by SocialAgenda Media
By Olga Kostrova, COO of SocialAgenda Media.
We started our company and love so much what we do because we have the opportunity to work with remarkable people. Our thought leadership marketing clients, as well as our speakers strive for excellence, seek deep insights that help them arrive at better understandings. They improve the lives of many through sharing their knowledge and advocating better actions. Today I offer you my conversation with a speaker Richard Grehalva as he shares his Top 5 Most Important But Not Obvious Principles Of Selling And Business In General, and much more. Richard is the author of “Unleashing the Power of Consulting Selling” and “The Boomerpreneur Revolution” He combines the heart of a teacher and the head of a successful business executive to guide organizations and individuals to reach their true potential. The son of Greywolf an elder, he has been described as a “Renaissance Man” From growing up in the tough streets of East Los Angeles he developed a “Achiever not a Disbeliever Mindset.”
OLGA KOSTROVA: A while back while I ran a marketing operation for a media agency I hung a sign on my door “DON’T TELL MY MOM WHAT I DO FOR LIVING. SHE THINKS I PLAY PIANO IN A WHORE HOUSE”. My colleagues liked to come and make a new joke about it every day. Some people find comfort in having a negative opinion about advertising or PR. Even more people treat selling the same way – as “whoring”. They hate to sell and hate to be sold. What’s your advice to those who hope that if they just lay under a tree the magic banana will fall into their mouth, already peeled?
RICHARD GREHALVA: I’m not surprised at what people say about selling. Every year for over a decade the Gallup organization conducts a survey asking “what is the most trusted profession?” Number 1 is “Nurses” and last on the list every year is: “Used Car Salespeople”. We stereotype salespeople into whatever we believe them to be.
When I work with clients that tell me ”they do not like selling” I tell them “Then don’t sell.”
They of course react and say “I have to sell”. I then ask them if this scenario fits. Does your customer come to you with a problem or a goal? Do they want to solve it? Are they looking for a solution? The answer is yes.
I then state it this way, “Your customer is looking at their “current state or situation” and they want to get to a “future state or situation”, is this correct?” The answer is yes.
The place between “my current problem or state”, to the “future state” where your customer wants to be, is called the “Transformation.”
This is what our customers and clients are after, and this is where you and I come in.
What we do is help them through “The Transformation Process” with our products and services. Isn’t this gratifying to know we help people to get from where they are today to get to where they want to be?
This is the new belief I want my clients to take on, and let go of the limiting belief about selling. I ask them, “Are you selling?” or are you “Helping them with their transformation acting as a…Change Agent?”
OLGA KOSTROVA: Johnny Depp said “Tomorrow it’ll all be over, then I’ll have to go back to selling pens again”.As a speaker do you ever feel pressure from competition? Many these days try to get some real estate on the stage What sales and marketing processes do you incorporate in your daily routine for opening new “accounts”?
RICHARD GREHALVA: The question is “How do I fill my sales funnel?” I do it by turning it upside down. Think of the sales funnel like an hourglass. It has a funnel on top and one on the bottom that is upside down. The sales funnel was first described in 1887.
We live in the “Information Age” of the well informed and savvy customer.
When you have a problem what do you do? We don’t wait for a sales call. We go onto the internet like the vast majority of people. We as consumers follow the path of the traditional sales funnel.
We search for suspects, qualify them into prospects, qualify them and compare them to their competitors and then contact the best few. This is done by the customer not the sales person. Guess what? Most sales people or CEO’s do not understand this is happening.
The customer or potential customer finds us and we must make sure to take them through the bottom half of the sales funnel by first educating the potential buyer you can solve their problem, give them the results they are after and eliminate their problem.
This means it is vital to have online visibility. Not to sell them but to educate them. I want to educate them I’m an expert or a trusted advisor that can help them through “The Transformation” of their current situation to obtain their objective or to avoid the problems they are having.
I spend a good part of my time expanding my digital footprint. When they search I want them to find me. I also network and as a speaker this brings new customers to me.
OLGA KOSTROVA: “It doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that”, said Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder. John Trautmann had a bit more aggressive view: “Everyone in life is looking for a certain rush. Racing is where I get mine.” I know you were a racer. Does it make you more competitive or give you understanding of a better ride? What are the most important lessons you learned from racing that you later applied to business, selling and sales training?
RICHARD GREHALVA: The kind of racing I do is not going straight like at a drag strip or at ovals like NASCAR but road racing. The tracks I race at have anywhere from 12 to 16 turns. The track is about 2.5 miles long.
I learned a lot of transferable life lessons from the track that I apply to my personal and professional life.
Here is one big lesson I learned, “Don’t look at the wall.”
In racing, your car goes where your eyes go. If your car spins and you keep looking at the wall: then you are going to hit the wall. If you look ahead and down the track, you can gain control.
The lesson is, “Look to where you want to go by having a vision and a goal.”
OLGA KOSTROVA: Og Mandino, the author of the bestselling book “The Greatest Salesman in the World” said “Obstacles are necessary for success because in selling, as in all careers of importance, victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats”. Of course that’s been said by hundreds of other people in countless variations. During your career as a sales executive what interesting and hopefully inspiring stories can you recollect in support of this notion?
RICHARD GREHALVA: I have never met a PHD in sales or even someone with a Masters degree. We all know that it does not exist. We all get into sales by accident. It is not something you will hear children say to mom and dad at an early age; “When I grow up I going to be a salesperson.”
Metaphors tell us a lot. Some see sales, for instance, as war. There are people to kill and enemy’s to conquer. The top sales people do not view sales as war. It is not about life or death. They instead view it as a game.
One of the very best sales people I have ever seen was a former professional tennis player. He was ranked in the top 100 in the world. An injury to his back ended his career. He ended up in sales and later he became the CEO of the company.
What was different is he may have lost a match, in this case, a sale. He reviewed what he did and what he needed to do to perfect his game. He was not devastated or depressed. He hated to lose but he never gave up.
He knew that in sports you win and lose. The key is to get better. I witnessed him never giving up a sale, even when he lost the sale. He stuck with it. He stayed in contact and 3 years later he got the rematch. He landed the biggest deal in the company’s history because of his attitude.
OLGA KOSTROVA: Miuccia Prada said “I am interested in communicating with the world by selling to many people.” To what degree do you find companies can communicate with the world via selling and what opportunities do you think many overlook?
RICHARD GREHALVA: In today’s world we have access to incredible amounts of information because of the internet. Companies mistake this as free marketing. It is not. The internet is for content and television is for advertising.
If you look at a companies website or their material, it is all about What’s-In-It-For-Me. It is a billboard for I have the solution. In fact, I have many solutions. Here is how I respond:
What is the point of offering a solution if you do not know what he problem is or the result the customer wants?
If I ask “what problem do you solve?”… “We increase productivity”. Really, having more productivity is the problem or is this the result? or the problem we solve is: “We show you how to make more money.” Really, making more money is the problem or is this the result?
Companies must turn this around. Instead of trying to persuade you to buy they need to become the source of free education. You must become the go to trusted advisor. People will come to you and once in their mind you are their trusted source. Once you establish trust, you will create a customer.
OLGA KOSTROVA: “Writers are always selling somebody out”, said Joan Didion. Who were you selling out in your book? <smile> Rich, incentivized sales teams sometimes have to compromise their integrity, morality, or principles to boost their commissions if the product team doesn’t deliver or customer service is behind. How have you dealt in the past with such conflicts of interests?
RICHARD GREHALVA: When I teach a workshop I always say this: “They are no unethical processes only unethical people.” I learned many years ago to follow this rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
A business man recently wrote in a blog post: “Several years ago when I was working with clients many of those clients became my friends and we worked together to help them make their businesses successful but also in the process find their purpose for doing their business and make sure that executing on their purpose was part of the equation.
Somewhere along the way I lost my compass and begin simply trying to find clients for the money, not for the ultimate benefit of how I could help them. And that approach over the past two years has cost me not only financially but also in my relationships, with my family and in who I am.
Along the way he lost his internal compass. The good news is – he regained it.
There are “Universal Principles” you can challenge, but you will fail…
OLGA KOSTROVA: And finally, what are the top 5 most important but not obvious principles about selling and, business in general, readers can learn from your books, and audiences from your speeches?
RICHARD GREHALVA: “Understanding Change is key to our success.” Think about it: everything we do in business has to do with change. We meet not to discuss problems, but to discuss change. We ask our customers to change from what they’re going to buy our product or service. We ask our team to increase our productivity, to change what they’re doing now, to do something different. On a personal note, my wife is always telling me I need to change. The truth is, we do have to change if we want to have better relationships, and so it goes.
Here are my “My 5 Principles of Change”:
Principle Number 1 – Change means — you have to take action immediately.
Now you’re saying to yourself, “d’uh,” but here’s a fact: Two things you need, information and action. Many of us get the information but then don’t take action. We’re all saying I want to start and at the time we really mean it. We say we’re going to start tomorrow, next week, next month, but we don’t so… why is that?
Most often, we want way too much, too quickly, and there’s a part of ourselves that just wants to put on the brakes. Why do we want to make all of these changes? We’ve been fine with what we’ve been doing, it has been working for us.
Bottom line is, the voice in our head says: “why change now?”
So the key here is we want to take one, two, or three small steps, immediately. We don’t want to try to take too many things on, too quickly. That never works out, so the key is one, two, or three steps, immediately, today.
Principle Number 2 – Change means — you have to change your thinking.
I know you’ve heard this one before: “If we keep thinking the same way, we will get the same results,” and it is so true. We need to change our minds from what we are today, to where we want to go, or be. Get a vision of what that is. Once you have that vision, then you will need to go out and get the training, get the resources, find likeminded people, or get a mentor or coach to begin thinking differently. Ask yourself, what can I do today, to turn my new way of thinking, to help my new vision of myself become real?
Principle Number 3 – Change means – you have to change your environment.
The environment that I’m talking about is the one inside your mind. What I’ve done is turned my car into an institution of higher learning, and I do that by listening to educational CDs, I listen to the inspirational words from the masters and elders. I listen to book summaries that give me the essence of what they’re saying that might be helpful to me. In my physical environment, I make time for relationships — family, friends, nature, meditation and spirit.
Principle Number 4 – Change means – you have to change your focus.
You know what Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple? Focus. He eliminated 350 products to focus on 10. He removed the clutter that got in the way of what Apple did really well. We must do the same thing in our lives. We need to eliminate the clutter and the non-important things that we do, and focus on the three to five important areas that will improve our personal and professional effectiveness. The key is to pick the one that brings us the greatest results, just like Steve Jobs did at Apple. Follow his pattern, eliminate what you cannot do, and focus on what you will do to bring you these benefits.
Principle Number 5 – Change takes time.
Stick with it and each day do to better than the day before. There are no get rich overnight schemes, there is no push-a-button and “everything is magically going to be different from tomorrow” cure. It’s going to take time, and if anyone tells you otherwise, they’re just not telling you the truth. You know there are going to be setbacks; this is part of the process, so expect them, learn from them, and continue on your path. Self-made millionaires do not succeed on their first try. Statistically, it’s something like seventeen before they actually are successful, but they never view the past sixteen times as failing.