TODAY’S EPISODE IS ONE OF THOSE PODCAST EPISODES THAT EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS OWNER ON THE FACE OF PLANET EARTH NEEDS TO HEAR!
I am joined by the go-to expert in sales, Nikki Rausch, who has also become a dear friend of mine. She has supported me, mentored me and given me so many great ideas and learnings around sales. She comes to the table with over 25 years of experience selling to prestigious organizations, such as The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hewlett-Packard, and NASA. But she realized her passion and her gift was really in serving entrepreneurs and helping them step into possibility when it comes to scaling and selling.
Today’s conversation gets really strategic, really tactical. Nikki shares so many things that you can apply immediately to see growth in your business, changes that will immediately affect sales in your business. But, on top of that, we had some great conversations around leadership, growth and possibility.
IN THIS EPISODE, WE COVER:
[6:15] Nikki’s Background
Nikki comes from the corporate sales world. She started her career in a very male dominated industry and she knew that their style of selling was not her style of selling, so she had to find her own way there. And she did and she was very successful. For her, it was all about building relationships. During her corporate career, she also started studying neuro linguistic programming, which helped her improve her overall communication skills, but also taught her how to add flexibility to her behavior and how to put people at ease.
Even though she had a lot of success in sales, she was starting to feel burned out. She ended up leaving her corporate job and went on to help her friend start her own business. She started networking and meeting all these amazing entrepreneurs who wanted to make an impact in the world, but a lot of them really struggled with sales conversations. This is when she decided to start her own company and “Sales Maven” was born. Today, Nikki is having the time of her life, teaching people how to be more strategic in their sales conversations while bringing a high level of kindness and rapport to the conversation that puts the other person at ease and takes the focus off of closing the deal and puts it more on the relationship.
[8:54] The Biggest Mistake in Sales
Over the years, I’ve witnessed Nikki do exactly that and I’ve personally implemented so many of the strategies that she’s taught me.
I hesitate to even say strategies, because with Nikki it’s all about the relationship piece. I had an epiphany in my business two years ago. I was leaning so heavily on the strategy side and it was working but sometimes it just felt like a slog for me. Then I started thinking what is it that makes me say yes, especially to those big decisions, big purchases? And every single time my answer was rapport, relationship and connection I felt either to the person with whom I was making that transaction or the mission behind it.
Even when I look at our Incubator program (that Nikki is a part of), it’s filled with 23 entrepreneurs that are all very successful in business, and every single one of them came from a relationship, not from a sales page I created or some ad that I ran, or an email sequence. It was that connection and speaking to a mission that I knew would resonate with them and then guiding them forward through that.
According to Nikki, the biggest mistake that people make is that they think sales is something that you’re supposed to do to somebody. Sales is something you do with people, and with people means having conversations. Especially when people are making these high ticket commitments and investments in themselves and in their business, they want to know that the person on the other end cares about them and their experience.
[14:25] Conversational vs Transactional
Now, this might resonate with you, but when it comes to implementing it, you’re not sure where to start.
Nikki’s first advice is to start asking questions, instead of making statements to people all the time. Take some of the statements that you’re making in your emails on your sales pages and turn them into questions. If people don’t have a relationship with you in some way, and you say to them: “I know what you want” or “I know what you need” it will trigger what Nikki calls their polarity response, meaning that whatever you say, they’re going to take the opposing view. So, ask questions because that’s where conversation happens. And when conversation happens, rapport is being built.
To take it a step further, if you struggle with high ticket conversations, and don’t know how to keep it conversational in those places, Nikki’s advice is to pre-frame at the start of the call. What this means is you put people at ease. Because, at the end of the day, they’re probably just as nervous as you are, and that is why you pre frame the start of your call. So, a pre frame could be something as simple as:
- Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I’m excited to learn a little bit more about you.
- We’re scheduled to chat for about 15-20 minutes, does that still work for you?
- In order for this call to be meaningful and productive, is it okay if I start with a couple quick questions?
All of this creates safety for the other person and shows them that you’re honoring their time, and that it’s all about them. You want their full attention and you want to give them your full attention.
The other thing that can help your conversation is making sure that all of your questions lead to them hiring you. Help them identify that you have something or know something that is going to make sense for them. Ask questions that matter.
Lastly, if a person you’re talking to asks you a direct question about your offer, you need to be able to answer that question. Don’t dismiss it or act like their question isn’t relevant, because you will lose them.
All of these things are possible if you’re keeping things conversational.
[28:48] Talking about Pricing
“When somebody asks you your price, you say it like you’re saying the time of day.”
This is the advice that Nikki got from her sales mentor years ago and she still follows it. You need to get comfortable with your pricing. If you start using the “disclaimer language” (but, if you do this and you do that) that implies that you’re either not comfortable with your pricing or that it’s negotiable.
Nikki also encourages you not to get into too much detail. Let them have their response, don’t be afraid of their silence – they need time to process. So, say your price and be quiet, let them have their moment. Don’t anticipate what to say or do next, wait for their response.
[32:23] The Kiss of Death
One of the things that Nikki has taught me that has been such a burden lifted for me is remembering that the goal is to get people to make a decision. It’s not necessarily to get a “yes” every time. When she gave me that permission to simply present the information, to be confident in what my value is and to get them to a place where they’re making a final decision, whether it’s a “yes” or a “no”, it changed the way I showed up for these calls.
Another challenge we run into, especially with these high ticket offerings, is when their response is: “Thank you so much for the information, I’ll be in touch.” To me that’s like the kiss of death. So, how do we make sure that we are still getting to a decision when this happens?
Nikki’s advice is to make sure that at the end of your call you put the decision in front of them by asking them a pretty direct question about it. If they still can’t decide, then you schedule a circle-back call, or you at least attempt to schedule a circle-back call. Make sure that you let them know that whatever decision they make is fine, but that you still want to schedule a call if they have any additional questions.
Also, Nikki encourages you to add a little bit of a sense of urgency, because otherwise, all you’re doing is adding to people’s to-do list. And when you add anything to anybody’s to-do lists, the chance of you ever making it to the top three of the things they actually do, it’s probably slim to none. It’s going to get pushed below the fold, they’re going to forget that decision was on their to-do list and they just won’t ever come back around to it.
[43:03] Selling from Scarcity
If you’re selling from a place of scarcity, lack, and fear, people can smell it.
This is one of my biggest struggles, because it doesn’t matter how much successes I’ve had in the past, every single time I launch something new, my brain tells me that I’m not going to be able to do it. But now, having all these tools in my tool belt made me realize that I have to clear that away and I have to come back to why I’m doing what I’m doing and that I can’t hang the success of my mission on one person’s “yes” or “no.” Because when you do that, you put pressure on them and they can feel that it’s no longer about you being in service to them, it’s about how you can benefit from them from a financial perspective. It strips you of your joy in your process, and it strips them of the opportunity to actually be served.
So, don’t be afraid of giving people space, don’t be afraid of giving them the reins to truly be the one to make the decision. It’s not about using language or conversation to manipulate anybody and tricking them into doing something. It’s okay to give them the room to come to their own conclusion and allow them to feel supported. Because the success of what you’re doing cannot be dependent on one person’s decision. You’ve got to get that out of your head, you’ve got to stop selling from a place of lack and scarcity.
When you give people that space and you’re willing to schedule a circle-back call, it takes the
pressure off that person to decide right there in that moment. And it also shows a level of credibility and authority. You don’t need to chase clients. What you need to do is make it really easy for them to make decisions, and put opportunities in front of them, and not be afraid of having those conversations.
I hope today’s episode gave you some valuable tools and resources to really step into possibility when it comes to scaling and selling. And if this episode spoke to you, make sure to subscribe and leave us a review!
Come connect with me on Instagram at @elizhartke! If there’s a topic, a question or a guest you want to hear on the show, just reach out and share that. We do this for you so the more you tell us, the more we can serve.
RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE:
- Closing The Sale eBook
- Connect with Nikki on Instagram!
- Visit Nikki’s Website
- Listen to Sales Maven Podcast with Nikki Rausch
- Get on the waitlist for The Luminary Leadership Incubator!
- Did this episode resonate with you? Help spread the message by rating and leaving a review for the show here!
- Connect with me on Instagram!