Building The Foundation Of A Great Selling System With Joe Pici
Entrepreneurs aim to increase their sales and grow their businesses. But what are the strategies they need to execute? In this episode, Joe Pici shares his experience in the industry of sales training in helping businesses grow by having a great selling system. Joe is the founder of PICI & PICI which offers different training, bootcamps, courses and even private coaching for people to be the top sales performers they have always wanted to be. Stay tuned to gain valuable insights in boosting the sales in your business.
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Building The Foundation Of A Great Selling System With Joe Pici
In this episode, I have something special for all my coaches in the audience. As a coach myself, I realized I have been spending about 30-minutes per session on an admin because they had five applications open all at the same time on two huge monitors. One for the calendar, spreadsheet, browser, Zoom, past session history, email, and all these different things going on in the middle of a session, so here I am trying to frantically take notes while talking to a client and making sure I have their homework.
At the end of the session, I have to take all that stuff and consolidate it into a single email, which I promptly lost by the time I get to the next session, so I then have to go searching for my emails to find it. I got sick and tired of that and decided to find some coaching software that would help me. I searched and there is lots of coaching software out there but what I discovered was that very little of it was easy to use, was easy to learn, and inexpensive. I did what I think all great entrepreneurs should do when they find a problem that needs to be solved, and I solved it. I set up a team and we wrote the software. I use this software every single day, and I love it.
It makes me super productive. It cuts my admin time from 30 minutes to 5 minutes. The results that my clients get have skyrocketed because of goal tracking and accountability. Now, that has always been part of my system but no one has ever built it into a simple system that helps you admin your client sessions. Now, I have and you can use it too. All you got to do is go to ClientFol.io, and for only $1, you can give it a run and see if you like it.
Now, on to my guest and his incredible story. Readers, what happens when a football coach for several years decides it is time to take control of his financial future? He does what I think all of us should do. He changed professions. In this case, my guest decided that the fastest and best way to transition to something more lucrative was selling. One opportune afternoon, he found himself sitting in an Amway sales presentation and a light bulb moment arrived. He said, “I can do this.” Together, he and his wife joined Amway, all excited about this great new opportunity, only to fall flat on his face.
In fact, it was so bad that on one particularly frustrating day, he made 56 phone calls and was turned down every single time. He smashed the receiver and he asked himself one question that set him free. That question is, “Was I willing to do whatever it takes to improve my sales skills and stick with it long enough to succeed?” It is a very important question, but his mind and soul screamed yes.
They went on together to build a very successful business, but along the way, he discovered the key to what holds most people back in sales. It is the key to understanding the exact steps to take to make the sale and how to help others at the very same time. He is here now to level up all of our selling skills. Welcome, Joe Pici, to the show.
Thanks for having me, Mitch. I appreciate it.
What it comes down to, Joe, is I appreciate sharing your wisdom. The audience knows this because I have said it before. I now have over 300 episodes. I have spent 300 glorious hours with geniuses like you and it is like going for a PhD in business and education. While I get to selfishly take advantage of all your great wisdom, I love to share it with the 15,000 to 20,000 people reading this show every month. I am as glad as you are here that you are glad to be here, which is great. Joe, tell us how this all started for you.
It was simple. I was a football coach and got fired. I went from college football coaching to a little town in Southwest Florida. Dawn and I carried with us about $350,000 in medical debt. I was raised by an old Italian guy that said, “You pay your bills.” I did not know about bankruptcy and all that stuff. In fact, I could not even spell business. There, we were losing everything. We had a foreclosure. I did not even show up to an Amway meeting. Some woman that was a friend of my wife left the product under her chair. We had been buying Amway vitamins in Virginia and I asked my wife this question, “Do you think there is a business with this thing?”
I called this woman at 11:00 at night because that is the way I am. I said, “Ruth, are you in Amway?” Now, nobody calls you for that. She goes, “Yes.” I said, “Can you show it to us?” It took them six weeks to get to us. That should tell you why some people do not make it in anything. They sat down at our kitchen table. I looked at this thing and I did not want to do it, but that was irrelevant. We got into that business and there was not a lot of skill-based training, so we floundered.At the end of the day, the only thing that makes you money is sales. Click To Tweet
I was working 100 hours a week. I then would change, shower, go out until all hours of the night, and try to get somebody to look at this thing, which began to help me understand. We got to that golden Knight that I made 56 calls. Fifty-six noes that did not want to see the business. After I smashed the phone, I said, “There are two problems. I do not know what to say and I am calling the wrong people.”
At that time, that was the beginning of where we are. We learned that scripting, messaging, lead generation, and tactical skills were a real key to selling. We built a six-figure income and traveled the world in 2002 with that income. We walked away from the business and realized that we had created a methodology where 80% of our training is skill-based where we could help any small, medium, and large entrepreneur company generate quality leads, book more appointments, increase closing ratios, and master sales because, at the end of the day, the only thing that makes you money is sales.
I have a background in sales as well but my story is interesting. I was educated as an electrical engineer. My background is in engineering, systems, and circuitry. That was where I came from. As an engineer, I used to travel with a sales guy. The sales guy was generally a nice person, not very well educated, usually drank way too much than most people, and yet he was making 5 or 6 times what I was making.
I, basically, at one point, went to his boss and I said to him, “I love what you guys are doing. I think I can be a great salesperson and I would like to work for you.” The words that changed my life happened. He looked at me with that smugness, that thick and disgusting smile on his drunken face. He said to me, “Mitch, you are good at being an engineer but great salespeople are born and you are not one of them.” I had three words go through my mind, Joe. I am not going to ask you to guess because this is a family show.
Those three words were, “I’ll show you.” What I did is I enrolled in the Dale Carnegie Sales Training system. I had to pay for that out of my pocket because nobody would sponsor me. I sat next to people who were sent by their company, were screwing around, coming in late, and did not do the assignments. Writing a check back then for $1,500 in the 1970s was a lot of money for me, and I mastered it. I then transitioned into semiconductor sales and I became his competitor, which I love.
It happens to entrepreneurs all the time.
There is a part that you did not cover, and I am hoping that you will. This is an important part because I know you get this. In fact, you illustrated it with your story, which is mindset. Mindset is so important because if you do not believe in either yourself or what you are selling, you can’t be successful. Talk a little bit about that.
We have an inverted method of creating a mindset. There are the mega giants of the speaking, coaching, and consulting world that tend to go top-down with belief. I respect them. I have paid to watch them. I looked at life a little bit differently that says, “The number one reason why people do not sell is they do not believe but the number one reason they do not believe is because they have never generated success. Therefore, everything is false.” The way we create a mindset is that when we train people, we will not take a coaching or training contract unless we are going to do real-time, live outbound telephone call training on the spot.
If they are in the room with me, we are making real calls, they book real appointments, and the belief window opens up. When that belief window opens up, the mindset shifts, and it says, “I can do it because I have done it. Now I am allowed to believe.” They are willing to work harder and fight through obstacles because they have tasted success. That is how we develop mindset.
As you said, from the bottom up instead of from the top down. What you are basically saying is, “Let me show you the skills required. Let’s practice them together. I will sit right next to you until you get good at it or until you succeed. Even if it is once or twice, you will now know. You can do it and then from there, we will build on that.” That is what I heard.
You heard it right. When we opened up this business, we went right after that market because we realized so many of the sales trainers and coaches are excellent but they start at the top. A lot of their things are more motivational or strategic where we roll up the sleeves and go right into tactics. Tactics allow us to move into strategies and mindset.
That is the right approach. Frankly, that is what so many people need. Other than picking up the phone and making some calls, you and I, what I would like to do at this point is I would like for you to share with us some of the things that you have learned and observed that would help me be a better closer or a better salesperson. I work as a coach and as a software company developer. I work with clients all the time, but I always need more like my audience. We all need more clients. How do we get them? What do we do first? What are the steps?
Let’s start with the foundation. I am going to build out a model for your audience. Let’s run this like a masterclass that you should be taking notes on. Everything starts with having clarity, which is every day, every week, every month, or every year. You should know, “How much money do I want to generate by what date and why?” That is very foundational because the rest of everything you do, I call non-negotiable. Most salespeople negotiate with the non-negotiables. “I do not feel like doing that. I do not have enough time to do that.”
If you have clarity, you know the dollar amount you want to hit, when the benchmarks are, the timeframe, and you know why, why are you doing this? Now, we have a foundation. The second two things that every entrepreneur and salesperson has to bring to the table are self-discipline and ambition. Those are paramount. Self-discipline allows you to say no to your low revenue-producing actions and yes to your highly producing actions.
Discipline teaches you priority and time management. Ambition is something you have to bring to the table. I can teach a dog to sell if they want to sell. The challenge is, so many times, people hire people with charisma and talent based on their being outgoing but they do not have that inner drive. They have a hard time getting up in the morning. Now, we have our foundation. For the next step, I would recommend each and every sales professional and business owner lock into a behavioral type of methodology, whether it is DISC, animals, colors, or Myers-Briggs, and not only learn it once or go to one course. It has to be an ongoing thing.
We are master trainers of DISC. We chose DISC only because it is viable. To be honest with you, I do not even like assessments because people take an assessment for the rest of their life. There is something else. We want to teach people. I recommend you enter into learning communication styles for this reason. Eighty percent of communication is listening. Another thing is every behavior style buys for a different reason at a different time. Therefore, if you are not adjusting your sales approach to their behavior, you are missing the mark. Now, I am going to give you the four keys.
Before you do, I have a question. I want to go back to the foundation. You said I have to have ambition. What happens if I do not have ambition but I have a dire need?
It is the same thing.
In other words, you do not care where it comes from because this is important.
You are either running from the bear or running to the dream. Something has to be in that box that stirs you. For example, when we first got started, we were trying to save our home. I did not want to get into sales. I want to save my home. We are running to dreams but either way, it is the same. Did I answer your question?Most salespeople negotiate with the non-negotiables. Click To Tweet
You did. That was perfect because I was like, “I do not know how many times I thought maybe I do not have enough ambition, but I have always had the need. I have always decided I had to do it.” Now, the four steps. Tell us what those are.
Do you remember what happened in 2008 when everything imploded? My wife and I are sitting at this big speaker conference and some of the giants of the industry were there. They were walking in the halls and everybody had their head down. Their businesses were not doing well. They started partnering up with other people to cross-sell into each other’s databases.
Many people went out of business. That year, we tripled our business. We were sitting at the table and I said to my wife, “Let’s go home.” She said, “We spent a lot of money to be here.” I said, “I am not here to listen to people whine. I am not built that way. I am not so-and-so but we tripled. Let’s go home and find out what we did.”
We did four things and here is what I want your audience to buy into. The four things we did was, every single day, we generate leads. We have twenty ways to generate leads. Our number one lead source is LinkedIn. You will never see me sending out these long-convoluted notes. When COVID hit, I narrowed it down to three and we grew 38%.
Lead generation is a major factor in business because that is what fills your funnel. The second thing I do is make live outbound telephone calls every day. I got back from speaking at a two-day convention. I did a full sales track and I said, “I train salespeople that sold into medical.” I spoke to the doctors and clinicians about messaging their patients, but while everybody was having lunch, I was making my calls.
Everybody says the phone is dead. I can get more people on the phone now than ever because most people do not use it. It is mastering that skill. I am going to tell you the number two way we generate the most leads is with an outbound cold call. I am going to do a little mind shift for you here. I am going to have a paradigm shift. The reason why people do not like making outbound calls is they think, “I need to set an appointment. I need to sell.” No, you need to read a script that qualifies. Is that person a good prospect? The day that hit my head, the game was over.
You have to get into time blocking and phone calls. It is not something you do if nothing else comes up. It is every day. The third part of that top bar is what I call core stories or what you would call a sales meeting. I will tell you that our core story is that 85% of the client speak. I have a five-step process. The first two steps are discovery. You circle that one and this is a direct meeting. There are two meetings. You have the indirect meeting, which is, “Let’s grab a cup of coffee. See if we do some cross-referrals.” That is not a sales meeting. It is not a core story.
A core story is when you have given a value proposition that they say yes to. They know why you are coming and you know why you are there. This is your initial sales meeting. Here is where I want you to circle it. That is the most predictable, quantifiable, and important piece of business you have to monitor growth and change the complexion of your business.
This is quite interesting because you started out and you said it upfront. You told us this is a very straightforward and simple process but I am getting a little bit of the chills here thinking how brilliant this is. You have taken it down to what I would call the fundamental tools that must be in place before you can be esoteric at any level. For everybody who is reading, I want to re-introduce Joe. My guest is the amazing Joe Pici of Pici and Pici.
He has perfected the selling process. If you have gotten this far in this interview, you already know who you are dealing with. Joe, I got to tell you one quick story because it is so relevant to what we were talking about here. As you know, I ran BBI, which is Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins organization. I want to reinforce some of the things you said. We modified the script every single week and here is how we would do it.
We would have a sales meeting once a week and we would basically collect all of the phone calls. We had a system that recorded every single call our salespeople made. We had a person who had listened to the calls and find the best call and the worst call. This is important. When we told the person that we were going to feature their call because it was the worst call, they got excited. Do you know why? It is because they knew that we were going to tune them up on this call and that everybody was going to learn from this tune-up experience.
Without a doubt, after every tune-up, their sales increased by 20% to 30% the following week. In this process of constantly refining, someone would make a suggestion, “We say these words in the script that is on page seven.” The script is seventeen minutes long. If you are a brilliant individual and highly creative, you will fail to work for us. We need people who are not going to be creative, simply going to follow the script and smart enough to memorize the key elements of it.
Not word for word but the key elements of it, and then know how to reference all of the objections in the answers. That was our sales training because we realized that if they could not read the script, there is no point. They can’t get on the phone and work with us. We had people who were, as I said, creative, smart, and made a couple of sales but the bottom line is they would not do what we told them and we could not let them stay.
Let me get to the fourth piece of the top box. I call it a priority and time management. Time management is you can’t manage time because sales professionals and business owners have so many things to do. Managing your priorities top-down is so important. The first thing on my priority management list every day is my phone calls because that takes top priority. Let’s go back to scripting. It is my favorite thing. I was sitting with a CEO and he goes, “Joe, my people do not like scripts.” I said, “The best actors in the world are Italian, Pacino and Brando. They are all scripted. The difference is they own the script.”
Scripting creates momentum. It takes out the emotion. In our three-day sales bootcamp, we allow 24 people from all over the country. We have them twice a year. We sell out all the time and we get all different levels of salespeople, from the solopreneur to the director of sales to the CEO. It does not matter. On day three, we are making live outbound calls. They all have their script. They have a script for the direct first meeting, a qualifying script, and a script if they get a message and navigate the gatekeeper.
We have never done less than 70% conversion to appointment. We get through 92% of the gatekeepers and that same day, we will get 50 or 60 returned phone calls. Why? It is predictable. What I gave you, that model is called our sales mastery model. Our sales mastery program has been ranked the number one sales training program in the world by Global Gurus and it is for one reason. It works.
People leave that part out. I brought up the idea of mindset because it has played such an important role but what I love most about your process is that, in a sense, you do not need the mindset. You only need to drive. If you are willing to invest the time, do the work, and learn it like you did when you made those 56 phone calls, you were driven to do it.
You smashed the phone, which is a human reaction and completely natural, but that did not stop you. That probably allowed you to blow up a little steam and keep going. The whole idea here is although mindset is very valuable and very important and a shift in mindset can rekindle that ambition, the process is driving the results, and I love that.
Sales to me are less charisma and talent and more process, messaging, and skills.
This is not me bragging but this is why I became a top in my field because of my engineering mindset in the sense that I knew if I went to Dale Carnegie and they had this magic formula, basically the way I learned it. I knew if I stuck to the formula, it would work because they have been around for a billion years. That is what I did and I ended up doing well in selling at a very early age. I was only 28 years old and I had never sold before. It took months for me to earn my first commission check. You could tell that I was pretty persistent. I was driven about my first commission check at that age was $36,000.You can get more people on the phone today than ever, because most people don't use it. Click To Tweet
That was monthly basically for 27-year-olds. I did not even know what to do with the money. I kept going from bank to bank filling up a $100,000 account and throwing the passbook in my sock drawer. I did not even know how many passbooks I had. I was having so much fun. Once I realized, as you call it, the formula, I kept going and going. It is part of my way, I think. Now that you have taught people the core foundational work of how to get past the gatekeeper, get on the phone, create that core story environment, and tell your story, let’s talk about closing and asking for the order. What happens there? Why do many people have the whole thing fall apart right in that spot?
I think it is because they did not set it upright. I am going to give you my five steps for the sales meeting and this is why the business close. I start it out with what I call a discovery. I am finding out what it is they are most concerned about and what they want to accomplish, and then I established the first timeline. That can be a lie. It can be the truth but we get that on the pick. The second step is when I clarify. I reiterate back to the client exactly what they said, which earns trust. It diffuses defensiveness and you are still talking.
The third piece is where we bring our uniqueness to the table. Everybody has competitors. How do you outsell the competitor without putting them down? This is where you drive a gap. I will pick 4 or 5 things based on what they have said that I know we are the best in business at. As an example, if I was selling sales training to you, I say, “Mitch, there is a lot of great sales training and phenomenal people out there, but one of the things that make us unique is we do live outbound telephone call training. No role play but real play in real-time booking real appointments.”
About 95% of sales training companies in the country, although they are great, never do that. Without putting any, I have built a uniqueness. You have to know your uniqueness. The next step is what we are offering, our product or service. The fifth one is the call to action. Is this more of a transactional piece or something that you need a proposal? In our process, my next step is, “Would you like a formal proposal,” not, “I am going to send you a proposal.” If they say yes to that, my closing ratio goes into the 90 percentile.
If I was selling a sales bootcamp, I would say to Mitch, “Mitch, we have twelve seats left. Very limited. Would you like to reserve your seat,” and stop talking. Ninety-two percent of the salespeople do not have a call to action. Whether you want to close there or you want to move to a proposal or SOW, you have to have a call to action. Did I answer your question there?
You did. The other thing I keep noticing and I am sure everyone reading has noticed that too, is you are not only making stuff up. Your numbers are precise. This comes from years, probably decades of experience and measurements of this process. What does measurement do? Measurement leads you to improve because whatever you can measure, you can improve but whatever you do not measure never changes.
I love the fact that you are getting down to the numbers on all of this stuff. Yes, you answered my question, then you bring up one very important point as well. You said a lot of people tend to fold on the close. One of the things that I learned in my Dale Carnegie sales training is that someone hesitates or someone says, “I am not sure. I have to run this by my partner.” My next action in my own selling process is to say, “What questions did I not answer? Is there anything else that we can talk about that will help you with this? Clearly, I have not answered the questions that you have.” What are those questions?
That is strong, and back to measurement, you and I think alike. My office does not have any pictures of me with famous people. There are no pictures of me with Tony or Zig. It is all whiteboards. I will take you on a tour of my whiteboards. I recommend if you are going to sell or be in business, you get a place where you can put up whiteboards. I am very interested in looking at that program you have, that software. I love that stuff but I am visual. My grandkids got a sign for me. I keep my call sheet on the legal pad. Do I use a CRM? Yes, but not until after hours.
The next one is for storage. After I sat down with you, I did my initial sales meeting. Your name goes on that board. Does it go to a proposal? I have a proposal board. For our business, you got to know your business. Ninety-nine percent of our business is run after a proposal because we are not selling a widget. What we are selling is very consultative and it is not a $100 deal. Nothing goes on Joe Pici’s calendar that I do not get 50% non-refundable, and the day I show up, I get the balance. I do not owe people money. I am not chasing it.
The minute I get the deposit, I circle it. That is a living thing. I measure. From January 1st, 2022 until the beginning of April 2022, I have 104 proposals out. That can be a lot or little. Remember, I do not only sell. I also deliver and do training. We have close up to this point 41 contracts. You are saying, “Your closing ratio is maybe 1/3.” No, the rest of them are still in play. By doing this process, you have the heartbeat of your business in front of you. That is how we track.
That makes a lot of sense. The most important thing is when you walk into that room, you can’t get away from the numbers. A CRM system or software is great but you have to sit down and choose to open it up and use it or look at it. If you are in a bad mood and you say, “This has been a crappy month. I have not sold much.” You probably won’t want to open up your CRM but you can’t avoid looking at your damn walls.
I think that is a motivator and I also love the immediacy of seeing everything in one place at one time. Joe, I feel that we could talk for hours about this process because not only are you the expert, and I am fascinated by the development work that you have done, more importantly, I am benefiting so much from hearing your words and your wisdom, but it is time to move on.
I have a question and these questions have been so helpful in understanding the people that we interview on this show. They are like an X-ray into their personality at some level. I am going to ask you the first one and the audience knows that I always ask the same questions and the answers are always unique, which is great. Joe, 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?
Are they alive or dead?
In all of space and time, they can even be imaginary. I had one guy say, Captain Kirk.
He has been named before but tell me why.
His behavior style was different than what he did. He has an interactive behavior style. People do not know this but he was very people-oriented. His desire was to become famous, yet he relied on the direct focus to save the modern world. I would like to get into that head.
Again, other people have brought him up before but not for the same reason. How did you understand or learn more about what you would call his style or his purpose?
When we got certified or licensed in the human behavior model, DISC and I looked at all the behavior stuff. They went about one inch deep. I took an assessment. It was a parlor game. When we started to look at what were the fears behind the needs and the needs behind the behaviors, I then realized that I have to take responsibility for a successful interaction. I am willing to adapt. Once I learned that and we could translate that into training that people could learn it, the key to getting where we are is we do this stuff every day. We do not train, coach, or speak on anything we do not live. That is how we got a better understanding by executing.You have to monitor growth to change the complexion of your business. Click To Tweet
Joe, this is the last question. It is the grand finale, the change the world question. What is it that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?
What I am doing that I believe can change the world is I get to do what I am called to do, and people see the passion and the drive that I have. The way that I can change the world is to train and teach people to go after that thing that they want and not to settle for the second. If you are called to do X, go get it.
I think that is a brilliant way of saying it. One of the things I wanted to mention that I originally mentioned when we started the show is that the salesperson has to believe in the product. I am a very big believer in that, and I will tell you why. We had salespeople that were working for us at BBI. We were selling the Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes program in a box. There were people who could not sell it.
What we got down to understanding is the reason they could not sell this was because they did not think it worked. Once we showed them the results and the testimonials, we created a moral obligation for them, “If you do not sell this product to that person in that company, you are cheating your family out of decades of wealth. Are you willing to do that?”
That became a game-changer for us. That was part of the mindset pathway that we took with people. We needed to make sure they understood the immense value of what we are offering. Now, speaking of what you are offering, you very generously offered to provide something incredible for free to our audience. What is that?
It is a masterclass. It is a 45-minute class. Let me tell you how to get it. Take out your phone and go to the text message and put the word SALESEDGE in. It has got to be one word. Text it to 55678. That is going to take you to a Pici and Pici link. Hit the link. It is going to take to a sales page. You will see my wife and me and the Nine Essentials of Sales Success. Download it. There is no charge. That is going to give you a mega course on key elements of selling. I will also offer this to anybody who wants to have a complimentary cup with Joe. My number is (407) 947-590. Also, I am on LinkedIn. If I can help you in any way, I am available.
Once again, I need to ask. Is it “SALESEDGE ONE WORD” or only the word SALESEDGE?
It is SALESEDGE but some of the iPhones, for some reason, split the word in half. It has to be one word.
Joe, you have been amazing. Thank you so much for being with me. All I could say is I cannot wait until we get a chance to talk again.
Thank you so much.
About Joe Pici
Ranked by Global Guru’s in the TOP 30 SALES TRAINERS, Joe Pici is a strategist for top sales professionals and a coach specializing in results driven sales training through Rapport Mastery™. Since 1992 he has functioned as a catalyst for sales teams and individuals, helping them sharpen their skills for creating appointments and closing sales through his live phone call workshops. Rapport Mastery™ sales training, a methodology exclusive to Pici & Pici Inc., is an extremely strong skill builder which is straightforward and easy to apply.
COO and co-founder of Pici & Pici Inc., Joe is also co-author and intellectual resource behind the books Sell Naked on the Phone and Sell Naked in Person. Joe has expanded his knowledge and coaching expertise into a comprehensive, turnkey system for success in sales. The Rapport Mastery™ for Sales is relentlessly on-target, packed with the culmination of his years of experience in:
Reaching decision makers and booking appointments
Closing more sales
Securing repeat business and customer loyalty
Creating focus and direction for on-going growth