Closing A Deal In Sales

Episode 50: Closing A Deal In Sales, with St John Craner

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Closing a deal in sales — Gain practical strategies, build influence, and seal the deal confidently. Closing a deal in sales simplified.  

Closing a deal in sales St John Craner is the Founder of Agrarian, an agency based in New Zealand that helps agribusinesses grow using digital strategies and marketing campaigns. They provide instruction and coaching to underperforming rural sales teams by utilizing sales psychology and human-centered selling techniques that can significantly enhance sales performance.

St John and his team work with their clients to develop a customized strategic sales system to generate consistent leads and income. Specifically, they focus on the principles of sales psychology, which will be the main topic of our discussion today, centered around closing a deal in sales.

Closing a deal in sales? During our conversation, St John tells us why he believes selling is the root cause of sales problems. We’ll explore strategies for generating curiosity, building influence, and ultimately closing deals without making prospective clients feel pressured. Join us and listen in while St John takes us behind the curtain and shares how we can signal buyer safety because he believes you will close more sales when you do it correctly.


What you will learn in this episode is about closing a deal in sales :

  • The principles of sales psychology and human-centered selling focus on closing a deal in sales.
  • How we can signal buyer safety to our right-fit prospects
  • Why St John believes the problem with sales is selling
  • How we can generate small but impactful moments of curiosity that pique the potential client’s interest and encourage them to engage in meaningful conversations
  • The power of the phrase “Tell me more” in the process of closing a deal in sales.
  • Why positioning and pricing are correlated



Closing A Deal In Sales: Full Episode Transcript 


Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Wesner, CEO of Predictive ROI, and my team and I created this podcast specifically for you. So if you’re an agency owner, a business coach, or a strategic consultant, and you’re looking to fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of right-fit prospects and get the at-bats, you know, the at-bats that you need in order to build and scale, then you’re in the right place. Do you want proven strategies for becoming the known expert in your niche and then attracting all the clients in need? Yep. We’re going to cover that. You want to learn how to step away from the sea of sameness so you actually stand out from your competitors and own the ground you’re standing on. Yep. We’re going to cover that too. You want to future-proof your business so you can successfully navigate the next challenge that comes your way.


Well, I will absolutely help you there as well. I promise you each episode of this podcast will contain valuable insights, tangible examples, and best practices, never theory, from thought leaders, experts, and owners who have done exactly what you’re working hard to do. So, I want you to think practical and tactical. Never any fluff. Each of our guests has built a position of authority and monetized that position by growing their audience, nurturing leads, and converting sales. But all the while, they did it by being helpful. So, every time someone from their audience turned around there, they were given a helpful answer to an important question. So their right-fit prospects never, ever felt like they were prospects. I promise you that every strategy that we discuss and every tool we recommend will be shared in full transparency in each episode so you can become a known expert in your niche.


You can fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of right-fit clients, who, then again, we’re never, ever made to feel like one of your prospects. Okay. So, I am super excited for you to meet our very special guest expert today, St John Craner. If you’re meeting St John for the very first time, he’s the founder of Agrarian, an agency based in New Zealand that helps agribusinesses grow using digital strategies and marketing campaigns. They teach and train underperforming rural sales teams how to drastically improve their sales using the principles of sales psychology and human-centered selling. And these principles, the principles of sales psychology, are where St. John and I will focus our time and attention today. So, for example, we will dig into why St. John believes that the problem with sales is actually selling. You’ll hear St. John, and I break down the how-to for creating curiosity and how to create influence.


Once you do, how do you convert and close more deals without your prospective clients ever feeling like they just got closed? You don’t like it when somebody does it to you. So let’s not do that to someone else. And our sales process, process, it feels awful. Lastly, Gin will take us behind the curtain to show how we can all use his word here and signal what he calls buyer safety. Because when you do it correctly, he knows you’ll close more sales. I promise that if you apply the insights and lessons from St. John shares during this episode, you’ll improve your sales performance without your prospects ever feeling like they were one of your prospects. Okay. So, without further ado, welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast, St. John.


Learn more about Closing A Deal in Sales by reading this book from St John Craner: How To Succeed In Rural Sales: The Secrets & Psychology Every Rural Sales Rep Needs To Know.


Closing A Deal In Sales: St John Craner’s Introduction


Hi Stephen. Thanks for having me. Well, thank you for saying yes. And you’re on the other side of the world today in New Zealand. So, thank you very much for getting up so darn early so that we can have this conversation. I am grateful for that. So before we dive in with what I’m sure is going to feel like a barrage of questions coming your way, take us behind the curtain for a couple of minutes and give us some more context around your path and journey, and then we’ll dive into the conversation.


Sure.  I come from rural Essex in England.  so English by birth, been in New Zealand for 23, 24 years now due to family. My parents were farmers, and my dad was the director of Del Getty. And so I was always surrounded by farming, but I was also very curious, and he took me to the rugby games in Twickenham in London. And, because we didn’t have as much money then, we’d go and watch what we call the city matches, which are Cambridge and Oxford. And he’d take all his drivers and this is he Stephen’s going, where is going with this? So basically, they used to put these billboards around the rugby stadium, which is home to England Rugby. And I began, why have they got these hoardings, these billboards?


Why is closing a deal in sales important? Like, why does that influence me to buy a Ford car or drink a Leys or Whitbread? And I’m showing my age here. Then, I got deeply curious about the kind of advertising, and I beat 50 people in one place at the first advertising marketing media degree of its course in the UK.  it also had to do with the fact that where I went had the largest sunshine hours and sandy beaches. Yes, it does. It is sunny in the UK. And they do have es. And importantly, all my lecturers were agency folk. So they were all agency owners or principals, and they used to test all kinds of ads on us, like the dark Coke ads, you know, not, not with Bloats coming up on the windows at lunchtime cleaning them, but we would have, we would like the real-life Guinea pigs. And so I’ve always been fascinated by advertising and influence negotiation. And then, through life, I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve been able to put rural agriculture agency world sales, mix them all up, mesh them all up, and really try to sort of own that niche every day. And it’s a work in progress.


Closing a deal in sales?Amazing. Thank you for that context.  So, as you know, the sales psychology topic is something that I really wanted us to key in on. And it’s where you have one of your many areas of expertise. So before we start slicing that apart, let’s go to the high level first, and if you could define it, when we hear the term sales psychology or psychology of sales, you being an expert in this area, what does that mean to you?


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: The Psychology of Serving, Not Selling


Closing a deal in sales? Yeah, so I mean, I think in your very kind and generous intro there, Stephen, what’s happening is, excuse me, it’s very early, so I’m just slugging down a cup of green tea trying to sound human here.  I promise I’ll quickly warm up for your listeners because I love this stuff. You said something that I thought was very,  very important about people feeling like they’re a prospect that they’re being pitched to. And pitch to me almost feels like a pitchfork in a rural sense, right? So, you know, metaphorically, and you know, many people view people as the hardcore kind of salesy people, and we’ll get into it more around like a dollar hanging above their head. And they’re kind of like a prize to be skewed almost. And we dehumanize selling.


What is the meaning of closing a deal in sales? So for me, the whole idea of psychology is, I’ve always been fascinated since I was a young boy, why people do what they do. If I had my time again, I would’ve been a university lecturer or professor; I would’ve really, really loved to teach for a living, which I do anyway.  Although I have met plenty of poor professors because they’re very good at attaining knowledge, they’re not so good at applying it, right? So, you know, leather elbow patches and threadbare peacoats. But, like I’m saying, when it comes to sales, you have to be really, really interested in human behavior because you are ultimately selling to a person. A person is driven by the laws of nature and by certain psychological principles. And it’s really important you understand that. So I’ve always said to all my students that if you are a student of psychology, you have a sales superpower. So, if you understand the basic principles of psychology, you understand how people make decisions, you understand how they’re motivated, how they’re wired, and why they do what they do. And if you do that, you’ve got a competitive advantage.


Hmm. I love that. And I wonder if you’ll agree with this. Do you think it’s a fair assessment to say that most don’t, most don’t understand the principles that you mentioned, the psychological principles most don’t understand, the fact that we make decisions that are driven by nature and circumstance, and all of that? And we think that it’s a feature, advantages, and benefits game. There is a piece of that in the sales process, but it’s a small piece as it relates to the overall big picture of the psychology of sales. Would you agree? Disagree?


I would totally agree. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, Stephen, because what it’s actually about is we don’t think about the other person. We think about ourselves all the time. I mean, you know, from a biological perspective, we’re in survival mode. The amygdala was going 10 to the dozen during COVID. Survival. We are wired to that with something we can’t break. But the thing is, in order to sell properly, we need to serve. And so I talk about serving rather than selling. And it’s one of the mantras that we teach in our programs. And the key is that when you serve the best interests of your client, or you’re, you know, your future client, your prospective client, rather than serving the best interests of yourself, you are going to make more sales. Because that’s what you’re going to do, is you’re going to signal bias safety there. You’re going to signal safe. Because they go, ah, Stephen’s actually asking really good questions about me. It’s obvious that he’s not serving his own needs. He wants to serve mine. He’s genuine, authentic, and giving himself away in his intent to serve his genuine duty of care by the line of questions he’s choosing to ask. So, every question is a question that he wants to understand me, not serve himself. Does that make sense?


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: Sales Success through Service, Not Selling


It does. And when you said that in order to sell correctly, we need to serve, that goes back to when I was getting ready for this conversation and saw that you had written that the problem with sales is selling. Right? I like those two; they are connected, right?


How does closing a deal in sales work? A hundred percent. And I’m very deliberate on that because one I thought was really p and clever coming up with it, but I’m sure some are much better and more intelligent than me came up with it. But secondly, the problem with sales is selling. And the reason I say it’s a hook, and it’s counterintuitive, and it’s a contradiction. People go, what the heck? You know what, why are you saying that? The thing is, the more we sell, the less we will sell. No one likes to be sold to, you know, you do Jeffrey Giermo, he says, no one loves to be sold to, but everyone loves to buy. And I think he’s bang on. And the reality is that you know if we serve the best interests of our future clients, our ideal clients, they’re going to feel safe.


Closing a deal in sales? Now, when someone feels safe, and when you’re having a sales conversation, we’ll get into the conversation because that’s where the sale is made. When you are having that sales conversation, you want them to feel safe so they open up to you. Because if you don’t, they’re not gonna be vulnerable with you. They’re not gonna tell you their deepest, dark secrets, fears, concerns, pains, problems, whatever you want to call it. And please, listeners, do not say to your prospect can you tell me what your most significant pain points are? Don’t do that because it sounds like you just come off a canned cookie cutter, you know, one-and-done sales training course. Also, I have this sheet called The Seven Things You Never Say In Sales. Another one is what we can do to win your business back.


That smacks of desperation. And then the third one,  I can tell I’m slowly waking up here, Stephen, is what keeps you awake and up at night? So these are classic boring. You can’t bore your buyers into buying, right? So you’ve gotta be a bit better than that. And you’ve gotta be planned and prepared. So I think where I was going from there is, in order to truly understand what specific problem your specific customer or client is dealing with, you’ve gotta make them feel safe. Now, if they think they’re being sold to, they’re going to close down. But if they think they’re being served, they’re going to open up.


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: Transforming Win-Lose to Win-Win Trust


Closing a deal in sales? Yeah. I’m so glad that you said that because that was actually going to be my follow-up to that. If they actually trust you enough to be vulnerable, let me rephrase that. What helps them trust you enough to open up and be vulnerable and actually share what their challenges are, what their business issues are, what their goals are, and what obstacles might be in the way of them accomplishing those goals? In order for them to do that, it’s because they can see and hear in your voice, your content, whatever, that you are about serving, that you, using your words, that you’re genuine, that you are authentic, right? I mean, that’s how you break through to the other side.


Yeah, absolutely. A hundred percent. Now, this is a weird, a weird analogy or metaphor. Now chat show hosts. Yep. I was to guy here this time. So, chat show host. I’m happy you’ve got me at past five in the morning, Steve. Imagine what I’m like at hot past 10,  caffeinated.  The good news is I don’t drink coffee. That’s very good news for your listeners.  we, we kill them otherwise. So what it is is a chat show host is incredibly good. The good ones are putting their guests at ease. Yes. Now, what’s the first thing they do when we go into a store, the Best Buy down here in Australia, New Zealand? They go, can I help you? A very untrained one. Yep. What’s our response? What’s our automatic reaction? 


Closing a deal in sales? Defense mechanisms go into place. Defense Mechanism. Like, I’m just looking Thanks. No, no, I’m okay. Thank you. Leave me alone kind of thing. And you’re, and you’re, you’re wreaking screaming that kind of in your body language as well. And what it is is that they’re protecting themselves from what we call loss aversion, which is Daniel Carmen’s fast-thinking, slow book.  I would recommend it, as it is probably one of the best books I have read. It is a monster, a weapon of a book. Anything that’s over 230 pages scares the living bejesus out. And me. And this one’s about 550 pages, and my highlighter highlights every paragraph on every page. So it’s like, you know, it’s a very, very good book. Yeah. And Daniel Carmen, Nobel Peace Prize, and Behavioral Economics for this. Hmm. He talked about loss aversion. So what’s happening is we’re protecting ourselves from perceived loss. When someone’s selling to us naturally, our immediate amygdala reaction, our primal brain reaction, is, what’s this guy or girl here to sell me now? What are they trying to sell me? Is it something I don’t want or need? Ah, and unfortunately, a lot of salespeople are getting worse, not getting better. And I also talk about how when they get worse, we have to improve. So this is a really important conversation we’re having.


Okay. Let’s go a little bit deeper on that piece because you said protecting yourself from perceived loss. Then I ran that through and thought, okay, now wait a minute. That means the sales dynamic is sort of a win for the salesperson. But the new customer perceives that they lost out on that, that it wasn’t a win-win. Am I tracking with you? 


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: The Power of Curiosity and Effective Questioning


Why is closing a deal in sales important? Tracking thought of what it is, we have to think about the emotional state of that prospect. Okay? Now what I’m saying is, and sorry, that’s my fault, Steve, I didn’t make clear, is like, when, when we are confronted, and I’m using these deliberate words because that’s kind of how we feel. Yeah. By an old hit-up salesperson. If I came up into the street to you, Stephen says, Stephen, you know, I’m not trying to be Dan here, you know, would you like to buy this pen? You’re like, dude, like, you don’t even know me. You haven’t asked anything about me. You are obviously serving your needs, not your own. I don’t want to buy your pen. Right?  crap analogy. Right? But what it is is we are primed to protect; we are wired for self-preservation. If we didn’t survive, we wouldn’t be able to have genetic lineage, reproduction, offspring, all the things that are very, very important. A very primal Maslow sense. So we need to immediately understand the psychological state of prospects, which has been made worse by really, really, excuse my French here, poor sales experiences. Yep. They’ve been burnt and bruised by people who are just serving their needs and not their customers’ needs.


Closing a deal in sales? Okay. So then, that links for me into the word curiosity, that again, as I was preparing for this conversation, now I’m thinking, okay, in order to create maybe on the initial stages of creating safety or a better sales experience, maybe I need to do a good job of creating just even just little nuggets of curiosity. So somebody will lean into that to open the door for a conversation, right? Yeah, Absolutely. So what’s, what does a curious person do, Stephen?


They lean in, asking questions or telling me more about that. Right. They ask really good questions. Success to me sounds like if I’m listening to call recordings or observing, not in a white coat, straight jacket, or clipboard, but I’m like observing; you paint such a great picture there.


Yeah. No, terrible. But interestingly, you laugh even more here when I do sales observation days or what I call truck time with my rural reps. Obviously, I also have an agency background from McCann Erickson and Young Kin. And I’ve done that full circle. When I’m observing people selling in the field, I actually say I’m someone from marketing. Okay? I’m very innocuous. It’s just syndrome from marketing. And I don’t obviously have a white lab coat and a clipboard, but they’re like, oh yeah, he’s from marketing. Oh no, he doesn’t matter. You know, it doesn’t matter. So, you know, so people are like, oh, yeah, yeah, no, he’s invisible. So I’m just watching, observing, right? So it’s syn from marketing, and I’m watching them and how they’re putting that customer at ease. I’m asking to see if they’ve been planned and prepared on their call cycles.


Closing a deal in sales? I’m watching this, which is very much related to Salesforce. We can make it more relevant for professional service consultants and coaches. I’m happy to go there. Okay. But basically, what it is is that they give themselves away by the questions they ask. And back to my chat show host metaphor, they make their guests feel at ease. And that is completely the reverse of what most salespeople do. They put people on the back foot; they’re defensive and immediate. So the first way, excuse the pun, to get people to calm their farm is to ask them really good questions. Now, here’s a really good question for your listeners who are worried that Syn is going to talk about, you know, hay cedars and pitchforks and leaning on fences and talking about rural reps all morning, which I’m happy to do, but for, to make it relevant for them.


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: The Art of Genuine Questioning in Professional Services


Closing a deal in sales? This is, I reckon, one of the best questions you ask in a professional services coaching consulting business. So I’ll try to say it really clearly as I’m slowly waking up here, Stephen. It’s really great to catch up with you. I’ve got a question: Is it okay as my first one, or is it this?  what’s the problem you feel you’re trying to solve here? Yeah. Now, this opens it right up, and it’s about what you’re talking about, about curiosity. It needs to open up its world, not close the world. Remember, they’re almost semi-closed. Anyway, you’ve got a very small gap in the window to open that up. Now, criticism or a lack of safety is going to close the door. Curiosity is going to open the door. So, I start with a really, really curious question. Or I might say to you, Stephen, it looks great to catch up.


I’d love to ask you this question. What does success look like for you or Stephen?  I’ve got a bunch of stuff I can talk to you about, but rather than me barrel along because I’ve got no idea whether our solution can help you or not. At the moment, I’d love to qualify things by asking a few questions. So what would you like to hear and know from me in the next hour that we’ve got together? So again, they feel safe, they feel consulted, they feel like you have generally got their best interests at heart. By the intent of your question. Because everyone thinks they give themselves away by the answer. You give yourselves away by the question that you ask.


Yeah. I love that because, again, how you ask it, the tone of voice in which you ask it, does it show that you’re being genuine and authentic, that you’re being sincere, and that you’re there to learn and be helpful. Hmm.  because that’s not a question that somebody who is just super interested in the close is going to ask first. Right? Yeah. But then, but then what’s next? Like, what’s the next question? We obviously have to maintain the I’m here to serve, and I’m here to help. And I’m not here to, like, take your first answer and then say, well, boy, do I have a deal for you? Right? Yeah. So this is a process. So what’s next then in that conversation?


And we talked about it in the intro around a process, right? Yep. And it’s almost like having a process but feeling like they’re not being processed. Okay. Oh, nice. So, what it is is that we want to have a very special structure and sequence. It’s what we call a pre-call plan. Now, whether you’re an agency owner or a professional services consultant, the thing is, we get into muscle memory, and, like driving, sometimes we form good habits, and sometimes we form bad habits. The most important thing is to follow a line of questioning and do it really, really well. So when they’re giving you some information, I say, oh, Stephen, so tell me what problem you think you’re trying to solve here? And you’re going to look at my problem, which is that I’m just not generating predictable, reliable leads. The leads we’re getting are really not qualified. Our costs are going through the roof; our conversion rates are dragging out. And my CEO is all over me. Okay? We’ve got some information there. So we then do, like a good journalist and a good chat show host, is that I use three little magic words, and they say, and I go, cool, tell me more.


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: Letting Your Prospect Lead


Closing a deal in sales? And then this is an expansive question because then it’s signaling that I’m really tuned in. Or, as Daniel Pink calls attunement. I’m going, tell me more. What’s going on there? How did that feel? Well, what’s the impact and implication of that?  so yeah, we talked about the return on investment.  there is obviously another cost. That’s the cost of inaction. So, we follow the funnel in the marketing metaphor. We follow a structure and sequence or a line, a question that we prepared and pre-planned. But we’ve gotta be supple. We’ve gotta flex with it because, of course, the customer is going to signal their intel to us and the insights, and we’ve gotta follow it. So, you know, all your listeners are intelligent men and women. They will listen. And that’s where you have to listen and go actively. Actually, the conversation’s going this way. But the wonderful thing about questions is they’re so powerful that the prospect always wants to feel in control of the conversation. Asking questions will make them feel like they’re in control of the conversation. But here’s the gift: here’s the magic. You are in control of the conversation. Of course, because you’re asking the questions. Right? Exactly, Stephen. Exactly that. So we spend so much time teaching people how to ask really good questions. But again, because you picked it up beautifully, this is the way in which the questions are asked.


This is so great. I’m going to go back. Two minutes ago, you mentioned you have a process, but they don’t feel like they just got processed. Right? The lack of control or, the lack of feeling of control, or the feeling of lack of control. Let me say it that way: it would then contribute to somebody feeling like they just got processed. But you are, you’re giving them control. Even though you’re asking the questions, they feel like they’re obviously controlling the process. But so when you said you know, tell me more. Okay. So, I’m curious about the thousands of times you’ve probably asked that question. That tells me more. Has anyone ever declined to tell you more?


I would say I didn’t have my clipboard handy at that stage, but I would say 99% of people said Yeah. I am employed then because I’ve already established safety and trust by the question’s intent and sincerity. So, you know, yeah. So tell me, tell me more about that. And people love talking about problems, their problems. Of course. I go to dinner parties and barbecues, and someone’s going to tell me I have a problem. If it’s something I can’t help with, I usually disappear and decide to go and get another beer and never return. But, or they’ve got problems pronouncing my first name properly, even if they’re sober. But you know, like, so I, you know, I’ll leave them be. But the reality is, the important thing for listeners is I’m talking to you, Mr. and Mrs. Listener, must let your prospect lead, let them lead you lead them by the questions, and then they lead you by their answers. And then you follow that lead with a line of questioning. And you do that with a critical plan. And we role-play that. We skill and drill it. We rehearse it because all the top teams, the NBA teams, the  NFT teams, rugby teams, cricket teams, have skill and drill. They skill and drill until they get it right because you don’t want to be practicing live on the real game and burning and bruising your lead.


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: Why Sales Success Demands Process and Preparation


Closing a deal in sales? I also think that the reason why I think that that is masterful is that I believe I’ve never seen any data on this, but I think that most wing it, and most are flying by the seat of their pants. Most are like, oh, I got a hot lead here, and boy, I’m just going to, you know, have a call, get on Zoom, or do whatever. And they wing the process or, excuse me, even call it a process to give it a compliment. They just wing the conversation, and sometimes, Yep. They hit a home run, but more often than not, they strike out, right?


It’s absolutely. So we go back again to my cheesy metaphor of a chat show host. Now, there are really good ones like Larry King and Oprah Winfrey, and we’ve got some good ones down here as well. And you go, they’ve just asked such good questions, and they get the scoop, the story, and the intel again. So now, how the hell did you get that celebrity to tell you that story? Or, or, or open up you in that way? This is precisely the same as what we do as professional salespeople. And I say professional salespeople here because professional salespeople do not wing it.  those chat show hosts either have a researcher, a team, or a bank of researchers. They have read the book, everything about the guests, their profiles, and everything else. You should be no different. The other thing here is also about the process and professionalism.


Closing a deal in sales? Every professional, the most trusted professionals trained now, search and rescue doctors, pilots, surgeons, nurses, and teachers, are continually training. They do not wing and waste it. When I jumped on my plane to Australia this morning, I thought that the pilot was going to have a pre-flight checklist and that they were going to check everything before that plane took off. You need to be no different as a sales professional. If you want to be a sales professional, not a grubby rep, business development guy, or sales guy, you need to train the most trusted train. If you look at the most trusted professions, police, army, military surgeons, and doctors, we know that the World Health Organization and surgeons have a bloody checklist of preoperative plans in the theater. So they don’t chop off the wrong leg. So, why do we feel, as salespeople, that we can wing it and waste it? It’s based on ego. It’s based on that we think that we know better. Accountants have a process. Maybe Enron didn’t have a process, but like most people, it has a process. And this is the thing Stephen and listeners a process protects.


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: Maximizing Sales Success


Just like the airline pilot, we know that the plane’s going to fly. So, what we do is we have a prequel plan, which is the equivalent of our pre-flight checklist. And we go through that. It has six stages. We train that, and then we make sure that is the guardrail, and the protection of our conversation is so important. You make your conversations count because you might not get a second chance.


I love this so much because it is doing exactly what we talked about with respect to the psychology of sales or the sales psychology of sales psychology, excuse me.  and is also taking sort of the aimlessly wandering through the wilderness out of it by putting in a checklist and a process. When you said, a process protects smart. I love how you said also the most trusted professionals train. We would expect that if we went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, here in the States, we would be going there for, you know, one of our relatives who was going there for some neurosurgery. We’d want to know that the doctor, the surgeon, and his or her surgical team it wasn’t their first time.


Yeah, yeah. No, give me the junior, give me the dude that hasn’t, is just learning.  It has some black and Decker tools. I’m being, I’m being facetious, so, or I want the lady or the man who are extremely senior, have done 3000 of these operations and teach this all over the world and have a bunch of papers and have written for the lance and the British Medical Journal. That’s the person I want in the business. Now, here’s the other thing, you know, for your listeners again, I think the cardiologist beats the GP. So Stephen’s going, this syns dropping all these syns. I’m known for this and renowned for this, Stephen.  if people can even pronounce my name properly. So we’ll go further, right? I haven’t trained in this in any way, but I always think it’s better to be a cardiologist and a GP.


Yeah. And this is why we don’t have a generic agency. You know, we have a sales training part of the business, and we have a marketing arm, and the two are obviously interconnected, and I lead more of the sales side. But it’s really important that you be a specialist in your sector, and your whole podcast and your intelligent audience are really interested in driving authority. Well, you’ve gotta position yourself as an authority. And, obviously, you’ve covered that with your wonderful guests on your podcast before, but, you know, the thing is, everyone’s worried about the sale and selling. It’s the pre-sale, the most 50% of the, you know, a buyer’s journey. They’re 57% through the journey before they even pick you up. And then we probably haven’t got time to go into beauty pageants, beauty contests, and picture fons. And I’ve been there. I’ve been a client and a marketing manager as much as I’ve been an agency guy, and now I’m a sales training head and a founder of a sales training company specializing in a sector. But I can tell you, hand on heart, the best and biggest thing I ever did, the smartest thing I did in my business specialized and own unique positioning. It was so powerful because the presale positioning had already done half the job. It’s done half the heavy lifting for me.


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: The Correlation Between Positioning and Pricing in Sales


Yeah. I, and here again, this, this is such a great metaphor, cardiologist general practitioner love that you’re never going to go to, I don’t think that anyone’s ever going to go to the cardiologist who’s going to operate and potentially save a family member and then say,  Hey, hang on just one second. Before you do that, could you give me a cost estimate? Yeah. How much are you, how much are you? Right? What’s your hourly rate? You know the question that has never been asked, right? Because you know, the cardiologist is the specialist, the expert who can save your loved one.


That’s right. She or he is the specialist, and they’re renowned. So, everyone gets really buzzed up about selling. Now, you know, agencies do this really, really well. Well, some don’t. Well, and some don’t really well. Ultimately, I often see agencies and websites that all look the bloody same. They all look the same. And I’m probably not the most qualified to comment on this, but they all have a, like a five set process and,  a beauty pageant wheel of all their clients from the client logos. And there’s really nothing different about them. And it’s like they’re scared to specialize. Yep. And be that archeologist or an oncologist. Instead, they want to be a generalized general practitioner, a guessing general. Oh, you know, no, no, we help paint companies. No, we help insurance companies. No, we help automotive. No, we help retailers.


No, we help agritech. No, we help crypto. Like they’re all over the place.  this is the majority, I think the likes of Blair ends, David Baker. They do a good job. And the big thing that guys like you and they talk about is that your positioning problems determine your pricing problems. So again, that surgeon that cardiologist does not have any pricing pressure because they’ve already assumed the authority by the position they’ve carved out in the business. Now, I’m a specialist in my world. I’ve worked very, very hard to get there. And I will continue to because, you know, I haven’t learned anything yet, and I’m still learning. But you all that prepositioning does all the hard work for you. So when that prospect comes, they self-qualified themselves. And then you don’t need to sell so much. Yep. Let me give this back to you and make sure I got this correct in my notes. I think I heard you say your positioning problems determine your pricing problems.


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: Strategic Branding Drives Sales Success


Correct. So, positioning and pricing are correlated. So, if you’ve got pricing problems, I can guarantee you you’ve got positioning problems. And your positioning problems are that you are not seen as unique.  you are not seen as a specialist. You, therefore, cannot charge a premium. And you’re constantly getting priced and asking why things cost, what they cost, and you attract the wrong customer. Now, position’s just as important here, and everyone calls it branding, and I’ll call it position. Your positioning does two jobs because I think it’s more strategic intent with the question. The first and most important job it does is to repel the wrong customer.


And when you say that to most G folk, they go, oh, no, no. But we, we want to talk to everyone. And I’m being hugely generalized here. Like, you know, we want, we want, we work with everyone. We’re a one-stop shop. We’re a multifaceted brand; they’ve lost me, right? So it’s like, no, I, this is, we go sniper, we don’t go shotgun. Right? So the positioning has to be the tool that does all the pre-sell heavy lifting the authority for you, and then you don’t have to sweat the sales compensation So much, much. And, of course, we covered a lot there in sales conversations and how important it is that the sellers made there and make your conversations count. But you are already having a conversation with your prospect about your pre-positioning work anyway. It’s just that they’re checking you out. They would’ve, I think, Gartner research or forestry research said, I think it was something like five years ago,  people consumed about five to seven pieces of content. I think now it’s about eight to 12.


Doesn’t surprise me that that’s a statistic. And hearing you say that makes me smile. Because whenever we teach in-person workshops, excuse me, and go around the room and ask everybody to introduce themselves, break the ice. Inevitably, 50, 60, and 70% of the rooms introduce themselves as, hi, I’m Stephen Woessner, and I run an integrated full-service marketing and advertising agency. Oh, we also do PR, and we’re all into programmatic media buying, too. I’m like, oh my gosh, Yeah, yeah, yeah. I, I’m, I’m trying to work out, so the question in the announcement, well, can you tell me what makes you different?

Right.  The ones I like to drop are those that tell me what makes you matter.


What makes you meaningful? And then we not, then we start really getting into it. And of course, you know, you know, this is, I don’t want to make this too long for listeners or too overwhelming, but there will be appreciative inquiry. What I mean by that is something that you’re really good at or an ideal type of client that is a pattern in your portfolio. And there’ll be a certain type of client or segment that you really enjoy serving. And again, I’m very deliberate in my language here. And you really wanna, you really want to own that as a superpower. So you know, you have to do something that you really are strong at and have a good track record. And it’s much better to be focusing there than trying to go ride shotgun and try and please everyone because try and please everyone you please.


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.


Closing A Deal In Sales: Mastering Sales Psychology


No, a hundred percent. This has been so awesome. You’ve given me six pages of notes here.  This has just really, really been great.  I know that we need to come in for a landing, bad pun because I know that you’re headed to get a, get a plane.  But as we come in for a landing, there are two things. One, anything you think we might have missed, any final recommendations, advice, and so forth that we should still cover. And two, please tell our audience the best way to connect with you.


Yeah, look, I think we covered most things. I mean, I think the most important thing is to be a student of psychology and take the time to learn the fundamentals of human behavior, the biases, the heuristics, and, you know,  why people do what they do. Be fascinated by humans, and you’re much more likely to make those conversations count. So yeah, and I hope it’s been useful for your listeners. Look, there are a couple of places people can go. If they haven’t fallen asleep yet and I am still listening, they can connect with me on LinkedIn, which is St John Craner. Steve and our team, I’m sure, very kindly and generously put that in the show notes. And then even for your agency guys and girls, if they’re interested in sales psychology, there’s a whole bunch of stuff they can pull out of my ebook, which is very much written for the rural sector, but it’s very applicable for any sector.


The same principles apply because we’re all selling to the same buyer’s brain. I cover that in an ebook; you can get it at a URL called Rural. And I’ve never been able to say my RS properly; it’s just an English thing rural that’s with an r rural sales Stephen will put that in the show notes, and there’s an ebook if you like what I’m talking about. There’s an email podcast.  and yeah, help yourself to that. I’m really happy to help. If it helps someone, then I know it’s been worthwhile.


That was awesome. Thanks very much for that, St. John. So, no matter how many notes you took or how often you re-listen to St. John’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope you do. The key is you have to take it and then apply it. You have to take what he so generously shared with you and apply it to your process because, like he said, a process protects. So, we have to do the skills and drills. We have to do the training so we’re not aimlessly wandering through the wilderness during the next call presentation. However, you do sales. So St. John, again, we all have the same 86,400 seconds in a day. And I am grateful that you got up so early at the crack of dawn to join us on the show, to be our mentor and guide, to help us move our businesses onward to that next level.


Learn more about closing a deal in sales by tuning in to Our “Seed & Open Loops” Framework.

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The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.

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