Did you like my Wisdom? If so, please share it with anyone who holds their breath when it's time to initiate that first meeting with a prospect. - Matt
I kinda had more fun with this Windshield Wisdom than I probably should have. My research took waaaaay longer than it was supposed to, largely because it was unbelievably interesting.
For example, last week we had a Friday the 13th. Did you know that 8% of Americans suffer from Paraskevidekatriaphobia, or the fear of Friday the 13th?
If you are a victim of Ophidiophobia you may not want to come to my house. We have 4 pet snakes in the basement.
Daffy is watching, waiting for the right moment to get even for all the times you laughed at him during Saturday Morning Loony Tunes. Is that Donald and Daisy again? Why are they following us around Disney World? You probably don't live near a pond if you have Anatidaephobia.
I personally suffer from Acrophobia. Don't judge me! Heights are a little higher when you're 6'7".
On a more serious note, there are several phobias that I see in my clients from time to time.
We just got done talking about how to overcome Achievemephobia in one of my recent Grow Together Mastermind sessions. A great reminder it's hard to be successful too.
On the flip side, Sales Math exists because I'm driven to help people overcome Atychiphobia. Too many good ideas never got launched because people were afraid of failure.
The sales techniques in today's Windshield Wisdom are designed to help you power past Autophobia and Atelophobia, the fears of abandonment and imperfection.
It's been my experience that these two phobia's add up to a more easily recognized fear...rejection.
The good news is there is no reason to fear this week's Windshield Wisdom.
P.S. Because I'm sure you're all wondering about the image from the video cover, the fear of sharks is Galeophobia.
Ok guys, so the number 1 scariest time for all of us sales people, or people in business, is that moment when we have to ask for something. I don't think anybody is going to argue that point. Why? Because it's the first place where we're terrified of getting rejected in any interaction. It's also the most obvious.
So the question for this week's Windshield Wisdom is, what's the second most terrifying time?
My name is Matt Middendorp. I'm the owner and founder of Sales Math, and this week's Windshield Wisdom is all about removing that intimidation factor from breaking the ice.
Now this conversation comes around from sitting down recently with a customer, as is my habit during these interactions, I simply asked, "what else is there I can help you with today?" And she said, "I've got to be honest Matt. I have meetings scheduled with centers of influence like we had talked about, and I'm terrified. Almost to the point where I didn't want to call and schedule the appointments because I don't know how to start a conversation."
That's how intimidating this can be for us, and it makes complete sense. As a business owner, or a sales person, it should be scary because it's the other time where you can get rejected. You can get rejected at the end when you're asking for business or next steps, but you can also get rejected in the beginning if the conversation doesn't start right.
There's a reason I teach great sales people aren't great closers, but great openers. Great sales people set the table and start things off right. They create an environment where success can happen.
So in that frame of mind, my client and I talked about how you do it. How you start a conversation on the right foot. And guys, I believe there is two different ways you can go about it. Both of which have direct relevance to what we do every single day.
The first sales techniques I teach for breaking the ice is the...for lack of a better term, I'm going to call it the vacant open. I should probably trademark that now. Here's what I mean by a vacant open. Some people start conversations with the weather, or simple statements like. Generic, vacant statements that don't necessarily have anything to do with the person in front of us, but can sometimes help break the ice. I'm going to be honest though, as often as they help break the ice, vacant statements just as often lead to nowhere. At least they help to warm things up a little bit, and they kind of nudge things down the road so you can begin a real conversation at some point.
Here's my advice. If you're going to do that, try to avoid asking about the weather. Try and avoid asking about things that don't matter. If you're going to ask a vacant question, try to ask something like, "What's new?" When you ask something like, "What's new?" there's a chance they might give you something that can lead to a real conversation. The point of starting a conversation is to get them talking. To get the people who you're with learning to listen and trust you. The best way to do that in my experience is to listen to them, think about what they're saying, and ask questions. We've talked about this over and over again in Windshield Wisdom. As you're digging deeper. As you're going to that third, fourth, fifth layer of questions you're asking questions about basic things your curiosity has been trained to see. You can go there, and vacant questions make it harder to get there. Sometimes questions like, "What's new?" may lead to a response that helps.
Another trick, sometimes when you ask, What's new?" Their response may be, "nothing". That's fine. It's easy to say that's fine, and make a joke about it, and then move on to something else you have prepared. You aren't stuck in a dead-end usually at that point.
The vacant thing is something we've fallen back on for years and years and years during conversations. I tend to use "what's new?" more with people who I know, obviously, or in networking situations where I may not really have an opportunity to dig real deep. My goal is to at least get a quick, visceral response. The other thing that hasn't happened at most networking events, is I haven't really had a chance to research anybody new and know where to go.
Which leads to my second point, and that is if you really want to start a conversation with meaning, do your research and use your preparation to figure out what your curious about for the people you are meeting with, and what you would like to learn more about.
Believe it or not, you can come in. You can sit down, and you can say to somebody, "Holy cow, I hope you don't mind, especially given we really don't know each other, but I gotta admit. I was on your LinkedIn profile, and I saw this, and I have to know about it. I want to know.
And you can really start a good conversation that way.
Most of the time when you're doing that, when you're doing your research, you're seeing things that about them and about their business. In short, about things they are more than willing to open up and talk about. Truthfully, these curiosities are probably the reasons that you're meeting in the first place.
No better way to warm it up.
You can also use the circumstances around you for the same thing. You just have to think through what's going to be happening when you meet.
Let me give you a great example of both of those from a meeting I had a few Friday's ago with a fantastic new business owner. She was only a couple of months in, and as you guys know I have my mastermind group meeting every Friday morning. It's my favorite time of the week, and every Friday from 8:30-10 I meet with two guys and we talk business, and it's fantastic. I've said it 100 times over. I wouldn't give up anything for my mastermind. No customer could lure me away from them. Then I set up a meeting for immediately after 10 O'clock. Normally I wouldn't do that, but in this case it just kind of worked out. Our schedules fit, and OK, fine, I scheduled it for immediately after, so I knew I couldn't run over this week.
She gets there a couple of minutes early, as we're wrapping up, and sits down a few tables away. I can see that she's listening. Now, because I knew we were going to be in the same venue, I was going to have a chance to talk to a new business owner about something that could add a ton of value to their business as well. I believe in the mastermind concept that much. I wanted to make sure that I shared that with her. The worst thing that would happen, if she knew all about mastermind, I could introduce her to two outstanding business owners, and then come back and ask if she knew about the concept. Was she familiar with it? If she said yes, that's great because we could then talk about the benefits of it and her experience with it. Voila, we have a conversation that has meaning and value to both of us, and we're off.
If she had said no, it gave me a great chance to explain it, talk about Mastermind's importance and place in my business, and how, again, I wouldn't give up anything for it. How it works. The mechanics of it. The types of things we talk about. A tremendously valuable conversation right off the bat. Perfect for a new business owner, or even an experienced one to be honest.
That was using the circumstances and being prepared for that moment with that person. Knowing their situation. Knowing how long they had been in business. Knowing the things I wished I had known on my first day that I thought might be able to help her. Including setting her up for success with other people she should get to know, like, and trust to help her.
There's another side to this though. I had also done a ton of research. I looked at her history. I looked at her profile, and I was astounded. I had to learn more. There were things that I had to ask about. To the point where we talk for an hour and a half, and I didn't even get to all of them.
When I sat down we talked about Mastermind. We kind of then transitioned for a little bit, and there was an awkward moment. All I did was say, "I have to be honest. If you don't mind, I was doing my research about you, where you came from, how you got going in business, and I have to ask about some of these things. So if you don't mind, I would like to just start asking." And I did. And it was fantastic. We had a great conversation. She had a fascinating story. I loved to hear it. We went three, four, five layers deep and I learned a ton about her business. I learned a ton about her, and how she got to where she's at. I learned about what she wants to accomplish. Who her audience is. Who she wants to help.
It had real value for both of us. It meant a lot to both of us to have that conversation, because then she was completely comfortable coming back and doing the same with me. Hearing my story, and quite frankly, talking about the things that led to a level of trust between us that she admitted she had not been getting from other meetings. It had value to her. Our conversation was something different than she had experienced before.
All because I was prepared, and I knew how I wanted to start that conversation based on what I had learned in my research.
Thank you very much for your time today. I appreciate it. Do me a favor. If you loved this Windshield Wisdom. If it's going to help you get through that second most intimidating time. Share it on Facebook. Share it on LinkedIn. Share it with your friends. Get it out to them so they can get the same great advice that you're getting from me every time.
If you have any questions you know where to find me. You can email me at [email protected] You can always call me at (715) 897-0879.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this Windshield Wisdom.
Go out. Make sales. Be happy. Be successful.
Matt Middendorp is a nationally acclaimed speaker and sales coach with over 20 years of experience turning connections into customers and advocates. In 2013, Matt founded Sales Math, and debuted his “Formula for Success” sales training system to bankers across the country. From the beginning, Matt’s clients have experienced learning that is fun, meaningful, and makes a difference in the real world. Today, Matt’s core philosophies of “Learn Together, Do Together, Grow Together” are taught through in-person coaching, online as part of the Cool Bankers Academy, and by his leadership of the Cool Bankers Club Facebook Group. His clients are making millions based on the confidence and skills gained from learning a sales process tailored to their individual personalities and businesses. For information about training and workshops visit www.Sales-Math.com, call (715) 897-0879, or email Matt personally at [email protected]
And I promise absolutely no spam!