A fews weeks ago, I was able to spend some time interviewing Edwin Britt, the President of Sales for Zig Ziglar International. Edwin has an endless knowledge base about sales, closing deals and building rapport. He’s made sales presentations to some of the biggest brands in the world, like; Coca Cola, Miller Brewing, The Walt Disney Company, Tommy Hilfiger and NAPA Auto Parts. He’s also represented product lines for Michael Jordan, NASCAR and the National Football League.
In this interview Edwin makes clear that we’re all in the business of selling. Whether you’re selling products or points of view; getting people to see that their is a different way to do things is what selling is all about!
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How to build trust and sell more in 2017
Jeff: In 2017, in a world where everyone’s attention is in such high demand, how can we sell our products and ideas better?
Edwin: Well Jeff, in my 30+ years of selling I’ve learned that it takes a high level of preparation and planning. We often get in trouble when we try to push too fast to the end result. There is no substitute for slowing down and investing, not taking. Invest the time to plan and prepare.
Jeff: Walk us through what you mean by planning.
Edwin: Planing has many different parts. It can be reading and research. It’s also physical and even spiritual preparation in advance of the activity. If you want to sell more in 2017, develop a process where you are creating the discipline needed, so you are prepared to meet the needs of your potential client.
Zig Ziglar, who I’ve been a student of for 30 years, and had the pleasure of knowing him personally taught me these keys:
- Preparation was physical, mental and spiritual
- People are not only buying the product, but also YOU
- Let go of past mistakes and “No’s” and focus on the present
- Make sure that we have a meaningful, specific plan
- Focus on creating discipline
For me, the daily window from 5:30am to 7am is a combination of physical and mental preparation. Not only for my workday but also for my overall physical being and personal life.
Specific preparation applies to your day-to-day selling practices. Those who accomplish the most in this world are avid readers of information. He or she who has the most information has the most influence. So equipping your mind with information is going to make you an innovative, cutting edge, stand-out. Differentiating yourself from the competition is extremely important.
Next is deciding:
- What’s important now?
- What do I need to do?
- Who do I need to call?
- Who will I meet with?
- What is my objective for each call and meeting?
- Did I reach my objective for each call and/or meeting?
Jeff: What does it mean to sell?
Selling is what you do with someone, not to someone. Selling is an ongoing process, and you keep the process going by gathering information from the people you are speaking and meeting with.
Jeff: Edwin, the power of information keeps coming up. What role does being a student play?
Edwin: That is absolutely correct. For me it has been a thirty-year journey of learning.
Again I’ll reference Mr. Zig Ziglar. When he was at a convention, he would be sitting in the front row taking notes. And we’re talking about a person who influenced a quarter of a billion people around the world. He never stopped learning. So yes, you have to commit yourself to be an ongoing student. Being a student helps us grow and their are four stages of growth. You want to continue evolving and never be content or think that you’ve arrived. It’s absolutely a process and it’s absolutely ongoing. It’s a proactive approach.
Jeff: What are the the four stages of growth?
Edwin: You know, we’ve all been in a point where we are unconsciously incompetent. In beginning almost any endeavor, we can become overwhelmed and lost. That can be sort of a slippery slope where people tend give up too quickly.
But what also happens is that people start recognizing that with success and with accomplishment, comes some pain and some frustration along the way. They will have to fight through that, and at some point you become consciously incompetent. In that particular stage, you are not very good at something and you know it. You might be prospecting and you might face rejections. You might quickly go to the price before you establish value. People often stop doing things that they are not good at. When we do that, what we need to do piles up.
Now, rather than solving problems you are putting pressure on yourself.
The third area is being consciously competent. That’s where a lot of people who have been selling a good number of years are. They’re pretty good at what they do and they know it. In fact, a lot of the best leaders and sales managers are consciously competent.
They’re very relatable; they can feel people move from one state to another. The ultimate example is ten thousand hours of practice and years and years of little failures and successes. You’ll hear a lot of people say “wow, they makes it look easy”, but the reality is, it’s not easy. And, what that individual has done is a lot of preparation, trial and error, and stayed committed. They make it appear easy. This is when you’re unconsciously competent.
Jeff: Edwin, you’ve spoken to some of the biggest organizations and brands in the world. For example, Coca-Cola, Miller Brewery, Walt Disney, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Jordan, NASCAR, and the NFL. As you’re talking to these Fortune 500 firms and these C-Suite Executives, people who are already incredibly successful, what are a few things you tell them that help them take their selling and their overall success to the next level?
Edwin: Jeff, I appreciate your level of research. Thank you for those kind words and I always want to make sure that they’re always asking meaningful, specific questions. In other words, they’re not a wondering generality. They have a process that creates alignment between themselves and those that they’re talking to. They understand their key fundamentals.
Michael Jordan was a phenomenal basketball player as we all know, yet he was a master of the fundamentals of basketball, in addition to having unbelievable natural ability and talent.
I want to make sure that I can bring some very standard fundamentals.
1.) Being able to create alignment
2.) Reduce pressure
3.) Uncover need
So often, people’s process is personality-driven. In reality, they need to have a process that is client-centered. A means of uncovering need by meaningful, specific dialogue. A process that creates trust.
Jeff: What are few things people can do so that they gain trust?
Edwin: First of all, we recognize that we solves problems, and not just sell products. We are problem-solvers and need to speak in terms of solving problems. Solutions.
Second, recognizing that people don’t make decisions based on your reasons; they make decisions based on their reasons. And, their reasons are driven by their feelings, their motives and their beliefs. Find out what their reasons are.
When you have a process that brings the need for a specific dialogue, it allows people to ultimately share with you what their motives, their feelings and what their beliefs are.
I always ask, “What would you like to accomplish” and then I’m quiet.
People will begin sharing, and at that point I know a little bit more about the person and/or organization. As they begin sharing more, you will see a natural sequence. It’s a very organic conversation that appears to be almost off the cuff, but it’s very structured in my mind. Next, I ask:
- “What are your obstacles?”
- “What’s preventing you from getting where you are to where you want to go?”
This process creates a need for specific dialogue. This also creates trust.
Jeff: Edwin, how would you define Everyday Power?
Edwin: I think Everyday Power is when we stop listening to the negativity of the world and we start talking the truth to ourselves. It comes with a positive and healthy self-esteem. You got to put the good in and you will get good out. There is so much negativity in the world and the world tries to tell us the things we can’t do and why we can’t do them.
For me, I tell myself “I, was born to win. Today, I’m going to do my best with an attitude of gratitude.”
Stop listening to the negativity and start talking to yourself in a meaningful, specific, truthful way because you are born to win. You are designed for accomplishment, you are engineered for success and you are endowed with the seeds of greatness.