Do this immediately when sales drop

Remember the last time someone asked you to do a "favor"?

He or she said something like,

     … it’s a "cake walk",

     … it’ll be “fun”,

      …“we’ll make a few bucks” or

     … it will be “easy.”

Easy??

Nothing is easy.

In my case, here's what I was told:

Two days, Double Sales. Fly home. Mission accomplished. In and out.

But now I was in the middle of North Dakota, "doing the favor" and I was frozen, injured and scared.


This is Episode 2 of How to Double Sales in Devil's Lake.

You can read Episode 1 here.


     The client's name was Michael, he owned $500 million chain of auto dealers including a Ferrari franchise. Here’s the thing though (and why this job was supposed to be a cake-walk), all I had to do was help sell Ferrari parts — and you don’t actually have to sell Ferrari parts, they sell themselves.

Something was wrong at Michael's sales center – and he figured I could fix it in two days, have fun and make a lot of money doing this "easy" job.

Yeah right.

After a rough morning in Devils Lake, I walked into a large warehouse full of unsold Ferrari parts to meet the sales and shipping team, here’s what happened next, as best I can recall.

I'm an investor and dealmaker. I can help you do three things:

First, grow your revenues and sell more product. Second, prepare a pitch to win a large contract or deal. Three, sell your company or raise working capital.

Click Here to Work with Oren

I stepped into the company office, ready to teach them my two key techniques to improve sales (I'll tell you those in a moment.)

But, first thing I notice is that it’s freezing cold, yet nobody is wearing a coat. “What’s the temperature in here?” I asked.

“Fifty five,” said Big Danny’s assistant, Little Danny.

He continued, "Hey, if you want something warm, I can make you a cup of coffee in the microwave."

Microwave coffee? I'm going to kill somebody.

The team had assembled to hear me speak, so I stepped into the freezing warehouse onto a makeshift stage, just a piece of plywood on four paint buckets. The howling wind was banging against the corrugated tin walls.

I'm the weirdo from California

I can tell by their faces that I don’t look like anything that the Danny’s or Daisy or Gus has ever seen before, at least not live and in person. Despite Big Danny’s best efforts to dress me as a local with boots and my puffy coat and my ridiculous hat, I look like the man who fell to earth. I feel like the Coke bottle in The God’s Must Be Crazy. Everybody in the tribe is just standing there wondering what does this thing do?

“Hi everybody. Thanks for venturing out into the cold to be here this morning.“ I say nicely. I’m not good at nice, but I’m giving it a try.


I laid it all out for them, “Despite our best intentions, our sales numbers have tanked into negative territory, producing frustration and resentment at the home office. That’s why I’m here today, to help.”


It was a simple template:

"Oren, just fly to North Dakota, train my sales staff to sell parts that are rare and exclusive and in demand. Then fly out of that popsicle and back to Los Angeles."

HA HA.

Obviously, things weren’t turning out quite as planned. I came here from Hollywood, the land of nuance, subtlety humor and metaphor. None of those things worked here. And clearly, I was starting to worry that I was not the right man for this job, and I definitely didn’t own the right outerwear.

But first … are you crazy or stupid?

When Big Danny had picked me off the icy parking lot that morning he said,

“Are you sure you don’t want to stop off at the Walmart, Oren? It’ll only take a minute, I mean, no offense, but dressing like that up here, they’re going to think you’re crazy or stupid or both.”

I have never been to a Walmart.

Through chattering teeth I answered, “YES PLEASE WALMART.”

Big Danny pulls a quick left into the parking lot. In the Walmart, I grab some insulated boots, a very puffy coat, a pair of work gloves, and a hat that Big Danny picks out and tells me I have to buy even though it looks ridiculous on me.

“I bought that same hat for my husband last year,” says Dawn our cashier cheerfully. Danny smiles at me and points at Dawn, nodding his head.

Thanks to Dawn, it dawns on me that I might have a big culture clash problem with the sales team I’m about to meet.

I had two things to tell the staff that would fix everything.

“Come on buddy get the lead out, we’re late,” says Big Danny reaching across and opening the truck door for me from his side.“

“Well whose fault is that?” I was starting to get annoyed, which is what generally happens when I’m dressed like a fat Russian Eskimo for a serious business meeting when I have a big payday on the line.

“That’s all right Oren, you’ll get along just fine up here. Just remember to keep your ears covered and your pecker up. Come on, everyone is waiting to hear what you got to say. We put up a mic for you and everything.”

Back in the warehouse:

“So here’s the situation everybody, we're selling about $75,000 a week, not nearly enough."

Today, I’m going to teach you how to double your sales using two basic steps.

STEP ONE:

First, stop selling.

You’ve got to find ways to relate and build coherence to your customers. Show them you understand them. It’s called CONTEXT, and it’s not talking about the weather, or sports.

Context, not rapport. So don't ask how the weather is. Don't ask if they are a Chargers fan. Context does not mean asking a bunch of boring questions. Context isn’t found in a catalog and you can’t look it up online. It’s deep inside you.

For example, say a guy tells you that he’s got a 1969 Ferrari California Daytona that he loves driving back and forth from his place in MALIBU but the only thing is he wishes it had a louder exhaust note. So instead of telling him he needs a new Akrapovic stainless steel catback system and bigger ignition jets, and instead of reading him prices out of the catalogue for that part, try telling him that you know just what he means, you had the same experience driving your ’71 Lotus Grand Prix to your summer home in Satan’s Meadow or whatever it is you have around here in Devil's Lake.

I asked, "So, are there any questions on step 1?“ Little Danny raises his hand.

            “What’s a Lotus,” he asks me.

Arrrgh!

            “Danny it’s an Italian sports car that we sell parts for. That’s what we DO HERE. But listen, the point is, make a connection, share the THRILL. Show him you’re a peer, don’t tell him. Show it through a personal story, something that happened to you. Every person in this room has incredible stories or you wouldn’t be here in a Ferrari warehouse. Stories, not facts. That is what we are selling ladies and gentlemen. Not auto parts. THRILLS.

Which leads me to step 2.

STEP TWO:

Make the customer fight for it.

Look, nobody needs this stuff. When you go to the stores around here, when you go to the Walmart, you are buying stuff that you need: a snowplow, a generator, a block heater, a jumper cable. But our products are different. These products serve an emotional purpose. It’s about desire not necessity. It’s about the opportunity to spend some money needlessly on a desire. So your job is to increase that desire, and how do you do that? By making these things harder to buy.

You guys are making the sale too easy for the buyer and it’s killing your deals. Neediness! Discounts! Stop doing all that stuff. Make the customer fight for it, make these products hard to attain, while simultaneously feeding the customer’s desire for them.“

            Daisy’s hand goes up. When I call on her, she takes the gum out of her mouth and sticks it on the back of her hand for later.

            “So what you’re saying is that we need to try and not sell people things so that they’ll try harder to spend their money on things that they don’t need.”

“That’s right!” I said, delighted that I’d reached at least one member of the team.

“I don’t get it,” said Dawn.

Let's pause this story for a moment. I'll tell you a little something about myself.

I’m a detailed and technical person. I work in corporate finance, buying and selling companies (will you sell me yours?)

I have recently sold cryptocurrencies and brain aneurysm coils. I’ve launched a genetic data company and I can explain in great detail how to inject your knee with an ortho-guided Synovial Fluid Replacement Therapy and I can chart for you the subdomains on the dark web where encrypted stolen data is stored.

So seriously, how hard can it be to sell gosh darned Ferrari parts??

There in the cold, standing on paint buckets, wearing an Eskimo suit – I came to realize, I am so out of my element, I cannot function normally.

So what do you do when you are the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong clothes for the job?

Tune in next week and find out.

A challenge before next week:

I know you're working on an interesting deal, and very likely it's a big one. Possibly you want to sell your company or raise money. You definitely want to grow sales. So, what is one way we could make money with each other? Once you have it in mind, let's talk.

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