Episode #0033 – TPD Chats with “Sales Maven” Nikki Rausch on Selling Authentically

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson with fellow podcaster and sales maven Nikki Rausch.  

Nikki is an expert on sales with more than 25 years of selling to such prestigious organizations as The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hewlett-Packard, and NASA. Nikki is dedicated to teaching entrepreneurs and small business owners to sell successfully authentically, without being pushy or “salesy”. As Design professionals our job is not only to sell our services but our ideas and concepts too. Whether we like to admit it or not, a lot of being a Designer requires us to know how to communicate and convince our Clients to buy-aka “Sell”.

Nikki suggests asking a lot of questions, the more you get a potential client to talk the more you can learn about their particular needs. As you begin to build a rapport, you are establishing a relationship with them, so that they can get to “know, like and trust” you, because people will buy from people they “know”, they “like” and someone they can “trust”. 

So, join Crystal and Nikki as they talk about how to change your mindset on your sales approach. And then, do something today that your future self will thank you for, by listening to this episode. Grab Nikki’s free resource below. 

Free Resource: yoursalesmaven.com/designer

How to reach Nikki:

Website – yoursalesmaven.com/podcast/ 

Amazon- Nikki-Rausch  I LinkedIn- nicolerausch

Instagram- @your_sales_maven 

Sales maven Nikki Rausch as guest in TPD episode about selling authentically

Recommended podcasts:

Unlocking Us, The Brainy Business and Andy Stanley Leadership podcast

- Click here for the RAW, unedited transcript -

Do you think you hate sales, do you find that it can seem to be a key. Well it doesn’t have to be joining me today. Well I interviewed Nikki Rausch of Your Sales Maven, and she’s going to guide us through her framework called the Selling Staircase Nikki’s going to give us some tips, techniques, tools to help us get through some of these issues that we seem to have and learn that no is not necessarily a rejection, so stay tuned. Welcome everyone to another episode of The Productive Designer. I have yet another special guest with us today and I feel very honored actually to have this special guest, Your Sales Maven, Nikki Rausch, I have worked with Nikki, several times over the past taken many of her workshops, I’m part of her Sales Maden Society which is a fantastic group of women. And I’m honored that she’s on the podcast with us today so welcome Nikki.

Thank you so much for having me. I’m, I’m honored that you asked, Oh,

I just think this is great because I, you’ve got so much experience and I just, you know I was listening to your podcast this morning when I was getting ready and I just was sort of prepping for this thinking oh my gosh she’s got so many great, you know guests on here and so much great knowledge so I think this is going to be a great episode for my listeners to learn a little bit about the dreaded sales as we sometimes perceive sales to be as dreaded. So tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and sort of who you serve and what you do. Okay,

so my company Sales Maven I’m a Sales Coach and Trainer, also a podcaster now too. And I really specialize on the conversations side of saluting so my background is I have over 25 years of sales experience I also the master certified practitioner with over 1200 classroom hours in neuro linguistic programming. That’s a new term to anybody listening it’s really the study of communication. And I focus really on the language part of NLP, but also the processing part in your brain and all that good stuff that comes into it and so I teach people how to have more effective strategic conversations that isn’t about trying to sell like somebody else it’s really about using your own style, but just being more effective and strategic and understanding, where are you in the conversation and how do you easily and seamlessly move somebody to the next step, so that you get to the point where you exchange dollars for service or product.

And you have just when you’re talking about moving them seamlessly through this process, you have your coin die, I don’t know if it’s yours, particularly but your staircase right the either the. So,

actually my signature framework

is the signature okay can you just give a really high level on that one just so that you can sort of people can get a better I guess understanding of what that process looks like.

Yeah, so I came up with this concept of the selling staircase because it was really from working with my clients and trying to give them a structure that they could find themselves someplace in the structure and so I like the idea of a staircase, because it’s your job to move a client from step to step to step and it’s also your job to understand what step in my own in the conversation, and I teach it as a staircase, also because I teach my clients, you cannot skip steps in the selling process and in the sales conversation, the client can show up and be like hey here’s my money, I want to buy from you, they can skip steps, skip steps in the sales conversation you often leave people feeling confused or overwhelmed, or frankly sometimes irritated, right away that you come across. So the five steps in the zoning staircase. The first step is the introduction step in the idea there is to make a really powerful first impression. And then step two is curiosity, it’s learning how to create some curiosity, so that we start to have better conversations that it piques people’s interest want to know more. And then the next logical step three is the discovery process now. This often is referred to as your consultation call or you can call it whatever you want I call it discovery, mostly because your job in that step is to understand what’s the problem. What’s the need what’s the want, And then when you establish what that is decide, Do you have something that meets that need or solves that problem or addresses that warrant, then you can move to step four, which is the proposal, and for some people they think of it as like a formal proposal, but sometimes it’s just laying out next steps for us to work together. And then step five is to close, and the close is about really issuing very specific language to allow somebody to make a decision, yes I’m ready to move forward or no I’m not or I have a question or an objection or whatever comes in that closed step so once you can understand where you are in the process, which step you’re on. It’s really seamless then to go Okay, so my job is not to rush to the close. My job is to move from creating curiosity to discovery. So I can do that right or and then I know I’m in discovery. Now I moved to proposal, and all of those things can happen in one conversation, and sometimes they happen over an extended period of time, multiple conversations,

right. And I think especially with, with our profession being design professionals are kind of just looking at it going okay so do they. You know I look at it from how people would find out about us as designers and. And then, you know, so the curiosity part might be, you know, somebody referred a designer to their friend and then their friend says oh yeah you should check, check out crystals website and then they go and so that’s sort of the intro and the curiosity is they check out the website and then now they’re on social media may be following me or, or that kind of thing and then they say okay we’ve got a project now. So, so a lot of though like I say step one and two is probably already done for most of our profession in the sense of, you know by the time we’re speaking to them. We are now at the discovery,

oftentimes that is very true that that comes either from your website or on social media or from a referral from a friend. It can also happen frequently just when you’re out and about, and somebody, you know, gets into a conversation with you, you can learn how to create what I call Here kitty kitty statements which are curiosity creating statements that allows for somebody to go like, we know something or maybe you have something that I’d like to know more about so being able to do that also when you’re out and about is, is important and again back to your point, you’re right. A lot of those conversations you’re having with people, you’re probably to step. Step three, which is that discovery. However I will say it’s still your job to create a powerful first impression with the way you come across in that conversation. And you still do want to be planting some seeds around creating some curiosity. Because the idea in that consultation is to not give a bunch of free advice. The idea in that consultation is to understand what the problem, the need is and then see if you have a solution for them, it isn’t to like let me show you all that I know and how amazing I am so that you’re, you know, desperate to hire me, that’s actually doing you and

them a disservice. So I would see like, for a lot of designers what they will do is an actual consultation visit but prior to that they’re definitely going to have they’re going to get on the phone with them and find out about their project so I guess I kind of looked at we could almost do step two and three together, because really, once you get to a paid consultation, and that may be a one off and they come in for two hours and that’s it or it may be, kind of, that’s like the first intro and then they say oh my gosh look at all this knowledge you have, and all these great ideas we want to hire you to now implement and go to step, sort of three and a half, because it’s sort of like you’ve done, you’ve done sort of a mini, you know, a mini proposal, so I’m thinking, I’m just sort of thinking about how our industry works that way and a lot of a lot of designers will work out ways that they will do the paid consultation, but prior to that when you’re on the phone call with them and just finding out what are some things that you can sort of, how can you create curiosity, how can you get that for your client to have curiosity, what are some examples or conversations or that type of thing that can sort of pull that out of them.

Well there’s a couple ways to do it one in particular is the way you ask questions, How the question is framed. So want to plant some curiosity for them in the way that you would frame a question. And now, because I’m not an interior designer, you’re going to have a better question that I’m going to be able to come up with, but I’m going to give you an example address. So instead of saying like, let’s say you say to somebody, what do you not like about your bathroom. When you come in and do their bathroom okay so what do you not like about your bathroom. Well that doesn’t really create any curiosity that doesn’t really kind of plant any seeds about your expertise. So you might need to frame that question with. So when you’re thinking about what you want your, what you want to experience in your bathroom. Have you already thought about what you want the vibe to be or how you want to feel when you’re in there. That’s something that you know is heavy focus with my clients. Yep, to make sure that they don’t just love their space but there’s some functionality to it as well so have you already thought about those because they might be like functionality or loving my bathroom. Yeah. So you’re, you’re planting a little bit of seed there with them and again, I’m sure you come up with a better question than what I just laid out there,

it’s a great example of understanding because it’s just it’s two questions but the second question is so much different than the first question, like is there they’re gonna just go I hate this, this doesn’t work and then the impact is mold here and that you know whatever the complaints are they’re gonna kind of go off as opposed to flipping it and saying, What do you want to get, you know, what do you want to feel when you’re in here, what, what is the experience that you want. What do you, you know, Do you want to be able to have everything, you know, in your cabinets nicely organized whatever that, yeah, I’m not even asking

the other one I was thinking about because I just because I mostly because this feeds like what I would watch right bathroom is I would love for a designer to ask me like, how important is technology to you and you were like in your space, because I’m somebody who loves technology and I’m like the latest and greatest, coolest thing. And if you plant that seed for me, and I’m going to be curious about what type of technology could one have in their bathroom that maybe you didn’t have in bathrooms 1020 years ago,

right, which then allows the designer to now showcase all their knowledge and expertise and show the value that they’re, they can bring to this project. So, yeah, so now with, you know, we kind of go to the curiosity still staying on that with social media, how can you do that because I think we tend to want to go look at all these great projects we’re doing, like how great this is how can we do that on social media, create either curiosity or sort of talk with people as opposed to talking at them.

So one of the ways to do that is to learn how to ask questions, because one of the biggest mistakes that people make right now is that we talk at people, regular people are sick of being talked at talking at is making statements talking with involves asking questions. So one of the ways that you could do that is by, let’s say you’re going to post something about a new project that you did ask a question about project like ask, What’s one thing that really pops off the picture for you or what’s, what’s one thing that really stood out as being special in this photo, or something like that because now they get to engage, it also starts to plant some seeds for them about like, I’d like to have something special in my kitchen or I have something special in my house that I never really thought of. Oh man, look at the color combination that was used here and maybe that’s not my color palette but I wonder what you look like miss my color palette, no like, so ask some questions and see what happens is going to encourage engagement, and it starts to plant some seeds for people because our brains are actually thinking, I mean most of us walk around the whole world revolves around us right like nothing everything that happens is to us. For us, against us right like Yeah, so when you ask people questions they’re not thinking about it for the person who just did the project for they’re thinking about it as if it’s for them.

That’s right. How does, how could this affect me, what could, like, what can I pull out of this. You’re right. I mean, you know what sort of, when you step back and look at it you do, like you do think of that, how, how can that apply to my situation or how can apply to my bathroom or I think a lot of times, people that aren’t in the industry will look at an image or a picture and just go, I love it. But when you start saying well what do you love about, like, then they like. It lets them sort of look at things a little bit differently and go. That’s a great rangehood oh and I don’t have Oh I’d love. You know what I’d like any rangehood in my in my kitchen and whatever, whatever, right. The snowballing or the sprouting of the seeds that we’ve just planted. I always love that. I always I it’s such a good visual to write you just can see the little sprouts coming out of the ground and

the plants seeds.

Yes exactly, how does relationship selling differ from traditional sales methods like I think people as I said at the beginning of the show, you know, we all kind of, there’s, there’s been a very bad connotation to sales and some of us feel I can’t be salesy and in interior design and decorating, we have to sell. I mean, that’s our job is we’re selling our ideas, our thoughts, our concepts, how can we sort of flip that a little bit for to make it less scary.

Well the idea is sales isn’t something that you do to somebody and I think old kind of old style of selling is it feels like it’s something you’re doing to somebody. It’s actually something you do with somebody. And when you start thinking about that this is a collaborative experience this is a with type situation, that it isn’t about trying to get one over on somebody or make somebody do something and frankly it’s not even your job to convince anybody to buy from you. It’s your job to understand what’s the need, what’s the problem, what’s the word, and demonstrate how your solution that you’ve put in front of them your proposal your next steps hiring you, is going to meet that problem solve that need offer the solution for them. And then it’s about issuing the invitation, allowing for them to decide yes they’re in, and that happens through language. Yes, they’re in hire you or they’ve got some questions or maybe the answer is no and either like whatever the answer is, it’s okay, but we’ve got to get to that place with humans are so when you stop thinking about sales, it’s something you’re doing to somebody and you can make this is actually a conversation. This is something I’m doing with somebody, I’m meeting with clients today understand and that I can offer them a possible solution. And if it turns out that your solution is not the right fit for them. It’s totally okay. Right, I think I heard you talk about this on a podcast recently where I know you know you know I say this all the time like bless and release. Yeah, people were not a good fit like you, your job is not to convince anybody buy from me buy from me by for me. Your job is to make it really easy for somebody to understand what it is that you’re offering, and then put some language in front of them so they can make a decision, yes.

Yeah, I think what what happens a lot with our industry is, you know, you’ll go into meet with a client and you start understanding the scope of work and what they want done and whatever then you get to this budget discussion, and they, you know, so do you have a budget in mind, they kind of ever would need, you know, the money is always the heart, you know, it’s this line this border this sort of like invisible. We don’t want to cross that but obviously we have to, and I think a lot of times what happens is, you know you’re hearing from your client all their, their wish list and all the things that they want to get done. And then they either don’t want to give you a budget or, like, and a lot of times, in all honesty, they have no concept of what stuff costs right especially when it gets to renovations and where you’re getting labor and trade and all that involved. And I think a lot of us wants to, I guess, sort of as the people pleaser part of us that that want to just sort of smile and nod and and say, Yeah, this is, yeah, we can do that we can do that we can do that and there’s this struggle of not wanting to be honest with, with people with when it comes to money so saying okay, you what you want is, you know, whatever the list is, but we need to be honest and say what you’re asking for is going to cost a lot more than you think you are that you’ve budgeted for. So, looking at it from that perspective, that it’s, you’re not pushing that on them but you’re showing this is my job you’ve asked me to tell you what to help you with this project. This project it’s going to cost $100,000 And you’re just there it is, you’re laying it out, you’re letting them know this is what it’s going to cost, and I think a lot of us get stuck on that we feel bad, right, we feel like they said they only had a budget of 60,000 an hour come in with a 40,000, but it’s to your point, it’s not our job to sell the 100,000 It’s to let them know this is what it’s really going to cost and let them make the decision.

You are the expert, your job is to stand in your place of expertise, recommend what you know the client is saying they want a need, and then have some options available for them right so if somebody is coming in and they’ve got these list of saying like champagne taste on a beer budget. Okay, so if you are talking to somebody who has the champagne taste, and you just need to be. You need to be real, which, frankly, and it’s not doing them a disservice by showing up from an authentic place and saying, You know what you’re talking about sounds amazing. And that’s probably $100,000 project, you had mentioned that your budget was 60, you know, I’d be happy to design something that meets all of your needs at that $100,000 project, bandwidth, or if you would like for us to talk about ways that we could look for cost savings, or things that you’re willing to let go of that $60,000 budget, I can absolutely put something together for you in that range to, which is your preference. The only way that you just very kindly put the ball back in their court and let them choose because what will happen is, some people will find the extra 40,000 Yeah, that what they say they will really, really want. Whereas other people are going to go okay, I see this, okay, I get it and I can you know maybe I don’t need an expensive. This or that I’m willing to pare down here or maybe where we thought we were going to take out a wall, we need a wall and we come up with another solution because that’s going to cut some costs right. It’s about being real with the client, and when you do it from a place where you act like, Oh, I feel bad I feel bad. I always give this example, you have this piece in our human nature, which isn’t really that attractive, frankly, but it’s, it’s this thing that when people show up and they act like you know with me like, oh I feel bad you mean it’s bad news. It’s kind of like if your kid comes to you and they’re like, Mom, I got some bad news to you say, Oh, sweetheart. What is it, Or do you go, what, what is right and so if you approach a client with just like, oh I have a bad news, or this is gonna be hard to tell you, they are going to react, like, what, what did you do, instead of like, okay, but if you come to them and say I have some news. And I have some things to discuss with you, they’re gonna be like, Okay, let’s talk about it. It’s not like get the whip out and beat me or like, make some assumption that you’ve done something wrong because you have done nothing wrong. You’re, you’re not even the messenger, Here are the experts at your place of authority, talk from a place of authority, and you don’t have to do it from this like, I feel bad. Why should you feel bad you didn’t set the price. Yeah, like, it is what it is. So, just be honest, be real with people and they’ll appreciate that and frankly, if they want to blame you for not being able to deliver a $100,000 project and a $60,000 budget, do you really want that client, or no.

Exactly, exactly. And I think a lot of especially I mean, I’ve been in this business a long time now and but when I first started out, and I think this for a lot of new designers and I hear this from different groups that I’m in that they do there’s that there’s this almost a sense of responsibility, like it’s their fault. I’m using the term, air quotes fault, and it’s funny and it’s just I think, you know, looking at it like, Like, when you put it in the it’s our job to show them the options and it’s like our job to say here are the facts right here’s what you. This is what things cost, and I guess takeaway I think a lot of what happens with sales, in my experience and from what I’m talking to people is, there’s this personal right there’s this, you know, the rejection being in sales right is a personal rejection, how do we kind of like I know it’s a mindset thing but is there is there things that you can help, you know, maybe people that are slowly getting used to mark because it comes with time and confidence right.

He does. And the thing about sales, is when somebody declines, working with you. It isn’t normal very often it’s very very rare for it to be a personal rejection. I tell this story, you’ve probably heard me tell the story in the group where years ago a really close friend of mine had reached out and she wanted some advice she was interviewing for a sales position and she, she wanted me to give her kind of some sales, like type language to ask you never really had a sales position before. And so she said at one point in our discussion, she said, you know, you’re so good at in sales. And I love a compliment, so I was like all ears. I was like, what am I really good at going tell me like I can’t wait to hear. And she’s like, you’re so good at rejection, and I was driving at the time and I almost I like started to pull over to the side of the road and I like stomped on the brake and I was like, what,

what are they called, candid compliments or something I heard,

as well, we got in our family who’s rejecting me. What are you talking about like I was so thrown by this compliment that I was good at rejection, and, and then she goes you know when, when you put an offer out to somebody and they say no, you just you just go with the flow, it’s not that big of a deal to you and I was like, Oh, you think no is rejection. No, that’s actually not what it is in sales. So to give just for the listener out there to give you kind of an idea about this is, imagine that you go to a restaurant, we can all go to restaurants, yes. In the good old days yes to go to restaurants, and you have this like really lovely satisfying meal. And just as you were kind of finishing your meal, and the waiter came by to like take your plates away. The waiter says Now, can I bring you the dessert menu, and you say oh no, I couldn’t I couldn’t possibly I’m so full. I’m so satisfied but thank you so much. Maybe next time. The waiter does not go back into the kitchen and gather all of its like friends at the at the restaurant and go like, can you believe that lady, I offered her dessert and she rejected me like, oh my gosh, it’s just information,

I love that I actually that’s gonna be another one that is gonna sit in my back of my mind. I don’t want the dessert menu stuffed.

So if somebody declines your dessert menu. It’s not rejection of you personally it’s. Now, there are things that you could take it you could get really curious. I love being curious, and if you get to the point with somebody where you feel like man, I have just delivered them the proposal that is going to be the proposal of all proposals, it’s like, it’s so meets their needs and we are so insane and things are going really well and they say no. If you’re shocked by this, there are some information there that you need to like be really curious about, and it is absolutely okay to say to somebody when they say no to your proposal to save us. Is it okay to ask your reason for declining working. Now you have to say it in a soft kind voice, and you don’t want there to be any like inks or offense to the way you’re asking so that kind about it and be curious and see what they say because they may give you some insight into a place where maybe you missed a step somewhere or maybe there’s just other information going on like my husband just lost his job and so now we can’t do the project because we’re worried about money right there could be a myriad of reasons as to why somebody would say no, don’t like take it as personal rejection of you that you’re a bad person that you’ve done something wrong necessarily just be curious and see what happens. You might learn something about yourself or you might go like who dodged a bullet with that one. Yeah, yeah I didn’t take that money and on.

Yeah, that’s so true. And I, and I think that that applies also to when you’ve presented some ideas and some, you know concepts or whatever and they’re like, No, I don’t really don’t really like that I had I had this, just like a week and a half ago I presented something to a client and it was this herringbone kind of pattern and she’s like oh I really don’t like hearing about my. Okay. Note, you know like I mean I don’t go through every and ask everybody what patterns you like, whatever it was just like, okay, she’s like hearing about, okay, good, good to know anything else we pick. Stay away from hearing book but you know it’s sometimes that can be hard when somebody’s like, oh I don’t really like that and you’re okay. What don’t you like about it, what do you know in trying to so that you can solve the problem. So, or like solve the issue and figure out what it is that they don’t like about it so I think, I mean, a lot of this just summarizes up the point of ask a lot of questions.

Yeah. You know if somebody were to say to me, like, oh I just I just don’t really like the design, it’s not my, you know, it’s not my cup of tea or whatever. The way to reframe that a little bit with somebody, there’s even a hand gesture that is attached to this so this comes from my background in neuro linguistic programming. And so I know you as a listener you can’t see what I’m going to do something explain it. So you, you kind of put your hand down like palm facing down. And you go okay so you, so that’s not your style or you kind of, you backtrack their words or whatever they said if they go like, it’s just not really my style so my cup of tea. So you put your hand kind of down flat like level I guess I would say not level, what am I trying to say like horizontal. Yes, thank you to the floor or to whatever, maybe you are gesturing to the image or whatever, no okay so, so if that’s not your cup of tea, and then you flip your hand up softly, so now I’m facing up. And you know, he’s your cup of tea. What would you say is your cup of tea instead.

Yeah. And then,

now you have to say in a curious voice like, what is your cup of tea instead what would you say, be curious, and then pause and wait and see what they say because one of the ways that our brains love to. We love to associate and we love to dismiss things right so it’s sometimes it’s easier to say all the things we don’t like. Before we can start to say the things we do like it. So sometimes you have to give your clients the opportunity to say all the things that you don’t like. That’s true. This sometimes in coaching calls was when I noticed this is their pattern and I’m like okay, I’m gonna throw out some ideas and your job is to just shoot them down as fast as possible. Just to all the ideas that I’m going to throw at you as fast as possible, so that we can get to the ones that are really going to work for you. Now, even by giving people permission to do that, oftentimes what it does is, it slows them down, because now they’re like, Well, I don’t know if I want to dismiss this so fast, like I’m gonna maybe I want to wait, but sometimes they’ll be like, no, no, no. And then now we’re getting to someplace where their brain is starting to go. Know what would work for me. Yes. Yeah, right now we have something to work with and we have a solution and let’s move forward with that. So if somebody is like I don’t like your herringbone pattern. Okay, so if your remotes not your style like what is your preference. Yeah, and then you see what and you wait and you see what she says because it might be something that you can even though even thought of on your own. I don’t know whatever patterns are besides herringbone but it might be something else that you might not have been able to come up with on your own, but yet if you could come back with the pattern or maybe it’s not about her No no no, that is like so in sync with what she’s saying is like her style, she’s gonna feel like you get her at a deeper level.

Yeah, and sometimes I think what happens is that the client doesn’t even know how to articulate or express what it is that they want. So by going through what they don’t want that helps to sort of sift through and a way of finding because it can be hard sometimes to pull stuff on people because, you know, they don’t even, don’t even know what they want until they see it kind of thing.

Well, and also, you, you ask, you’re the expert and you have all this expertise like you don’t just show up like oh I know a little bit about like you know a lot about design, you know a lot of the industry like what works, what doesn’t work like you show up with so much information, and oftentimes when people are hiring you, they’re hiring you because of your expertise, and they don’t know they don’t even have the words, right, they didn’t know how to articulate, whatever this piece is, and your job is to help them without trying to make them feel like they don’t know anything like bring them along, you’re really in sales in my opinion is to keep the guide. Totally died.

That’s exactly it. That’s exactly I mean I think in any service based industry, you are the guide right you are leading your client through whatever this process is. Anyway, you’re, you’re,

you’re the guide. That’s why they’ve come to you. Yeah, and sometimes the guides, I mean the guides job is not always to discover everything, and tell people, all of the answers, the guides job sometimes is to just lead people so they can find their own answer because their own answer or frankly whatever the pattern is that she comes back and says her style will have way more impact and lead than anything you could suggest.

Yeah, but it’s helping her. See that or figure it out or, you know, sort of solidify what it is that she’s thinking. So when somebody books a discovery call like what is the best, like say you’ve had this discovery call you think you’ve got this great rapport with somebody, you know you’ve kind of moved on to the next, I guess sort of stage of the process. What is, I guess what I’m trying to say is like when you get to the proposal stage. How do you feel, because I’ve heard so many different experts say on the ways of delivering proposals, you never send one yet by email I mean right now we’re having some challenges. How do you find the best way to deliver a proposal, so that you’re going to get the most the most positive. The most yeses. Is there is there, like, things that people can do or not do you know if we’re looking at let’s remove the negative things. Okay.

I love this question now okay so when you’ve gotten to this place where it’s time to lay out the proposal. Now if it makes sense when you’re still in that discovery call to lay out a proposal in front of the client great, but I find sometimes with designers that you need time to go back yeah put together the numbers and so there actually is a physical proposal for them. And so in those cases, your job is to set up a time to review the proposal with them so I’m totally fine with sending the proposal to them. What you have to do is also have a time already scheduled on the calendar to review the proposal so do not say to somebody, I’m going to send you a proposal, and then I’ll call you next week and we’ll get a time schedule to review it, that’s an absolute no, and you’re going to miss out on working with clients is that so instead what I want you to do is to say, I’ll have this proposal to you by Friday or whatever it is. Let’s go ahead and schedule a circle. Call now to review the proposal, the answer additional questions that come to mind for you, and then we’ll talk about next steps for working together can we get that on our calendars now. And then you’re gonna pull out your calendar, you’re gonna get on their calendar, you’re going to schedule the time, and you’re going to send the proposal and you say you do and then you’re going to walk them through it so when you get back onto that call. Your job now is to start off that circle back call with. Have you had a chance to look at the proposal,

and hopefully they have in preparation for their meeting.

Hopefully they have that if they haven’t, then you can say okay great can you pull it up now let’s walk through it together. Okay, like that, is better than, Oh well, let’s just reschedule. All right, like, yeah, walk through together walk through it. Let those questions bubbled to the surface and so you say what questions have come to mind since we last spoke, is different than Do you have any questions. So, frame it as questions have come to mind since we last spoke, and then when you get to, you’ve answered their questions now you have to issue an invitation for them to move to the next step with you this is closed language. So is this something you’re ready to get started with a yes or no question close questions are typically Yes or No. Should we go ahead and schedule, start up the project. That’s a yes or no question often that question though elicit someone to actually schedule a time with you even though it’s a yes or no question. Yeah, it will getting that next step. So that’s how you move through the solving staircase, that’s how you get to the place where exchange dollars for services, is that you make it super easy for your client to review the information, ask any lingering questions, and you put the decision in front of them, essentially in the nicest kindest way as. Do you want to work together yes or no.

Yes, yes, maybe not those words but yeah,

those words. Exactly.

I think and what I one thing I really learned from you is that getting that next call the net like getting it on the calendar because we’re so guilty of sending the proposal going okay let me know if you have any questions, you know like this sort of loosey goosey, not definitive and I think that is be one of the biggest things that I’ve taken away is is like get the circle back on the calendar, and I was guilty of it just recently to have to say, I sent it out, and she’s like okay received it I’ll get back to you shortly and I was like, oh I just did the biggest full bother I was supposed to do. But funny enough when I followed up with her I said, Would it be helpful if we schedule a call to discuss, you know, I’ve worked with him before, so it wasn’t like, you know, a new client, and in the end I did get the job so it was all good. But yeah, that was one of those. Oh I gotta remember to do that because I think it really does it, it at least it gives you this closure to one way or the other and there’s not this sort of lingering it’s just sort of floating out there, you know, all three weeks have gone by and you know, hopefully you know you don’t leave three weeks in between proposals and not hearing, touching base with your client but you know what I’m saying, like,

yeah, definitely. It does take practice to get used to offering the circle, call getting it scheduled, but the idea behind this is your top really is to earn somebody’s business, and the way you earn somebody’s business is you make it easy for them to continue on the staff with you. And when you say let me know you’re actually making it really difficult for them because you’re saying like, at some point, stop what you’re doing, you know, abandon your to do list and look for my number or search email that I sent, give me a call or send me an email let me know you’re interested in next steps and then I’ll get back to you and maybe we’ll schedule a time or not, like, anytime you have all of this, expecting the client to do the work, they won’t. Yeah, because they’re busy, and because this is not their job and your job is to make it super easy and the easier you make it for people to hire you then much more likely to earn the business.

That’s so good. That’s such good advice because you’re really, you know, you probably don’t ever think of it that way but when you break it down like that, you’re absolutely right, you’re another thing on their to do list, right, is to call and get back to yourself, I think that’s great. So, I respect your time because this has been great. I could ask you 8 million questions on sales. So before I go to my interior Inquisition, I do want to just talk a little bit about your what you offer your sales Maven society. I know I think you have a free resource for our listeners as well.

Yeah, so for all the listeners anybody who would like a little bit more around the steps and language around it I have an ebook called closing the sale. You can download this resource by going to your sales Maven, and it’s nav and.com forward slash designer, and that will take you right to the page where you can download that resource and I’d be happy for you to have that and then as far as the Sales Event society. That is my monthly membership program that is a way for people to get access to sales training the fundamentals that I train around sale so everything from these discovery calls the questions that you should be asking, what you should how to frame your emails to be more impactful and get responses and kind of anything to do with sales conversations. And then there is a private group where people can post questions to me, they can also post in the sales Maven society I give my members the opportunity to post there. Here’s an email I’m about to send out to a client or here’s a conversation I had and here’s what I’m thinking about saying, will you give me some feedback on it and I do I’ll tweak people’s emails and offer suggestions on ways to rephrase things to have more impact. And then we do live calls a couple times a month, where sometimes I bring in a guest expert sometimes I teach a new concept, and or we do, Just open coaching calls for people to ask questions, so that’s what the sales Maven society, it really it’s such a great resource I

mean the amount of content I haven’t even like scratched the surface of what’s, what’s in there, I just basically a lot. There is a lot, there’s a ton, and I mean the, she’s You’re amazing with the the Facebook I always love seeing how people will tag you and you’ll, you know, help them tweak their, their emails and, you know, you do learn everybody comes from different industries, it’s in there but there’s always something that you can learn from it, to apply it to your business so it’s such a great value and you’re so good and so generous with your time with responding to those messages on Facebook so it’s it’s well well worth it for sure. So thank you for the book too that’s that’s going to be fantastic. So we’ll put all this obviously in the show notes so. So now I want to get to the interior Inquisition. And these are, you can answer these questions anyway it’s life, business, however you want to you want to answer them. So, what is one thing that you think every person should experience in their lives. I think

everybody should experience a comeback. Having failed at something and then found their way to turn it into fuel to come back from it in some way. Absolutely. Think one it builds empathy for you for other people who are in a place of struggle. I think it shows you inside yourself the resiliency that you have and the ability that you have to overcome challenges that life will continue to throw at you, your life and business Without you, so yeah, I think a comeback.

Published by theproductivedesigner

Crystal is the principal of Crystal Collinson Interiors, a full-service design firm specializing in the Design and Decorating of Model Homes, Sales Presentation Centre’s, Condominium amenity spaces and small commercial projects. Crystal & her team work with many of the GTA’s largest home builders.

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