Have you been searching for a way to better close your sales leads? Even if you are achieving some major success hitting your sales targets, are you looking for a way to close even more sales leads?

As you already know, sales are the lifeblood of any business. Without converting a constant influx of prospects, you and your colleagues will find it difficult, maybe even impossible, to accomplish your business goals. On the other hand, if you can find a systematic way to close your sales lead, your business will be in an outstanding place. 

Ultimately, the path from “sales lead” to “satisfied customer” isn’t always straightforward. There are plenty of instances where an interested lead can turn into a missed opportunity. So what can you do to shift the odds in your favor? 

To dig deeper into this topic, I was happy to speak with Jason Forrest. Jason is the founder and CEO of Forrest Performance Group. At Forrest Performance Group, Jason is an industry master in sales training and recruiting. At FPG, Jason creates relevant training material that truly changes behavior. He is also the author of a book called The Mindset of a Sales Warrior. Whether you just started a small business or work in the sales department of a much larger company, you are going to want to hear from Jason.   

This conversation was part of our weekly meetings with Dubb Partners. To learn more about the Dubb Partners program, see the end of this post. Because the meeting was about one hour long, I wanted to include some of the key takeaways here. If you want to listen to the entire conversation, you can do so by clicking here

Rocketship

Identifying the “Four Leashes” That Salespeople May Face

Jason Forrest is obsessed with sales and sales training. He grew up in what he calls a “sales positive” family. While some people view selling or a sales position as a “plan B” career, Jason was excited to learn as much about sales as he could. As he proceeded through his career, he became the head of sales training at a Fortune 500 company. Jason was happy to present a different approach to selling. With so much of sales training being “soft” and being written by philosophers rather than actual practitioners, Jason saw an opportunity to start Forrest Performance Group. 

In the process of starting Forrest Performance Group, Jason discovered three reasons why some people succeed in sales and why others don’t. They come down to (1) what people think about, (2) what people do, and (3) what people say. That said, there is a lot to unpack here, and much of what is holding us back from achieving our sales goals comes from what’s happening between our ears. 

As Jason said, most of our kids are in sports or some type of after-school activity. Some of our kids may feel what Jason calls the “achiever’s disease.” Essentially, the achiever’s disease is perfectionism. It means that they are harder on themselves than anyone else. It’s really a mindset game here, so in order to overcome achiever’s disease, it is critical to identify what is holding us back. He calls them the “Four Leashes.” Essentially, these Four Leashes are nothing more than mental resistance that holds us back from reaching our sales goals. 

So what are these Four Leashes? First, there is self-image. People that are held by this lease feel like they aren’t worthy of being the person that they are. They have an identity issue, which makes them less confident when trying to sell to any type of prospect. Jason believes that for these people, there isn’t a circumstance holding them back; it is their identities holding them back. If they don’t see themselves as sales professionals, they are going to be held back. 

Secondly, there is story. The story is that these individuals don’t believe they can sell via Zoom, for instance. With Covid-19, many salespeople made excuses on how they could continue to sell to interested prospects. These stories drastically limit our ability to hit our sales quotas and create value for our prospects and customers.

The third leash centers on reluctance. Here, there is some sort of fear, whether it is something like stage fright, a fear of hearing their voice on camera, role rejection, or something else. Combining all of these together, it becomes much more difficult for an individual to put herself on camera. Even if she is able to record a video, she becomes nervous to send that video to someone else. So much time and energy is spent thinking about or preparing for creating a video. In some instances, we don’t create the video at all. 

The final lease is a rule. Jason said that in war, for instance, a rule of engagement is that soldiers shouldn’t be fired unless they are fired upon. While this is a helpful rule of engagement, the real problem comes when there are too many rules to follow. Salespeople have to face this dilemma on a daily basis. There are too many rules, and they feel like they have to fit a certain number of criteria before they actually engage with the prospect. It isn’t a great approach and makes salespeople fall short of their potential. 

Jason and his team try to help salespeople identify their leashes and self-image stories. Simple understanding is the first step, and from there, Jason tries to remove those leashes. Even if we don’t work directly with Jason, understanding these leashes and proactively addressing them can be a great way to better close any type of sales lead.

Unleashing the Sales Warrior

Jason loves to use the term “sales warrior” when discussing his work. As he said, all of us have a warrior archetype. Any time we overcome adversity, we become stronger warriors, whether we are mothers going through childbirth or we are trying to improve from a “C” to an “A” in school.  

Jason argues that there are three elements that make up a warrior. The first element is a leader. Then there is the protector. Number three is the servant. A leader is someone that you follow to a place that you would go on your own. In the sales context, you lead your prospects from a place of fear and worry to a place of hope and certainty. The protector is protecting others from many different threats, which can include their own fears and insecurities, their leashes, and even from some of their managers and colleagues. They may even have to protect their prospects from the judgments of their family and friends. Finally, as far as servants, you are the servant for your sales leads’ outcome frames. In sales, it’s not about what the person wants; it is why they want it. We have to sell the meaning rather than the actual product or service. 

While all three of those elements are important, meaning is especially crucial in today’s environment. Putting aside all of the scary macro headlines, Jason says that it is a “good market” if it is socially acceptable to buy what you are selling. Why is this important? Jason says that while marketing’s job is to do a good job getting market sales, sales’ job is to convince people that the market is not convinced of. Salespeople may need to fill the void if the market believes it is socially unacceptable to purchase what it is that your company is selling. 

No matter what it is that you are selling, you can embrace this “Sales Warrior” mentality when interacting with your sales leads. While some leads may be easier than others, make sure that you are living out these three elements of a Sales Warrior. Doing so will make your job easier and will help you generate more sales. 

Video for Software Sales

Shifting Your Mindset

One of the coolest things about becoming a Sales Warrior is that it can change your life. Yes, when you are at work, you are in the business of converting sales leads into paying customers. While it may take more time than you imagine, you and your colleagues are constantly looking for ways to increase your conversion rates. 

At the same time, Jason made a really profound point. One of the things that he and his colleagues strive for is feedback on how their sales training work changed their clients’ lives. One of the core beliefs at Jason’s firm is that there is no such thing as business problems. Rather, there are only personal problems that affect your business. 

For instance, if Jason is training a sales leader on how to have a difficult conversation with one of her salespeople, he may notice that she tends to avoid conflict. Even though she knows that her colleague needs to change his behavior, she yields in bringing up the necessary improvements. Jason is confident that this type of passivity isn’t just a work thing; it is likely occurring in her personal life. Jason and his colleagues work with their clients to overcome these issues, and they are extremely satisfied when they see clients’ improvements in both converting sales leads and living better personal lives. 

The only way to make that behavior change stick? It comes down to changing our mindset. We have to change the way that we think about the leashes and resistance that we are facing. Most often, there isn’t a quick and easy fix to this. However, one way to make a lot of progress is to ask personal, probing questions about yourself. Really ask yourself whether you think the relevant change (or changes) will work. As Jason says, you will either say yes or no, and from there, you’ll start to ask questions about what you are feeling about that task or behavior. By asking probing questions, Jason and his teammates are trying to flush out the leashes and get to the core of what is holding us back from better converting our sales leads.  

To better combat some of that mental resistance, it’s critical to engage in investigative questioning. Really get to the root of it. For instance, think of a goal that you currently want to accomplish. Ask yourself how you are feeling about accomplishing that goal. While this may seem simple on the surface, engaging in this exercise can help you start to shift your mindset. You’ll start to operate more from a positive mindset than a negative mindset. Because our thoughts influence our actions, it is an investment that is well worth your time. 

The Power of Building Trust

Whether you are trying to convert a brand new sales lead or are searching for a better way to convert your sales lead, you are inevitably going to come upon this idea of trust. Whenever we are trying to persuade someone to do something else, we need to have that other person truly believe that we have their best interests at heart. They must intuitively understand that, while we may be compensated for helping them accomplish some goal, we are working to help make their life better. 

At the same time, there is something that I call the sales trust paradox. We are brought up with the idea that strangers are dangerous (and, therefore, we shouldn’t talk to them). Anyone in sales, however, is taught that we need to speak with strangers. It is the only way that we are going to reach our sales goals.

There are several problems here. Intuitively, people don’t trust cold salespeople. This is due to many things, including the fact that people have been burned in the past, people don’t want to be distracted, and their fear of the unknown supersedes value perception. Salespeople wonder why prospects aren’t picking up their sales calls or why they aren’t getting their desired results from sales leads. On the other hand, buyers frequently think about how much they hate cold outreach and why they aren’t receiving solutions to the problems in their lives. 

The way to bridge this gap is to provide value. As Jason said, there are plenty of sales professionals that are nervous to use video. It can be intimidating to get in front of the camera and speak to a specific sales lead. One great way to get over those fears is to be laser-focused on providing value to your audience. Even though there’s no guarantee of a sale or long-term relationship with that sales lead, you as the salesperson will feel satisfied. You won’t feel desperate or feel like you need to chase someone. You’ll be confident that you made their life even the tiniest bit better. With this reassurance, you will have more confidence to approach your sales leads and continue to provide value. 

There are so many different ways that you can provide value. You can provide industry updates to your sales lead. If you are seeing industry trends that may impact your sales lead’s business, you can share those trends that you are witnessing. Along with industry updates, you can also offer agnostic solutions. This is one of the most effective types of value that you can provide. Basically, agnostic solutions mean that you are going to provide some information where you, as the sales professional, do not benefit. In other words, you are not directly benefiting from the information that you are providing to the sales lead. 

As Jason says, we have to be provocatively respectful. You have to teach your sales leads something new and educate them on things that actually matter to them. In other words, you have to say things that are different from what your competition says. As you can see in the film Walk the Line, a young Johnny Cash impresses a producer not by playing the same hymn that everyone else plays, but by playing something different.

You can provide this lesson in so many different ways. One of the more obvious examples is on LinkedIn. If you were to look at your LinkedIn inbox, for instance, I’m sure that you would find plenty of generic messages from all kinds of sales professionals. While those sales professionals may truly want to help you solve a key problem in your life, you’ll probably notice that their messages all sound the same. Truthfully, they probably aren’t saying anything different or providing that much value in your life. That makes it much more difficult to trust him or her, and thereby, making it much more difficult for you to make a purchase. 

So when you are speaking with any type of sales lead, make sure that you are providing value. Make sure that you are giving them value that they normally don’t receive from your competitors. By doing this, you will be in a much better position to create better relationships, build trust, and generate more sales.  

Video Builds Trust

Leverage the “Selfie to CEO”

One of the coolest things that Jason often does is send selfies to CEOs. It sounds like what it is. When communicating with some of his CEO sales leads, Jason takes out his cell phone, hits record, and sends a personalized message. Sometimes, in fact, Jason uses the avatar character on his smartphone when he is speaking directly to some of his CEO targets. 

There are plenty of benefits to this selfie to CEO strategy. I think that one of the most prominent benefits, however, is that it becomes a significant pattern disrupt. Whether the CEO is in charge of a small or large organization, she is constantly getting inundated with messages. Most of those messages are from individuals that want something from here, and moreover, most of those messages look the same. By sending a personalized selfie directly to a CEO, you break up the countless numbers of similar messages they receive. Sure, your personalized selfie must subscribe to everything mentioned above. It must offer some type of value (ideally, value that she doesn’t receive in her day-to-day life). If you do that, you have a great chance of breaking through the noise and starting an important relationship on the right foot. 

As Jason admitted, he tends to be on the extreme side of things. He believes that salespeople often take too long to get to the point. Generally speaking, important people (like CEOs) believe that time is more valuable than money. While there is plenty of money to be made throughout the world, all CEOs only have 24 hours per day. Recognizing this, it can be much more valuable to minimize the small talk and get to the point. Because the CEO has such little free time, she will likely appreciate it. So if you decide to use this selfie to CEO strategy, don’t hesitate to be brief and to the point.

Ultimately, the selfie to CEO strategy may not be for everyone. Especially if you are nervous about appearing on camera, you may want to hold off on this strategy until you are more comfortable on video. But having said that, if you are looking for a different approach to nurturing a powerful sales lead, consider implementing the selfie to CEO strategy. It may be just the thing you need to find a new, large, and important client.  

Spend Less Time Focusing on the “Follow Up”

Finally, Jason and I had a really interesting conversation related to sales and touchpoints. As sales professionals, we are always wondering how many times we should be following up with sales leads. I’m sure you’ve heard your own number, ranging from six times, eight times, 12 times, or beyond. There are even some people that say you should keep following up until the sales lead “buys or dies.”

While Jason didn’t put forth an exact number, he did mention something interesting. He argues that “following up is for losers.” Basically, any sales trainer that puts “follow up” in their sales process is sending an implicit signal. That signal? The initial sales pitch isn’t strong enough that they are going to have to follow up. Jason argues that this is essentially setting yourself up for a loss. By focusing on the follow up, you are implicitly heading toward a plan B opportunity. Rather than that, you should go into the initial interaction knowing that you are going to give it your all. 

Based on Jason’s research, 80% of prospects that salespeople speak to are so-called “category one” buyers. Category one buyers are essentially buyers that haven’t yet burned the boats and decided to make a change in their businesses. Research also shows that the average salesperson only has two sales conversations per week. Ultimately, the problem isn’t necessarily in the follow up. The problem is in the first conversation that we have with our sales leads. Even if it feels like we can cure that problem by following up with our sales leads, those same sales leads may not want to talk to us again.

So what does all of this mean for you? I think that it’s important to, once again, provide value upfront. Don’t bank on converting your sales lead in the follow up process. By adopting that attitude, you may already be setting yourself back. Instead, try to make the first interaction valuable and educational. It’s a great approach that can go a long way in helping your sales leads become members of your business’s family. 

Nurturing Your Sales Leads

Sales can be extremely cutthroat. Whether you are trying to meet your yearly sales quota or are simply trying to help your startup survive, the stakes are high. Because of this, I encourage you to implement some of Jason’s advice and insights above. And as always, contact us if you are looking for help! At Dubb, we love helping salespeople and small business owners reach their goals, so don’t hesitate to reach out

Learn More About Dubb Partners

The discussion above was part of a weekly meeting of the Dubb Partners Program. If you haven’t yet heard of Dubb Partners, it is a program that brings together inspiring creators like you into the Dubb universe. Dubb Partners isn’t your average affiliate program. Instead, we see Dubb Partners as a true partnership. 

For instance, every Thursday at 10:00 am PT, we get together to talk about video sales and marketing, strategy, and other topics to help you grow and scale your business. These conversations bring together a whole host of fascinating people in a comfortable and safe environment. Along with joining these insightful conversations, Dubb Partners get paid for spreading the word about Dubb. Notably, we offer 30% recurring commissions. What does this mean in practice? Essentially, if anyone uses your referral link to subscribe to Dubb, you receive a 30% commission for as long as that individual remains a Dubb subscriber.

Ultimately, we are here to help you succeed. Our team has found that people who subscribe with Dubb have a 90 to 93% retention rate. They love Dubb and use Dubb to do some amazing things. Because of this, you have a great opportunity to provide value to your audience and get a recurring revenue stream at the same time. 

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