Wes Schaeffer: Taking Control of the Sales Conversation

Do you want to learn how to take control of the sales process?

Need to figure out how to be more human in the sales process? Then this interview with Wes Schaeffer is going to help you get where you want to go.

We talk about the power of questions, to script or not to script, and so much more. Stop struggling and start taking control of the sales conversations you have moving forward.

👉🏻 About Sprocket Talk

At Sprocket Talk, our mission is to help you navigate the HubSpot tool. We will help you get 100% ROI across the Marketing Hub, the Sales Hub, the Service Hub and yes, even the HubSpot CMS. Our videos will educate AND entertain.


About the Expert

Wes Schaeffer

Wes Schaeffer is the creator and owner of The Sales Whisperer®, a sales training, marketing and consulting firm with an emphasis on CRM & email marketing software sales, support and optimization.

A Southerner by birth, Wes combines common sense with his formal training and attention-to-detail that was pounded into his hard-headed skull during four years at the United States Air Force Academy to help professional salespeople, sales managers, business owners and entrepreneurs achieve nearly miraculous growth fast.


Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:08
Ready to spend 15 minutes with the experts you admire need strategy sessions from thought leaders brought directly to your ears. Welcome to the sprocket talk 15 minute strategy podcast where every week George B Thomas uncovers the challenges that sales, marketing and service professionals face and of course, the strategies to help them overcome their biggest hurdles. So sit back and set your sights on growth with these bite sized conversations filled with your strategy gold. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 15 minute strategy podcast.

Alright, sprockets yours. It's your boy George B. Thomas. And we're back and I'm excited. Super excited. I don't know excited squared. Because today we've got a guest that we're going to be talking about sales and all sorts of things very interesting and conversational. That'll make sense in a minute, but Wes Shaffer Why don't you explain to people who you are, what you do and where you do it?

Wes Schaeffer 0:58
Well, I just want to know why you're not acting cubed. But we'll get to that later on man. Yeah, I'm on the sales whisperer since 2006. And I help rehabilitate salespeople and train their managers. I started off purely an old school sales training evolved into marketing automation as I, as I bought tools to help myself grow, you know, I got good at them and fell into the world of affiliate marketing and residual income. And just the whole online space. I just like bringing it bringing the online space into the offline space and helping sales and marketing. Get along.

George Thomas 1:39
Yeah, it's good when people can get along. Let's just put that as a fundamental human strategy. But Wes, here's the thing. It's interesting because we want to dive into the idea of sales, being able to take control of the conversation. When you think of taking control of the conversation. I know my brain goes in about seven in different ways with about 12 different questions, but what are the foundational pieces that the audience the sprockets hears the viewers listeners need to understand so that we can carry on this conversation throughout the 15 minute strategy podcast?

Unknown Speaker 2:14
Well, you've already done it, you do two key things. Number one, compliment someone, certainly when you're out and about. It's a great icebreaker and at a trade show at the grocery store, you know, try it today. Give somebody a compliment. I love your shirt. Love your shoes. You know, man, you gotta be a little careful. women think you're flirting. You know? So hey, I love your earrings. I'm thinking about getting my wife loves jewelry, you know, for Christmas match where you got those, right. So you can kind of you can soften it right in that regard. But as soon as you pay someone a sincere compliment, they are much more receptive to what to you, right in general. And so that's one thing and the second is, you know, whoever's asking the questions is in control the conversation and so you know, if you if you're unlucky enough to get pulled over, you know, by the police. What are they doing? Right? Hi, how are you? Where are you off to today? Why are you such a hurry? You know, I'm fast you were going, you know why I pulled you over? Right there asking the question. Now we don't want to come across as the police. We don't want to come we don't want the prospect to feel like you know, it's 20 questions that you know, they're in the FBI, you know, in the basement, make sure there's a dialog there. Right that needs to be a little give and take just like when you're with your friends, a lot of people filing are probably just coming back from from you know, Thanksgiving. Break with their family. And yeah, you ask questions, how are you? How are the kids How's work, but then you get back into a dialogue of sharing stories, funny things that have happened reliving the past. So make sure it's a little bit of give and take but by by opening with a sincere compliment by having good questions, and really, you know, having questions prepared in advance, you know, always ask people like, What does Jimmy Kimmel do? Right? or How did Oprah make her fortune? Right? They asked questions. People, they ask good questions that they prepared in advance. And they would sprinkle in their own stories, right to make it fun. They'd have a monologue in the beginning, of course, to a little, little something funny, something interesting. But they had good questions prepared in advance, it felt very natural, right, very relaxed. And so if you can do that you can truly take control of every sales opportunity you run across.

George Thomas 4:24
Yeah, I love the tip of give them a compliment, make them feel good about themselves. I love that you leaned into that versus like, Hey, give him a sales pitch because that never works. I am super curious that when you talk about this questions, I'm a firm believer of the power of questions. Are there some questions that you might be able to give the audience the sprocket tears, like, here's a couple two, three that are good to get started with. And I know it can be very contextual, but we've got to give them some type of blueprint to use this strategy.

Unknown Speaker 4:58
Well, one big thing is if some He calls in, right or somebody reaches out to set an appointment, always ask them somewhere in that conversation. And if you only have a few minutes and you got to get it right out, but regardless, you got to get it out in the open and you have to ask them what happened. Okay, when somebody reaches out something specific happened very recently, that led them to finally get on the phone to fill out your free report request to fill out the calendar meeting. Something happened, okay. If it's, you know, it's a weight loss thing that somebody was picked on, or, you know, they they had to get the belt extender on a flight and they were embarrassed. They lost a big sale, maybe a key salesperson quits. They're talking to a recruit like what happened, you know, what do you mean by that? What happened here is like, what in the last 24 hours one week last 30 days what happened specifically that led us to have this conversation We're having right now. And then be quiet and make them big, because decision makers do not browse the web, busy people that can write big checks. They make decisions quickly, something isn't working. They do a quick Google search. They ask somebody, and they call and they're like, help me, or can you help me? Right? So you've got to know what happened. But then you've got to dig deeper. To find out the real why, you know, it's an obvious thing. I do sales training, right? So people are like, Hey, can you help me grow my sales? People think I would just jump on it. Of course, I can. Yes. Let me help you. I'll give you this quote. And, you know, it's Black Friday, Cyber Monday, I'm gonna cut you a deal. I always ask them, you know, why do you need to grow your sales? Okay. And it's not an obvious question, right? Everybody needs to grow their sales. No, not everybody does. I need to understand why you need to grow sales right now. You know, I mean, you're either growing or you're dying. You're right, either growing or you're dying. In the last last quarter of this past year, we are at the end of the year. How have things gone? Are you looking to turn things around? Are you looking to add fuel to the fire? Oh, we had a pretty good year, we won't add fuel to the fire. Why? You got to get to the personal reason. Okay. And sometimes it could be as simple as you know, my dad always said, I never amount to anything. I'm gonna prove him wrong. You know, this guy, you know, Captain, the football team, he stole my girlfriend prom and, and I have a chance to, you know, raise some money and buy his business and put them out of business. Okay, I mean, I can work with that, right? I need to find that burning desire. They've got to make it personal people. So it's just business, not personal. They're full of crap. Everything is personal. Okay, I think people are driven to go read the Steve Jobs biography, right. I mean, he was driven from personal things, you know, being adopted, you know, how he treated his own family. I mean, all those things impacted. You know, his dad taught him how to you know, he As a good craftsman, right? So even the backside, the underbelly of a Mac computer was pretty, right. It was clean, because his dad taught him to do it that way. So it's all personal. If you can find out that little story, man, you got them because they're going to open up a they trust you enough to tell you that story and be that their passion is involved. Their irrational emotions are involved. Now you got them right. And if you can truly help them, it's gonna be a much easier sale.

George Thomas 8:30
Yeah, I love that. Because I heard so many words in there, I heard context to who they are their passion point, the thing that is really gonna just almost help them lean into talking to you as a human versus talking to you as a salesperson in that moment in time. So Wes, when you think about this, using the power of question, obviously in the power of question you even mentioned using the word why as getting to the second In our third level, the real reason, if you will, what are some other tools, tips, tactics, strategies that we can use to take control of the conversation when we're in the sales process,

Unknown Speaker 9:11
when it's a big sale? Okay, if you have a complex sale, meaning it's gonna take more than more than one close or one more than one meeting, if there's more than one person involved, you need to set an agenda for each conversation. People leave too many things up to chance. Okay, hearing No, early is a wind. Most salespeople drag things out. They hate prospecting. So they want to show all these deals in the pipeline, even though they know deep down very few of them are real. So if you and I are talking, you know, and it's like, okay, George, thanks for reaching out, you know, I only got a couple of minutes. You know, it sounds like maybe we can work together, maybe a fit, you know, so what do you say, you know, we're gonna need about an hour to really do a deep dive. So how's you know, Friday night Morning. Okay, great, we set the time to look in the interest of time in order to make sure we don't miss anything. Would it be okay if we set a quick agenda for Friday's call? Are you gonna say? Heck yeah. Yeah. So say, look, I have two simple ground rules. We're open and honest with each other. And either of us can end the meeting at any time for any reason, right? So if you hear something, there's a conflict. There's my software doesn't it's not compatible with something you have or whatever API SSL, you know, ABC, PHP, CSS, whatever, you can just end it. And the same for me if I just see something that comes up with your staff or whatever, with with the timelines that there's no reason to waste time right? Especially on a Friday during the holidays that fair? Absolutely say, Yep, say look, I'm gonna have a lot of questions for you about your business. Probably more questions you thought anyone could ever even ask. You may want to jot down a few for me. And at the end, if I think I can help you, I will map out the options and then we'll decide what the next steps are, even if there are no next steps. Does that sound good meeting So like to have,

George Thomas 11:01

Unknown Speaker 11:02
very good. Alright, so look, I'll send you a calendar link, blah, blah, blah, and you have a great day. So I'm gonna send you the calendar. I'm gonna send you a PDF of that agenda. Okay, and a quick summary. And we'll say, George, here's what we reviewed. Here's the agenda, you know, you may want to share this with the team, blah. But, uh, you know, we'll start out with that. And then, you know, I look forward to speak with you on Friday. So now when we set up the call, and I've done this face to face, I still to this day carry printed copies of this agenda. And I've shown up I was in high tech sales, so in the hospitals, so computer systems, and I walked in once, just up the road here in Redlands, California. And I was like, hey, George, great to see everybody. Hey, do you have that agenda that we talked about? As a matter of fact, I do. And everyone already had it printed out. I'm like, Okay, very cool. I like would y'all mind pulling that out? I pull it out. You know, today, like we said, the whole reason we're meeting is just to see if there's chemistry is there fit. We're open and honest with each other. And either of us getting in this for any reason and there was there was an IT guy, one of his staffers sitting back. You know, arms folded. And as soon as I said that that guy literally I can't touch that piece of paper guy just had passed them out. He leaned forward, he starts reviewing it, and that dude was in. Like, she was like, I have the power to say no. All right, let's, let's get this on and he was engaged. Okay, but by setting the tone, but there's also a key thing in there. I said, I'm gonna have a lot of questions for you. You may want to jot down a few for me. I didn't bust out my laptop and projector I wasn't passing out brochures. I didn't bring out a demo unit. And this was a complex sale. This was at least a six figure sale pretty much every time I brought none of that stuff. And so it was different, right most high tech people are bringing in teams VPS systems engineers, complex demos, PowerPoint, presentations, schematics. not breaking any of that. And we were startup we're doing about 33 million back then. And I was one. And at our, at our highest, I think we had maybe 2530 salespeople around the world. And I was one of like three that was making my number. And I was not giving presentations. I was not doing demos. I was diving in to find the need. And then it was easy after that.

George Thomas 13:25
Yes, rocket tears. There's so much that that is the rewind point of the show. There's so much there. I heard. First of all be different. I heard make sure you're using an agenda. You didn't mention it, but you explained it verbally set expectations. And then you said empower them. Right. Do you have questions for for me, and that gentleman leaning forward? They were empowered. So there's so much there, rewind, unpack that. You know, Wes, I'm super curious if there are any myths that we need to debunk that people might think This is how you take control of the conversation before we actually send them on their regularly scheduled day.

Unknown Speaker 14:06
Well, the big myth in general about salespeople is that you have to be extroverted, have the gift of gab, be funny, right? All these kind of esoteric soft skills, I'd say, sales is really very predictable, very prescriptive. It is because people are much more predictable than we want to admit that we are but when you see it happen, and it's just so obvious, just have a process, okay? If you have a process and you stick to the process, like we say, if you can measure it, you can improve it. So measure your activities, track what you say, when you say it, how you say it. Are you sending it via text written word, you know, handwritten word? Are you sending it via email? What are your voicemail sound like all of that matters, but sales is very predictable, very prescriptive, very scientific. tipic so if you just buckled down, and and master those few key points, sales are gonna come a lot easier to you.

George Thomas 15:07
I love that. So it's interesting because as you were talking through that and prescriptive and all that, I started to just want to ask this one last question, even though I thought I was done when you think about taking control of the conversation west to script or not to script.

Unknown Speaker 15:22
Yeah, it's always a is that on my own podcast sales trainers? and some will initially say no, but deep down, what happens is they've just done it for so long. They don't realize that they are doing a script. And so in the beginning, I give people scripts, I've got a whole sales training flashcard series to help them overcome objections. So in the beginning, it is very rote. Right, very mechanical, but it's like any new skill, you know, learning to teach a kid how to how to shoot free throws or tie their shoes, you know, yeah, now we don't think about it. Tire shoes in the dark. But in the beginning, you had to do the loop and the rabbit chase the squirrel through the hole or whatever that whole thing is right? So now you can be artistic with it. It's like they say you have to master the rules before you can break them. Everything we do is a script. You know. Hi, George. How are you? George says, George says I'm doing great. And if you're really nice, you'll say, I'm great. Thanks for asking. How are you? Well, I'm good to thanks for asking. How was your Thanksgiving?

George Thomas 16:27
Oh, there was a lot of food. It was really good.

Unknown Speaker 16:30
Oh, wow. Did you stay at home or do you go travel?

George Thomas 16:33
I was very happy to just stay at home this year.

Unknown Speaker 16:37
Oh, Brenda's you have people out. Right. What are we doing? It's a script, man. Everything we do is a script. Hi. Welcome to Starbucks, man. Take your order. You know it. People like oh, I don't do a script. Yes, you do. Yes. Hi, my help. You know, I'm just looking. You're not just looking. You got money burning a hole in your pocket. You got 12 different sites pull up. You got a spreadsheet printed out. You're not looking, you're ready to buy, but the script comes out. So even in that little situation when I train retail, I have people, I don't have them say, Hi, how can I help you? I have them walk up and say, Hi, you know, Welcome to West is wonderful world of office furniture. What brings you in today? It's kind of like the What happened? What brings you in today? You go, Well, I just dropped my kids off at karate next door and there's no room and I was just kind of hoping to get some air and just not be crowded. No sweat. finders in the back. We got coffee. You know, there's a TV back there too. And the game is on. Knock yourself out, brother. Oh, wow. Cool. Right? Or you're walking in? Dude. It's I'm shopping for shopping for Christmas, right? My wife's been looking at this recliner, this loveseat or, okay, fine. Let's go. But now you have to answer, right because I asked but that was a script. Because I know if I say hi, how are you? How can I help? I'm just gonna say I'm just looking now I'm dead. Okay, so Scripture absolutely vital. And people that say oh, I feel robotic, but you know much money the rock made last year, probably a lot. Over $60 million. What does the rock do for a living?

George Thomas 18:11
can read scripts,

Unknown Speaker 18:12
read scripts. He makes it his own. The Irishman just came out right? People love it or they hate it. It's a script, right? These guys make it believable. They sound like Jimmy Hoffa. They sound like JFK, they sound like LBJ. They're reading a script and they make it believable. Absolutely scripts.

George Thomas 18:30
I love that answer and sprocket tears. I hope you heard through that portion of the power of open ended questions and the immediate ability to disarm the folks in the situation even when using scripts and the fact that you are using a script and you didn't know Wes if the viewers the listeners or sprocket ears have more questions if they want to connect with you, where do you want to send them

Unknown Speaker 18:54
if you're saying is my site so the sales whisperer calm. I mentioned the sales agenda and I've got a landing page. There may be simpler and it's just the sales agenda.com. And you can get this exact agenda that I discussed and then you can print it out put your own logo on it, you have to change it up, of course, because the questions are different, but you know, go get that the sales agenda.com but when you're there, there's links to all my social media, my phone number, it all comes to me I don't I don't outsource that to a VA. So, you know, if you tweet me or hit me up on LinkedIn, it'll be me

George Thomas 19:26
on it. Love it sprocket tears, remember to use the power of question, remember to empower your prospects. And of course remember those agendas, using why all sorts of things so that you can take control of the conversation, and we'll see you on the next episode.

Unknown Speaker 19:43
Did you enjoy this episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast, we'd love to know. leave a rating and written review wherever you listen to your favorite shows and keep that learning going by visiting sprocket talk comm sign up for your free membership and in that membership area. You can find bundled episodes where we combine like strategies to help help you grow better make the world better and share this episode with your friends and co workers who may be battling this same obstacle. You can always reach out to George Thomas on Twitter with questions or guest suggestions or just to talk about your favorite Marvel superhero and go out into the world and leverage this strategy for your success. And we'll see you on the next episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast.