211: Creating The Sales System That Has Helped Hundreds Of Clients With Nikki Rausch
It is true that when a door closes, a window opens. For Nikki Rausch, a window of opportunity opened after she got fired from a sales position, which helped propel her to create her own selling system that has since helped hundreds of clients. In this episode, Nikki joins Mitch Russo to share with us the details of her story—from selling leather belts to becoming the Sales Maven that she is now—as well as the sales process that put her to where she is. Along with that, she imparts some great sales strategy and advice that can help even those who may not identify as salespeople become good at doing this very important job in business. What is more, Nikki then taps into the client’s language and the kind of mindset you need to have when it comes to sales.
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Creating The Sales System That Has Helped Hundreds Of Clients With Nikki Rausch
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Onto my guest and her incredible story, she started selling many years ago, leather belts at a kiosk at the mall. This was her first commission job and she tripled her income by moving from straight hourly to commission and she was hooked. She knew that sales were the way out of a dire family situation and a way to gain the personal freedom she craved, but she realized she needed the training to hone her abilities and that led to a conversation with her mentor, which then led to learning NLP. Unfortunately, the NLP did not come quick enough to save her from being fired from a sales position, which she knew she didn’t want anyway, but it was that incident that helped propel her to create her own selling system, which she is now deployed with hundreds of clients and throughout her life. Welcome, Nikki Rausch to the show.
Thank you for having me.
My pleasure, Nikki. I love your story because before we got on the show, you asked me if it was okay that you had a fact that you thought was interesting and I asked you what it was. Why don’t you repeat it again for the audience, that one fact that you told me?
What I had shared with you was that at one point, to get the ideal sales job that I wanted, I had to learn to drink beer. That may not seem like a big deal to most people, but if you knew me back then, the smell of beer would invoke my gag reflex. It was a big challenge, frankly, and it was asked in the interview process like, “Do you drink beer?” My answer was, “I’ll learn.” I did.
Here’s the lesson, salespeople will do whatever it takes to get the sale. If it takes learning to drink beer, you’ll drink beer.When selling, the words have to feel comfortable coming out of your mouth. Click To Tweet
I use that even now, anytime something comes my way, that is hard or challenging, I remind myself, “You learn how to drink beer for a sales job. You can do this.”
I thought you were going to say, “If anything comes up that’s difficult, I go have a beer.” I don’t know how that played out for you. Nikki, you have an interesting life and certainly an incredible career. Why don’t you go back to the beginning and tell us a little bit about that experience of growing up and being twenty years old and selling the other belts at the mall?
It was a sales job during the holiday season and they hired me as a standard person to work in the kiosk. They came and said, “You have to sell a certain dollar amount based on how many hours you work and anything over that will give you a commission.” I was like, “What’s this commission thing?” I was making minimum wage and this was back in the early ‘90s. The minimum wage at the time was $4.25. I got to the place where I could make $11, $12, $13, sometimes $15 an hour because I loved the product, I believed in the product and I love people.
That was that first taste of commission and realizing that, “I can control my income and how much money I make. I don’t have to rely on somebody saying, ‘This is what we’ll pay you.’” That sparked that I knew that sales were going to be a place where I could make a lot of money. We grew up in a lower income for sure. For me, to go into my first professional sales job with this idea that I want to make $75,000 a year because that felt like a lot of money and then to be able to surpass the six-figure mark, and it’s been a great way for me to control that ability of how much money I’m going to make is based on the effort that I put in.
That’s the motivator for anybody in sales. That’s one of the things I always would tell my clients. I said, “I always love hiring salespeople. They’re the easiest to manage.”My client would say, “What do you mean by that?” I say, “Most salespeople care most about how much they make. Knowing that, let’s pay them the most we could possibly pay them and they’ll stay forever if they’re good.” That seems to be a simple way of thinking about it. I realize there are environment, training, culture, and all those other things, but when we brought on people, we were bringing them on for one-call closes. We drove people over the radio to a phone bank, which to be scattered all over the world. When those folks answered the line, they had seventeen minutes to close the sale and pick up a $239 commission. We were able to close 19% of all qualified leads and 10% of all leads in total. For us, the script was the key. We honed the script and got it functional until all we had to do was tell people, “Let’s drill it until you get it cold, and then you’re going to be able to sell.” Do you use scripts in your own work?
I tend to customize scripts for my clients because one of the things I believe in is that the words have to feel comfortable coming out of their mouths. Especially because most of the clients that I work with do not identify themselves as a salesperson. They want to educate, support, or help people. This idea of sales can feel uncomfortable. I will often tweak the language until it feels comfortable coming out of their mouth. What I do is I teach a lot of structure like, “Here’s what you’re going to be talking about in this part of the sales conversation. Here’s my suggested language. Let’s work on it and make sure you feel comfortable getting it out of your mouth. Otherwise, I’ll give you a different way to say it, but the idea is you have to say it, it has to come out of your mouth.”When you're selling with a script, the last thing you want is creativity. Click To Tweet
Isn’t it interesting because what seems to be common among great salespeople is that they use a system? I remember, when I went into sales early on, I thought that one of my greatest aspects was my gift of gab and that I could be creative while speaking. That is completely wrong. Later in life, of course, when you’re building relationships, that’s important. In the beginning, when you’re selling with a script, the last thing you want is creativity. You want somebody to read this script because the script leads them exactly where they want to go. They may have some objections to handle, but ultimately, the whole idea is to close the sale as quickly as possible and make the commission then move that client on to a successful transaction.
For me, it’s always, understands what’s the need, offers them the solution, and then make it easy for them to say, “Yes.”
What we’re going to do is we’re going to put you to work here. We’re going to give you a couple of scenarios and we’re going to ask you to construct a sales process on the fly. We have several different types of audiences that reading this show. One of them is what I call the service entrepreneur. That person is a coach, a consultant, a trainer. They maybe, offering a massage energy work, anything related to service. In most cases, they may have an ad on Facebook and they typically, are going to be dealing with a live phone call as the final piece before arranging a time for them to come in and get a session. I realized we’re in Coronavirus times and sessions are not happening as much as they used to if at all, but that will return. Let’s focus on that because that’s a big segment. How would we start with that person being a new client for you?
The first thing I always want to know is, if they’re coming to me, “What prompted you to reach out to me? What’s important to you about this service?” I want to find out what’s important to them. I asked that question. I’ll put the context. If it’s a massage therapist, “What’s important to you about this massage? What are you looking for the benefit to be?” I want to get their language. Whatever their answer is, I’m going to take that answer. When I am delivering back the proposal, I’m going to use that language back because I believe that you got to speak to each person’s language. If you pay attention, they’re going to give you the cues that you need.
The next step is to book them for the massage and then hopefully, get it prepaid. There might be 1 or 2 more questions that I would ask, and then I’m going to say, “It sounds like what you’re looking for based on,” and they insert their language again, “That you are a prime candidate for one of our packages. My recommendation would be this package. Is that something you’d be interested in? I’m going to get to a yes or no now.” If they say, “Yes.” I go, “Next steps are for us to book your first session. When would you like to come in?” I’m going to get that session scheduled.
You’re not asking for money. You’re asking them to make a decision about something related to money. Explain that.
If I’m in a live conversation with somebody back and forth, when I’m making a recommendation, I don’t bring up money until they do. If I say, “My recommendation would be this package, is that something you’d be interested in?” They say, “Maybe. How much is it?” Now, I’m going to talk about money, but I’m not going to bring up money. I’m going to let them bring it up. For me, it’s about, here’s what they said they need, want, and desire. I’m going to deliver back a proposal that meets that need, want, desire. If the concern is money and they say, “How much is it?” I’m going to give the price and then I’m going to issue another invitation to them. I’m going to say, “That package is $3,000. We have the ability to put together a payment plan if that’s something you’re interested in. Is that something you’d like some more information on?”Now, I’m asking. Anytime you talk price, you’ve always got to follow up with the next step invitation. You can’t say, “It’s $3,000.” You then be quiet.
That’s valuable because a lot of sales processes that I’ve been trained in are to state the price and be quiet and wait for a reaction. I never liked that. It makes it feel phony and it puts undue pressure on somebody when they’re trying to have an experience with you. I liked the way you did that. At that point, if you say, “It’s $3,000 for the package.” The invitation would be, “Would you like to move forward with that?” Let’s talk about a range of responses here. Describe what might come back after you present that.
I always say once you’ve issued an invitation when we’ve gotten to the close in the sales process, which I have the five-step process, The Selling Staircase. For me, this is step five, this is close, and there’s going to be 1 of 5 things they’re going to do. They’re going to say, “Yes.” Now, we move them into the payment or whatever that next logical step is, getting the appointment scheduled, they’re going to have questions. Find out what the question is, answer the question, issue a new invitation. That’s the second thing that can happen. The third is they have an objection. Whatever the objection is, you need to understand what the objection is so that you can overcome it. There’s what’s called conditional close language. Conditional close language is whatever the objection is that they might have, you say, “If I was able to demonstrate to your satisfaction that we could overcome, would you be interested in moving forward?” If the answer is no, then they didn’t state what the real objection is.
You’ve got some more work to do. Oftentimes, if you can demonstrate to them that whatever their concern or objection is something that you can assist with, or you can overcome it, essentially. They are going to be willing to move forward. The fourth thing that they might do is they’ll say no, and that happens. If somebody says no, and I’ve gotten all the way to the close, I might get curious and say, “Is it okay to ask your reason for declining?” I’m going to say that soft because I don’t want it to feel confrontational. I’m not trying to shame anybody because the fact of the matter is some people will not buy from you. Not everybody is a client and that’s okay. I always say, bless and release the people who are not ready for you. If the answer is no it’s okay, if you want to check it out and find out what’s their reason for declining asked that.
The fifth thing and this is probably one of the most common things that happen in the sales process and it’s also the place where a lot of people start to drop the ball in the sales process is the person will say, “I need to think about it.” That’s a common response. When somebody says, “I need to think about it,” I suggest and I teach my clients to say, “About how much time do you think you’ll need. Let’s go ahead and schedule a circle back call. That way we can answer any additional questions that come up for you and talk about the best next steps for working together.” You get time on your calendar and on their calendar to talk again.
That’s a perfect formula for overcoming the, “I need to think about it,” objection. How about the objection that, “I need to check in with my spouse before I move forward?”You've got to always follow up with the next step invitation anytime you talk price. Click To Tweet
To me, that’s the same as, “I need to think about it.” I say, “When do you think you’ll have that conversation? Let’s go ahead and schedule our circle back call now. That way, I can answer any additional questions that come up based on your discussion and we’ll talk about best next steps for working together.” I suggest a time and a date for us to connect again. If someone says, “I need to talk to my spouse. I need to think about it.” Any of those types of responses, the best thing you can do for them is in giving them a timeframe to get that done. If you say, “Go ahead and think about it and go ahead and talk to your spouse and call me when you’re ready.” They may never have the conversation and think about it because you added something to their to-do list. Anytime you add anything to somebody to-do list, you run the risk of never getting high enough up on the to-do list, to get it done.
In terms of the general ballpark, how many times have you booked this follow up call before they spoke to their spouse or before they thought about it, and then they ghosted you?
Maybe 30% of the time, somebody all ghosts to me but 70% of the time I’m having a conversation and I’m closing that sale. I don’t love it when somebody ghost to me and this happened to a client where somebody was supposed to show up for the call and didn’t. He was asking, “What do I do now?” I said, “You reach out from a place of concern and say, ‘I wanted to check to make sure you were okay. I noticed we were scheduled to talk at 11:00 and maybe I had the time wrong, but please let me know that all is well with you, and would you like to reschedule?” I use that when people ghost me 9 out of 10 times, someone will say, “Nikki, I decided not to work with you. I forgot. I got in a car accident and I wasn’t able to make the call.” I’ve heard all of these. I had this happen where somebody was like, “My power went out and I wasn’t able to call you.”
What happened to me is I had somebody scheduled for a closing call. They’d never showed up. I’m sitting on Zoom all by myself. I sent that email as you said, “We had a call scheduled. I didn’t see you on Zoom. I know there have been problems with Zoom. Are you having difficulty getting on?”It took about two hours and I got a response back and the person said, “I found out that I contracted COVID-19 and we’ll have to reschedule for another time.” That is what I call a modern-day response. I’ve never gotten that one before and I hope I never get it again, but that’s what you deal with. From that standpoint, I didn’t have to fake it. I was genuinely concerned about this person and I want to make sure that I found out what was going on with their health
We did reschedule, and finally, his assistant did get back and put something on the calendar. Readers, we are talking to the amazing Nikki Rausch. She is a sales expert with an incredible book that she is about to talk to us about and in a more incredible free giveaway that she’s going to tell us towards the end of the show. Nikki, let’s change the topic a little bit because this is a big one and this is the killer when it comes to sales, let’s talk about mindset. Let me tell you why I said it’s the killer, when I was building the Tony Robbins Sales Organization. We had about almost 100 people selling. Before that, when run to the stage in the US, we had over 200 people selling. I had to deal with salespeople a lot. One of the familiar patterns I would see, particularly at the entry-level is that people would come into the organization. They would do well right away and then their sales would slump and it was difficult in many cases to get them to navigate through that slump. That’s at the entry-level. What are you finding out there and how would you take care of something like that?
A lot of times when people get stuck in their head or they’re in a slump, they get in this mode of where it starts to feel desperate. Which is a sales position, if that’s your job, it can be desperate because you are running the risk of losing your job. The thing that I often find is we’ve got to get them out of thinking about themselves and start more focused on the client experience, the person they’re in conversation with. Whoever they’re talking to when you can focus on them and make the conversation all about them and try to set aside the things about like, “I need this sale. Nobody wants to buy from me.” Any of those types of things and you go, “I’m going to give my full attention to this person and do everything I can to be of service to them.”
It takes the focus away from the thing that 100-pound weight that you’re dragging behind you or whatever it is. You start putting the relationship first, you start building rapport with the person, you make it easy then to move them through the sales process and then you get your sale. You start to see like, “Instead of focusing on me, I’m going to focus on the people I’m in conversation with. Give them my full attention, set aside all of my distractions, and make it super easy for that person to get what they say they want or need.”
The part that I’m still focused on is what’s going on inside of that person’s mind at the time like, “I’m not good enough. Everybody else has better than me. Do I have to make more money than that guy there because he’s better looking than me and has a nicer car than me?” That deadly mindset, how would you advise a sales manager to help one of their associates get through that and pass that?
I teach this too that there needs to be a process for what I call state management. This goes back to my Neuro-Linguistic Programming Training that you have to manage your internal state. I teach a process that I learned through NLP and it’s called the NLP Mandala. I teach it all the time to my clients because this idea of comparison and, “I’m not good enough,” we all have those struggles. As a matter of fact, I haven’t met anybody, even the most successful sales rep who’s bringing in $1 million a year, live in this crazy great life because they’re super successful, they also have insecurities.
They have that fear that, “Somebody’s going to figure out that I’m not as good as I think I am or are not as good as everybody is saying I am. They’re going to see me as a fraud.” I find that happens at every single level. I don’t know that it ever goes away, frankly. The higher you don’t go and the more you prosper in life, it’s a new challenge with maybe some new insecurities, but they still show up. I always teach, “We’ve got to manage your state before you go into the meeting.” When I learned this, I learned that there was a study done years ago, and I’m going to say that and not be able to quote the study. I apologize for those of you who are like, “How dare she quotes a study and not know the background of it?”
Where they interviewed top producing salespeople and people who are going into high stressful negotiations, they were looking for what’s the structure, like “How do you go into those conversations and maintain your calm, cool composure so that you can move through the process?” They found that what it was is some type of state management before you pick up the phone, before you go into that meeting before you write the email. I teach this process that I learned in NLP, called the NLP Mandala, where you say four things to yourself before you start. You don’t just say them. You have to realize that your brain is powerful, that you can imagine something and know what it feels like in your body. One example I often give is if I said to you, “Let me take this big, juicy lemon, I’m going to slice it and going to give you a chunk of it and I’m going to ask you to put it in your mouth and bite down and let that juice squeeze out into your mouth.”
Do you already start to feel it in your jaw? You’re already like, “Something’s tingling.” Our brains are powerful. We know what these experiences are. We know what things are going to feel like in our bodies. When I give the four statements, what I mean to say is, allow yourself to feel it in your body. What does it feel like when you say this and you mean it? The first statement that you say before you go into a meeting is, “I’m glad I’m here.” What is the feeling like when you legit are glad to be somewhere? The second statement is, “I’m glad you’re here.” Whoever the person is that you’re going to be in conversation with.We all struggle with this idea of comparison, even the most successful sales representative. Click To Tweet
What does it feel like when you show up and you are glad that the other person is there? The third statement is the power statement. This the one where you stand in your place of credibility and you say, “I know what I know.” You don’t have to know everything. None of us do. There’s always going to be a question that you might get asked. There’s always going to be a situation where something isn’t going to be okay or like, “I don’t know the answer to this. I’ve got to find this. They want this or that.” When you can stand in your place of credibility and embrace the, “I do know what I know.” You come from credibility. You come from a heightened state of like, “I’m okay. Anything that comes my way will be water off, a duck’s back. I’ll be okay. They’ll be okay. I’ll get the answer.”
The fourth statement is, “I care about you.” Most of us, when we’re on the receiving end, when we’re on the position of being the client or the person who’s going to spend money, especially in our current society, we want to do business with people who have some care for us as a person. We don’t want to be seen as a big dollar sign. When somebody shows up from a place of care, the conversation flows more smoothly. The four statements are, “I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad you’re here. I know what I know and I care about you.” I teach all of my clients and sales teams like, “Have some way to manage your internal state. Even when those doubts are creeping in, manage your internal state, before you go into the meeting and you are going to increase your chances of success.”
I want to share my process with you, which is a simplified version of that. This is something we dealt with regularly. What happens is I would sit down with this person who was in a slump and I would ask this person the first question, which is, “What do you care most about in this life?” What I would hear almost inevitably is, “My family and children.” There are other human beings that they care that much about. At that point, I listen and say, “Got it, thanks.” The next question I ask is, “Do you believe that what we are selling is without a doubt, the absolute best possible solution for the client or no?” They almost always tell us in that moment what the problem is. “It’s pretty good.” I know that there are competitors in the market. At this point, I’m thinking, how quickly can I fire this person?
Here’s what it comes down to because if they then say, “This is the best product that anybody can buy and I know that it will change the lives of the people we sell it to.” I asked another question, “Do you truly believe that you have a moral obligation to put this product into those people’s hands so it will change their life because they care about the same things you do? If you can find a way by using this product to make their family better, to give them more time with the people they care about, wouldn’t you say that you have that moral obligation to do that?” That, for the most part, would turn somebody around, unless there was a structural issue, with the script or some other functional issue, most of the time people would pop right back up out of the swamp, until it happened again and then we would go through a similar process. Those two questions for me always seemed to help and help quickly.
I love that process. That is super powerful and would help get those people back on track. It’s focusing on like, “Are you making a difference in the world?” I truly believe that salespeople show up with a servant’s heart. We want to make a change for people. We want to make the world better. We want to deliver things that are going to make a difference to the people we sell them to.
The other thing is that we know, as we talked about before the show started, salespeople are generally pretty easy to manage because we know that if we can simply make sure that they’re paid well and give them extra money when they do even better, that they’ll stay for a while. You’re right, they have a service heart, and they can make money anywhere. Good salespeople can go anywhere and sell anything. That it’s having that A, that service heart B, that care about people and C, to fully believe to the bottom of their soul that what they are selling will truly change the lives of the people that are selling it to. That to me is the best hype of a salesperson to have on your team. Would you agree?
I agree with that. The only other thing I would add because I did manage a sales team and at one point, I had 25 sales reps. I found that they were typically driven by money and/or recognition because salespeople also love to be recognized for their contribution. To drive a sales team, one of the things I often recommend is you have to put out to the team where they are in relation to everybody else because it’s a piece of recognition to be like, “I’m ahead of five people. I’m at the top.” You have to put that in of them and give them opportunities to be recognized for their contribution.
That goes back to the formula for how to screen and if necessary, create a sales superstar, which is to make sure that the person who’s on the phone or in the selling environment has the perfect balance of ego, strength, and empathy. If you bring someone onboard who has too much ego strength, then they’re going to want to close constantly. They’re going to want to close on the way to the bathroom and when they go anywhere because that’s their ego strength talking. That’s also their vanity talking too. They have to believe they’re the best. There’s that incredible individual who has an enormous amount of empathy and they want to understand and assist the customer. That’s great too, but they never get the close what we’re looking for is that balance of ego, strength, and empathy. When you find the proper balance for the proper sales environments, that’s when you have the beginnings of a great sales superstar.
Who is doing one call closes in fifteen minutes has to have less empathy, more ego strain? We had people on our teams that were doing consultative selling that in some cases, could take months. They needed to have more empathy than ego strength but still needed enough ego strength to be able to step up and close when they needed to. It is something that is a carefully balanced formula that must be in place for every type of person that you’d hire. Nikki, we are reaching the part of the show where we get to know you a little bit better. It starts with a question. I want you to think for a moment and give us your best answer. Who in all of space and time would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch, or an intense conversation with?
Given the world and the state of our world, my answer is President Barack Obama. I would love to have an in-depth conversation with him about his take on all that’s going on in the world. Also, to be in his presence with his ability to lead and show up with heart.
What would he say if you asked him the question that that’s on your mind? What would you ask him? What would that question be? What would be his answer to that question?
The question that I would want to ask is, what does he see each individual person’s role in making a change? I don’t know what his answer would be, but I would love to know his answer to that question. “What part do we each play? What level of responsibility do we each have? What should we do to ensure that we are contributing to a positive society and change and all the things that are going on in our world?”The more you prosper in life, the more challenges and some new insecurities will show up. Click To Tweet
I’m going to channel Barack Obama for a moment. If I were him and I was going to be answering this question, I would have one-word answer and it would be a quote from a famous philosopher, Aretha Franklin and it’s, “Respect.” That would be my channeling of President Barack Obama but could be wrong. I’ll work on getting that set up for you. I’d be a fly on the wall and go with you on that. We get to the grand finale, be change the world question. What is it that you’re doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to change the world literally?
The thing that I most want to be known for and I’m not there yet, is creating a legacy of using what I’ve been able to build in my business and teaching young preteen girls how to speak up for themselves and how to speak from a place of clarity and be better communicators because I feel like women can change the world and it has to start at that young age of building the ability to communicate effectively.
The rest of the world supporting you in your mission. It’s a great mission. We’d love to help you. Nikki’s book is called The Selling Staircase. If you go to www.YourFirstThousandClients.com and go to Nikki Rausch’s show page, you’ll see a link to buy that book directly on that site. Nikki, you also have something free for us. It sounds like a great gift. Can you tell us what it is?
It’s an eBook and it’s called Closing the Sale. It focuses on the last couple of steps of The Selling Staircase of moving somebody from discovery to proposal, to close and building some confidence. It does have some language suggestions, also known as scripts in there for you to move people through that process. I’d love to give that to your readers and I have a special link for them. You can this by going to YourSalesMaven.com/1000.
Readers, you know what to do. Go there and get this free gift. Buy that book, get better at sales, make more money, have a happy life. We solved all your problems. Nikki, thank you for a terrific show and for helping our readers get better at the most fundamental thing in life, and that’s selling.
Thank you for having me.
- Profits Stacking Secrets
- Nikki Rausch
- The Selling Staircase
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming Training
- Closing the Sale
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