You: “Hello, can I help you with anything?”

Prospect: “No thank you, we’re just looking.”

You may think that you just opened your sale by using a friendly and helpful sentence when in reality you’ve decreased the chances of selling your product by nearly 20%.

In his bestseller ‘The E-Myth’, Michael Gerber said that just replacing “Can I help you with anything?” by “Is this your first visit to our store?” would increase your sales by an impressive 16%.

There is a myth that sale is lost during closing. But actually, the sale is very often lost at the first ‘Hello’ or first question to your customers.

I am going to reveal one of the best secrets in sales.

If you apply it in your sales process, it will automatically give you a huge advantage. It is extremely simple to use and implement, and can be used for any type of product or service.

One of my mentors, Kevin Nations, revealed this secret to me while teaching me one of his powerful consulting selling methods. He makes several millions of Dollars in profit every year using this method.

To make this tip simple to remember, I decided to call it the Grandmaster Formula using the analogy of a chess game.

I see way too many people winging it in sales. But just like anything, if you don’t prepare or use the correct techniques, your chances of succeeding at what you do are very slim.

Now you are probably familiar with the game of chess.

If you are an amateur or a novice, you focus and play on your actual move right there and then. However, it is common for a Grandmaster to play 3 to 4 moves ahead.

Did you know that just from the opening to the 4th move there are over 378 billion possibilities? In fact, there are more moves in a game of chess than the total amount of atoms in the universe!

Now just like a chess game, the sales process is so complex that it would be impossible to plan several steps ahead with accuracy.

So an effective alternative to trying to anticipate or guess your customer’s reactions is simply starting with ‘the end in mind’.

Let me explain:

Your objective is to plan your first action based on the last move (the close). The goal is to identify the reason of the close and the easiest way to do that is to base your opening or first action by asking the client the reasons why they are here to buy.

So here is how it goes.

When the client arrives or contacts you for the first time, ask them the following questions:

“I am curious as to what made you decide to come see this particular boat today out of all the other boats at the show?”

Or

“I am curious. There are 115,000 boats listed on Yachtworld, what made you decide to inquire about this specific model?”

“I am curious, what made you decide to consider listing your boat with us?”

“Before I go into what we do and all that boring stuff (powerful to really make it about them) I should probably ask you, what was it about the listing that got your attention.”

Once you have asked the question, shut up and LISTEN.

The key here is to actually listen, not pretend you are listening,

I just finished a great book called "Never Split the Difference & Negotiate As If Your Life Depended On It.”

So far the best negotiation book I have ever read.

The author, FBI’s international chief hostage negotiator, talks in the book about the critical importance of active listening during any negotiation.

He said when they have a big hostage negotiation crisis it is common to have a team of up to 5 hostage negotiators listening to the phone conversation live and providing instant feedback to the head negotiator. One guy talking to the terrorist, one guy listening to the words, one guy for the moments of silence, one guy for the voice intonation, one guy for the voice speed etc

Because the stakes are so huge (often life or death) it takes up to 5 qualified persons to properly listen to one conversation. This example really gave me a deep insight into the extreme importance of listening during any conversation.

Silent is an anagram for listen. But just being silent isn't enough to listen properly.

Here is how we typically listen:
-45% of the time we are thinking of what we say;
-45% of the time we are waiting for our turn to speak \
-10% of the time we are actually listening.

I tried to really listen to my wife this week and I instantly noticed an immediate improvement in our relationship.

Before that, listening to my wife was like looking at the terms and conditions of new software- I always understood nothing but still said, I agree….

Then once you are done listening, here is what you have to do. Repeat the last 2 or 3 words they said.

Have you ever been to a fancy restaurant where the waiter remembers your entire order by heart? Well, a recent academic research by Rick van Baaren found that when waiters repeat a client’s order word for word, they receive a tip increase of 70% compared to them just replying “OK!” or “Coming right up!”

In another Harvard negotiation experiment, the professor divided students into 2 distinctive groups and asked them to do the same role play exercise. One student played an oil company acquiring a gas station and the other student played a man (owner of a mom and pop gas station) that was selling his business for retirement.

The 2 role-playing students didn’t have a matching buying and selling price and were suppose to find creative ways to get a deal on the sale of the gas station.

The 2 groups of students did the exact same exercise except that one group was asked to mimic the gas station owner and repeat a few words after his sentences.

For the same exercise, more than 70% of students who were asked to mimic and repeat were able to find a compromise and get a deal versus pretty much nobody on the other group.

Another important element once you are done listening, mimicking or repeating (don't be obvious when doing so) is to probe their answers and dig deeper with questions like,

“Oh, really! Tell me more! Why?” Or use the parrot technique again; just repeat their words.

You have to be curious and really focus on their answers because they are going to reveal the close to you.

Your goal is to really understand the roots of their desire and buying motives.

This tip is way too huge to be forgotten. Use it religiously with every single client.

Teach this to your sales team or your dealer network and wait for the results, as this will make their jobs so much easier.

It is simple to use and implement and doesn’t require any financial investment but will bring massive results to your sales performance.

Remember the 3 step process:

  • Start with why (the end in mind)
  • Listen
  • Mimic or use the parrot technique (not obviously)

So next time you talk to your clients try to listen with complete attention and make sure to share your results with me below. You will be surprised!

Can you think of any other important tip to start the sales on your best advantage?