Host: Tim Martin
Guest: Joe Buzzello
Episode 19: Joe Buzzello Interviews Tim Martin – About Disturbing Questions
June 26, 2014
Welcome to Success is Voluntary, a podcast devoted to helping you become the salesperson you were always meant to be, where it’s all about helping you learn the techniques and tools that will enable you to win in the increasingly competitive world of voluntary benefits. Welcome your host, a guy who has hired and trained over 2,000 voluntary benefit salespeople in his career, Tim Martin. Success is Voluntary, selling voluntary benefits.
Joe Buzzello: We’re here today in Phoenix, Arizona, where it’s 102 degrees. Tim, that’s cool for this time of year. Isn’t it?
Tim Martin: It is. It is. Very much so.
Joe: I had a nice flight over, and I had a chance yesterday to review Tim’s new e-book Disturbing Questions: Making the Decision Maker Uncomfortable. This is an interesting topic to me because we have been in sales… I have been in sales most of my adult life, 35 years. You have been in commission sales, specifically voluntary-benefit industry for over 17.
Tim: Seventeen years, yeah.
Joe: We have seen a number of sales come and a number of sales people go. This is a very specific subject. Assuming that we’re selling to B2B, which we are a good percentage of our time, this is about getting that business owner out of his or her comfort zone, moving them from a place of making a logical decision to a more emotionally based decision. What in your background, your observation, past or recent, led you and inspired you to put some of your thoughts down on paper and write this book?
Tim: Thanks, Joe. The reality is that, over the years, I realized there’s absolutely no reason, no legitimate reason (let’s make that point clear), for a business owner to ever tell us no. If you go through all the reasons it seems to make sense for a business owner to say yes to voluntary benefits, there doesn’t appear that there would be any reason that they could say no to you, and that’s just simply not the case.
The reality is they have been in business 30 bazillion years before you showed up, and just because it makes logical sense doesn’t mean that’s enough reason for them to say yes to you. Maybe no reason to say no, but that doesn’t mean that there is a reason to say yes. One of the oldest adages in sales is people buy based upon emotion, and then they back it up based upon logic.
Joe: They fortify it with the logic of why it might be a win for them, a win for their employees in this case, but you’re really citing a problem here. The problem, as I see it, is a lot of salespeople, good, well-meaning salespeople, people who have really developed their proficiencies, they’ve really developed a great presentation. They probably internalized it, memorized it, as well. They know how to overcome most objections, but you and I have both seen the same thing, haven’t we? They never really get to the emotional core. They never get that businessperson out of their comfort zone, and the net result is they might come away with a “No, not right now” or a maybe or something that sounds like a stall.
Tim: Yeah, absolutely, and as you know, Joe, being in sales as long you have, the maybes will kill you. I would much rather get a quick no. I mean yes is better (always better), but I would much rather get a quick no than a maybe and have to go back and go back and go back and go back. For a lot of salespeople, what that does is it gives them an artificial comfort zone. They feel like they have all these maybes, and so some of those must be ready to come through, right? They aren’t. Those are people who are probably just too polite to tell them no.
By disturbing the business owner, by getting them out of their comfort zone… I don’t want to paint too broad of a brush here, the reason they’re the owner is they’re kind of an A-type-driven personality. They understand that they’re in control, and the only way to get them to stop and really take you seriously is to get them to admit there might be something they don’t understand.
Joe: It’s interesting. On page 21 of your book, one of the things that is referenced that a business owner might not understand unless you lead them (you paint a picture, literally put them in the picture) is they’re not living from check to check anymore like most of their employees are, and you reference it on page 1. When I was reading the book, I stopped and recalled how many times I sat with an employer, a well-meaning employer, who said, “Gosh, this all looks good, but will my employees really need this?”
The ten questions that you outline in here really drive the need home in a very, very emotional manner, not a logical manner, not a pragmatic manner, but really a manner that moves them to become uncomfortable. Now tell me what the risks are in making a business owner uncomfortable because if I just look at this e-book, if I go online… By the way, I printed this out, so that shows you how old school I am. I printed it out. I took my red pen, and I made notes because that’s how I learn. I did read it first on my laptop, but I had to print it out because I was blown away by the depth of some of the questions.
Tell me what the risks are because if a reader looks at this and they’re deciding whether to invest in this book Disturbing Questions: Making the Decision Maker Uncomfortable isn’t it a natural tendency as a salesperson to be a pleaser and want to make the business owner comfortable? What is the risk here?
Tim: Well, I’m glad you brought that up because I am a people pleaser. I’m a recovering people pleaser. I’m trying really hard. John Maxwell says, “It’s not your job to make everybody happy. That’s the job of a clown.” I love that. It’s not your job to make everybody mad either, but we do. The risk is that, the business owner, I’ve seen them get very visibly angry. Especially, there’s one question in there specifically that I won’t get into too much detail here, but it’s the one about It’s Not Going to Change Anything. I think that’s the title of it: It’s Not Going to Change Anything.
The reality is that when you point out to a business owner that they have an opportunity to really help their employees and if they don’t do it, it kind of looks bad on them, that can make them visibly angry. I have never been thrown out of a place because of it, but I have seen them just turn bright red and get really angry. As it kind of dawns on them that I’m right or that the salesperson is right, they come back down. We can help them reel back in those emotions, but it is. You run the risk of getting a business owner upset with you.
I think that’s a good thing. Not always, but again, I think that in a lot of situations, again, we have to get them off high centered. They’re high centered. They have been doing the same thing over and over again. They’ve maybe even had decent results doing it, and that’s why they continue to do it, but like you said just a minute ago, they don’t see it from their employee’s standpoint. They don’t understand that employee literally is two paychecks away from being in serious financial trouble, and so I think we owe it to the employee. I think we owe it to ourselves and to that business owner to show them the error of their ways, if you will.
Joe: You know what; I broke into commission sales, the insurance industry, in 1979 with a company called Pennsylvania Life. They had a saying, Tim. They said, “We need to put someone in the gurney. We need to put them in the accident, in the position of needing the product.” Now we know the Pareto Principle. We know the “law of the vital few,” the “rule of 80/20” as a lot of people refer to it. We know that out of 100 folks who invest in this book and consider themselves salespeople as a profession, we know that maybe 20 percent of those will apply on a daily basis the “disturbing questions” that you have really encapsulated well here.
Talk to me about the results. We have seen the people who had a good presentation platform take that to a great presentation platform by learning the art of moving someone to an emotional state. Tell me what the result really is for that 20 percent who purchase this book and then apply it.
Tim: Well, great, great question. I could go on and on and on over the last 17 years as I’ve taught these. I didn’t learn them all at once, obviously. I have developed them over those 17 years, but as I have developed them and as we have implemented them as a sales team, we’ve seen incredible results
In fact, just two weeks ago, I was in Albuquerque working with a sales team there, and I got a call yesterday from a young lady who she says she took out the one that was in the free version. A lot of the people watching this have probably seen the two-question free version of this. She went out, and it was going down in flames. She asked the business owner, she said, “I want you to imagine that as your favorite employee,” and walked him through that whole scenario and set up an enrollment on the spot.
I’ve seen, over and over again, where we take decent salespeople from a 25 percent closing ratio to a 60 percent closing ratio, and I’ve seen it take great salespeople who were getting 60 percent and taking them even higher. It changes the dynamic. It changes it from, “I’m here to serve you however you want. Can I please wash your car if we can do business together?” and begging for the business, to a dynamic of you have something that the business owner understands they need, not just, “Oh, I can’t see why we’d want it” to “Hey, we need to do this.”
Joe: You even have several questions. I think you have three questions for employees.
Joe: You really put the employees in a buying posture and possibly make them less comfortable, as well, so that’s a bonus.
Tim: That’s three questions for the employees. They’re all bonus questions. I have to tell you…the business card example…I have sold literally hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of disability insurance just using that one little trick.
Joe: That’s brilliant. I won’t give it away here, but laying the business card out and then flipping it over, and it’s more than cute. It’s really brilliant because, again, sales is about painting a picture, telling a story, and putting someone in that story, and I think you’ve done such a great job of telling a story and giving someone the ability not only to learn the question but understand how to set up the question, how to deliver it properly, how to follow up, and how to capitalize. Quick question, let’s sell some books. Where can people find the book?
Tim: You bet. It’s on www.successisvoluntary.com. It’s right there on the main page. In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll see a picture. It has a man pulling his hair out (what’s left of his hair), Disturbing Questions, and I appreciate it. Joe, one of the things I want to mention is not only do they get the book, but there’s also an audio track that goes with it that you haven’t even had a chance to listen to, where I actually dig in and kind of tell the story of how that question came to be and some success stories with each one of those questions.
Joe: Someone could have the audio version while they’re driving in their car back and forth to field appointments or their office.
Tim: Absolutely. There’s a short version that’s just the book, and then there’s the long version that is the book, and then I stop and explain each question.
Joe: So this is really a multimedia package.
Joe: If you include Joe B. killing Trees, you could…
Joe: Well, I really enjoyed reading it. I’ll tell you, honestly, it made me want to go back in the field, schedule appointment, and go sell some insurance just to watch the business owner squirm, so this was fun. Thank you for having me in, and thank you for letting me preview the book before it goes on sale. This is exciting.
My very sincere endorsement would be for anyone who is out there in the field selling insurance products, an intangible product. They should not only memorize but really internalize these ten questions and the three additional questions for employees and really utilize them on a daily basis. No doubt their closing average will go up tremendously. They will really move into the top 20 percent, the top 10 percent of professional salespeople, and that’s really our goal. That’s your goal at successisvoluntary.com, to move everyone into being a true pro, turning pro.
Tim: I appreciate you being here, Joe, and thanks for sitting down with me.
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