I hate being sold to. Like an old wild west holdup, I’m held at gun point to hand over my wallet.
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If you can’t sell that product, you’re not going to go and go.
I’ve got a beautiful house. Would you ever be interested in selling it?
You’re not going to go and go,
You know, in business, including real estate, being able to sell your solution to the other party is critical. So with me is my good friend, Frank Valone. He’s a professional salesman, and I brought him here on this video to share just a few basic tips of how to sell your solution to anybody.
So I, uh, started in sales in a very roundabout way. I was actually running a restaurant, um, at the age of 24, I opened and ran a $3.5 million restaurant in west Hartford, Connecticut. I don’t know if you’ve ever, have you ever been in the restaurant business? No. Okay. It’s a lot of work. Um, I was working 120 hour, weeks, nights, weekends, and it didn’t seem to make much sense for what I was getting paid versus the hours I was putting in. I was like, there’s gotta be a better way. Uh, so I stepped down from that. I actually started my MBA and then I ended up starting in a door to door sales program. And the reason that that worked for me was that they sat in on average 12 to 18 months. You’d be running your own business if you successfully completed our program.
And I went sounds sketchy, but I’ll give it a shot. I had nothing else to do or really no other direction to go. I just knew I wanted out of the restaurant industry and I wanted to find something new. And like Michael said, the ability to sell is the number one skill you could ever develop. You know, we used to joke that Nike is not Nike if they don’t sell shoes. So it doesn’t matter how big your brand is. If you can’t sell that product, you’re not going to go anywhere. So that’s what we’re about. It took me 10 months to complete that program of door knocking. So we would do residential. So which was scary as hell. And then we would, uh, do business to business, which was equally scary, just in different ways. Right? And the, the biggest thing that I learned there is be bold.
And if you can speak well, somebody else will communicate with you. It’s really that simple. So the best way to do is practice practice, and then more practice. Um, in my time there at the beginning, they told me I had to knock on a hundred doors a day, sounds like a lot. And it was right. But in my mind, I said, if I need to knock on a hundred doors a day, I’m going to knock 120. So that by the end of the week, I am a little bit better than everybody else in the office. I’m competitive by nature. So that just made sense to me. I also sucked so bad at first that I knew I just needed more practice. If I was going to get better at anything. And I’ll tell you how I knocked on the first door. If this is the doorbell, I went like this, I just rung anywhere.
But the doorbell, because I was so afraid to talk to somebody on my first store, the second door, I knocked it like this, not like a full doc, like hello. It was like, oh, nobody’s home. And like turn to run away. Right. And the trainer that I was working with literally held me from behind. I was like, no, you can do it. I didn’t say my name correctly. The first time I talked to somebody. So my name’s Frank, my trainer’s name is Sergio. I said, hi, I’m Sergio. No, I’m not. And then stopped talking and shut down. So if you’re struggling, I think that’s totally fine. It’s just not fine to stop it. The struggle and not get better. I think the whole point of sales is to start getting comfortable, being uncomfortable. And if you can do that incrementally get better. Then you’re going to start seeing some, some success.
And I’ll share with you a couple of the pointers that they gave to me, they’re called, uh, they’re called they’re part of our T1 workshop, which is just kind of like first day training, the super basics. So number one, before we even get into anything else, the first thing is, is appearance matters. So your image matters. I knocked for, you know, four seasons in Connecticut in a full suit suit and tie suited and booted. And the reason for that is you’re just taking a little bit more seriously. Now, I don’t know for you guys, if that would be a little bit too much, but I do know a haircut, a shower, and well-groomed goes a long way. Right? And the other thing that we learned was to make sure your car was clean. You never know when somebody might end up walking by or going into your car.
I don’t know if that’s something for you. It was for us. So like a clean car made all the difference in the world and it saved a sailor. Two of mine. I, I swear the first couple things that we learned while doing this was first one is called the C principle. So it’s S E E, which stands for smile, eye contact and enthusiasm. And you need to bring all of these to the table. I was taught that every door, every welcome mat was your new Broadway show. And if you went to the Sunday matinee or the evening, Saturday night show, you still expected the same from those actors, right. Actors and actresses. Right? So if that’s what you’re expecting to get, that’s what you have to be able to give, right? So you had to shake off being tired, being upset, being cranky. Any of that stuff went right out the window.
As soon as I knocked shows on big smile, eye contact, enthusiasm. And there’s a reason for these three things. The smile is contagious. If I smile at you, Michael, what do you do back to smile back? Exactly. You have to like, think about it. You can try this in like the grocery store or somewhere else. If you smile at somebody and they smile back. Cool. That’s what you’re doing. Eye contact builds trust. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen those on where the same age-ish um, those like oldie time cartoons with the shifty eyed black and white villain, right? They’re shifty eyed. Cause they were like, like this make eye contact with the person you’re talking to. If you can’t make eye contact, you’re over the phone while you can do a couple of things. One I’ve done phones for a while. Now, put a mirror by the phone, make sure you’re smiling.
Make sure you’ve got a good like appearance going. Cause they’ll show through the phone. They can hear the smile. I swear. It’s true. And then the last one is enthusiasm. Um, if you’re like your, and you’re like, ah, right, living under a pile of sticks, like that’s not going to work for somebody that you’re trying to sell to. Nobody’s excited about that. We’re all living a day to day. Life of existence, that at sometimes as high and sometimes as low, if you come in low, you’re never going to win somebody over. I say you got to be about 10% more excited than they are to fit the right spot. So if somebody calls or you call somebody and they’re like, hello, I’m not going to be super over the top Tigger. I’d be like, oh, hold on, fly a little bit more excited, a little bit more engaging.
If they’re already excited, then I’m going to, then I’m going to top them because I want them to be attracted to my energy. Um, cool. The other one is going to be icebreakers. So I teach three simple icebreakers. One is the weather. So it’s universal. It’s the one thing that we as humans can’t control, but we’re affected by daily, right? So you look tan cause you just got back from Florida. Yep. That makes sense. You enjoyed the weather at any point in time, you can stop and talk about the weather. Somebody should interact with you. It’s why it’s an old joke. The other is a small joke. So my disclaimer with a small joke, just to make sure it’s appropriate to your audience, don’t drop your mama jokes on people if they’re not ready for it. Right. And then lastly, and my favorite a sincere compliment.
And I emphasize the sincere cause if you drop a fake compliment, people know it automatically right there. They can. They’re just attuned to that. So you either have to mean it or you have to be able to sell that. You mean it, but one way or the other, it has to sound sincere. It’s also easy to do because you can see something and then react to it, which is the other thing that we teach, which is read, relate, relax. So you’re going to read the situation. You take five to 10 seconds to read the situation for door-knocking. This was super important. You know, you’re going to see what’s going on. The dog’s barking, something on the doorway that you can talk about. You’re picking up a couple of clues as quickly as possible. You relate to that, oh, I really like this a wall hanging or I really like this garden gnome, whatever it is. Right. And then that relaxes both parties. Because if you can get the other person to smile and relax, suddenly you’ve relaxed a little bit too. Again, if you go back to I’m scared and this is scary because sales can be very scary at first. Uh, you need that little bit of help. You need everybody to relax into it.
I really liked the idea of, we talked about only 10% enthusiasm over the person you’re talking about because it’s so easy, especially if we’re nervous to go overboard with that.
All of this comes with practice. Again, go back to what I told you about my first couple of doors being scary and not going well. And I couldn’t say my name. So my name is Frank. My trainer’s name is Sergio. I said, hi, I’m Sergio. Hi, I’m Sergio. Hi, I’m Sergio. Um, and I mean that I really, really honestly couldn’t it was bad. So like it just takes a little bit of practice. The beautiful thing about practice is that while you might hate it, if you do it, you actually do get better. Right? And that was why the 20 more doors for me on a weekly basis got me better quicker. And I was able to move from door knocking to running my own office in 10 months, right? Like one of the fastest groups to do it. And then maybe eight months after that, I was running three offices in Hartford, Connecticut, Boston, and Providence, you know, with like 150 sales agents under me. And it all came literally from doing this and applying what I was learning when you were door knocking.
Right. And some of the rejections you would get, right. Maybe people are rude to you. Maybe they say, oh, you know, I, I don’t want to, I don’t want to talk to a salesman. What was your first reaction to that?
So the first thing about sales that I think sales really, really honestly teaches is attitude, right? So attitude is like a muscle in the real way that you build muscle is you go to the gym and very, literally you tear muscle apart and you build it back stronger. Right? So if I go to the gym and I lift weights and I’m trying to get biceps and make me look really good, right. I’m tearing that muscle apart and then building it back again. And that’s what sales does to your attitudes, right? Like the reality, the real reality is you face rejection every day, you know, going into it, you’re going to hear more nos than yeses. That’s my initial attitude towards it is I’m not going to be shocked that I heard a no, because my initial day waking up was if I talked to 50 people, I am not going to hear 50 yeses.
I am not a sales God. Right? Like there’s nobody out there. That’s going to magically hear 50 yeses. It’s a law of average. It’s a numbers game. It’s wide. We were taught to knock a hundred doors because four people would say yes out of that. Right. So your attitude is a mentality. I understand I’m going to get a lot of rejection. And I’m just okay with that. What I learned to do is compartmentalize and roll it off my back. Now what I got picky about, what I got competitive about was how was I handling what they were saying to me? How was I handling my communication? Was I attempting to overturn their negative? Or did they shout at me? And did I run away? Right.
That’s pretty, yeah. It’s pretty obvious to them if you get scared
Or back off. Right. Right. So what I wanted to do was just get better at handling the negatives that they were throwing out at me. Right. Get off my porch. Okay, sir. I totally understand you want me to get off your porch? However, I’ve just got to show you this real quick. I got sent out here to talk to you real fast, pretty simple. Right? And I guess you guys probably face very similar objections. So like all the time, what’s the most common objection that you guys are hearing
People say, oh no, I’m not interested in selling my house without them considering how it can benefit them without perhaps me explaining to them that, Hey, I have a solution for you to make your life better. Maybe it’s a tax issue. Maybe it’s an income issue. Maybe it’s a living trust issue where somebody who’s going to pass away and they want to give that asset to their, their family members. Bringing that up, I think is in a subtle way. And kind of in a way where it’s more their idea for, for instance, you know, like I said, if somebody is older and maybe they haven’t thought about how are they gonna provide inheritance to their kids? Yeah. I can’t go out and just say that like, oh, well what are you going to do when you die? I can’t say that. And as you know, it’s important for the other party for it to be their idea. Yeah. You want to plant the seed, plant the seed. Exactly.
Okay. So not interested is not like a magical, your guys’ only negative that you’re hearing. Right? So not interested as probably one of the most common negatives that we’ve ever heard in the Northeast. We got it a little bit differently. It was kind of, it was called I’m all set. Right? So it was very similar. It’s two very similar negatives. I call them soft negatives. And the reason I call them soft negatives is cause you haven’t given it anything hard, concrete to overturn. All you’ve done has been stupid and not listen. Right. You’ve you’ve shut down before I even gotten further along into the pitch. Most likely because you’re typically getting, I’m not interested or I’m all set pretty early on. Right? Hey, I’m so-and-so with so-and-so. I’m not interested. Okay. Would you be interested if I knocked on your door with a hundred dollars?
You know, like with, uh, like publisher’s clearinghouse. Yeah. Probably. So shut up and let me talk now you don’t get to say that, right? Wish you could say that some days. Right. But that’s not what you get to say. So all negatives fall under one way to overturn them, which is repeat, reassure and resume. I’ll repeat that again. Repeat reassure and resume. And the reason for this each step is crucial. So I need to repeat the negative directly, back to them. And I do this for a couple of reasons. Number one, I’m asking this person to take time out of their day and listen to me. I need to prove to them that I’m listening to them. I think that’s just a very general, basic human idea of communication. So if I repeat directly back to them verbatim like a parrot, what they said to me, I’ve proven, Hey, I know I called you out of the blue, but I’m willing to listen to you.
Give me 10 seconds to listen to me. That’s what you’re subtly saying with that. Repeat also it buys you a couple of co Biser couple seconds of time. I like the very end of the day. It’s buying you a couple seconds of time to figure out what the hell next you want to say. Right? So repeat, you’re going to reassure them that, that negative. Isn’t a problem. So in this case, Hey Michael, I totally understand. You’re not interested. I have a lot of people tell me that. Uh, give me two seconds. I can actually show you something that I think you’d be interested in. Right? So you repeat the negative. You repeat it, you repeat the negative back to them. You reassure them that that issue, isn’t an issue. And then crucially and what a lot of people miss out on is you have to resume back into your pitch after resume back into your pitch.
Because if you don’t, you’re just standing there with a lot of silence, right? So I’ve overturned this negative. But if I don’t and if they stop talking, you’ve won, right? I’m not saying talk over them. I’m just saying you’ve, you’ve repeated it. You reassured them. They’re willing to listen. Now, now you got to jump in and say something. Now you got to say the next line of your pitch. Now you got to say, I’ve got a really interesting opportunity for your home or whatever. The next line of your pitch is wherever you got cut off. That’s where you got to jump back into. And that’s the reason that you need to know your pitch really well. It’s the reason that I went home and practiced my pitch in the mirror. 50 times after my girlfriend got tired of like me pitching her 50 times. Right?
So you just got to get good at what you’re trying to say. And I taught this so you could be interrupted. So you could say upside down backwards underwater, you need to be able to know what you’re saying and it’s that simple. And if you can do that, and there’s one other thing that I tied in with that, uh, overturning the negative, which is really powerful and it’s called Jones effect. And this is the idea to some degree that all that we’re all sheep. And that if Susie down the street did something, I might also be interested in something. It’s why Amazon reviews are so popular. If you shop on Amazon, if you’re like me, you’ve read like a hundred reviews. Like my wife makes fun of me a lot for it, but I want to know what other people thought about it. And I’m trying to determine that through the reviews, through what their judgements are in the restaurant.
When I was running the restaurant, uh, I taught all my servers that they had to sell a bottle of wine in the first hour of their shift. Okay. They had to sell a bottle, not four glasses, which is the same as a bottle. They had to physically put a bottle of wine down on a table in the first hour of their shift. And then I told all the bussers to clear that wine bottle last. And the reason for that is if you came in and you sat down and you were with your wife and she looked over and she saw another couple with a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, what does she instantly thinks she wants tonight, another bottle of wine, right? And that, that simple thing increased our wine sales by about 20%. Wow. Which in the restaurant business is massive because if you weren’t putting that bottle of wine and then everybody sits down and they look around and they just see all these bottle of wine.
This is a nice Italian restaurant, all these bottles of wine. Yeah. Okay. I, wasn’t thinking about a bottle of wine today, but that table, that table and that table has one, I guess that’s what I’ll do. And that’s the Jones effect. So how we use that in our business is it’s called feel, felt found. So it’s Michael. I totally understand how you feel Susie down the street felt the exact same way. But what we found is by taking the time to actually look at these numbers, uh, it was going to be a really good deal, a deal. She couldn’t pass up. You got 10 seconds to go over this with me. Right. Wow.
Well, if it helps Susie out, then I’m a bit more
Interested now. Exactly. And this becomes even more powerful if that’s true, right? This becomes even more powerful if their neighbor or somebody else in the community or somebody else that you know that you started working with. So that’s why referrals and just gathering a list of names. When I was door knocking, if I knocked on 10 doors, I get everybody’s name. So by the fifth door, you know what I mean? By the 15th door, I would have a couple of names. Oh, I don’t know if you know Bobby down there or this person across the street or whatever. It may be. It’s the same concept here. They don’t need to know the person. You just need to name drop. That’s what it boils down to. Wow.
Yeah. Your name drop all of a sudden, you’re kind of in the circle of the neighborhood or the friends now March, here we go.
Plus it’s like, if they say a negative and you’re like, yeah, I hear that a lot. Right? No problem. You just diffused it. You just diffused it. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. I totally understand that. And that’s the other thing I say. That’s how I taught it was my repeat comes with, I totally understand. So whatever they say to me, I just plug, I totally understand. Repeat like a parrot back. I’ve bought myself a couple seconds, which I need still to this day. Right? You need a couple seconds to figure out where you’re going next, reassuring them and then resume.
Wow. You know, Frank, when we first sat down here, so I invited you because I’ve been super impressed of your speaking ability and like, you know, your history of door knocking and everything. I thought it’d be a great idea. And now we sat down and I find out you actually have a class. So how, how would I get in contact with you to learn more about what would you,
Um, so Frank dot [inaudible] F E L L O N email@example.com. You shoot me an email. I do a lot of zoom stuff right now. Um, I do a T1 through T five training class. It pertains to getting started in sales, overturning negatives, and then kind of how to manage what I call manager territory. So that could be on your, on the phones. It could be door knocking. If that’s what you guys are doing, it could be whatever it is, but just how to stay organized enough to continue to see success.