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How To Succeed Without Selling, Meet Diane Helbig

Sales is a verb but you must learn as you go

Click here to download the episode. 


Sales Tips you'll learn today on The Sales Podcast...

  • The new ABCs of selling are NOT Always Be Closing!
  • Always Be Curious
  • Dale Carnegie was the great communicator but he'd  ask a great question then shut up and listen

Eat This To Sell More

  • You have to prospect but it's about setting a meeting
  • Cold prospecting can work but if you do it just to sell something you'll struggle because it's all about you vs. them. 
Sales is a verb but do it with an eye towards learning."
  • Preparation and delivery matter
  • How to find the decision maker: "Would you mind telling me your decision-making process?"
  • If the most logical conclusion is that we can help them we ask them to go to the next step
  • You need to have a sales process to ensure this flows smoothly
  • Be in the conversation
  • The questions must flow
  • Write them out
  • "Have you considered a budget for this?"
  • "Have you used a company like us before?"
  • Ask questions when you have permission.
  • Marketing is about credibility and awareness
  • Be careful balancing activity vs. productivity
  • Focus on relationship building
  • Put your high school info on your LinkedIn profile and network with them because they'll trust you

Links Mentioned In The Sales Podcast


Wes Schaeffer: Diane Hellbig author of succeed without selling the more you think about selling the less you will sell all the way from Ohio. Welcome to the sales podcast. How the heck are you
Diane Helbig: I'm wonderful. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Wes Schaeffer: So this isn't your first rodeo you wrote lemonade stand selling back in the day and expert insights, so
Wes Schaeffer: Now why. It's time. It's time. Talk about selling. What is it just finally times that what you're saying.
Diane Helbig: That's what I'm saying. And, and, yeah, we need to change how we're doing this whole thing we have to stop with all the old belief systems. So yeah, that's, that's why I brought it.
Wes Schaeffer: Amen. It's a, it's interesting. Great minds think alike. I'm reading about your the new A B C's of selling
Diane Helbig: Yeah.
Wes Schaeffer: Been writing about that for a while. So are you saying it's no longer always be closing
Diane Helbig: That is exactly what I'm saying. And actually, I'm not quite sure ever was always be closing
Diane Helbig: But we were taught to believe that, and in my estimation. The problem with that is that, then we're always in sales mode, you know, our brain is always everyone's a prospect. We have to be selling all the time.
Diane Helbig: And no one likes being around those people. Yeah, so you know my belief is that the A B C's of selling are actually always be curious.
Wes Schaeffer: So,
Wes Schaeffer: What does that mean, though cuz I've got a I've got to tell you about how great I AM. AND HOW GREAT. My company is
Wes Schaeffer: How we were started in a garage.
Wes Schaeffer: And we were bootstrapped and how my founder. So from the back of his car and a peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So I've got to tell you that. So you know how good my stuff is
Diane Helbig: Yeah. Well, here's the problem. No one cares, right. So, I know, I know. It's heartbreaking. I know, but it's true. No one cares about you until they know that you care about them.
Diane Helbig: So this is the mistake we make we go on and on and on. We're talking. They're not even listening. You know my belief is the more we talk, the less people listen. So just be quiet.
Diane Helbig: Number one. Number two, you don't even know if you want to do business with that person. So unless you're curious about them and you're learning about them.
Diane Helbig: You're going to end up in some really bad business relationships.
Wes Schaeffer: What do you mean, be quiet people told me. I've never met a stranger. I'm so gregarious I'm good with people. I can't be quiet.
Diane Helbig: Well, you know, Dale Carnegie
Diane Helbig: Was known as a great communicator, because he would ask the question, and then he would be quiet.
Diane Helbig: And let the other person talk and what people want to do most is, is talk right about themselves. So let them and they will think you are a great connection and they will want to continue to be around you.
Wes Schaeffer: So that's fine and all, but I've got to hit my number this month.
Wes Schaeffer: I gotta go sell something, don't I
Diane Helbig: Yeah, yeah, we have to hit you know you got to bring in revenue. It's absolutely true.
Diane Helbig: My belief is that when you engage in these activities and they are activity sales is a verb. We have to go out there and we actually have to do it.
Diane Helbig: When we do it with an eye toward learning that's when we actually make our sales. That's when we make our numbers because we are connecting the people we should be connecting with
Diane Helbig: We're not spending time with people who are never going to buy what we have to sell and we are going to have the kinds of client vendor relationships that are long term.
Diane Helbig: And we can do more business with them as time goes on. So we're actually going to get more revenue good revenue.
Diane Helbig: Doing it this way. So do we have to prospect. Yes. Do we have to prospect things but getting a meeting. It's not about convincing someone to buy what you have to sell.
Diane Helbig: So yeah, engage in all the activity. I'm just saying, do it. Ask your questions first before you start talking about your wonderful product or service.
Wes Schaeffer: So does this apply to cold outreach. I mean, the does that still work. Is that a totally different topic.
Diane Helbig: So,
Diane Helbig: I think cold outreach def can definitely work. I think it depends on how people do it.
Diane Helbig: I think if people are reaching out to sell something, it does not work. It puts people off. They aren't going to return your calls. They don't want to talk to you because you are telegraphing that it is all about you and not them.
Diane Helbig: If you do cold outreach where you are reaching out to start a conversation to get to know them to see what's going on with them. And if there are ways that you can help them.
Diane Helbig: Either with what you sell or with the connections that you have and the resources that you have that you can direct them to
Diane Helbig: People are going to be more like if they don't believe you're trying to sell them, they will be more likely to have a conversation with you.
Diane Helbig: And those conversations can lead to either clients or referrals or partners great resources. See, I think we miss out on all of those things.
Diane Helbig: When everything we're doing this tour gaining a piece of business as opposed to building relationships with people and seeing where they fit in our orbit.
Wes Schaeffer: So how do you do that and not come across as cheesy because
Wes Schaeffer: I get people. Oh, you leave your wallet at home. It's really just an exploratory meeting to see how we can might be able to work together. I'm like, No, I don't want to have that meeting. Okay, where's the fine line right between selling and just getting to know one another.
Diane Helbig: Yeah yeah
Diane Helbig: I think it's in your preparation.
Diane Helbig: I and I think it's in your delivery. So you have to really be genuine. My belief is if we this is going to sound really strange. But if you say to yourself, Okay, I don't
Diane Helbig: I'm not looking for a sale. I just want to see what's out there. I just want to see who's out there. I want to see what's going on.
Diane Helbig: I just, I just want to get answers to my questions and your questions are specific and they include certain kinds of questions that give you an idea of who that organization is
Diane Helbig: And who the people in the organization are and how they do business and how they decision make and all of those things.
Diane Helbig: Then, it really is honestly exploratory. I mean, it really is. We're just trying to get to know each other. And I think I will tell you from personal experience. I sold copiers which is close to it used car salesman. Right.
Diane Helbig: But what I would do is say to people. I don't know whether I can help you or not, but is it worth a conversation to say
Diane Helbig: I'm not gonna try and selling anything, let's have a conversation. Tell me about what's going on. I'll ask you some questions if I can help you. I will tell you, and if I can't. I will tell you that as well.
Diane Helbig: We know we're going into a sales conversation, but we what I've just told them is
Diane Helbig: You can trust me, and I meant it. So you have to say it like you mean it and and I did and I meant it. And so they heard that it takes the temperature down, they're more willing to have the conversation.
Diane Helbig: I still have to ask all my questions because I'm interviewing them like they're interviewing me. And I get to decide is this person going to be difficult to work with. Are they not ready. Do they not have the budget.
Diane Helbig: Whatever it is their timeline too short. You know, whatever it is, so that then we can have that conversation. And then I'm going to tell them, honestly. Okay, based on what you told me, here's what I think.
Diane Helbig: Right, I mean never do business with them, but they'll refer me
Diane Helbig: Because I was trustworthy.
Wes Schaeffer: I mean, all things being equal, in business, is it better to just cut to the chase and be director, you know, sometimes they are the relation type buyers. But I mean, my experience. Typically, like a decision makers, kind of a hard charging task oriented goal oriented just get it done. I mean,
Wes Schaeffer: The side of caution and be more direct
Diane Helbig: I think, I think you have to know who you're talking to, because you're not always talking to the decision maker. Right. I mean, you're already talking to the decision maker, but sometimes
Diane Helbig: You're not. So I think it's important to
Diane Helbig: Identify who you're having the conversation with. And so that's one of the questions, you know, and the question isn't, are you the decision maker, because no one will answer that question.
Diane Helbig: The question is, would you mind sharing with me your decision making process because then they will tell you, and that gives you insight into who they are.
Diane Helbig: Interestingly, I think part of our job is to listen to how to answer questions because if they're very direct. If they're very specific if they give you the answers.
Diane Helbig: What they're telling you is how they operate and how they want you to deal with them and you have to know that.
Diane Helbig: Because you don't want to do the whole, you know, long term sort of maybe two gentle approach if it's someone who. Okay, give me the facts tell me what it is. I'll give you, you know, ask me your questions. I'll give you the answers.
Diane Helbig: What's the bottom line. You have to be able to hear that, which is part of the reason why I think we have to get selling out of our head.
Diane Helbig: So we can actually hear what the person is telling us and asking us for so we can answer them appropriately, not with our preconceived ideas of what we want to sell them.
Wes Schaeffer: It's almost like selling without selling
Diane Helbig: Yeah.
Wes Schaeffer: Is that what you're saying.
Diane Helbig: Pretty sure the book title is succeed without selling. Yes. That's exactly right. Only because I think selling is misunderstood it's not that you're not going to close deals. Of course you are. It's that if we stop thinking about it in terms of I have to go through this
Diane Helbig: Behavior that no one likes doesn't work.
Diane Helbig: We let go of all that and we are more engaged and we are more engaging with the person we're talking to
Wes Schaeffer: Does there ever come a time when you do have to put more of a sales persons hat on and and nudge it forward. You know that carried across the goal line or or does it does it flow naturally to a sale.
Diane Helbig: Yeah, that's a really good question. So
Diane Helbig: That for me is about process, and I think
Diane Helbig: We if we have a system that goes along with asking the right questions and enough questions so that we are going to where the most logical conclusion is
Diane Helbig: If the most logical conclusion is that we can help them. We tell them that and we refer back to what they told us.
Diane Helbig: And we ask about the next step what so many sales people and small business owners don't do is have a next step that is specific that is on the calendar when they leave.
Diane Helbig: A conversation. So yes, I am that for me is, you know, is more of a sales process sort of thing. Right. It's a more structured sort of thing. We absolutely have to have it, we have to be willing to say
Diane Helbig: You know, not necessarily trial closes because my belief is if you're doing this the right way, you're dealing with objections before they come up right whatever those typical objections are because you're asking the questions. And you're getting the answers. And let's say you lie to
Diane Helbig: You, you're going to match what you have what they told you it's going to make sense. That's why you have to ask enough questions to really know where they are and what they really need
Wes Schaeffer: How do you ask those questions though and not make them feel like you know it's 20 questions. Are there.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, they're they're under suspicion from the FBI.
Diane Helbig: Hanging out.
Diane Helbig: Yeah. You know, I think you start with
Diane Helbig: Would you mind if I asked you a couple of questions and then ask them, I think the questions have to flow and i. So, yeah. Are we going to have a list of questions. Yes, but we have to be listening to the answers because
Diane Helbig: If you think about it, what do you need to know. Well, I can tell you what I would want to know, have they worked with a company like mine before. What was their experience.
Diane Helbig: What was good. What would they change that should naturally flow because it makes sense to ask the next question, depending on how much information they give you
Diane Helbig: So when you're asking these questions, it shouldn't feel like that. Okay. Now, my next question is now, my next question is, okay, great. Okay. Right. We have to be in the conversation and asking the questions in a way that is really
Diane Helbig: More conversational than a tick list.
Wes Schaeffer: Would you have them written out
Diane Helbig: You know I would. I only because first of all, like I said, you're not going to every question written out but it but it guarantees that you don't miss
Diane Helbig: Really important questions. So I would have the absolute must haves right now, the things that you got to know about budget, you got to know what their decision making processes. You got to know what success looks like if they've had a previous experience. What was it
Diane Helbig: What matters most to them. How do they problem solve. I mean, you know, and there's a lot of different ways to ask those questions that are
Diane Helbig: Really more conversational and and because it's about experience a lot of about experience and people don't mind storytelling. So, you know, it's a good way to ask
Diane Helbig: But the main heavy hitter questions. I think we have to have written down, otherwise we get away from ourselves and we'll walk out without the answer to a critically important question because it's uncomfortable.
Diane Helbig: Like the budget question.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, I mean I like the way you massage that with, you know, Can you walk me through your decision making process, you know, how, how do you massage that for budget.
Diane Helbig: So I think the first question you asked, well, let me. There's a couple ways you can do it. One is that you can say, Have you considered a budget for this. So I'm not asking you to tell me what it is. I just want to know if you thought about it.
Diane Helbig: Having said that, if I'm asking the question, have you used a company like ours before and they say, why yes I have.
Diane Helbig: Can say okay, would you mind sharing the experience with me. What did you like, what would you change what was going on somewhere in there, there's going to be something about what it cost so on going to be able to then ask, would you mind sharing that with me.
Diane Helbig: The way I asked, but I think words are tremendously important. And if you ask questions in a permission based sort of way instead of coming right out with, you know, what is it,
Diane Helbig: People are more likely to answer the question, if they won't answer the budget question. I think we have to say to them. Okay. Can you help me understand why that's information, you don't feel comfortable sharing with me.
Diane Helbig: Because in order for me to really identify whether I can help you or not. I need to know where you are.
Diane Helbig: So we can talk about ceiling. We can talk about floor we can
Diane Helbig: We have a lot of options here. But in order for us to really be it. You know, I don't want to waste your time.
Diane Helbig: We have to be able to be genuinely professionally honest in our conversation with them. It just shows them that we mean business.
Diane Helbig: That we're not afraid to ask tough questions. But we're going to ask them in a way that's respectful and and understanding
Diane Helbig: Right, like I do want to know why is that a problem for you that that you feel uncomfortable sharing it because then when they tell you
Diane Helbig: Then you can answer it. Right now we're, we're in a better place. We're understand each other better we're building that relationship. And I'm not hammering on, Wes. Okay. But look at how great my you know ginsu knives are and
Diane Helbig: All the stuff they don't want to hear.
Wes Schaeffer: Does this work equally as well. Now in remote selling
Wes Schaeffer: Doing it over zoom
Diane Helbig: It does.
Diane Helbig: I think it takes a little more
Diane Helbig: Of the asking them.
Diane Helbig: You know, really what's going on with them at the beginning of that I think we all have to remember that.
Diane Helbig: While we're all in this thing together. We are not all someone said to me, once you know we're in a boat. But we're not all in the same boat.
Diane Helbig: So, you know, we first we need to know where they are. That's the number one most important question, what's their experience, how are they handling things, you know,
Diane Helbig: And then that can help us figure out how to then move into the conversation about what's going on with their business or, you know, if it's
Diane Helbig: Person to person, you know what's going on with them, what's working, what isn't. But yeah and and it's interesting that you say like zoom. I definitely think the face to face, you know, being able to eyeball. Somebody is critically important.
Wes Schaeffer: Can this apply
Wes Schaeffer: To marketing, right, the digital process, the digital funnel, you know, can, can I apply these steps to maybe shorten my sales cycle and further a prospect along following these principles.
Diane Helbig: Well, that's a really good question. So my short answer is sure because my opinion is that marketing should really be about information sharing, for the most part, you know, marketing is about exposure credibility and awareness.
Diane Helbig: Most people are not going to sell through their marketing, but they are going to improve their reputation through their marketing.
Diane Helbig: So if we think about how can I be a value to other people and how can I be providing information that starts a conversation that engages that asks compelling questions.
Diane Helbig: So that I can be relationship building there. Then when I go and reach out, or they even reach out to me. We've already you know jumped that section, so to speak, we're already we're further along on the trust pool right
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, cuz i i like to get people
Wes Schaeffer: At the 99 yard line, right, the one
Wes Schaeffer: half yard line. I don't want to carry I'm 99 yards. I want them already there. I just
Diane Helbig: Got
Diane Helbig: Them over. Yeah, yeah.
Wes Schaeffer: And doing that with
Wes Schaeffer: That or marketing content, things like that.
Diane Helbig: Definitely
I'm late.
Wes Schaeffer: Because you're right. I hate the battles and you know the alternative choice closes and it's just so exhausting.
Diane Helbig: This is what's so weird to me. We don't like being sold to that way, and neither does anybody else. And we don't like behaving that way. So why are we doing it.
Diane Helbig: Right. This sales is about matching a solution to a problem if you can't. There's no sale to be had. So why not go on the Discovery mission.
Diane Helbig: And and treat it that way and let them know you're treating it that way now. We're all being genuine now we're all you know we're all on the same level.
Diane Helbig: We're just having a conversation. Let's see how it pans out. If it works great if it doesn't, great, because who knows where that relationship could go
Diane Helbig: No.
Wes Schaeffer: Have you
Wes Schaeffer: Had a dia. Have you had an opportunity, you're like, All right, this probably isn't the best thing right now, only to have it come around later.
Wes Schaeffer: You know, because you didn't push it.
Diane Helbig: Yeah yeah
Diane Helbig: Exactly that. You know, this is what happens. We went way you operate this way you build so much
Diane Helbig: credibility and trust that then when they do have a need that matches what you have there. They know you've had this conversation. Yeah. I have had people reach back out to me and say, okay, now I would like to revisit this topic.
Diane Helbig: Now I would like to, you know, now I think we might be ready for this. What do you say we have a conversation
Diane Helbig: And and they know I'm going to have the conversation. I'm not going to go instantly into
Diane Helbig: Sale. Whoo. Okay, great. Here's your contract. Go ahead and sign it. We're still going to have that conversation. There's no such thing as a sure thing.
Wes Schaeffer: But it is a much easier sale.
Wes Schaeffer: When they come back to you like that. Right.
Diane Helbig: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Diane Helbig: And when they stay with you because they know they can trust you because they know you're going to tell them the truth.
Diane Helbig: They're going to stay with you, they're going to do more business with you. They're going to reach out to you to help them. Problem solve in other areas. So your value just keeps going up.
Diane Helbig: And they're going to refer you and the people who trust them are then going to reach out to you without looking at other
Diane Helbig: Options because of all that trust that's that's floating around in that conversation.
Wes Schaeffer: Can a new salesperson or, you know, that new at a company. I mean, can they follow this
Wes Schaeffer: And and hit their number. Yeah. Usually you just have unrealistic expectations from management and it forces your hand.
Wes Schaeffer: Maybe you got to push more than you want to, but the boss is breathing down your neck. I mean, how do you balance, you know, new somewhere or there's a big shift you know i right now. I got coven going on and everybody's pivoting
Wes Schaeffer: And it may, you know the the new normal may take a while to become truly normal in second nature.
Wes Schaeffer: You know, how do you balance those
Diane Helbig: Yeah, it's such a good question.
Diane Helbig: So, so I could go into my whole rant about sales managers and having unrealistic expectations of people, but I won't. There's a chapter in the book about that and and what to do so. So my answer would be.
Diane Helbig: Sales people at because of their managers, I believe, have a tendency to engage in activity, instead of productivity. So what I would say to a new salesperson is spend your time where it's going to give you the biggest bang. And so for me, what that means is
Diane Helbig: Do a lot of relationship building, get out there being networking connect with people on LinkedIn. Get to know them in their business.
Diane Helbig: sit in on on webinars comment on blog post, do all of the things that you can do to build your community around you because the deeper your community is the sooner.
Diane Helbig: You're going to start
Diane Helbig: Selling because you're going to get introduced, you're going to be able to ask for introductions. So you're going to get other
Diane Helbig: People are going to get used to you there. They're gonna want to have you around because your, your community building, you're not selling so you know it's it's my belief in my experience, that it's easier. It's actually
Diane Helbig: Easier to sell like this than it is the other way, where people are slamming doors in your face because you're acting like a salesperson so
Diane Helbig: But this is what you have to do all day, that this is your job. If you're new to it. This is your job. I will add another weird little thing and that is this, make sure you put your high school time on your profile on LinkedIn.
Diane Helbig: Because the people you went to high school with unless you were a real jerk trust you automatically the people you grew up with.
Diane Helbig: And so they can be a great
Diane Helbig: Source of introductions and referrals out of the gate.
Wes Schaeffer: High school friends.
Diane Helbig: Doesn't matter how old you are, I mean, listen. And when I was having my 30th highschool reunion.
Diane Helbig: We've I don't live anywhere near where I went to high school. And we had our we found almost everybody on Facebook, but then
Diane Helbig: Connected. A lot of us connected on LinkedIn and I, I cannot tell you the opportunities. I've had to help people to write for magazines.
Diane Helbig: To gain clients to get introductions. It's amazing course. I wasn't a jerk in high school, but right. That is the key. But yeah, it doesn't matter how old you are. There's something about the people you grew up with. You don't have to re establish that trust.
Wes Schaeffer: Look, that guy. He earned that atomic wedgie.
Wes Schaeffer: apologize for that.
Wes Schaeffer: Not doing it.
Wes Schaeffer: Interesting. So
Wes Schaeffer: succeed without selling you've got all sorts of resources in the back, which is very cool.
Wes Schaeffer: Guidelines.
Wes Schaeffer: introductions. I love the whole talking about the 80s and the 90s and the elevator pitch and godly and I'm so tired of
Diane Helbig: You know, can we just stop.
Diane Helbig: That's like all. What's the vibe.
Wes Schaeffer: Because I tell people like you know you mentioned Glengarry Glen Ross always be closing and so that came out in 1992 was based on a Broadway play from the 80s, the guy that wrote it, you know, he wrote it. I think in the 70s.
Wes Schaeffer: based on his experience watching his dad in real estate from like the 50s and 60s, so that concept.
Wes Schaeffer: Is literally like 70 years old.
Wes Schaeffer: It's like people. We gotta move on.
Diane Helbig: Thank you for that. That's exactly right. And the Internet has changed the game, the consumer is educated. Now, the consumer wasn't educated than. So yeah, did they have to rely on a salesperson to tell them stuff. Yes. Not so much anymore.
Diane Helbig: Now, it really is about
Diane Helbig: You know, people want someone who they know is going to be honest with them and tell them the truth no matter what. And that's a trust thing and it's, you can't just have it out of the gate.
Wes Schaeffer: Amen selling is a profession, not just
Diane Helbig: A hobby.
Wes Schaeffer: Grinding it out quick hit
Diane Helbig: Yeah, right.
Wes Schaeffer: Amen. So thank you for writing this
Wes Schaeffer: Where, where can people get it.
Diane Helbig: So right now the Kindle version is available on Amazon, so they can get it now.
Diane Helbig: They can the resources that are in the back of the book are also available downloads on my website. So how big enterprises com slash resources.
Diane Helbig: They can scroll down and they can download the stuff that's in the back because my goal is that they use it you know that they save it in a folder and they just use them in. Yeah, yeah, do something with it.
Wes Schaeffer: Don't buy it and set it aside.
Wes Schaeffer: get smarter through osmosis.
Wes Schaeffer: But people think they will.
Diane Helbig: I know
Wes Schaeffer: All right. Very nice. So I am linking to that recommended succeed without selling the more you think about selling the less you will sell
Wes Schaeffer: Exactly. Amen.
Wes Schaeffer: I am all the way from Ohio.
Diane Helbig: Well,
Wes Schaeffer: Thanks for coming on the show.
Diane Helbig: Thanks for having me.
Wes Schaeffer: Alright. Have a great day.