with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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In this episode, we meet  Ari Galper, the World’s #1 Authority on Trust-Based Selling.

Ari is one the most expensive sales growth advisors in the world. He is the creator of Unlock The Game®, a completely revolutionary sales approach and has clients in over 35 countries.

He has a Masters Degree in Instructional Design and is a practitioner of Aikido, a special martial art that diffuses conflict between two parties.

He is based in Sydney, Australia with his wife Michelle and their two sons and daughter.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Building trust first before anything else, so that you create influence;
  • Eliminating resistance in any communication with a prospect;
  • Why the language you use is so critical, and some practical examples of phrases to remove from your life; and
  • The myth of chasing sales, and instead becoming a sales magnet.

Connecting with Ari

You can reach Ari in the following ways:

Thanks to Perry Marshall for recommending Ari.

On eliminating rejection

  • What we discovered in our research is that rejection is triggered by certain things you say and do unknowingly that cause the other person to push back on you.
  • So that comes down to the words you say (languaging), the way you say it (delivery) and how much authority you have (positioning). Those three things are the triggers, and if you don't have one of them, you'll get rejection every single day.

On starting with building trust, not pushing for a sale

  • Whatever you're offering to them is about a solution to their problem; if you try and sell your project by talking about the benefits of it and not addressing their issue, that is a mismatch there. It will feel like you're trying to put your agenda before theirs.
  • An example is: “Hi, my name is … I'm with VRA, we specialise in this.” That's kind of a pitch. What you'd say instead is, “I'm hoping you can help me out for a moment. I'm just giving you a call to see if you'd be open to some different ideas around ways to solve the issues you're having related to sales and project management. Would you be open to that?”
  • That's the mindset shift I talk about in the game – it’s shifting away from the end goal of the sale and focusing only on trust first. If your goal is trust first, you don't talk about yourself, you talk about them. That's the whole mindset shift that I teach.

On doing your research

  • Nowadays, you can't go fishing for their problems anymore. “Hey, how you doing? How's your business going? What problems do you have?” That used to work five years ago.
  • You should probably already have a sense of what the top three issues are that your clients deal with, so start with those.
  • You have to ask yourself what the value is to them to consider your suggestion. Make a list of all the things you offer in which they would see value.

On the biggest lesson in his career

  • 15 years ago I was a sales manager in a software company and we launched the first online website tracking tools to collect website behaviour – it's now called Google Analytics. In the end, after what I thought was a successful sales call, I overheard them say, “We're not gonna go with him. Keep using him for more information and make sure we shop someplace else cheaper.”
  • It forced me to question what I did wrong, and that became our Unlock The Game mindset premise, where our goal was to remove the pressure from the sales conversation to basically shift away from the end goal of the sale to building trust first, to make sure both you and them were fit to decide whether to proceed.

On a better set of sales KPIs

  • Most businesses measure the sales people's performance based on certain behaviours. For instance, the numbers game, so that’s how many contacts they make, how many meetings they have, how many presentations they do and how many closes do they make. But none of those issues has to do with trust, meaning there's no measurement on how good they are at building trust in the process.
  • Most salespeople are being conditioned to hunt, to kill, to bring in the money, but they ought to learn how to stop chasing, stop selling and build trust instead.

On better languaging

  • We developed what we call Trust-Based Languaging to replace sales languaging.
  • So, I'll ask you vigorously to remove one key phrase from your vocabulary forever, and that is “follow up”. By saying “follow up” you're asking, “How does this person move closer to a sale for me?”
  • Instead say, “I'm giving you a call to see if you have any feedback on our previous conversation, our proposal or on us.” So, you actually go backwards, not forwards.
  • The phrase “would you be interested?” is a sales phrase, so get rid of it. Instead try, “Hey, I've got a plan that might be able to help you out, would you be open to hearing this?”

On how to jump to the next level in your career

  • Don't focus on jumping. Find the person who's at that level and find out what value they could use that they don't have right now, and offer it to them. Just focus on the next person up who's the key player there and ask them what their challenges are and approach them with value-add.
  • Just keep problem-solving!

On recovering a lost sale – “the magic response”

  • If you're chasing somebody and you don't hear back from them for a while, you feel like you've lost them. You know you can't chase them anymore otherwise you're going to burn the relationship with them. What you do is call them back or email them and say something to the effect of:

“Hi John. It's Ari I hope you're doing well.

Look, I'm not calling to move things forward at all.

I'm just calling to first of all apologise. I hadn't heard back from you for a few weeks so it's probably me. I may have dropped the ball, I may have missed something, maybe I chased you too hard. I just want to apologise for whatever I may have done that didn't have you call me back.

And look, I'm only calling for one reason, and that is for some feedback to improve myself in the event there are a few opportunities with other people, so I can become a better person. Would you be open to that feedback to me?”

  • The above approach helps release the pressure, but by falling on your sword, it's amazing as 95% of the time they say, “No, it’s not you” and then they give you the truthful feedback you’re after, or might give you another look.

On sales myths

  • One is the whole numbers game concept. That is dead. It's not about how many contacts you make in your networks anymore, it's about how much trust you create with every single person.
  • Another one is the idea that your job is to overcome objections. But what if what they're telling you is true? So if someone says to you your price is too high, if you try to overcome the objection, you would either bring the price down or defend yourself. Instead, defuse the objection, re-engage again without risking the relationship with the sale and say, “You're absolutely right. It can be perceived as high, no doubt about that. In fact, everyone joins this at first says the exact same thing as you. Look, the last thing I want to do is try and convince you to do something you don't want to do, that's just unethical to even do that in the first place. But would you be open to re-looking at this from a different perspective, based on the topic issue we are trying to solve? Would you be open to that?”
  • And one final one is that sales messages need to be heard multiple times before a customer acts. Well, the formula is actually not based upon the number of touches, it's based on what the message is in those touches.

On routines

  • What do you need to be working on that impacts 95% of your business? I spend a lot of time thinking about what I should be doing every day that has the biggest impact on what I do.
  • Every night I'll think about what the three things are that I need to do today to be successful. As Jeff Bezos says, “If I just make three decisions a day, I can go home.”

Final message of wisdom and hope

  • Always be open to someone else challenging your assumptions, to make sure that you know what you know, but recognise you may not know it all and always strive to be able to say that you’re cutting-edge but others have been there before. So keep seeking out answers for things you may not know yet.