My guest today has been an entrepreneur for almost 40 years. He has started, built, and sold two successful book publishing companies. He devoted the last 25 years to the art and science of relationship marketing.  He has three books on the topic of referrals: Get More Referrals Now, Don’t Keep Me a Secret, and Beyond Referrals. As the founder of The Cates Academy for Relationship Marketing – he has become widely recognized as an international expert in his ability to help businesses create exponential growth through purposeful word of mouth, strategic networking, referrals, and personal introductions. He has now turned his attention to helping businesses and professionals develop and communicate more relevant and compelling value propositions to win more ideal clients or customers.  His newest book is Radical Relevance – Sharpen Your Marketing Message, Cut Through the Noise, Win More Ideal Clients.

Resources

  • Join The Sales Revolution: If you’re ready to do sales differently, you’re in the right place. This community is for entrepreneurs and sales pros to connect, grow, + learn the new (and highly improved) connection-based way of selling. Get ready to toss out all that you’ve been taught about sales up to this point. It’s time for a revolution.

3 Value Bombs

  1. As salespeople and marketers we have to be careful not to get overly clever. It’s ok to be clever, but it can get in the way of the clarity of your message.
  2. When we initially reach out to prospects, we want to first acknowledge empathy for their problems and challenges. We want to display a sense of empathy, knowing their situation. But it can’t be so generic that we are guessing about their challenges.
  3. Helping a prospect come to the conclusion in their own mind that something is critical to resolve, will help drive the action.

Sponsors

VIRTUAL SALES TRAINING PROGRAM & PLATFORM: Our virtual training has helped thousands of people and companies turn-around sluggish sales. The mobile-enabled, innovative, flexible training is rooted in human behavioral psychology and provides easy-to-consume, on-demand training for sustainable results.

SALES STRUCTURE PARTNERSHIP: Accelerate your growth with a customized partnership! This partnership includes onsite coaching and role playing for skill reinforcement, 1:1 work with Jeremy Miner on your specific product or vertical scripting (aligned to the new model of selling) and coaching support and alignment for your sales managers and/or sales coaches.

Show Notes

**Click the timestamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.

Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Radical Relevance – Sharpen Your Message, Cut Noise, Win More Clients – with Bill Cates

3:28 I want to dive right into your story and your background and give our listeners a feel for how you arrived at this point where you are one of the elite authorities on social selling and influence. Please tell us a little bit more about your background and how this all started for you. How did you learn all these skills?

  • 9 years old started selling filters and won a Schwinn bicycle, no joke because of advice he got from a mentor – even at that age!
  • He was a drummer in a rock and roll band.
  • Got into the book publishing business and that’s really when his sales background became very useful.
  • Jeremy says Bill’s new book Radical Relevance is titled well because the principles are more relevant today than ever before.
  • Today’s consumers are more cautious and skeptical than ever before and they have been bombarded with messages which has caused them to put up walls of defence. 

6:04 Bill, let’s start off with probably the most obvious question – what do you mean by Radical Relevance and why is this concept important enough for you to write a book about it? 

  • 2 biggest challenges business owners and salespeople face:
    • Cutting through all the noise (the average person gets 3,000 marketing messages per day. It takes the right message to cut through all that noise.
    • Inertia – people are just doing what they are doing and they have to change, and change is not easy.  They are stuck in the status quo.
  • Chapter 3 of Bill’s book is all about the neuro-science of relevance. 
    • The brain doesn’t like to spend any unnecessary energy.
    • Anytime something is confusing or irrelevant to the brain, it will just snap back to where it was.
    • We are hardwired to ignore anything that isn’t relevant.

9:36  How can understanding neuroscience make a difference in how we attract and win more clients using techniques and skills that work with human behavior instead of against it?

  • As salespeople and marketers we have to be careful not to get overly clever. It’s ok to be clever, but it can get in the way of the clarity of your message.
  • The brain is scanning 6 times a second the notion of whether or not it is safe.
  • It is also scanning 3 times a second, is there an opportunity. The brain is built for action, it is built for opportunity, but only when it feels safe.
  • When we initially reach out to prospects, we want to first acknowledge empathy for their problems and challenges. We want to display a sense of empathy, knowing their situation. But it can’t be so generic that we are guessing about their challenges.
  • Today’s prospect does not want to be talked at and sold, they want to be asked and understood.

11:42  In the first chapter, you tell a story of how one of your clients achieved 900 percent growth in 7 years. It’s a pretty inspiring story. Can you tell us a little bit more about how that actually happened?

  • Nancy McKay – runs a forum for CEOs and she wanted to scale her business.
  • Bill helped her initially create a referral process to help her attract more CEOs and also more people to run the forum groups. 
  • He also helped her with her messaging, to make it more effective.
  • 7 years later she has over 1000 high-ticket/high-value clients.

13:19 Scattered throughout the book are the Rules of Radical Relevance. I think you provide up to 17 of these rules. We could probably spend this entire show going through those, but for now, can you tell us about the top two or three rules and how our listeners get off this podcast today and apply those to what they are doing?

  • The straightest line to relevance with a prospect who doesn’t know us is through an introduction from someone they do know and trust. The best way to build sales is through “borrowed trust”, which is a referral introduction.
  • Give your clients or customers a seat at the table. You really don’t want to work up sales and marketing messaging, strategies, etc. without at least talking to some of your clients/customers.
  • Your customers or clients aren’t mind readers, they don’t know exactly what you want them to do. You’ve got to tell them or ask them to do it. It’s called a Call To Action (CTA), and is it compelling enough; does it help them solve a problem.
  • Be mindful of all the times we say We and Our and I and Us and be more mindful of when we say You and Your. Why? They are more interested in themselves than us. They are the hero and we as the salesperson are the Guide.
  • Enough about me…let’s talk about you!

17:55  You talk about building a value proposition and corresponding marketing messages centered around the problems one solves.  Most salespeople put their value prop around their solution, tell us why it should be around problems that we solve?

  • That’s what people care about; that’s what the brain is looking for. Yes, the brain does want a solution; it does want the problem to go away. It also wants to take advantage of opportunities where there may not even be a problem and that may have fear of missing out. But they have to identify with it first.
  • In an ideal scenario every prospect would be wearing their problems on their sleeve and it would be displayed as blatant and critical. But only up to approximately 10% of your prospects will fit that description anyway.
  • Missionary Selling – you are on a mission to help people make educated decisions that are in their best interest. But we can’t do that unless we have context. 
  • Radical Relevance is all about learning how to bring out that context.

21:17  As a follow up to the last question, in Chapter 20 you provide a great model for determining what problems we should try to solve for our clients and, perhaps, even build our business around.  Can you describe that model?

  • Some problems are “blatant and critical”. They know they have it, there is a deadline, they are bleeding money, etc.
  • A lot of problems are “aspirational”.  These are problems that would be nice to solve, but when the prospect gets around to it.
  • What we want to be looking for and help to uncover with and for our clients are these blatant, critical problems.
  • This becomes a critical skill in selling by asking the right questions you are able to help move the customer from Blatent to Aspirational.
  • If you can get your prospect to acknowledge: “yes I have this problem or challenge”, and “yes, it’s important to solve now rather than later”, you’re not going to make the sale. There’s no urgency.
  • It’s the salesperson's job to create that sense of urgency by the questions that they ask, how they ask those questions, and using the right tonality.
  • If you are not relevant you will be ignored and if you are not compelling you will be forgotten.

25:20 Let’s talk more about this concept of Relevance. I know you make a distinction between Strategic Relevance and Tactical Relevance. Starting with Strategic relevance, what are the main strategies that comprise Strategic Relevance?

  • Strategic Relevance are the big decisions like your target market and the “bullseye”, and your differentiating factors.
  • Tactical Relevance – how all those things play out. Target a specific industry. Do research on LinkedIn. Craft message specific to that tactical research you do.

30:00 I love how Radical Relevance goes from principles, to strategies, and then to tactics. And you provide a ton of great tactics. One of the tactical pieces is what you call a Value Positioning Statement. Can you share the formula you give in Chapter 10 on this?

  • Don’t lead with your title. It means nothing to your prospect and it could even potentially have an adverse impact.
  • Lead with “My expertise is in __________” “I work with ________ who want to ________”
  • The have a “for example” – My expertise is in client acquisition I work with sales people and small business owners who want to acquire more ideal clients for their business without spending any more money on marketing. For example, I work with one company that was actually able to fire their call center, develop a referral culture within the company, and 3 years later they had their best sales year yet.
  • Basically you are telling them how what you do helps other people solve problems.

33:44 In addition to your book’s focus on creating messaging that is radically relevant, you also talk about messaging that is Critically Compelling – meaning – a message that drives people to take action. What are the keys to getting someone to act on our requests and recommendations?

  • Helping a prospect come to the conclusion in their own mind that something is critical will help drive the action.
  • Sometimes people don’t act because they lack clarity.
    • They lack clarity in how to work with you and what that would look like.
    • They lack clarity on what your process is.
    • They lack clarity on the change and what the transformation will be based on what you sell.
  • Ask consequence questions. What is likely to happen if you do nothing? Or a better question might use the word “we”; what is likely to happen if we do nothing?
  • What will be some possible ramifications if we don’t do anything about solving this?

38:11  I can’t thank you enough for joining us here today. Where can our listeners learn more about you and your company so they can start learning these skills?

Killer Resources

  1. The New Model Of Selling: Learn from Jeremy Miner The Only Friction-Free, Persuasion Sales System Guaranteed To Increase Revenue.
  2. Join The Sales Revolution: If you’re ready to do sales differently, you’re in the right place. This community is for entrepreneurs and sales pros to connect, grow, + learn the new (and highly improved) connection-based way of selling. Get ready to toss out all that you’ve been taught about sales up to this point. It’s time for a revolution.

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