Selling With Dignity: A Chat With Harry Spaight

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The Sales Warrior Within | Season 2 Episode 38 – Selling With Dignity: A Chat With Harry Spaight

Andy Olen is a Sales & Leadership Trainer and High-Performance Coach. Andy works with talented salespeople, business teams, and leaders who seek empowerment, improvement, and insight. Andy’s clients strive to be the best in class.

“Good Selling, Good Leading, Good Living.” – Andy Olen

Guest Harry Spaight Shares The Importance of Selling With Dignity

  • Harry Spaight is an author, sales trainer, and coach. He wrote the book Selling With Dignity.
  • In this episode, we discuss how important dignity is for salespeople
  • Harry provides simple and powerful best practices for the audience
  • Andy and Harry have a rich dialogue on best practices for engaging with new  and existing customers
  • Harry provides sage advice that Sales Warriors will want to hear
  • Add Selling With Dignity to your sales bookshelf and, more importantly, begin Selling WIth Dignity and empower your sales voice

Preview Harry’s Book Selling WIth Dignity Here

Link to Andy Olen’s website
Link to Andy’s Online Courses

Get in touch with Andy Olen @ andyolen.com. Andy enjoys engaging with the Sales Warrior Community.

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Date and Speakers:

January 9, 2023
Andy Olen and Harry Spaight

Speakers Andy Olen & Harry Spaight

| 00:02 | There’s a Sales Warrior Within each of us. My name is Andy Olen, and I’m here to help you discover and empower the Sales Warrior Within. Hello, again, this is Andy Olen and welcome to another episode of the sales warrior within podcast. I’m really pleased to welcome just the phenomenal person phenomenal guest, Harry Spaight, is joining the podcast conversation today.
| 00:32 | I spent about 30, 40 minutes getting to know Harry, talking about sales, getting his impressions, bouncing ideas off one another. I came away with a couple of things after this interview that you’ll hear in a moment. One, Harry and I have a very similar philosophy on how you approach customers. And we talk about this in the podcast. So you’re going to hear a lot of agreement and a lot of complimentary conversation as we unpack how we go about building an extending customer relationships.
| 01:04 | Harry is the author of a great book called Selling With Dignity, and he shares with us in this interview what’s Selling With Dignity is. I think you’re really going to connect with it. I think you’re going to really appreciate it. And you’re going to be able to find ways to incorporate selling with dignity today into your sales approach with customers. So Harry and I go through Selling With Dignity, which by the way, you can find at his website https://sellingwithdignity.com/the-book/ and there’s a hyphen or a dash in between the book.
| 01:38 | So I’ll have that on the show notes here. And I’ll share again that website a little bit later on in the interview. So enjoy my conversation with Harry spat, Harry’s a keynote speaker. He’s an author and a sales consultant. And he did a bunch of missionary work, which culminated with two years of service in the Dominican Republic, Harry brought from that experience, the principles of serving, others, and he’s brought that into business, and it’s as focused on sales, and also on helping sales leaders develop that muscle as well.
| 02:11 | He believes in a serving mindset, and that’s how you get to your results. And over the past 25 years, Harry Spaight has sold millions of dollars in revenue and has led teams that has sold more than 10 million 10s of millions of dollars in revenue. So it’s very clear that what you’re about to hear also works. Enjoy my conversation with the author of Selling With Dignity, Harry Spaight. Harry Spaight welcome to The Sales Warrior Within. It’s great to have you.
| 02:41 | Oh, it’s great to be here, Andy. What’s the good word? Good word is you’re in Orlando. And as we talked about before, it’s a place I want to get to. So I’m going to virtually live through you probably in 70, 80° weather today while it’s very cold here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So that could be a good word. That is a good word, yes. We’re suffering through. It’s probably in the 60s today. So a little chilly. Yeah. But we’re dealing with it. I have no empathy for a 60° weather. Fair enough.
| 03:11 | Yeah, we’re going to be in Florida. Soon and spend some time down there and the kids love getting there. So I am jealous that you’ll enjoy the holiday seasons in Florida. And fantastic. And I just shared a brief introduction about you and what you do, what you’re passionate about, about Selling With Dignity to the audience. But why don’t we start with, in your own words, if you can introduce yourself to the audience, that’d be great. All right, cool.
| 03:37 | So I am Harry Spaight, ladies and gentlemen, and reason I am here is to talk sales. I feel like sales is really missing the mark in so many places that people feel like they need to be someone. Other than a natural, good human being, and that to turn into a sales. It’s like the doctor Jekyll and mister Hyde thing. And people even say to me, it’s like, I’m not cut out for sales.
| 04:06 | It’s like, well, does that mean you have to go for being a nice person to beat someone evil? So I feel like we could straighten the record here. Good people can sell and be very successful at it. And that’s what my mission is to help entrepreneurs and salespeople who are just not getting a love because they’re not cutthroat and so forth. So that’s who I am. That’s great. And we share a similar passion. I’m trying to help overcome all the negative sales stereotypes out there and have people believe in their inner sales warrior within voice.
| 04:37 | In your opinion, Harry, why do people feel they have to somehow move away from just being authentic and genuine, their normal self? And they have to take on this sales persona. Yeah, it’s just such an interesting topic. I mean, I was doing some research on sales and this whole idea of manipulation selling. If you can think back of even in the days of Zig Ziglar, I’m curious as to what his tactics were when he was doing door to door sales during the pots and pans.
| 05:10 | I mean, back in the day, when I grew up, I mean, when I was a kid in the 60s, we had the encyclopedia encyclopedia salespeople. Those are big books. A to Z, lots of information before Google is one of Google on paper. And encyclopedia salespeople would stick their foot in the door. So you could not shut the door, they would have a conversation.
| 05:33 | And so, you know, that tradition of being very pushy and straightforward, and then Hollywood has done, as far as salespeople with The Wolf of Wall Street, one Gary Glen Ross, boiler room, you name it, sales is typically portrayed in a bad light. So when people see all this, I can see why they say I’m not cut out for sales, because neither am I, if that’s what sales is like. So that is the perception people have.
| 06:03 | And there’s still a lot of sales managers. And I was one of them that I looked for the bowl in the China shop that could get past all the nos, not worried about their feelings. And then I realized when I hired those people, it’s like, oops. They’re not very understanding and consultative in their approach. So I’d much rather go with people who are kind and considerate and respectful and those people can be very successful as well. Yeah, no, that’s fantastic.
| 06:33 | I’ll add some, I’ve done the same research on this topic of why is sales not seen as an honorable profession. And in addition to Hollywood really creating a ton of negative sales stereotypes, history is also given us the snake oil salesman. The horse trader, right? Some of these terms that we use that have carried on for decades and decades have not helped as well. And then there was a piece of data that I found compelling that I’ll share with you in the audience.
| 07:02 | And that is that we as humans protect our finances and our health, that’s something that we hold sacred and we want to make sure and ensure that these are safe and secure. Real estate agents and car salespeople, two areas of selling, that arguably are some of the biggest material transactions we do financially in our personal life. Also, on average, the lowest tenured salespeople in the sales industry, car sales is often a starting sales job, real estate.
| 07:36 | There are very low barriers to entry people can get in. So we are entrusting on average, very low tenured salespeople with the biggest financial transactions we make. Homes. And automobiles. And if we have a bad experience there, that sales experience along with writing a big old check creates this continued idea that salespeople are only out for themselves. So Harry, how do we fix this? Well, you know, you raised such an interesting point, Andy.
| 08:07 | When we were in Virginia, before we moved to Florida, we put our House on the market and our neighbor, someone we used to have cocktails with and, you know, play darts or whatever. The wife just got into real estate. Well, we listed our House with someone else. She stopped talking to us. I mean, it was, she expected because we were friends that I would invest in her, and she would absolutely just got her license in real estate.
| 08:43 | No marketing experience, right? No sales experience, and I’m thinking, why would that person think that I would invest this, right? I mean, the homes in Northern Virginia were not cheap. And, you know, it’s just, she didn’t have a clue. Maybe she did later in life. She figured it out. But, you know, these are the things that people, just because you know someone doesn’t mean they’re good in sales and real estate is one of those crafts where tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars can be lost.
| 09:21 | Based on bad marketing, bad decision making, bad recommendations, so to fix that is, I think you have to interview, just like you do, your research on anything these days, we have Google, you would want to interview and understand where people are as far as their skill sets are concerned. What is their strategy, right? How do they, you know, how do they plan to sell whatever it is they’re selling and what separates them from others?
| 09:51 | You know, financial planners is another one. We invest, you know, again, it could be millions of dollars. And something could give us the wrong advice. Look at Tom Brady. I mean, he spent investing a lot in crypto. I understand that’s not doing so well these days. So fortunes can be lost with bad sales. Yeah, and that creates that momentum play of people thinking that salespeople are only out there for themselves. And why should I do this? I don’t want to be salesy.
| 10:20 | And you know, the reality is that every time you’re in a job interview, you’re having to sell yourself. Exactly. Any time you’re starting a new relationship, if you’re dating someone, there is an element of sales that’s very similar to meeting a customer for the first time. So it’s this odd dynamic. It’s this very odd dynamic area that we see that sales has this negative overarching stereotype.
| 10:44 | People don’t want to see themselves as a salesperson, yet we have to, in order to move forward as humans, provide sales, solutions, and in relationships, and professionally as well. So it’s this odd paradigm that we sit in the middle of. Very true. I mean, I look at it as our first sales when we came out of the womb. We needed attention. And we did what we knew how to do, which was make noise, and that got us to sell.
| 11:12 | Mom picked us up or nurtured us and gave us what we needed. And we did that all growing up. You know, we learned how to sell to our parents, ask for things we did barter. We learned how to trade doing the homework and cleaning the yard or whatever for a certain phase. Allowances. All of that stuff is sales. And then like you mentioned, the whole dating thing, you know, getting along with teachers, how to work the room with, you know, in school, if you had people that didn’t like you, I mean, there’s sales is everywhere.
| 11:46 | And I view sales life and life is sales. There’s, you know, it’s natural and honorable when we do things the right way. So why look at it as something negative just because there are bad people in the world doesn’t mean we say, well, you know, if someone is a horrible spouse, well, then all marriages are bad, right? It’s just, there are select few. I mean, the vast majority of people in the world are good. It’s the bad apples that give us the wrong thinking and we just don’t have to be like the bad apples.
| 12:19 | You couldn’t agree with you more on that. So that’s a nice segue into Selling With Dignity, your book. Share with the audience with Selling With Dignity is all about. Yes, selling with dignity is actually just selling from a place of serving. And I liken it to Andy in the sense of when we go out to fine dining restaurant and I enjoy a nice meal at a fine dining establishment with the white tablecloths, the crystal glasses, the beautiful silverware, the place settings, like there’s too many forks still, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with them all.
| 12:58 | But all of that atmosphere. And then you think of how skilled the server is. The server did not just come from serving fast food at McDonald’s and got this job in the fine dining restaurant. They’ve been trained. They have experience. They know how to serve, and they do an exquisite job of it. Now, most people, when you ask them, if they think that the server is selling, they’ll say no. They’re just serving.
| 13:28 | But the servers have revenue targets. They get the better tables based on the amount of revenue they bring into the restaurant. And people that have those skills of getting the group, their tables, their clients, happy, buying more, spending more time there, having some fun or having privacy, whatever keeps them there the longest, they’re very good at that.
| 13:54 | And then, you know, serving them the wine or the desserts and so forth, there’s a special, all of that drives revenue. Now, if we could sell like that, where people didn’t know that we were serving or selling, then I think that would be a home run. What about you? Yeah, I agree with that. And I was thinking as you were talking about that, Harry, that what are the, what is that server doing? What are they doing in order to create a great experience?
| 14:22 | And I think it comes back to, again, as you said earlier, these are sales skills are life skills as well. They’re listening to what the table wants. They’re very attentive to their needs. They’re very transparent. There’s anyone who served knows the feeling of being in the weeds when you have 5 tables sat at one time and you can’t get to everyone and you don’t, you feel very stressed, high anxiety moment, is to just let that table know up front. Hey, you know what? I’m going to be with you in two minutes. I’m looking forward to talking with you. Have a look over the menu.
| 14:51 | It’s that it’s that ability to connect, communicate, to cooperate with the table with the diners and I think they just do it from a place of very pure authenticity in genuineness. Is that in the ballpark of what you’re seeing as well? Yeah, absolutely. And you brought it home by even talking about the stress that they’re under. And they don’t show it. It’s never about them to the really good servers. And then you think about sales, it should never be about us.
| 15:22 | Should always be about the guests. Always about the client. And then when it turns into, well, I really need this by the end of the month. Or this will make my number. Then we start leading with ourselves and people start seeing that other side of us and that’s when they start to ghost. Right. Right. I think, you know, one of the things that you and I probably both see and I encourage salespeople here as well that even folks that don’t see themselves as salespeople, but they have wonderful expertise.
| 15:50 | Let’s use their server example or a restaurant setting. When somebody asks you for a recommendation of what’s good on the menu, ensure that you have an answer, share what you like. This is what I like. I haven’t had this one before, but I’m going to have it next. This is what other people are saying. Demonstrate your expertise. If someone asks you for a wine selection, this one’s going to be a little bit of this red is going to be a little bit more heavy and bold. This one is going to be a little bit lighter with what your ordering off the menu.
| 16:21 | This is a nice pairing. People want the expertise. They want to be led to a good solution. So don’t hesitate in that moment to share your opinion. That in and of itself, sharing your expertise and guiding the customer is sales as well. Oh, that’s beautiful. That’s the providing value. And in value based selling, that is one of the keys is really helping the buyer make good decisions, right?
| 16:50 | Provide the background, the experience that you have, have been doing something for years, you know, ask if you have permission to share some insight. Maybe they don’t want it, and you don’t have that opportunity. But that might be because the trust isn’t there yet. So I think what happens and I’m probably going down a rabbit hole. So it’s not if you want. But I think what happens sometimes I’ve seen it is inexperienced buyers have in mind what they want.
| 17:21 | And the salesperson knows that that’s not a good thing. And so they’ll come right out and say too early that that’s not the right product for them or what they need. And so there’s no trust. And now the buyers looking at that saying, well, do I even trust this person? What gives them? I told them what I wanted. They’re telling me I need something different. Now I’m confused. I’m going to lean towards someone that just listens to me.
| 17:50 | So I’ve seen this a lot. And so I think the approach is acknowledged that this is what they want. Ask how they came to the conclusion, right? And so then you’re building some trust. And so as they speak to you and they open up, you can then gauge if it’s the right time to offer a different viewpoint. Sometimes it’s not on the first call. This is where I find that a lot of times in sales.
| 18:20 | We have to vomit everything. Oh, on the first call. And just say, no, it’s like the first date you just met somebody. Don’t have an argument on the first date. Just, you know, learn to see where the person is coming from. And then on the next conversation, see if they’ve warmed up to another idea. And sometimes that’s even during the proposal stage, or a person says, I want pricing. We’ve already made up of mine. This is what we want.
| 18:48 | If you can build trust, that’s when you can start opening that little conversation. What’s your thought on this whole idea? Yeah, Harry, it’s a great point. And as you were talking about that process with a salesperson and a customer of building trust, I was also thinking about the dynamic of when you meet a customer for the first time when you don’t have that trust, establish. It really is up to the salesperson to do the work of the trust building. Take it upon yourself as a salesperson to do it.
| 19:17 | Don’t expect it to be given to you. In fact, data shows that when asked only 3% of folks believe that salespeople are trustworthy that the sales profession is a trustworthy profession. So I just round that down to zero. And say, all right, this person’s not going to trust me. So it’s my job to take the steps to build that.
| 19:37 | Now, when you have a customer who’s invested in you, who’s purchased from you, who’s had great results from you, now you have some track record, and the next proposal that you have, the next collaboration that you have, you know, what I find is that most people that I have established relationships with no longer negotiate with me because they believe and our history shows that I’m going to deliver something of value to them and they trust not only me.
| 20:06 | They trust the price. They trust the solution. They trust the execution. And that’s really a great benefit of having a long-term relationship with a customer who buys and buys again. But it takes a lot to get to that point. Absolutely. I mean, I totally love what you just said and brought back some memories. Of selling office technology, high end printers, like the big Xerox machines. We used to sell in Washington, D.C., and I was told over and over again. There is no profit in that business.
| 20:36 | People are cheap and everything was stereotypical, you know, the buyers, you know, not operating interest, they’re not partners, blah, blah, blah, blah. Some of my best relationships were getting in the door with those people. They were entrepreneurs, they wanted to succeed, and they wanted someone that they could trust. And I just think they remember these occasions where they said, you know, Harry, you’ve earned the business. Well, I’m not even going to shop you this time.
| 21:07 | But don’t mistreat me. You know, they would give you this line. It’s like, I’m going to let you sell with profit now, because you’ve earned it. And that’s just a beautiful thing in sales, like what you just said. It is. It is. And really good salespeople know how to navigate to that. And they understand that a new customer relationship has a very different dynamic than an established successful relationship.
| 21:34 | Both are critical and the salesperson has to adjust and tailor their behavior and selling approach to each of those situations. You know, I wanted to, first off, let the audience know that you can find Harry’s book at https://sellingwithdignity.com/the-book/ And when you go to Selling With Dignity dot com, hit that slash, and then it’s the THE book. And I believe Harry, there’s a free preview of the book out there.
| 22:04 | Yes, exactly. So got a couple of chapters and a great forward written by Larry Levine from selling from the heart. It was a big fan of his. Fantastic. And I’ll include the link to Harry’s great work in the show notes as well. So, you know, one of the things that I think salespeople, some salespeople struggle with, I’m shy, I’m introverted. It’s hard for me to step in front of someone and be bubbly and warm and connecting.
| 22:32 | How do shy and introverted people succeed in sales? Yeah. I was just looking at a recommendation as to the traits that someone would want in their sales person. Before hiring them. These are the traits that you look for. And one of them was extrovert. And right there, it just kind of shows you how the thinking is of hiring sales managers that always has to be an extrovert.
| 23:03 | And I’m not real. I mean, I’ve learned to be outgoing where I need to be outgoing. But I am not your stereotypical extrovert. I am very borderline on that. And you know, and I just encourage people who are introverted is to ask themselves who were they rather buy from. Someone that is serving quiet provides what you need doesn’t talk a lot. Maybe ask a few questions.
| 23:33 | Isn’t really bubbly and enthusiastic, but just serves you. Versus someone who is loud, talks a lot, may even talk over you, rarely ask questions. Who would you rather? I mean, it’s a no brainer, right? And a lot of these introverted people, you know, the more quiet types, the people who can just not talk for a while. Where we can pause and not feel like I have to have center stage. Those people can sell very well.
| 24:05 | Yeah, the introvert, the shy or individual has a gift of listening. Yeah. And as we were talking about in new customer relationships, even existing customer relationships, you want your customer to talk. You want to hear their voice. It reminds me of interviewing for a job and you come home from the interview and someone asks you a significant other friend to ask you. How did the interview go? And if you say something along the lines of, well, I didn’t really say much, the person interviewing me talked the whole time.
| 24:36 | My guess is that person that interviewed you loved interviewing you because they got to share. They got to tell, talk about the company, the business. At some point, you’re going to probably have to represent yourself and talk about your successes in the interview process. But that’s usually probably a mark of a good interview. And it’s the same if you walk away from a customer engagement and the customer talked 90% of the time. You want that because they’re going to reveal where their challenges are, what their needs are and maybe there’s a pattern that starts to emerge on how you can create value for them.
| 25:08 | Yeah, totally. I mean, the great thing about the old cliche line, two years, one mouse. You know, listen twice as much as speaking. I mean, that was drilled into me a long time ago. In sales, I think you still need to, you know, offer the council and advice when, you know, the time is right to do that.
| 25:34 | But, you know, I totally agree, is that the big thing, and I tell people ask me all the time, it’s like, what would be the number one still tip you give to people? I say, learn to listen. Absolutely. So listening is probably a big part of Selling With Dignity. It’s an interesting title and a unique title. What does Selling With Dignity mean? Yeah, Selling With Dignity really covers three areas.
| 26:04 | And so I feel like you have to have, you have to treat the person that you’re speaking with with dignity. So this is where awareness comes in. They’re not just a number. They’re a human being that has struggles that has a spouse, possibly kids, frustrations, maybe not completely fulfilled in life or on the job. And we have to get to understand and empathize with those people in order to build relationships with them.
| 26:36 | So it’s the person across from us. It’s for our own self, the dignity. Meaning that we don’t compromise just because we need the business sometimes. We don’t take the shortcuts. We don’t lie. We don’t sign someone’s agreement. We don’t do anything that’s corrupt. Or even when it comes to crossing that line, we stop and think, is like, is this where I want to be?
| 27:04 | Because once we go down that path and I’ve seen it many times, once we start with a little white lies, the other lies become much easier and before long, it’s like you can’t trust the person. So dignity for yourself and finally, it’s for the craft. It’s like you’re an adviser, a consultant, if you’re viewed right, and you always want to be on your a game for your clients. So it really covers everything that we do in sales.
| 27:34 | That’s why the name. Does that make sense? It makes a lot of sense. And I like the organization into the three as well. And the craft being one of those. You know, I think we both share something with salespeople that’s subtle, but really important is that if you’re not having a good day, get yourself in a position where your customer will never sense that you’re not having a good day. Do not bring your baggage into that. And we all have tough days. We all have days where we have to get in front of a customer and, you know, between 8 a.m.
| 28:03 | and 3 o’clock p.m., it’s been really tough, but that means at 3 o’clock and you gotta be ready for it. And you sometimes have to show a resilience in order to create that dignity because it isn’t dignified to bring all your baggage into or your tough day into someone else’s orbit. Oh, my goodness, that’s such a great point. And along with that, I would say, is that I’ve always looked at the company as a product, right?
| 28:31 | The support team is part of the product that I sold. If we were to tell someone who got our product and said something like, well, it’s not that great. All right, that’s a real big flaw. That wouldn’t go over well. It was something that was just invested in us. But we can do the same thing by simply saying that’s not my fault. When something doesn’t go right, it’s like, oh, I got to talk to those people. I told them.
| 28:59 | And when we just become the hero instead of the servant, then we’ll throw others under the bus to be the hero and that too is not dignified. So Selling With Dignity means we take responsibility for everything. Even though we know it’s not our fault, we don’t deliver stuff, right? We don’t, but we apologize and say, I’ll get that solved.
| 29:28 | Instead of throwing the person under the bus. But yeah, agree, 100%, and I like, I like the framework. You know, I’ve often said to salespeople, welcome challenges. If something’s not working, it’s your opportunity to fix it. If something is not meeting expectations, it’s your opportunity to reset expectations. Don’t run away from that moment. So let’s maybe go into that just a little bit more.
| 29:55 | So taking the Selling With Dignity approach should salespeople welcome customer problems and challenges as an opportunity, or is that a threat? Yeah, I love it. I’m never forget this sales manager, and I first started in the business. Didn’t have tons of respect for him, but one thing that guy was calm under pressure. He could look at a client and just say, no problem, I’ll take care of it.
| 30:26 | And it just was reassuring. And sometimes, I mean, I’ve learned that that’s not my approach because I’ve done that too, where people just thought I was being insincere. So I feel like you have to show some empathy there and let people know that you really feel for it. So I’ve used humor in the sense that, you know, I’m always going to be self deprecating and say things like, well, it is our first sale.
| 30:57 | And I know I know it’s going to get better. All of our clients like this, we want to have any clients, right? You understand when there’s time for that. So I’ll try to use humor when I can, but all of those are opportunities to solidify the relationship. As soon as people will test us, they’ll test us. They’ll know that the delivery people are not us.
| 31:24 | It’s like going to Home Depot, picking out a washer and dryer or something and getting it delivered. They’re not going back to the salesperson at Home Depot. They’re mad at the delivery person. But they may, I mean, they may go back, but they’re not, they know the salesperson did not, but wasn’t delivering. But they’re still kind of sort of responsible. But the way you smooth things over, just listen, show some empathy and say, I get it. It’s happened to me.
| 31:54 | I understand how you’re feeling. I’d be frustrated too. Yeah. And when you do that, then people just kind of side and say, oh, this guy’s on my side. And good things will happen. I can see you, yeah. Yeah. Either thinking here. Eyes are thinking, I’m going back to experiences. And sometimes the way to diffuse a difficult customer moment when they’re really not happy with product performance, whatever it may be, is just to say, I know. It’s not good enough.
| 32:22 | Just when they’re angry and saying, this is not what I expected. It’s okay to say. It’s not, it’s not our best. We can do better. And I’m going to work to make that happen. And they can keep ranting and they may for another 30 seconds or a minute. But if you just keep acknowledging it and saying yes, and not for a moment, get defensive about it. It will soon turn to solutions, because they’re frustration and anger is that they want it to work. They need it to work.
| 32:49 | And if they can see you as the bridge between the problem and then the solution, and you can deliver a solution along with empathy, along with humor, along with transparency, follow-up, all these things, you can take a really challenging moment and turn that into something that is long-term endearing. Yeah, absolutely. I think a really simple key in this whole thing is actually breathing. So you know how what you’re in a situation that’s tense.
| 33:21 | You kind of like suck in the air and just you kind of just hold it and you’re just like, I’m mad. We’re not chilled, relaxed, breathing. And when we can be in a situation and just think about the first thing I need to do here is breathe. That takes away so much of that self defense mechanism that we feel like we need to defend or get mad or yell at somebody.
| 33:51 | And just say, you know what, nobody’s dying here. Good things can happen. I just need to get it resolved and I’m going to breathe through this, and things I’m telling you, when you focus on the breathing a little bit, your voice stays calm, and people want that. They don’t want to see you stress like you’ve never seen this before. It’s chilled and relaxed problem solving mode. Yeah.
| 34:18 | And a great advice, you know, Navy SEALs, marine raiders, green berets. I work with a special ops community quite a bit. And one of the first things they’re taught is in the most intense situation. You breathe first. Oh, my goodness. That’ll be great. Everything down. It clears. And they go through box breathing for counts, inhale four counts hold for counts, exhale, four counts hold. And that pattern is how they prep before going into arguably some of the most extreme conditions.
| 34:49 | And human being can face. So it is really, really good advice for salespeople that in a tense tight moment. Take a deep breath. I would go so far as let the customer know that you’re taking that breath. Because it will pause. It just sets the metronome of the discussion at a lower rate at a slower rate. And I think it also is a very thoughtful signal. Again, do it because it’s genuine authentic to you. However, I think that visual is also calming for the person on the other side.
| 35:19 | You know, let’s stay in the area of challenging customer moments, negotiations are often challenging moments where customers can bring forward a lot of conflict. They can bring forward the word no. How do you sell with dignity through those really challenging, say negotiation moments where customers really pushing you hard? How do you reflect back to dignity and make it work? I think this is, you know, when I use that’s a great question.
| 35:48 | Which I’m going to use now that gives me a chance to think. Yeah. So I’m going to say that’s a great question. It’s like, where do I go with this? But it all seriousness. I think the thing is, is that you have to put yourself in their shoes. And say, why is this person coming at me? We were maybe friendly, but they’re saying, look, if I don’t do this, we’re not going to get the business. And sometimes those things you just, you just have to digest it at the moment.
| 36:18 | And think on your feet is the really, we don’t want to be so defensive that, you know, we become disrespectful, but once you just put yourself in the shoes of that person and say, look, I understand, Andy, that you really want the best possible price. You want to walk away here, feeling like you’ve done well for your company. And I’m here for you.
| 36:45 | Everything about what I’m doing is for that so that you make a great decision and we work together as friends for a long time to come. What you’re asking me, I can’t do. And pause. Right? Because sometimes we just can’t. But if you say with sincerity, that you’re there for the long haul, but then what I like to do is come back with something.
| 37:17 | Because I’m of the mindset and I know some people don’t like negotiates like your price never changes, price is the price, blah, blah, blah, blah. Don’t compromise. Okay. That’s fine. But what else can you do? Is there something that you can offer? And so you can say, look, I can get you the first month with a reduced rate. How would that sound? Or how does something like that sound? Where you’re coming back with your own negotiation, but you’re doing it peacefully.
| 37:47 | And I think the key thing is, is that the buyer buys from you once every several years possibly. Yourself selling every day or several times in a month. Depends on what you’re selling. They’re selling us that they want a better price and we’re selling them that this is the price. There are two sales going on at the same time.
| 38:16 | And I’ve always asked sales reps who has more training. We’re in that heat of the moment, more often we can not just cave like we’ve never been there before. And we can’t be disrespectful. We just have to be professionals and listen, and then sometimes it’s thinking on our feet. Like, I just did there, ’cause you put me in that situation. It’s like, okay, I gotta go back, I gotta think, how would I handle this? So, did I pass the test?
| 38:46 | Flying colors, and you took a breath there too. You bought yourself some time. And I think there’s a really important artfulness if I can call it that. That salespeople need to recognize time as a wonderful asset. That’s a great question. That is, when you say that, that is a signal to the trained ear that you’re going to be thinking about it, or you haven’t been asked this kind of question before. And it’s set in a very respectful way.
| 39:15 | To me, it’s also a signal I’m going to buy myself a little bit of time. I’m going to allow my brain to catch up to my voice or I’m going to start to program what I’m going to say. Time is also valuable in negotiations. If you’re asked for something extreme, I like the idea of putting up that boundary. It’s outside the bargaining range. And also, at the same time, be thinking of what you can offer, and most people that I find in negotiations specifically that they’re energized.
| 39:43 | If they’re fired up, if they’re demanding things of you, I like to think that they’re burning a lot of calories doing that. That means they’re interested in buying from you. They would not spend that time with you if they had an alternative where they didn’t have to burn that many calories. They want to invest with you, but they may have a budget to hit. They may have an incentive to spend the money now at a certain amount and they don’t have that money next year. And so they need to get the deal done within their terms.
| 40:10 | And that’s where by putting up some boundaries, also trading value back and forth with them, offering those solutions, even those high conflict moments, what you see is that people usually rotate back to cooperation if they’re truly sincere about doing a transaction with you. And most people, if they’re burning those kind of calories and frustration or in price negotiations, they actually want to do a deal with you. They like what you’re offering. They just want it to be within their terms. Yeah, absolutely.
| 40:37 | It reminds me of an experience I actually wrote about in the book, one of my first sales negotiations. I did not know anything about negotiating really. I mean, when you negotiate in life, but in the business environment is my first time. And this is a big decision. I mean, it’s probably whatever, a $50,000 deal somewhere in that range. And it was to an ad agency. So a lot of very creative people, not sharks, by any stretch.
| 41:07 | When they brought in, their CFO to negotiate with me. And the CFO said, I called a friend. I know how much profit you have in this. And he knew of my business. I went, holy smokes, this guy knows exactly. And he said, I’m just going to ask you to drop 10%, you’ll still have your profit. And I’m like, oh my goodness. I said I can’t.
| 41:32 | And I don’t remember the exact dialog, but my thinking was, if I drop the price to him, then I’ve cheated the people that I’ve sold the product to for that price before. I didn’t realize about, you know, what I could have done. Like, could I have offered something else in return and still kept the integrity of the price? And provided whatever, something free, some little gifts, something where they were the person walked away.
| 42:01 | But three, that was a two to three hour conversation where I just was not budging. And there was so much silence. I read something from some great sales book about what you’re negotiating. The first person that speaks loses. But I think he read the same book. And so we were just sitting there looking at each other. And it just wasn’t eternal closing situation. But it all worked out.
| 42:31 | It was a great experience and I learned a lot from it. Absolutely. And it is a wise tip that, again, time being a valuable asset that if you make a proposal and the customer is thinking, they say, hey, that’s an interesting proposal. All right, they’re using the verbal cue to buy a little bit of time. And they’re thinking. And it’s quiet. Don’t jump in. Don’t think that they’re going to say no to you. And all of a sudden you say, well, you know, maybe I could also throw in a discount.
| 43:02 | You know, just allow that process to go back and forth. You have presented something of importance. Give them a moment of time to think about it. And most people, most customers, as you said earlier, spot on is that salespeople, especially those who keep up their skill set are very well trained. We’re much more trained in selling in transactions in contract and in partnering than most likely the customer we’re selling to. They’re not as well trained as we are.
| 43:32 | So don’t give up some of that good training by falling into the traps that we already know are out there. Allow for the conversation to go its way and allow the customer to share with you what he or she wants to do. And I mean, there’s a lot in there, but it goes back to this idea of Selling With Dignity. Dignity is also letting someone think about something and providing a response to your question before you jump in there if there’s some silence and try to take up all that silence with your own voice.
| 44:04 | Yeah, silence is such a valuable aspect of sales. I mean, when you can sit in silence with a person, I don’t know what kind of chemistry is going on. I’ve never researched it, but it’s like there is potential bonding and trust being built up. I’m going to research after this conversation that because it’s just so valuable.
| 44:31 | And then when people just are comfortable with you, to sit in silence, that you don’t need to speak, and they’re comfortable with that. It’s like sitting with your spouse on the sofa, you know, just kind of enjoying each other’s company. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m going to find out, but that’s a great thing. Isn’t it? Well, it’s one of those paradoxes like selling is that we all have these skills, but we don’t want to see ourselves as a salesperson.
| 44:54 | We all know the benefits of silence and even very nurturing back to, as you said, the moments that you’re with your parent and they’re just holding you as a young child and in silence, there’s the comfort of that yet in selling or in business or in a new relationship that silence is so awkward. So there’s this interesting paradox. And it’s really, again, up to the salesperson to develop his or her skills to be able to recognize that silence is a good thing.
| 45:23 | And if you can sit comfortably in it, that’s a really powerful signal as well of cooperation and trust that you’re sending to your customer on the other side of the table. So it probably again fits right into that definition of dignity. Yeah, probably does. It’s great stuff. Right, great, great. Well, why don’t we conclude on this Harry? It’s been a great conversation. I have no doubt that the audience will love it and appreciate it. I really appreciate it. And we could speak for hours on these topics because I think we’re very like minded about our approach to customers and our passion around selling.
| 45:56 | Out there should go and get this book immediately Selling With Dignity. Who is this written for? Probably everyone in the audience here all salespeople will benefit from it, but who should go out there and jump on it today? Yeah, I think anyone who feels like they’re not cut out for sales needs this. I mean, you’re going to see that if you’ve ever said, I’m not cut off for sales. You’re going to see a guy who was a missionary that served people that did not want to hear the word no that’s still does not like the word null.
| 46:28 | I still, at times, take it personally. We can still succeed. And if we don’t have to fall into the stereotypes of being someone other than who we really are, just be kind, serve people and learn to ask for the business and that’s really what I wrote the book for is for people like you. That’s awesome. That’s perfect. And it’s a great place to conclude today.
| 46:52 | I think if sales is about being kind serving others and having some thoughtful ways with dignity to express yourself to hold a set of expectations of dignity from your customers well or to curate that environment and then also to have dignity for your craft, as you said, Harry, boy, that is authentic. That’s genuine. And I would say, that’s just being yourself and sharing the goodness of yourself with other people. And when people see that, they want to move closer to you.
| 47:23 | It’s a great philosophy. It’s a great approach, and the audience will really benefit from the book. Harry Spaight, thank you so much for being on the Sales Warrior Within podcast today. Andy, this has been a blast. You asked some great questions. And I really enjoyed the conversation and your viewpoint as well. It’s just spot on. So great times. Thank you again to my guest Harry Spaight for joining the Sales Warrior Within podcast. What an energizing conversation. I really enjoyed that.
| 47:49 | I’m going to use the principles of Selling With Dignity and incorporate those principles into my next sales call to my next customer engagement. I’m going to remember this conversation. I’m also going to remember this very important tip that I don’t want you to forget is that in a moment with a customer where you’re searching for the answer to a tough question or maybe the customer is throwing a little bit of conflict your way.
| 48:15 | Part of Selling With Dignity is just taking a minute to breathe, collect yourself, focus on what your answer is going to be. Just take a moment to have a quiet sound in the room in the conversation. Also in your mind as well. And that moment is going to help you out so much. And that’s a very dignified moment to have. Harry, thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for your knowledge. Team, you can preview Harry’s book for free at https://sellingwithdignity.com/the-book/
| 48:47 | Just remember that hyphen between the and book https://sellingwithdignity.com/the-book/ . Check out Harry’s great work there and all of his other services. You’ve been listening to the sales warrior within podcasts. My name is Andy Olen, and as always, good selling, good leading and good-living.