Jeff Steinmann: Hello, and welcome to the How to Quit Working show. Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most important topics—if not the most important topic in entrepreneurship—and that is selling. Jason Kanigan started out in the corporate world. He was selling some really big expensive power equipment—I don’t even understand what it’s all about—to some big construction companies. He had a decent amount of success in that, but he just couldn’t figure out why did he get some sales but not others? So he’d set out to figure it out and he did a heck of a job of figuring it out.
Not only is he going to tell us today how he turned that in to an awesome business for himself, he is also going to tell us some of his biggest secrets and some of the most important things that you need to know about selling, which is the core skill for any entrepreneur to acquire. It is the first and in many—I would almost go so far as to say it’s the only skill that you need to be a successful entrepreneur because everything else just comes behind it. Anyway, Jason Kanigan is going to tell us all about it on this episode of the How to Quit Working show so let’s go ahead and get started. Jason, welcome to the show.
Jason Kanigan: Thanks, Jeff. Happy to be here.
Jeff: Yeah, I’m glad to have you. You bring to the table a skill set and some information that our listeners are going to love. And that is because you know about selling. You actually teach people and coach people on selling. I think that when you talk to inspiring entrepreneurs about what is the thing that scares them the most—there’s a lot of things, but selling is up there. So tell us, Jason, what do you do in your business and your life?
Jason: Generally, I work with scared people and make them less scared.
Jeff: (laughs) And that’s a big job!
Jason: I segment my market into two niches. There’s the new folks who have just jumped in to entrepreneurship. Maybe they’re running a business out of their home, maybe they’ve run without some office space and they’re just getting started, or they’ve had a little bit of experience and kind of fallen on their nose and it hasn’t been pleasant and looking for a better way out.
The second set is more corporate style, people who have experienced and have been doing this for a long time, and generally want tweaks or touches up. In one case, I acted almost like a psychologist. I went through two hours of investigation with a 30-year experienced skilled salesperson who is actually trapping himself into not being successful. It turned out he didn’t want to move him and his family back across the country which is what he’d have to do if he became successful with this venture.
Jason: He was literally sabotaging himself. And so, we straightened that up. (laughs) Then he had to choose. Okay well, now that that’s in the light, what do you do? But yes, generally speaking, what we’re going to be most interested in today I think is you the listener out there who have been thinking about starting your own business but there’s this four-letter word in the way called sell that you don’t like. If you don’t feel that selling is a part of you and something you want to do, then you’re going to be instinctually push away from that.
Jeff: Yeah, definitely. So, how did you get to know so much about selling?
Jason: By failing a lot.
Jeff: Okay. (laughs)
Jason: My background originally is in operations management which is process re-engineering, continuous improvement, business process outsourcing, stuff like that.
Jeff: Oh, I’m sorry, I fell asleep while you were saying that. (laughs)
Jason: Well, that’s exciting stuff though for big company.
Jeff: Process engineering is actually really fascinating stuff.
Jason: I take that with me into the sales realm.
Jason: Okay, because I’m very interested in the process of selling. And so if we cut up the process of selling into little bits, into steps, then we can understand better. But I came out, I went into sales, and I wanted to be a factory manager so eventually, after a few years in the sales world, with no training in selling whatsoever, I quit because I wasn’t very successful at that. Let’s put it that way.
Jeff: What were you selling? Or I should say, what were you trying to sell?
Jason: I started off in large power generation equipment. Power plant.
Jason: So it’s not like I solved nothing. I set up a worldwide distributorship program for industrial gas turbine generator sets, diesel engine sets, all kinds of things.
Jason: And then I got into control equipment which is all the machinery that tells it when to start up and when to stop because it’s about to explode and that kind of thing.
Jason: And I did okay with it but I had this problem, that I never knew why I got some orders and I didn’t get others. It was a mystery. I thought, well is it my personality? Or did I screw up? Or maybe my price wasn’t good enough. And that the sign of a person who doesn’t have a consistent sales process is they’re always whining about the price or price is too high something like that. So I went into factory management. I was a plant manager when I was 25.
When I was 26, I had 150 people working for me, and I discovered I hated it. It was like running this little Mafia village of informers on each other. And I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted to work and still want to work with self-motivated, self-directed people who know in their hearts why they’re there today, why they showed up, fight.
So I went into credit management for four years which was interesting. I was a credit manager for a national electrical wholesaler, and I got to a point where I could take two courses and do that for the rest of my life or pick something else. And I thought, well, do I really want to do this for the rest of my life? No. So I took my skills and by then, I was very good at talking to people about this touchy subject of money, on the phone. Very comfortable talking about large sums of money.
Jeff: To clients.
Jason: Yeah. Electrical contracts.
Jeff: Okay, and you’re not selling like coffee pots. You’re selling multi—I’m sure you mean tens or hundreds or thousands of equipment, right?
Jason: For some of these contractors, yeah.
Jason: Because they go and put up a school or a whole bunch of apartment complex, right? And they need all the light switches and cabling and all that kind of thing to go with it. I did two million dollars amount in collections just a month for four years just to give you an idea. We support six or seven branches depending on which one I was taking care of. So I have my process skills and I had my talking about money skills. (laughs) And I could do some marketing.
So I went and kind of hired myself out as a turnaround expert for companies. I did that for a few, and I kept running into the same problem of scope creep where I’d be brought in to do something and then within a couple of weeks, either I’d be fighting with some other senior manager who didn’t want me there because they there or the company wouldn’t have money to pay my fee at the end of the first two weeks because they were in financial dire strait that’s why I was there in the first place. Oops. Now, clearly, I didn’t know how to qualify my prospect. See who I should be working with and who I shouldn’t.
I think this may be a big fear for most would-be entrepreneurs. I don’t want to get the clients from hell. I don’t know how to stop it. I’d find myself in the position of running these companies to get the sales, to make the money, to go collect the money, and then maybe I might get paid my fee. My original small fee for doing all of these extra work and taking all these extra stress and responsibility. At first, it was cool. I was in my 20’s, and I thought, “Wow! This is kind of neat. They’re letting me fly the ship.” (laughs)
But after a few iterations, it also occurred to be that this is stupid. I’m giving away a lot of value here. Something had to change, and I decided, well, I’m going to go back into selling. I was invited to go back into the I.T. industry in a business development manager role. I worked with boutique I.T. firms and value-added resellers with network security products and custom database driven college student network management things, electronic data. I entertained very complex thing for lots of money. Where if you have this little thing is out of sync with that little thing on the other side, the whole process doesn’t work.
Jason: Right? (laughs) So, you have to be very technical there. I enjoyed that. After the end of that, I ended up moving to the U.S. because my wife is from here. I’m originally from Vancouver, Canada and I moved to North Carolina because my wife’s family is here. That’s been a journey.
Jason: Moving countries is not easy.
Jeff: I can’t imagine.
Jason: Throughout that in there either. Because you come in with no credit and no bank history or anything, right? You’ve got to just set it all up. So in between the consulting and the I.T. stuff, I finally went out and got some sales training because I’d been 10, 12 years into my professional career and I still didn’t know why I got some orders and I didn’t get others.
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Jeff: So you felt like your success—it was almost kind of haphazard. You’re going out there and it felt like a game of chance.
Jason: To a large degree. I mean, I know I’m a smart guy, that’s great. (laughs) And that will take you fairly far. But still. Yeah, there was something missing. I didn’t have that consistent sales process. Once I got it, then I was able to move ahead with selling and really understand then why I would get some orders and why I wouldn’t get others and also, how to avoid the client from hell.
Jeff: Okay. At this point in your journey, you’re trying to figure that out still. So you got this actual professional sales training. How did that go?
Jason: That went well. It was doled out in small amounts. It was quite expensive especially compared to what I charge these days. That’s fine. You kind of had to pull the nuggets out of it, right? So that was fun. If I didn’t get it, I wouldn’t be doing what I am today, let’s just put it that way.
Jeff: Cool. Cool.
Jason: But there’s a lot more to getting good at teaching something than just learning about it. Right? Those are two completely different skill sets. So my first role in the U.S. was as a sales trainer with a sales training company. That was pretty cool. I picked that because I wanted to get some legitimacy in that realm.
Jason: I had a couple of other roles since then. All through my professional life, I’ve always had two jobs. And I have worked seven days a week for a long time because I never wanted my income to be dependent on one person or one business. Where they could just say, “Hey, today we’ve decided we don’t like the shirt you’re wearing, and get out of here.” (laughs)
Jeff: You were a line item on the downsizing report.
Jason: Yeah. That doesn’t make me feel very good. I’m sure your listeners don’t feel very good when you view it that way, right?
Jeff: Yeah, definitely. It’s interesting because you saw the lack of security in corporate America, and I always say that I think people stay in their corporate jobs because of the perceived security of it, not the actual security. But you chose to deal with that in a very interesting way and that was actually—as we would say in the I.T. world, to use redundancy or having two corporate jobs. So you were already seeing that that there.
Jason: Yeah. That was kind of crazy, though. I’m not having a weekend or much of a weekend for years and years and years.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, things will get way better for you so I’m excited to hear about that part.
Jason: In 2011, I ended up—I was out in rural North Carolina in a farm community. I’ve just been released from a general manager’s job along with the whole management team that have been brought on by this guy who (laughs) kind of liquidated all the assets for a particular property and then ran off with the money. So we’ve been doing very good job of screaming. That left me in a spot because I was out in a very poor area with no clients in sight who would pay the kind of money that I was used to.
I think there’s two things that your readers or listeners could really, really find useful right now. If they can find MJ DeMarco’s the Fastlane. The Millionaire Fastlane book. That, I highly recommend. Even if you only took the one thing away from it which is this to make a lot of money, you have to affect a lot of people. Okay? That’s one way of doing it. You could also charge a ton of money and affect a few people, but if you can charge a moderate amount of money and affect a lot of people, then you’re going to get rich.
Jeff: Okay. We’ll link that up below the show.
Jason: Okay. And the other thing is, if you can find Bob Parker’s You Were Born Rich videos on YouTube. They move around a little bit. It’s like, six or eight or nine hours of training. It’s a lot. Those are fantastic videos. I highly recommend those to get your mind straight because getting your mind straight is the very first thing that you need to do here. You need to not be in a position of neediness, not be in a position of panic. Now, when you’re thinking about selling, you’ve got to go get the right market. So my right marketer niche was not in rural North Carolina in the local area around where I live at the time.
Jeff: Makes sense.
Jason: That’s not going to work. So I had to figure out where am I going to encounter a lot of business owners who could sure use help learning how to sell? I’d be more comfortable on that. So I found an online forum which gets a lot of traffic, and I said to my wife—and this is in the fall of 2011—“You’re going to lose me for three months worth of evenings, and we’re not going to make any money. I’m just going to go on here and answer questions as best as I’m able.” She said, “You’re an idiot.”
Jason: So I went on there. I’m a pretty hard headed guy when I make up my mind.
Jeff: You have to be.
Jason: Yeah. And that’s another feature or indicator of an entrepreneur’s going to stick around and suddenly doesn’t jump back into the job market as soon as it’s possible. I developed in over these two or three months a very good reputation for myself by answering questions and helping people without trying to sell anything. And then, come January of 2012 when it was time for me to open up a product, it sold like crazy because there was all this pent-up demand.
The nice thing about sales training is it is an evergreen product or service. It’s never going to run out. People are always going to fall in to there and need it. So that was my first experience with that. I was also doing copyrighting work as it came along. Every route to an online wine clubs website, secret wine club right before Christmas. Within 40 days, they’d made $10 for every dollar they invested in my copy and doubled their sales over the previous year.
Jason: In that period. So, being able to sell is not just something you have to do in person or over the phone, you can do it in writing as well once you figure out how it works. So I think the big fear, “Am I going to make any money at this?” Or, “Is my significant other going to force me to go back into the workforce? Do I have to sell?”
And I have to tell you, I don’t do this anymore—when I told regular members of the public, people who had not worked in business office jobs, that I was a sales trainer, I would get some of the biggest looks of disgust you can ever see in your life. Because their vision of selling was the sleazy car sales person, that they’ve drawn out with what they see on TV. And that’s all they knew. They did not know that selling could be something else. So I’ve adopted as my mission because of that, I’m on a mission to transform 100,000 people.
There’s that Millionaire Fastlane thing again, right? A lot of people. And I’ve already affected thousands. Transform 100,000 people from being perceived by the public as slimy tricksters who will say anything to get an order into trusted advisers who are well-rewarded for their expertise. That’s the mission that I’m on. That’s been my mission since Day 1 in 2011.
Jeff: Okay. Okay.
Jason: I’m very clear about that because they have that experience beforehand. (laughs)
Jeff: Jason, tell us a little bit more about this whole concept that you have that you want to change the perception of the salesman—I believe to use your words, to being like Herb Tarlek on WKRP in Cincinnati to being a trusted source of information and advisers. Tell us more about what’s the difference?
Jason: The difference is in how you go about selling. It’s actually the secret is not what you sell, it’s the way you go about selling. The how. So you could be selling anything you want. Right? Anything. It could be books. It could some kind of a service. It could be computers, it could be whatever. But you will stand out if you go about it differently.
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For example, I got asked earlier, “How do you know when you’re getting scammed by somebody?” And it’s like, what kinds of questions are they asking? And the answer, if they’re trying to find out about your world, and find out whether what they offer is a genuinely good match up with your situation as the solution, then that’s fine. But if they’re just features and benefits at you like, “Oh, yeah. This thing is…it’s blue and it’s 40 feet long and it does this and that.”
Are they really trying to find out about you? They’re just throwing stuff at you and hoping that something will stick. And they’re back where I was 15 year ago, right? They don’t know any better. Nobody’s taught them that there’s a different approach to selling which is great (laughs) for me anyway.
Jeff: Yeah. So, Jason, is that why when you said in your early days, you didn’t know why you would get some clients and you didn’t get the others. Is that because you were throwing features and benefits at them and randomly by chance, some of them would stick and some of them wouldn’t?
Jason: Right. Exactly. I would match up with—unknowingly, with my prospect situation. That’s right.
Jeff: Tell us more about the difference between the Herb Tarlek and the value delivering salesman?
Jason: Herb Tarlek is a funny example. If you actually watch WKRP.
Jeff: It was one of those shows that when I was little, I had to endure it while my parents watch it. That was when they were brand new on the network.
Jason: Yup. Can you remember am I actually selling anything?
Jeff: (laughs) No, they never showed that.
Jason: No. No. The one thing I remember is he does some kind of trade with a stereo shop. That’s it. He gets something and they’re buying out or something and I think he buys the stereo.
Jeff: Oh, okay.
Jason: That’s it. So he’s not very good at what he does. Well, remember we want to be perceived as—and genuinely be a trusted adviser. So, we don’t want to give out free information. Because that turns you into an unpaid consultant. So if you’re offering something and people come up to you and enthusiastically start asking questions, the natural reaction to that is to puff out your chest and be the product expert and tell them all about it. You go away thinking, yeah, I got an order in the bag here and the prospect goes away. After thanking you and telling you what a great human being you are, and then they vanished. What happened is, they got what they needed from you, and they’re off to find what you offer at the lowest price.
Jeff: Wow. That is such an interesting point, I’m sorry to interrupt. But it struck a chord with me because when I’m shopping for something, I do that frequently.
Jason: (laughs) Well yeah, we can’t get upset at people for doing that.
Jason: Okay. Because there’s been so many bad sales people in the last 100 years that we’ve trained the public to do that. I don’t get mad when people do that or when prospects are skeptical and that. You and I do it, too. We all lie as prospects, and we do it to protect ourselves. We won’t share how much money we’ve got, what our true budget is because what could happen to the price? “Ka-ching!”, just magically, now it matches our budget. That’s amazing, guys. Or we don’t share how bad the problem really is because the price could go up. Oh, he needs it really badly, let’s get up.
So, when you go into conversation with a prospect, we need to remember that they’re going to be skeptical. They don’t know us, they don’t trust us. They’ve just met us. Especially if you’re making a call, a prospect in call. Some people call it cold calls. I don’t use that phrase because it produces a natural, physical reaction.
Jason: We just call it prospect in calls. And it’s like, panning for gold, right? We’re going to do the activity and there might be something in there and there might not be but we’re sifting and we’re going to do our best to put the odds in our favor. But yeah, we need to go in and not try and bull somebody over with how great our product or service is. They don’t know anything about us or it yet. They also probably don’t know that much about their situation which sounds surprising because they’re in it. All they know is that they need help.
If they’re asking for your help at this point or something, they know they need help so that’s a good start. Because if somebody says something, if a prospect says something, it’s true. If you say it, you can say exactly the same thing as what they would say. But because it came out of your mouth, you have to defend it. We want to hopefully talk to people who already agree that they’ve got a problem. Now, since they don’t know much about their own situation, the only deciding factor they’ve got is price. I’m going to go get this thing fixed. Well, I don’t know anything else to ask about it except for price. So that’s the first thing that they ask about. What’s your price? (laughs) And that’s not great.
Jason: There’s value and a whole bunch of other factors that come into play. So, that’s when we can start asking questions. Well sure, I’m totally happy to give you a price. I’ll give you that in a second. In order to give you the right price, I need to ask a few questions. Let’s back up a little bit and find out a little bit more about your situation. And this is an opportunity for you as a sales person to demonstrate your expertise. By asking the questions about that situation that show you know about it. And get them thinking, “Oh, I never thought about that. This guy really knows his stuff.”
And that’s how you get credibility in a pretty short period of time. Because your competitors, what are they going to be doing? Oh, you got to buy this life-o-meter, its glows and red at the night, nighttime, and does this and that. Okay. Meanwhile, you’re saying, “Well, how long have you been a diabetic? What kind of symptoms are you having? Are you having trouble getting up and down the stairs? That kind of thing. And finding a more butler’s situation plus they’re going to realize you actually care about them. Or at least a little bit.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. So that’s one of the things that I think when we’re selling, it tends to put people in a defensive mode maybe when the first question you get from your prospects, “Well, just tell me how much it is.” When I put myself on the consumer side, I understand that, right?
Jeff: I understand why you would ask that but what you’re saying is, that’s really an opportunity to ask the right questions and show that person that you care and that you know what you’re talking about.
Jason: All right.
Jason: Now, you may get a prospect who just says, “For the second time, I don’t care. Just give me the price.” Right? If somebody asks you something twice, you should just give them the answer. Because otherwise, they’re going to get upset. In this case, I would say, “Okay well, since I don’t know about your exact situation, what I can do is give you a range.” And you give them an X to a Y and let them go. And I wouldn’t spend anymore time and energy on that prospect. Okay? Because they’re shopping by price. If they come back to you, great. But if they don’t, I’m not going to get it all bent out of shape on that.
Jeff: Okay, so this is interesting. So you’re saying if the prospect really says to you, “No, Jason, I want to know the price.” Then you would give them the price and you really wouldn’t spend a lot more time on that prospect.
Jason: In a range. Right. Well, the kind or the approach to selling that I teach is all about taking the stress off of you as the consultant, the sales person. Putting it where it belongs which is on the prospect. They’re the ones with the problem. They need to realize how bad that problem really is. Now, if the problem really isn’t that bad after you explored around a little bit, no harm, no foul, we both go on our way. That’s a big deal. I have to, as the business owner or sales person, I have to talk to people in order to get the result that I want. And I’m going to talk to people who we’re not going to be a fit for. It’s going to happen. So why should I set the situation up so that I should be upset when that happens? I should make it no big deal, right?
Jason: Okay. Now, if we explore the problem and it turns a “Holy, jitty whiz, this is crazy.” There’s a big black hole in your business here, pulling all kinds of money and people and resources into that, and it’s going to destroy you. Wow. Now, we’ve got something. By the way, I have a solution for that over here.
Jeff: I got you. I got you.
Jason: Right? If they realize that they’re having a heart attack, how much are they going to pay at that moment for the doctor?
Jeff: Yeah. Whatever they come up with.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well so, Jason, you talked a little bit about—in some of your stuff that you deal with. I’ve researched you a little bit online and you talked about head trash. Can you tell us what’s head trash, and how do we get rid of it?
Jason: Head trash is limiting beliefs. Actually, under another name. But negative. Really bad limiting beliefs like, “I’m not a sales person,” that’s a head trash, right? Well, you don’t have to be a sales person that way that you’re thinking about. You don’t have to be. What you can be is a nice person. The approach to selling that I teach does not change you. It does not force you to become somebody else. Right?
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I did not like that Tom Hopkins trial, close, and rebuttals, and objections like this big battle in between the prospect and it’s a wrestling match with the sales person and eventually, one of them’s going to blow up or scream “Uncle!”, right? That’s just was not a fit with me, right? The consultative selling mold because I’m a pretty laid back guy is just come in, have a chat, see what’s going on. You’re either a fit or you’re not. Don’t get stressed out about it. And get to answers like, “Are they a fit with me or not?” as fast as you can. Because you want to qualify people out as fast as you can who are not a fit with you so that you don’t waste time with them and frustrate yourself.
Worst part of the selling process, especially when you don’t understand it, is that phase in between, “Well, I did the presentation and they’re going to get back to me at some point, they said. And I’m waiting.” The think it over phase. I got to think it over. And that’s an elastic time period then, you get all upset.
Jeff: Isn’t “I got to think about” –isn’t that a nice way of saying no?
Jason: It can be. And it frequently is. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s not the only response. They may legitimately need to think it over.
Jason: But you should find that out and clarify with tools I can give you.
Jason: This is actually the truth. All right? Or, did I ask the sales person to screw up and miss something like, they have board of directors or a silent partner, not so silent now to bounce this off of.
Jeff: What about, “I got to talk to my wife?” Doesn’t that mean no?
Jason: Yeah, if you present it and then that was the result, you made a mistake as the sales person.
Jason: Yeah. But that can be dealt with very early on by saying, “John, is there anybody else who should be involved in this conversation?” And if John says, “Yeah, Jeff. My wife.” You should say, “Well, we need to get her in here.” If it means we got to hold up for a week or two while we get that arranged, that’s okay with me. Because presenting prematurely is a major cause of the sales process turning in to a disaster.
Jason: And that’s what the big part of what’s wrong with traditional selling is, those guys are out there trying to present to everybody and anybody who walks by. And they’re opening themselves up for what? Tons of rejection. Because they’re presenting to many, many unqualified prospects who they should not be presenting to in the first place.
Jeff: Well, how do you know when it’s the right time to present? And when you say present, that’s when you give your product offerings or your service offerings and a price, right?
Jason: You have a consistent sales process. (laughs) That’s how you would know. You lead them through it, and you ask the right questions.
Jason: To find out is this the time to present? So yeah, you got to know a few things about them, right? Like, do they have a need for what you have to offer? Well if they don’t, if they really don’t have a need or a want for what you have to offer, why would you want to try and sell them something? They’re just going to get mad at you and have buyer’s remorse even if they do buy. The buyers later, they’re going to be calling you. “Jeff, made a mistake here. I want my money back.”
Jason: Right? I don’t want that.
Jason: If they don’t have the money to afford you, again, why would you want to present to them? I’m trying to present to somebody who can’t buy. That doesn’t sound rational, does it?
Jeff: Right. Sure. Sure.
Jason: They just can’t afford it. So again, why am I wasting my time? It’s showing them my technical expertise of how I do what I do. And the third thing is, what if there’s some kind of orangutan client from hell to be? Right? They scream at everybody already. What if they’re nice to you, but everytime that their cellphone rings while they’ve been talking to you, they scream at the person talking to them? How long is it going to take after you take their money before they start treating you that way? Right? So maybe we don’t want that.
Jeff: What would you do in that situation? So you’re talking to a client, and their cellphone keeps ringing and they keep screaming at the person or you’re getting some other signal that this person’s just going to be a jackass?
Jason: Yeah. This is going to scare a lot of people but you have to be brave for a moment and speak up about it. If you don’t tell somebody, if you don’t tell a prospect or a client that something is not okay, you can’t get mad when they do it. And so, and if we’re going to fight, I’d rather we fight now rather than later. Let’s fight now. Especially before I’ve taken any of your money, right?
If I’m going to find out yeah, you really are that bad guy, I want to know right now before we get in to any kind of relationship because I don’t want to get hurt. And so, you’re going to bring it up in the case of the screamer, I would say, “John, I think we might have a problem here. And I’d sigh.” (laughs) A lot of sigh. I want to bring this up and maybe you’ll get mad at me, I don’t know. I hope you won’t, but maybe you will. And if you do, that’s okay. I got to share this with you. You’ve been nice talking to me but I’ve noticed that everytime somebody’s flowing to you, you yell at them. I have to tell you, if we get into some sort of contractual arrangement and I’m working for you, and you do that to me, it’s over. And I’m keeping 100% of the deposit and we’re done.
So does that make sense? Do you think we could work together? The guy’s going to have one or two responses. “Oh jeez, yes. Sorry. I didn’t even realize I was doing that. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. I’m really sorry. I’m going to straighten that out.” Or, “Who the heck do you think you are? Beep. Beep. Beep.” (laughs) “Why are you telling me how to run my business?” Okay. Thanks for letting me know. Because now I know. I’d rather be yelled out once than 20 times. There’s a lot of people out there who cannot control their anger very well, and when something goes wrong, they blow up and that blast radio, it affects a lot of people who are not responsible in the first place. So identifying who your bad prospects are is a very useful skill.
Jeff: Awesome. Awesome. So there’s two things that I really want to get your perspective on. And the first one is—I’ve been through a lot of sales training. Some of it, I thought was good. And some of it, I thought was just teaching me how to be Herb Tarlek. The thing that has never worked for me and the thing that has always made me feel like Herb Tarlek was when I got the advice from sales trainers that if somebody is not giving me an answer or even if somebody is saying is no, that I should just keep trying. I should just keep calling. Everyday, even. What do you think about that?
Jason: Yeah, that’s very invasive, right? Like the first thing I train people to do on a cold call is to ask permission to speak. I don’t mean like a wussy, toady, pathetic lump of trash. He was asking—begging Master for some time. I’m just saying, “Hey, Jeff, I appreciate you answering the phone. Is this a bad time to talk for a couple of minutes?” That’s it. And if it is, they’ll tell you.
I don’t want to get into an argument with somebody right now. If you’ve got some huge problem, which is what’s going on, that’s why it’s bad time, but they picked up the phone to see what this call was about, and now that they know it’s not about their problem, they got to get back to it.
I don’t want to try and push whatever I’m doing on them because they’re not going to listen. And they’re not going to participate. So I’ll say, “Thank you very much. I’ll try to call back.” Click. And I’m gone. I’m out of there. And I’ll call back in a couple of days. That’s fine. Yeah. So, calling back over and over again after you’ve been told no? No. I wouldn’t do it. If you’ve got a seriously good qualified no, it really isn’t a fit. Then, I would put them in your calendar for callback in three to six months. Their situation may have changed.
Jeff: Okay. Okay.
Jason: Yeah. But to call back again and again and again, hey, I’m still looking under this rock. Is there anything under there? (laughs)
Jeff: No. Still not. (laughs)
Jason: No. The golden nugget’s still not there. Darn. That is really going to annoy people.
Jason: Yeah. Unless what you share there is one of the symptoms that makes people shy away from the idea of themselves being a sales person. And yet, that’s what presidents and CEO’s of companies do, is sell. If you look, the successful companies have a president or a CEO who came up through the sales chain. Okay? If they came up through finance or my thing or a general operations management, company tends to be shrinking. They tend to be cutting things. Right? We need a leader who’s focused on selling.
And so, if you’re about to go and do your own business, I recommend you get very clear about what you’re doing and why. You get some specialized knowledge and be very clear about what that is and protect it. Don’t just give it away to people because that’s what you get paid for. Right? Try and affect as many people as you can, right? So that you can multiply your effect really quickly. And get comfortable with the idea of selling the right way. Because that’s what you’re going to be doing.
Jeff: And part of that getting comfortable with selling the right way is getting comfortable with talking about money, right?
Jeff: And you talked about getting comfortable with talking about money towards the beginning of this interview. What would you tell somebody who’s just like, “Oh, it just gets all icky and weird when I start talking about money.”
Jason: Yeah. Well, we’re going to tie two things together. We’re going to tie my credit management experience and the head trash idea because that is head trash. Money is not currency, first of all. Let’s separate it. Money is the idea behind currency. Money is an idea backed by confidence. When we have an idea and we feel, “Yup, that’s going to work.”
Now, we’ve got money there. Currency is the physical representation of that. So let’s separate those two things. This currency could be anything. It could be beads or stones with holes, throw them on a string, like the Japanese used to do, right? I guess whatever you could think of, as long as they’re reasonably rare, it’s been done for currency, but money is an idea backed by confidence. So let’s start with that.
Now, many people have grown up with funny ideas about money that have been implanted into them by their parents and grandparents like, “Money is the root of all evil.” “It’s impolite to talk about money.” That’s a huge one. All right. So these ideas are floating around and they’re from our childhood so we just accept them like, duh. In there, right? One of the really interesting things about sales training is the psychological aspect of it where you start looking at the stuff. Oh, I never looked at my ideas about money before. Why do I get queasy and feel funny about that? What can I remember as the earliest event of a family member talking about money? Or my parents argued about money all the time, and therefore it’s bad because all I have of it are memories of ever being run.
Jeff: Yeah. Sure.
Jason: My thoughts about money are it’s a tool, and you use it. It’s good to talk about it. If you can, try not to be the wild and crazy spender.
Jeff: Yeah. Sure. Sure.
Jason: But I could easily how somebody who’s parents had trouble with money while they were growing up, could be afraid of it, for example. So by exploring that head trash and really thinking about well, where do these ideas about money that I have come from? We can shine that light on something that’s been creating an unconscious reaction all this time in you whenever you think of money. Once we bring that out into the sunlight, we can begin to change it.
Jason: And so now that I know why I feel funny about money, I can begin to change that and start feeling more comfortable about money that it’s just a tool. It has no intrinsic good or bad. It’s like a knife, right? I can use a knife to stab somebody or I can use it to cut off my salad vegetables.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah.
Jason: Right? And it’s not the knife’s fault. It’s their way.
Jeff: Right. Sure. Sure.
Jason: So, getting comfortable about money and then also there’s concept about self-worth. Right? I know deep down, you cannot shake this, that what I have to offer and share is extremely valuable and rare. And that makes me very comfortable talking about money. Look at the value I’m giving, right? It’s not like I’m taking money away from companies. I am creating tons more money for them. For every dollar they’re investing in me, they’re making many, many more dollars in return.
So if you are a person who is a web designer, you’re creating value by A) doing something that that CEO or president either doesn’t know how or doesn’t want to do because their office can sell and delegate so you’re just as valuable as they are if you’re doing what they can’t or won’t do. And second, you’re creating a tool for them to convert visitors into buyers. Wow! That’s pretty cool.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. Awesome, awesome advice. Jason, I want to ask you the last question that I have for you is what is the biggest mistake that you’ve made on this journey that you’ve been on?
Jason: Probably sticking around the wrong niche too long. We need to change our niches. By that, I mean, as yourself concept improves, changes, increases, then we need to start going after targets that match up with that. So, on the forum that I started out with a lot of people on there don’t have much money at all. And so consequently, I’ve been charging lower prices.
Jeff: Ah. Okay.
Jason: Relatively low. And so, what I found is, is I’ve gone on. My corporate clients have kind of subsidized the smaller. That’s right. But I’m still to get rid of that niche because it pays and it’s there, and I understand it. Whenever I want some money, I just go do some things there and I know that game, right? Because selling is a game. And I know the game and that niche very well. And so, I can get what I want when I want. It’s kind of a great testing ground in that.
But the danger is if I spend 60, 70 percent of my attention there, I am missing out on going after more of the corporate clients where I should be paying my attention to. Right? I should be working with large financial product companies for example. I’ve got more of those as clients. So that’s where my attention needs to go. Because there’s all those financial advisers out there who don’t know anything about this kind of selling and yet, could desperately use it. How do I go into somebody’s home? And I ask them questions and find out about their world and match it up with what products they’ve got to offer with what they need right, and what else for them where instead of, “Here’s my brochure of all of our products. Let’s look through it together.” Ugh. (laughs) And yeah.
Starting out somewhere—part of that’s chance. When the fact that I went on to that forum was chance, really. I could have started somewhere else some other day. And so, just keep that in mind. And then as you start to steer the ship more and take yourself in the direction that you want to go in the business and the direction that you want to go, just keep in mind, keep your eye on the ball. On the right target. Because it will be tempting. Everybody—it’s the same reason why people don’t want to quit at their jobs. I don’t want to give up what I already have. And that illusion of security, right? So for me, focusing on this lower level market is bad but it gives me the illusion of security. Well, at least I got that, right?
Jeff: Yeah, sure.
Jason: And I’m not saying it’s that bad. It’s just to get me to the next level, I should be focusing on a higher level, more wealthy level of clients.
Jeff: It’s all about opportunity costs.
Jeff: Yeah, awesome point. And thanks for making that. I think that’s a really good lesson that our listeners will find to be valuable. And Jason, I thank you immensely for being on the show. This has been an awesome interview and awesome topic and you shared a lot of really, really great information. I think we now know kind of how not to be Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati. Now before we go, where can our listeners go to get more information about Jason?
Jason: Right. You can just go to my site, jasonkanigan.com. Everything that you will want to know is on there. You can also go to YouTube and you can go through there through my website as well. I’ve got a playlist of sales tip videos. There’s about a dozen of them right now, and I’m adding more all the time. They’re about two minutes apiece to two and a half minutes. And I share something about this approach to selling that will help you.
Jeff: Awesome. Awesome. Well, check out Jason’s website and Jason’s tips on selling which is the most important skill that you can have in business. Jason, thanks for being here and I look forward to seeing what awesome things you do in the future.
Jason: Okay. Thank you, Jeff.
Great show with Jason Kanigan. Go check him out in his website. He’s got some free tips. Jasonkanigan.com, it’s linked up below. So go check it out for sure. Also, if you like the show, go out on iTunes and give us a rating, give us a rating 1 through 5 stars on iTunes. Also, leave a comment below this episode if you’re listening from the website. Let us know what you think! Tell me what do you want to hear more and what do you want to hear less of—this is your show, I want to make it exactly what you need it to be.
Finally, if you want to learn more about how do really successful people like Jason, how did they become so successful? And how do they think about things differently than the average person, the average corporate employee? Go and join the group on LinkedIn called How to Get What You Want. You can get to that by going to howtoquitworking.com/group and that will take you right over to LinkedIn.
Join that because we have got some crazy, successful entrepreneurs, authors, coaches, consultants and just really, really cool people in that group. We have great discussions every week, and we always talk about what are the things that we need to be doing, thinking about if we want to get everything we want out of life? So if you want to just quit working at job, if that’s your goal, head over there, it’ll help you do that. If your goal is something else, head over there and learn about the attitudes and mindsets that you need to make whatever it is that you want to have happen in your life happen. It’s a great group. I’m having a blast in the group, and it is not your typical waste of time social media group.
Occasionally, there’s a link to something external but it’s not just a bunch of links. Because that’s what so many of these social media groups end up being, is they end up being just a link to this and a link to that. “This is cool. Check this out.” “Check that out.” And yeah, I do some of that myself on social media but this is not what that is. This is a private group. Listeners of the show will all be approved. But this is for people who really want to roll their sleeves up and get whatever they want out of life and learn those mindsets and tools and strategies and tactics that all of the most successful authors, entrepreneurs, politicians, presidents, world leaders and everybody who’s ever made a difference in the world and how do they think. So head on over to howtoquitworking.com/group and until next time.