zoom. Now, you just got up the top of the torso or the head. So more, you know, you really have to pay attention, but you really have to shut up. That's the biggest thing stop talking. Let. If you let the prospect talk, they're going to just they're not going to realize they're talking more but at the end of the conversation, they're gonna feel better with you than they did with the person who didn't let him talk as much.

Steve Brown : 

I think that so I think what it highlights this, this time in our history where we're having to do more virtual stuff, is that that's where the future is going. This is where so what does that mean? It means that most the sales process is going to be made Before they hop on the call with you, that means they're going to go evaluate your platform. They're going to read through your products. Look at testimonials, they're going to get a feeling and they're going to put you in you made the shortlist. Mm hmm. Okay, that's where marketing and sales can be even more impactful and give you a competitive competitive advantage by getting your act together over there. And then when they show up, here's the piece that the Zune call needs to be. Everything in that experience on that zoom call needs to be congruent with the experience they had, when they were at a distance evaluating that, and that's, that's where zoom can be like this. You can do it right there. You can walk them through, make sure you're making them feel just like they felt when they are evaluating your products. But once something is a little off, then is disconnected from that that then it's like it shuts him down. And they back up, you can tell there's another layer of communication going on in zoom that you can be, you can observe, but the opportunity to take care of all the stuff that we're talking about sitting at the couch and watching the feed, you need to take care of in that pre setup with your marketing. That's why it's so important.

Allan Langer : 

Well, you make such a brilliant point, because you're right, so many people now are, they've done their homework. And if you've made it to the point where you're getting in front of them, they're just gonna have questions at that point, and they're gonna want it, they're gonna want to, they're basically saying to you, tell me why I should hire you. You made it here. I like what I saw. Why should I hire you now? Or These are the questions. And if you actually start your sales presentation, by say, Hey, I'm not here to sell anything today. What questions do you have for me about what you've seen? They're going to be blown away, like, Oh, they won't even be prepared for it because every salesperson is going to be saying, Okay, well, this is what we do. Let me show you a demo. All of a sudden you're sharing a screen and you and you haven't asked any of your questions yet. And they're plowing through. If you just sit back and say, Thanks for I really appreciate the opportunity. So you must have looked this up. I'm assuming you like everything, what questions do you have? And boom, right away your your your head and shoulders above everyone else. But you're right about the see that the research everyone is doing now. And this is in the book as well. Is is a defense mechanism to the sales presentation, because they don't want they want to be prepared rather than and want to. They don't want to feel like they're being ripped off. So they're prepared like I have all this information. I don't need to hear the sales pitch. That's that's psychologically why a lot of people are doing this. Yeah. Like you go to a car dealership. Now people are designing their cars online because they don't want to talk to the salesman. They walk in like, here's the car I want. I mean, I'd love to be a car salesman today. I mean, that's what people are doing. That's what you want. Okay, what do you want to deliver? Yeah, so it's a it's a different world. And if you adapt to it properly, you know, you'll be successful but it it you got to tap into the human brain and how it works.

Steve Brown : 

So Allan, how do you go ahead I'm sorry I got ya

Allan Langer : 

know and and just stopping you know stop being that that that sales robot the fat rat that I have in my book you can't be the sales robot so

Steve Brown : 

Exactly. Robots Bad Robot is bad yes humans good. Yeah, there's that there's the it says online I am not a robot you got to click that when you fill out a form and you got in mind you're not a robot. Excellent. So Allan, how do how is so if a team wants to hire you to help help elevate their performance and their connection with their potential clients or even existing customers, how do they find you? How do they engage you

Allan Langer : 

so it's making Pretty easy just go to my website and you can fill out anything there or find anything there. So it's it's al Langer calm so it's al and then Li n gr.com. You can fill out a form it has some questions there, just you know, if you need help with it sends me an email, you can check out my book, you can check out my podcast, which Steve is going to be on. Yeah, which I'm very excited about. So I'm on his podcast, he's gonna be on mine. And yeah, you can go there and I'm on LinkedIn. Allen Langer on LinkedIn. It's a LLN. Love I, I really get a kick out, I get a kick. I just really enjoy helping people I really enjoy when I go into an organization and they're closing. Here's a great example. I'll end with this. So I have a friend of mine, who I met so I wrote my entire book in a coffee shop in East Greenwich, Rhode Island every morning and I met so many great people over the five months. One of them was an owner of a What do you call it? A solar dealership they sold solar panels. young guy just started the company with a with a with a special They had two salespeople. That's when I met him. And I actually we became friends and I made him he was one of my beta readers for the book. So he read the book, and he thought it was he thought he thought it was the greatest book ever. So he actually left a quote and a really nice testimonial. So fast forward two years later, a year later, he now has nine salespeople, and he's doing pretty well. But he calls me one day. This is before Cove and he's like, I need your help. He goes, my salespeople are closing 23% go, he goes, That's okay. It's keeping me afloat, but it's not where we want to be. They're closing 23%. So I went in. I spoke to them for about four hours and did a four hour presentation. And really, the one thing I changed was their mindset. And changing the mindset will automatically change how you sell. And the mindset was, like we spoke about earlier, going to help people don't sell them, and I made them change their philosophy or their terminology. And this is in the book as well. Stop calling it the closing percentage. What's my closing percentage call it What's my helping percentage? How many people that I helped this week rather than how many people did I close? So he actually made it mandatory in his company to use the word helping percentage never closed. They're not allowed to say the word close anymore. So he would get texts the next week saying, Hey, I helped Mrs. Johnson today rather than I closed Mrs. Johnson. And three weeks later, they were closing 48% just by changing their mindset. Same leads him everything, same marketing, just by changing their mindset. So it does work. And, you know, I hopefully I can, I can help whoever's listening as well.

Steve Brown : 

I love that. That's a great example of a leader in an organization adopting the proper culture around sales, and then their salespeople are able to actually help people and perform better if feels right. It is right.

Allan Langer : 

And they felt better selling like, I'm really helping people save money. On their electric bill that was I'm actually helping rather than Oh, I made I made 1500 dollars today. Now. Yeah, you made 1500 dollars, that's great. But if that's secondary, if the helping part is, is is the primary, you'll just be a bunch better, you'll just be a much more it's more successful salesperson, and you'll be happier in your life guarantee.

Steve Brown : 

Excellent. You did a great guest. Alan, this has been a fun conversation. I love talking about sales. There's and I just like, there's not many people I get to sit and have a beer with and talk about geeky stuff like so. Yeah. Right.

Allan Langer : 

Well, you better have a beer later when you're on my podcast because it is it is marketing and sales over cocktails. So and that and that that's on iTunes. It's on. It's on Apple, iTunes, it's on Spotify. And it will be I have a YouTube channel that it's it's on and then the website will be done in about a week. So probably when this comes out, it'll be out there. So marketing and sales over cocktails, marketing sales. Over cocktails, it rhymes. That rhymes. That's why I did it. That's

Steve Brown : 

right. Allan, thanks so much for being awesome guest on the ROI online podcast.

Allan Langer : 

You're very welcome, Steve. Thanks for having me. I loved it.

Steve Brown : 

All right, that's a wrap. Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast. For more, be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, where we can chat and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better, be sure to pick up your copy of my book, "The Golden Toilet," at surprise, thegoldentoilet.com. I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast.