When people first start selling on the phone, the first thing they do is look for a script. This is a big mistake. Scripts are an if-this-then-that situation. If X happens, then do Y.
But humans are not so simple. Human interactions are a complex system, not a linear one. And if you try to apply a linear system or process to them you're gonna look like an a**hole. People won't respond to you the way you want and they may even get mad at you.
It's better, instead of having a hard-and-fast script, to have a framework. Because a framework gives you wiggle room to adapt and be flexible and creative.
Ultimately, what we're looking for is to stay in dialogue. And dialogue can only happen based on an organic, honest, two-way interaction.
But there's a pattern to this dialogue on sales calls. Once we can break down and understand the pattern, it becomes easy to know what to do in any sales scenario.
I call this pattern the Hollywood Sales Method. And it's what we teach all the business owners and sales reps we work with when we take them through how to sell their offers.
All film and theatre are based on the 3-act story. Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Le Nozze Di Figaro, Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They're all 3-act stories.
- Act One: This is the setup. It introduces the situation and characters and guides us into the main body of the conflict of the story. Near the end of Act 1 is also where the first major plot point is introduced.
- Act Two: This is the confrontation. The “meat” of the conflict of the story. From the start of the story, you see the level of action go up. And it continues to go up right up to the end of Act 2. Near the end of Act 2 is where the second major plot point is introduced.
- Act Three: This is the resolution. It's where the conflict is resolved and the plot points of the story are worked out. From the start of Act 3, the action goes down until the close.
That's the 3-act story in a nutshell.
In the following sections, I'll be mapping each of these 3 acts to a sales call. And show you what you need to do in each “Act” of the call so that the story resolves. Hopefully, with your prospect buying.
1. Act One: Discover The Desire
Act One happens after you set the agenda for the call. And what you're trying to do during discovery is find out:
- Where they are right now
- Where they want to be
- What's causing that gap
- What they've tried before
- Why they don't want to just do it on their own
This is easier to demonstrate with an example. Let's use real estate agents. You might ask them.
- How long have you been a real estate agent?
- What brokerage are you working at?
- Is that where you started?
- What made you change brokerages?
- Which market do you serve?
- Do you focus on listings, buyers, sellers, investors?
- Do you focus on luxury, middle-income, low-income, or commercial real estate?
- What marketing tactics have you used?
- Have you tried direct mail?
- Have you tried Zillow?
- How many leads a month do you get from Zillow?
- How much do you pay per lead from Zillow?
- How many deals do you get from those leads?
And so on. You don’t want this to take forever but you also don’t want to rush it. Here’s why…
Facts Reveal Feelings
If you notice, all the questions I'm asking are factual. I'm not asking them, “How do you feel about your gross commission income?” I'm asking them for the facts because when you talk about the facts, the feelings emerge.
Say someone has a lot of debt. If you ask them, “What's your total debt right now?” they'll tell you the facts but they'll feel the emotions.
In discovering your prospect's desire, 2 things will happen:
The prospect will move away from pain and move toward pleasure. Some prospects are biased toward seeking pleasure and others are biased toward avoiding pain.
It depends on the personality of the prospect.
If you’ve read our cheat sheet on the 4 communication styles Drivers, for example, tend to move towards pleasure Amiables tend to move away from pain.
So the desire you focus on during the call depends on who you're talking to. And this is another reason why understanding communications styles and using frameworks beat sticking to a sales script.
Mirroring To Get Them To Open Up
Once we've asked them all these questions and collected the data points, now we want to know what's stopping them from achieving their desire on their own. You'll also have to dig deeper to subtly uncover details and feelings they may be leaving out.
And here's a way to do it (you'll be amazed at how well this works:)
Say the prospect tells you something and you feel like they're leaving some important details out OR they're answering you in generalities.
“Yeah, well, you know, It's really important that I do more deals. I just, I gotta close more deals 'cause otherwise it's just not working out.”
“It's just not working out?”
You mirror their exact words with an upward inflection. Just this one move will get them to spill the beans.
And this way you don't have to ask them, “What's not working out?” That'll be met with resistance. But if you mirror them, they'll want to justify and elaborate. They'll feel heard and understood, and know you're paying attention.
So now, they're ready to move forward with you.
Get Them To Reaffirm Their Desire
And at the end of discovering their desire, you ask them:
- Why not just keep doing what you're doing?
- Why not just stay where you are?
- What's your timeline for moving forward?
Once you’ve got them to say out loud what it is they want and why they want it, you can transition into Act 2. This is where you build the belief in your prospect that you can solve their problems and help them achieve their desires.
2. Act Two: Build The Belief
This is where you present your offer. A lot of people make a big mistake here. When presenting their offer, the focus too much on presenting all the details of the offer.
Prospects don't need to know the “how.”
Talking about the “how” just creates objections that you have to overcome. They need to know the “what.” And the “what” is typically 3 to 5 key points they need to understand.
If you wanna get really good at presenting your offer, go and hand-copy bullets written from copywriters – good places to find them are swiped.co and swipefile.com.
Sticking with yesterday's example of real estate agents, let's say your offer is to get them qualified leads.
“So, the first thing we're going to do is we're going to narrow down who you're talking to. We don't want everybody because if you try to attract everybody then your advertising doesn't work. It's the difference between walking around downtown with a megaphone and calling someone who you know is receptive to the offer.”
You'll notice I used a metaphor there to get my point across. How you sell the “what” without selling the “how” is by using metaphors. For example, at CoachingSales.com we say,
“It's about finding the right salesperson. You can train a chicken to climb a tree but it's a lot easier to just hire a squirrel.”
Using metaphors will make the prospect feel like they understood the “how” without you revealing it. For each pillar of your offer, you want to craft metaphors that connect with your prospect.
You'll discover these metaphors over time after you take 50 to 100 calls and you hear all the common questions and concerns your prospects have. And the type of metaphors you use will depend on your background and interests.
If you love sports, it'll be very easy for you to come up with sports-related metaphors. Stick to 2 to 3 categories or domains for your metaphors. For example, sports, cooking, and gardening (a lot of people seem to enjoy and “get” gardening metaphors, for some reason.)
2 book recommendations for more on metaphors. The first is Metaphors We Live By. The second is Metaphors Be With You. Both are available on Amazon.
I often talk about this formula I learned from Eugene Schwartz:
Desire X Belief = Conviction
In Act 1, we uncovered the desire. In Act 2, we built the belief. Now, the prospect has the conviction that you can help them.
Finally, we move into Act 3. This is where we overcome any resistance to the sale.
3. Act Three: Overcome The Resistance
Even when a prospect has conviction in you, there will always be resistance. It shows up in the form of emotion.
It's important for you to:
- Name the emotions and
- Tell them it's normal and ok to feel that way
You can decide you want to go skydiving. You'll do all your research, make all the preparations, do the training, fly up for your first jump. And as soon as you get to the door to jump out, you freeze and think,
“OH GOD! WHAT AM I DOING?!”
That fear, that nervous excitement, happens to everyone. It happened to me the first time I went bungee jumping. I was like, “Wtf did I just agree to?”
That's the feeling everyone has when they make a high-ticket investment. And you have to call it out and interpret it for them. Don’t leave it up to them.
“Hey, listen…so right now, you feel a little nervous like you're about to go about to go speak on stage.”
“Yeah, I do actually.”
“Good, that's totally normal. In fact, if you weren't feeling that I'd be a little concerned. Because it means you're probably not taking it seriously enough. But if you're feeling that nervous excitement like you're about to go bungee jumping or skydiving, that's a good thing.”
If you don't help them understand those feelings are normal, they'll interpret as a sign not to make a decision.
“Have you ever quit a job without a backup plan but you knew in your heart it was the right thing to do? Like you're walking into your boss's office thinking ‘what am I doing right now?'”
So, you're giving them situations in their life they can understand and relate to.
“Yeah, I know, I feel exactly the same way. You know what, let's do it!”
And that's when they decide to buy. Once you get to this point, DO NOT ask any more questions.
Now, you only tell them exactly what they need to do to complete the sale. If you've ever looked at the close of sales letter written by a good copywriter, they go into great detail about how to buy the product.
“Alright from here what we'll do is – just read off your payment info whenever you're ready and we'll get you set up. From there, you'll get an email. Inside that email will be all your next steps. And there's also going to be some homework. So do that homework, it should take you an hour or two. Get that back to us, and from there we'll schedule our kickoff call. That's pretty much it from my end. You can go ahead and read off the payment info whenever you're ready.”
Notice we're not saying, “give me your payment info.” That's a direct command. People feel resistance to direct commands.
Instead, we're using an indirect suggestion, “you can do this,” “normally what we do from here is…” We're telling them what to do without giving a direct command or asking them if they're in agreement. And when you do that, they comply.
Here's how NOT to do it:
“Ok great! What credit card would you like to use?”
“Errr…I need to double-check. Actually, can I get back to you on that tomorrow?”
And they wiggle off the call right at the end. You had the sale and you blew it. Because you asked a question. Don't do that.
Once you get them to the point of conviction, from there on in it's your sale to lose.
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