Always be disarming w/ Jeremy Miner

This week on Catapulting Commissions Sales Talk Anthony is joined by Jeremy Miner. Jeremy is the Chairman of 7th Level, a Global Sales Training company that was ranked as one of the fastest growing companies in the US by INC magazine. He is also a contributor for INC magazine and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Entrepreneur magazine, and several other publications. During his 17 year sales career, Jeremy was a top producer. His earnings as a commission-only salesperson were in the multiple 7-figures, every year. He is also the host of the podcast, Closers are Losers, and his new book, The New Model of Selling Selling to an Unsellable Generation, will be out later this year. 

Always be closing is dead

Buying behaviors have changed dramatically over the years. Jeremy says it’s no longer true that people buy from people they like for example. Instead, people buy from people who can get them the best result. Period. If the prospect likes the person selling the product, it’s just a bonus. The old methodology of “always be closing” (ABC) is also dead. It’s an adversarial approach that has made society look at sales reps as slimy. Top salespeople don’t think that way anymore. The top professionals think of selling as collaborative. He says the best way to be a top producer is to be a problem finder and a problem solver– not a product pusher. 

Avoid commission breath

There are lots of mistakes that sales professionals make, but Jeremy says one of the big ones is that they get too aggressive and needy right out of the gate. Conventional wisdom would say you should be enthusiastic and eager to share how you can solve the prospect’s problem. Jeremy says no. Keep that enthusiasm to yourself because it comes off as “commission breath.” The minute your body language and tone convey the needy and attached approach, the prospect wants to get rid of you. Instead, Jeremy says to remain calm, neutral, unbiased, and (especially) detached from the expectation that you’ll make a sale. Of course the goal is to make a sale, but you have to keep that to yourself. The minute the prospect feels you are there to “sell them” something, they shut down and lose interest.

Jeremy Miner’s unlikely role models

In his 20s Jeremy spent a lot of time taking seminars to learn more about how to be a successful sales professional. In the end he learned the most from two unlikely sources– Socrates and Jesus Christ. While both men were “selling” very different ways of life and thinking, their ability to gain a following boiled down to the same thing. Their easy-to-answer questions motivated their audience to challenge their own way of thinking. Being in that state of questioning ultimately triggered the audience to become more accepting of what Christ and Socrates had to say. 

Ask the right questions

Jeremy teaches that you need to ask commitment questions. These questions get them to commit to taking next steps– whatever those may be at any given point in time in your process. Sometimes it might be a commitment to buy your product or service, but other times it might be a commitment to another meeting with other gatekeepers. Jeremy recommends using verbal pauses. Slowing down your questions and your pacing will cause the prospect to think more deeply. “Do you think this could be… the answer for you?” That verbal pause might get them to reveal an objection that you can work to resolve with them in a collaborative way. Instead of ABC Jeremy recommends you should go with ABD– “Always Be Disarming.” That means you are always asking the right questions that continually disarm your prospect so that they want to open up and engage with you.

A nerdy approach

Jeremy is a self-proclaimed nerd thanks to his deep study of behavioral science and human psychology in college. He’s interested in how and why human beings make decisions. Over the years our understanding of how people make decisions has grown, and the way we sell should line up with that. The typical “boiler room” selling that we’re used to seeing in movies won’t work anymore. It’s too pushy and causes people to push back. Consultative selling is a good counterpoint to that, but it fails to tap into human emotion- a key component in most people’s decision-making process. Instead Jeremy says to focus on his Neuro Emotional Persuasion Questioning (NEPQ) methodology. In this approach you allow prospects to persuade themselves and sell themselves. The prospect pulls you in rather than you trying to push them forward. His NEPQ approach offers a step-by-step structure that will get the prospect to want to engage. It humanizes the sales process. It’s a skilled conversation– the right questions at the right time that trigger the prospect to want to pull you in and take what you’re offering.

Handling objections

Of course objections will always come up, but the NEPQ formula should limit objections. Make sure to design your questions in a way that eliminates objections before they even come up. Pay attention to the way your prospect reacts to you, looking for cues that they are uncertain about your product or service and then address it. “I noticed you seemed a bit hesitant when I mentioned XYX. Can you tell me what’s behind that?” This will lead the prospect to share with you something they might never have explicitly revealed, and instead disguised it as, “We just need some time to think about it.” It gives you the opportunity to have a dialogue with the prospect and collaborate with them to see if there is a way to get past that hesitation. 

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