As soon as I saw the audio files manifest in my DropBox folder, I saved them to my MP3 player. Then I drove to work.
Just the day before, I’d reached out to my friend Jason for some help (same guy I got the business loan from). For years, he’d made a living by building websites and online marketing campaigns for clients.
No big corporation supporting him…
Which meant he had to get up every morning and hunt for his food
He had to sell every single one of his clients on paying him thousands of dollars. Sometimes he did this in-person, but usually it was over the phone.
If he failed, he and his family would starve. Or, even worse, he’d have to go get a real job.
In a little over 24 hours, a potential client would be calling me on the phone.
So I asked my friend for the best, quickest advice on selling over the phone that he could supply.
In return, he gave me the audio files of a talk by a man named Tom Hopkins. From what I gathered, Hopkins began as a belly-to-belly salesman, and succeeded enough to begin teaching others. And I’m sure he figured out that’s where the real money is.
So that work shift, while folding mats, I listened through my headphones and took mental notes of what he said
The selling process sounded simple enough, as Hopkins described it:
You listen to the potential client, make sure to know exactly what their frustrations, pain-points, and aspirations are, and then you repeat the important parts so they know they’re being heard. Then you present them with options for how you can deliver your product/service, and let them decide which one they want to go with.
There’s plenty more. And well worth looking into. (Hopkins fans, please excuse if I butchered the process – it’s been a couple years and anyone who’s truly interested can look him up and buy his books to get the real scoop. Anyway…)
The next day, while sitting in my condo, I saw my phone ring.
My potential client and I chatted a bit, then I described my background as it related to what he needed.
Then I listened.
The man was helping run a business rocketing towards $100,000,000-per-year. They needed email ad copy. They were bringing in boatloads of new customers from the internet, but weren’t marketing to them afterwards. Just a single sale to a new customer could mean another $10,000 to them.
I knew it’d be an easy gig for me, because it was so close to my best skillsets. So I presented two options. One for 15 emails and the other for 30. The latter had a higher price, but not quite double the first.
The man on the phone said he’d have to ask his business partner.
(If you sell over the phone as part of your job and run into anything like this, take careful note of my reply…)
“Can you get him on the phone right now?” I asked.
He put me on hold to try, but the partner wasn’t available. So we agreed he’d call back once he had an answer.
Cool. I did what I could, and was proud of how smooth the entire process was. Like a good clutch hitter, I stayed centered when the stakes were high.
But after calming down, something occurred to me.
I had presented the two options. One for 15 emails and the other for 30.
But what prices did I name?
“Huh,” I thought to myself, “I think it was $1500 and $2500. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what they were. That makes sense.”
I had literally forgotten the prices I named for my services!
My phone rang. The potential client was back.
I picked up and the man said, “Okay I talked to my partner and we’d like to go with the 30-email option. For $3000.”
“Okay, great, I’ll send you an invoice for the down payment and we’ll get started.”
It paid to be a good listener. I guess I had quoted three grand. Whew!
For the next few weeks, my life became a whirlwind of 10-12-hour work shifts, followed by freelance work.
While I worked on the contract job in the mornings, I continued to learn more about my truck-loading work in the afternoon and night. Every night I drove home, trying my best to ignore the dread of the next shift. Folding mats and the sling were only half the positions for the load team. And I was about to work the most disgusting one, by far…