Jessica Abo: Amanda, let’s start by talking about your company and your career path.
I own a sales training company, and we make talking to people cool again. This actually came to be because I’ve been in online and internet businesses since 2010. So my first business, I actually spent eight years as a financial writer, brand ambassador and speaker in the financial space. I noticed that although I was having a lot of fun telling people how to manage money, and I thought it was very useful, there was one big problem. And that problem is they didn’t know how to make money. And I was like, well, we got to fix that equation before we can fix the others. They didn’t understand the people skills of how to actually close deals or collaborate or get sales or increase the revenue in their business or even customer service. So in the last couple of years, we really started putting a very heavy focus on bringing that stuff back again.
How do you help your clients?
We offer our six-week training program called Persuade Your Profit, and we teach a five-step sales process. And in that sales process, we also teach the skills that are required. So, for example, what is the initial contact with someone? Then how do you move them into a potential sales presentation? When you’re on the sales presentation, what are the skills that you need there? Now, this is very important because a lot of people are taught to do sales very aggressively, and you’re not supposed to do that. It’s really supposed to come from a place of service and then we’ll go into follow-up because that’s an area where a lot of people drop the ball and they’re missing out on a lot of revenue. So, we’ll teach them the skill sets and in addition to that, my team and I actually role-play with our clients. So they’re practicing with us and not potential customers.
And where do you think people go wrong?
So I think avoiding talking to other people is probably the biggest problem. I mean, when we tell our clients or even teams, it’s time to pick up the phone, the level of resistance is pretty high. Another area is they make the sales conversation very transactional. So it’s not really from a place of service. The entire point of sales is to get a win-win situation for everybody. And most people look at sales as if I win and the other person loses when they give me money, and that’s where it gets kind of weird.
Where does that mentality usually come from?
Psychologically, we have a lot of anxiety when it comes to money and that plays a role. But I would say the other thing is we’ve all had terrible sales experiences at some point in our lives. No one wants to be pushy, no one wants to be aggressive and no one wants to accidentally manipulate somebody. And because we’ve all been on the receiving end of poor people skills, we are afraid of doing that to somebody else.
You say you’re trying to make talking to people cool again. When do you think it became uncool?
I think when social media came about, it actually started causing some of that. We got very comfortable with hiding behind a screen rather than talking to other humans. There’s a lot of stuff that has gone on in the world recently that has made us even more isolated and not wanting to speak with other humans. I think a lot of it is just internet marketers that prey on this idea of, well, I don’t want to do sales, or I’m afraid of talking to somebody. So they use that in their marketing to make people believe that they can make money without really building.
In your opinion, where should people automate things in their business and what should people keep in person?
Anything that’s a very super repetitive task can be automated. I think whether it’s a system or a process you’re doing over and over again if there’s a way to automate it, do it. That being said, what works best is when you combine the automations with the human touch. Because what I discovered is once I was able to automate everything, well now my team and I can spend all our time on marketing and sales and actually speaking with our clients.
What would you say is the old way of selling and the new way of selling?
The old way of selling was more manipulative marketing tactics. I think a lack of transparency is on its way out. The consumer wants to know exactly who it is that they’re buying from. And as much as I love automations and they’re very useful, people want human connections. So use the automations to buy yourself time so you can do more of the human connection.
How can we be better at connecting with business leads?
So there are 8 billion people in the world that social media connects us to, and it’s up to us to really take that initiative to connect with other people and make ourselves known and build those relationships. And that’s the part where sometimes people are afraid to do that, they don’t know how to do that and that’s where my company comes in and helps.
Finally, Amanda, what’s your one piece of advice for entrepreneurs this year?
You have to detach from the outcome in sales. And I know that’s a very difficult thing for people to do because they think there’s a lot of money on the line, but you have to detach, and you have to be very focused on the person that you’re trying to help. We get very wrapped up in our heads over, oh my gosh, this deal needs to go down, this needs to happen. I need to close this person right now. What ends up happening is we’re very insecure and we’ve got way too much focus on ourselves when in reality our focus should be on helping the person in front of us. And if you focus on that, then you will get the result that you’re looking for.