James Muir is the CEO of Best Practice International. He is a best-selling author, keynote speaker and consultant. James shattered records as both a field rep and manager. His guidance comes from experience and the school of hard knocks. Three decades of experience has given James a fresh, practical perspective on what works in real life and what doesn’t.

He is the Best-Selling author of The Perfect Close: The Secret to Closing Sales that shows sales and service professionals a clear and simple approach that increases closed opportunities and accelerates sales to the highest levels while remaining genuinely authentic.

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. James lost a massive deal experimenting with one of the most popular closing techniques that he had learned in a well-known book.
    • Well-known closing techniques can work as long as the size of the sale is small ($109 or less).
    • Most closing techniques came from the pre-internet era, but we don’t live in that world today, so they are no longer as effective as they once were.
  2. Whenever you go into a meeting, you should have a clear idea regarding what you want to get out of the meeting. Have an ideal advance and a couple of backups. An advance as defined by Neil Rackham, is where the sale moves forward. 
    • The data shows, from a problem perspective, 50-90% of all sales meetings end with no commitment attempt being asked for whatsoever.
    • Not asking at all is worse than asking in the wrong way.
    • Why? Because salespeople are not comfortable with any of the manipulative techniques they’ve been taught. So rather than ask in any kind of manipulative way that they think may damage trust, they just don’t ask at all.
  3. In the first few seconds of any encounter, people try to decipher our “intent”, and they determine our “competency.”
      • Intent – Are you trying to hurt me or help me?
      • Competency – Are you able to do whatever it is you intend to do?
    • Here’s the mistake that most salespeople make: They think to themselves, “If I prove that I am the best, the most competent at this, I win.”
    • In selling situations that work with human behavior, warmth and intent are weighted more than competency.

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: Secrets About The Perfect Close – with James Muir

3:24 So I want you to dive right into your story and give our listeners a feel for your background and how you arrived at this point in your life where you are one of the elite authorities on leadership, sales, and persuasion. Can you tell us a little about your background and how this all started for you.  How did you learn all these skills?

  • James is an accidental salesperson. He used to travel with sales people and said to himself “I hope I never have to do that.” Then a sales leader in his company left and took clients and out of desperation it forced James to move into sales.
  • James has served is sales as an individual contributor all the way up to an Execute VP of a publicly traded company.

5:17 How did you come to write your book The Perfect Close?

  • James personally had a problem with closing. He was an operations guy. He didn't know how to present and close.
  • He read a massive number of books and decided that someday he would write a book to talk about all the ridiculous closing techniques being taught that include manipulation and pressure.
  • James lost a massive deal experimenting with one of the most popular closing techniques that he had learned in a well-known book.
  • Well-known closing techniques can work as long as the size of the sale is small ($109 or less).
  • Most closing techniques came from the pre-internet era, but we don't live in that world today, so they are no longer as effective as they once were.
  • Buyers often know more about the product than sellers do.

9:35 You mention some closing myths in the book. Tell us about those.

  • There are 7 key closing myths outlined in James' book.
    • Closing techniques are gambits and do not work, especially in large sales
    • Always be closing – the data shows that past the first attempt there is a negative correlation between the number of times you ask for the sale and success in getting the sale

13:00 Are you willing to share the two Perfect Close questions with our audience?

  • Whenever you go into a meeting, you should have a clear idea regarding what you want to get out of the meeting. Have an ideal advance and a couple of backups. An advance as defined by Neil Rackham, is where the sale moves forward. 
  • The data shows, from a problem perspective, 50-90% of all sales meetings end with no commitment attempt being asked for whatsoever.
  • Not asking at all is worse than asking in the wrong way.
  • Why? Because salespeople are not comfortable with any of the manipulative techniques they've been taught. So rather than ask in any kind of manipulative way that they think may damage trust, they just don't ask at all.

15:25 There is a really easy way that you can get your ideal advance, and do it with zero pressure and with a high probability of success – like  in the 90-95% range where it is nearly successful every time?

  • Question #1: Does it make sense to _______? Where _______ is your ideal advance
  • Example: Hey Jeremy, does it make sense to schedule an assessment to see what our best options are?
  • Question #2: Well ok, what do you think is a good next step then?
  • 90% of the time, the customer will suggest a very logical next step for they are at in their buying process.
  • At its core, The Perfect Close is a timing question. Is the timing right for us to ______?
  • Hey, other clients at this stage tend to do this _______. Does it make sense for us to do that?
  • Add on and Fall Back: If they say no you can “Fall Back” and say: “Ok, sometimes clients at this stage also do this other thing _______. Would it make sense to do that?” This is referred to as “Fall Back”. This is why James recommends you prepare 3 advances.
  • Even if they say Yes to your first advance you can say: “Ok, sometimes clients at this stage also do this other thing ________. “This is called Adding On.
  • Commitment questions – Example: “John do you feel like this could be the answer for you?” “Why do you feel like this could work for you?”

20:36 One of the secrets in the book is that “Intent Matters More Than Technique”. Tell us about the psychology around that.

  • In the first few seconds of any encounter, people try to decipher our “intent”, and they determine our “competency.”
    • Intent – Are you trying to hurt me or help me?
    • Competency – Are you able to do whatever it is you intend to do?
  • Here's the mistake that most salespeople make: They think to themselves, “If I prove that I am the best, the most competent at this, I win.”
  • In selling situations that work with human behavior, warmth and intent are weighted more than competency. 
  • There are non-verbal signals you are giving off that you cannot control that people are very good at picking up on – mirror neurons, micro expression, paralanguage (tonality in your voice). The thing you can control is to have the right intent to begin with.
  • Forget your ego for a second and think about how you can really serve and help this customer, and then you will magically be giving off all the right signals that you need.
  • You are not focused on making a sale; you are focused on whether or not there is a sale to be made in the first place.
  • Focus on being a Problem Finder and a Problem Solver, not a Product Pusher.
  • Don't have “Commission Breath.”
  • If you have your intent right, you can butcher the technique badly and customers will still let you come back and take “a swing at the plate” because they realize that you are trying to help.
  • It's when they detect that you are doing it for yourself that they turn off.
  • When they feel like you have an agenda and you are just trying to push your stuff over the line, you're done. 

24:02 You say there are 3 questions every salesperson should answer before every sales encounter.  Can you tell us about those?

  • This would be the cheap and easy way to do pre-call planning.
  • The first thing you want to ask is “How can I add value in this meeting?” “Why should this customer see me?”
  • The second question is ” What do I want the client to do?” And this speaks to the advances that we just talked about earlier. What is the outcome you are hoping to get out of this meeting?
  • If you as a salesperson introduce an unanticipated solution and an unrecognized problem or an unseen opportunity, they are willing to pay a premium for that.
  • So what you want to think about is how you can make the meeting valuable. If you do a really great discovery, you are actually asking questions that they don't know the answer to. 
  • Be sure and give the prospect time to think about the answer to your questions. 
  • Collective Confidence – Use silence to your advantage and let them really think about the questions you are asking.
  • If you do this right your prospects will view you as an Authority Figure as opposed to a Salesperson with “commission breath.”
  • If you do this right, your customers will not only buy over and over again from you, but they will refer you. The secret to selling: Do a great job for a customer and they will help you get other customers.

28:33 How do sales professionals create a compelling value proposition?

  • A good value proposition at a minimum has a metric, it has a direction, and it has magnitude.
    • Metric – is the thing that tells you whether you are doing good or not. 
    • Direction – whatever solution you have, does it make it go up or does it make it go down. Remember – sometimes down is good, sometimes up is bad.
    • Magnitude – refers to how much is it going up or how much is it going down. This is how many executives look at your solution. At the very least you need to be able to articulate the Magnitude of the value you are offering. Example: we tend to be able to increase salespeople's close ratios between 19-22%. It's ok to give a range like that. 
  • Other things to your value proposition could have are: target statements, impacts, etc.
  • Sell the problem, not the solution. Focus on results and problems for prospects.

31:36 How can sales professionals make their sales meetings with clients inherently valuable?

  • There are basically 7 ways:
    • Deliver insight in some way – again introduce an unanticipated solution and an unrecognized problem or an unseen opportunity. Psychologically speaking, this sets the prospect off balance a little bit and creates a psychological gap that they want to fill. At this moment they are prime to receive the rest of your messaging.
    • Asking the right questions 
    • Help them better understand their needs
    • Help them see the path to success. This will build in them the fear that they can't get where they want to go without your solution
    • You can share new ideas 
    • You can deliver education
    • Share news, trigger events and insights from your industry

33:32 You also have guidance on prospecting.  Can you tell us about that?

  • Basically 4 key areas that are high leverage and less utilized
    • Market – Speaks to the target market. Sell to only ideal clients.
    • Message – How do you speak to your ideal clients. Once you connect with your ideal client, you have a very narrow window to get your message across. So your message has to be brilliant.
    • Medium 
    • Motivation

36:13 What is some final guidance or insight you would offer to our listeners whether they are salespeople or even business owners, who are having a tougher time because of things that are going on in the economy?

  • Whenever we are taking on a challenge, we would all love to have a coach who can help us move forward at our own pace. Our clients are engaging us because they want us to help them make some kind of positive change. If they didn't, they wouldn't be talking to you. If they could do it on their own, they wouldn't be talking to you. They are expecting us as sales professionals to be that coach. They are looking for us to guide them through each little commitment that it takes for them to achieve their goal. It's so much more than just advancing the sale; it's really leadership when you get right down to it.
  • Most sales professionals can do a much better job at coaching and serving their prospects and customers than they are doing today.
  • My challenge to you is be a better coach, be a better problem solver, be a better teacher so you do a better job serving and helping your prospects and clients.

38:04 Where can our listeners learn more about James Muir?

James' Facebook – Check out James on Facebook.

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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