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I spend a lot of time developing my personal brand. From posting on LinkedIn to record my podcast, the goal is to create content that attracts customers and opportunities. Why? Because I’m terrible at selling! Here’s a quick example of how bad I am.



Thanks to Brian Cristiano

Once I was chatting with a potential customer on the phone, they asked my rate and I told them. Then they said, “Hey, can you repeat that? You broke up a bit.” And for some reason I told them a lower rate the second time. I have no idea why – and I suspect they heard me loud and clear the first time – but I’m that bad at selling.

That’s why I was so excited to chat with Brian Christiano for this week’s episode of the Launch Your Business podcast.

Brian is the CEO of Bold Worldwide, an advertising and consulting firm that has helped transform many prominent brands, including Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez and the New York Mets. More impressively, he started his career at 16 with no connections, just a video camera. He then made a skate video which he sold for $40,000. Today, he helps other people develop the skills they need to win in business and in life.

And if you’re anything like me, he’ll give you some valuable tips on how to get better at sales.

Here are a few of my best takeaways from the conversation.

How to shorten the sales cycle?

A sales cycle is the process used to turn a lead into a customer. Unfortunately, it can take weeks or even months to complete. And what do you do during that time? Hope, wish and wait.

Sure, you can send a generic “just check in” email, but after a while you may run out of excuses to check in or inadvertently come across as a combination of annoying and desperate.

So, what should you do instead? Brian shares his advice.

“You need to add value and build a long-term relationship. So think about how you can help them, even if you’re not really trading. Can you point them in the right direction? Can you give them a resource? Can you put them in touch with someone? Can you find a collaborator for them? Even if it has absolutely nothing to do with what you’re doing. I’ve always found that when you help someone in some way, that relationship becomes strong.”

Generating sales is based on building relationships. The more effort you put into building that relationship, the easier it will be to close the sale.

How to win bigger deals

If you want to make more money, you have to solve more expensive problems. Bigger deals often bring bigger – more expensive – problems, which is why they are so complex. Unfortunately, that can lead to long, drawn-out proposals with no guarantee of success.

During our chat, Brian shared his “Wedge Strategy” designed to help you win bigger deals faster.

The name comes from the process of cutting down a tree and although I spent two summers as a landscape gardener, I’ll spare you the details. Basically, the easiest way to cut down a tree is to drive a small wedge into it first and then cut back on the other side.

So, instead of spending hours chopping at the tree, that one little wedge will help you knock down the entire tree much faster.

Brian explains how you can apply this to your business. “It’s the same from a sales perspective. What’s that wedge? It’s something that you can easily sell. It can be strategy, it can be advice, a small piece of your process or a small piece of your SAS solution or your product . You just need a first step, just to bring them in to show them you’re listening and understanding them.”

And once you get that wedge in, you can sell them to bigger projects. The whole process is accelerated because they already know, like and trust you based on that first smaller project.

How to avoid ghosting

What’s worse than being ghosted by a prospect? Being ghosted by a prospect who is still engaged with your social media content. As you may have guessed, I speak from experience, but I’ll resist the temptation to go wild.

Getting ghosted is a frustrating but common situation. Brian shared one of his favorite tactics for avoiding this by taking command and control of the situation. It all starts with asking an all-important question during the first sales call; “When should you start?”

Brian mentions why this is so important.

“If you can put a pin in a timeline, then you can create urgency around it. And this is when you reach out again and say, ‘Listen, I looked at everything we suggested and I realized based on the outcome that you want and when you want to fix this problem by we need to get this going in a few weeks which is why i put the team on hold for you because i know this is important to you should i put them on hold keep them for the next few weeks or should I move them to another?’ I’ve had hundreds of people send messages like this and almost 100 percent of people respond.”

And to be honest, if they don’t respond to that, you probably don’t want to work with them anyway. Just keep it moving and save your energy for a prospect who is excited to work with you.

What’s next?

Those were some key points from my conversation with Brian. Listen to this week’s episode of the Launch Your Business podcast to hear the full conversation and access additional resources.

Do you have questions about starting your business? I have entered into a partnership with ChatterBoss to provide free consultation hours where you can ask me questions and get answers live. You can learn more and Register here.

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