Robert BellDon’t Think Outside the Box, Use ‘Inside-Out Thinking’ To Get Inside the Box The most successful sales strategy is getting the customer to think and talk. Published 10 months agoon July 25, 2018By Robert Bell Invision July 2018 Issue Share Tweet “THINK OUT OF THE BOX.” Oh, please. Kill me now. Try this instead: first, build a box. Your own box. If you build it yourself, you’ll know what’s inside of the box and what’s outside and you can act accordingly.“Been there. Done that.” Yeah? Were you any good at? If you were, keep on doing it. If you weren’t, get good at it. Or are you above that now?“Seek a win-win situation.” Does this really need be spelled out for anyone … if your patients/customers win, you win too? You’re too smart for that.“Push the envelope.” Where? Shouldn’t you open the envelope first and deal with the contents? What if you “push the envelope” too far and there are explosive situations in that envelope? Ka-boom!“The customer is always right.” Umm…I’m a big fan of doing the “opposite” or what I call “inside-out thinking.” I like (gently) throwing curve balls as it gets people thinking and talking. And, that’s the most successful sales strategy I know: getting the customer to think and talk. Y’see, I don’t like taking things at face value; especially customers. I call this The Anti-Concept because it flies in the face of conventional thinking. Advertisement I was told, when I was younger, that I always looked for the easy way out. That I didn’t want to invest the hard work it took to succeed at whatever was laid in front of me. It implied I was lazy.Yet, more often than not, I had the same outcomes as others who went the traditional way. So, I always wondered: if the “easy way out” garners the same results as the “hard way,” wouldn’t it be illogical (in most cases) not to take the easy route?And, when I say route, most of the time, I’m talking about heading in the right direction.Most folks start from the outside and try to move inside. The outside is easy, they think. The outside is right in front of us. It’s the proverbial “book by its cover.” It’s so easy to judge a book by its cover, isn’t it?Do you know what’s in the inside? Context. Meaning. Reasoning. The “whys” and “hows” of things. As a sales professional, I know the “inside” is where all the problems and challenges exist. I know I need to get to them quickly to determine whether or not I might offer the solutions, be it a product or service. I know, right off the bat, I need to delve and investigate by asking specific questions that bring the inside out! It doesn’t take long to do this. In fact, it’s very easy and extremely efficient. Advertisement Too many times, I’ve seen salespeople making their presentations to the “outside” without knowing anything about the “inside.” In other words, they aren’t delving. They aren’t asking questions to the inside. They are just chipping away at the outside and that, my friends, is extraordinarily hard work.Change direction and go right to the inside. You won’t believe how easy and effective it can be. Besides, I’m here to tell ya, it’s a lot of fun too! Related Topics:INVISION July-August '18Robert Bellsalessales tipsselling tips click to Comment(Comment)Up NextHow to Answer a Stupid Question When Selling EyewearDon't MissWhy Do Some ODs Think “Retail” Is a Dirty Word? Robert Bell Robert Bell is the founder of EyeCoach, a Sales & Marketing Practice. He is one of the most inspirational, innovative and effective speakers/trainers in the eyecare industry. His workshop “Don’t Be Afraid, It’s Only Selling” is highly coveted. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Advertisement SPONSORED VIDEOSPONSORED BY SAFILOSafilo’s “American Eyes” Video Celebrates Elasta and Emozioni starring ECPs Peter Tacia and Heidi DancerFor the third year in a row, Safilo has looked to trusted eyecare professionals to star in its American Eyes campaign for its Elasta and Emozioni collections.Their latest testimonials are from Peter Tacia, O.D. and Heidi Dancer, optician, of Alma, MI, talking about two best-selling collections: Elasta and Emozioni.You may like What’s the Best Sale You Ever Made? ‘Hate, Don’t Hate’ and More Tips for May A Little Staff Research Project and More Manager’s To-Dos for MayPromoted Headlines Safilo’s “American Eyes” Video Celebrates Elasta and Emozioni starringECPs Peter Tacia and Heidi DancerSafilo Hoya: The Right Lenses for Sun ProtectionHoya Nano Vista—The Quintessential Line for KidsAlternative and Plan B EyewearRobert BellWhat’s the Best Sale You Ever Made? Was it the sale with the biggest price tag or where you overcame the most objections? No and no. Published 6 days agoon May 13, 2019By Robert Bell I GET THAT QUESTION all the time.“Was it the sale with the biggest price tag?” No.“Was it the sale in which you made the biggest commission?” Nope.“Was it your very first sale?” It wasn’t.“Was it the sale when you were so broke and needed a sale desperately?” Heck, no.“Was it the sale you overcame the most objections?” Nah.“Was it the easiest sale?” No way, Jose.“Was it the sale in which the customer referred you to another customer?” No, although that’s always appreciated!“Was it the time you sold the most amount of ‘widgets’?” No, no, no.“Was it the sale that put you ahead as ‘salesperson of the year’ that time?” Not even close.“Is it when you make the sale on a cold call?” No, sorry, it’s not.“Is it the sale you’ve made after trying for a very long time to sell them?” Again, no.Advertisement “Was it the sale when you oversold a customer?” Never happened.“Was it the sale when you truly met the customer’s needs?” YES!!!“Ah, finally. Okay, which sale was that?” All of them!Get it, folks? That’s what selling is all about: meeting and satisfying the customers need(s). Helping the customer acquire what they need to overcome their specific challenges and for it to be beneficial to them.So, if that’s what true selling is about, they’re all my best sale! Does that make sense? I sure hope so.I don’t care how much money I make on the sale. I don’t care what the price tag is. I don’t care how many “units” I sell them. I don’t care if I sell them after meeting with them only once or meeting with them several times before they buy. I don’t care if I get accolades from others on closing a sale. If Jimmy cracked corn, guess what? I don’t care.Here’s what I care about in a sales scenario (and, in my opinion, so should you): I care about whether or not I can help someone with the products and/or services I provide.Advertisement I either can or I can’t.If I can and I close the sale, wonderful. Wonderful for them and wonderful for me, because there is tremendous satisfaction in helping someone and getting paid for it.If I can’t, that’s okay. My product or service doesn’t meet their needs. Nothing I can do about that. Doesn’t make them bad or evil, it doesn’t make me bad or evil. The round peg isn’t bad and the square hole isn’t evil. It’s just not a fit. Pretty simple, yes?If I can meet someone’s needs but cannot close the sale because of any number of variables that cannot be overcome at the time (personalities, shipping, price, policies, etc.), I don’t get emotional about it. I will stay in touch with them and ask, from time to time, if anything has changed? Why? Because I saw the potential in being able to help them. Who would walk away from something like that?So, let me ask you: What’s the best sale you ever made? Continue ReadingRobert BellCelebrate Failure, Just like Deacon Blues Because you can’t have success without failure. Published 1 month agoon April 16, 2019By Robert Bell THEY GOT A NAME for the winners in the world.I … I want a name when I loseThey call Alabama the Crimson TideCall me Deacon Blues”— Deacon Blues by Steely DanI love that lyric. It’s clever. It expresses so much, so powerfully and concisely. “I want a name when I lose.” Brilliant.Why do I think it’s brilliant? Because no one, to my knowledge, has ever captured that sentiment before on something as common as losing. It’s as though it’s a celebration of failure.Hey, and why not?In the movie, National Treasure, Nicolas Cage’s character, says “You know, Thomas Edison failed nearly 2,000 times to develop the carbonized cotton-thread filament for the incandescent light bulb … And when asked about it, he said “I didn’t fail; I found 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb,” but he only needed one way to make it work.”The point is that no one, can be successful at anything without failing first … or 2,000 times. Yes, there are instances of success on the first try but those often can’t be sustained.Failure makes us stronger! Smarter! And, in most cases, more determined.Want to know my first failure selling?I was 21 and starting up a contact lens distributorship with a partner. He was going to run the business end of things and I was responsible for selling. After all, I was the son of an optical sales legend. But, to be honest, I’d never sold anything before. How hard could it be?It took us about two weeks to set up the business. Every day during those two weeks, I’d pass this optometrist’s office thinking they’re going to be my first call and, hopefully, my first sale. Every day, as I passed by that office, I thought: “You’re mine. I’m gonna get you!”Finally, the day arrived. It was time to make sales calls. This should have been the easiest call ever. All I had to do was walk in and say, “Hi, I’m a contact lens distributor. We have the lowest prices on brands you probably already buy. Here’s my price list. If you’d like to order, please give us a call.”Doesn’t get simpler than that.So, I walked into that OD’s office.“Hi, may we help you?” the very nice receptionist said.“Yes. I, uhhh … ummm …” I started to hyperventilate. I couldn’t catch my breath. I was so nervous, my system shut down and … well, I threw up on their waiting room floor. Bent over, I started crying from embarrassment. Thank goodness, the receptionist and doctor — who ran out at the commotion — were the nicest people. They helped calm me down and clean me up.I drove home, went straight to my room, hit the bed in fetal position (probably sucked my thumb, too) and stayed there feeling like a complete loser. The ultimate failure. Call me Deacon Blues!Fast forward to today. Here I am, a sales trainer and sales strategist who’s successfully trained thousands of salespeople and has been writing for INVISION Magazine for the past five years. Success borne of failure!So, don’t get down on yourself when a customer says, “No.” Think, “Well, at least I didn’t throw up like Robert did.” But, also, think about how you might be better next time. What does a successful sale look like and how do you get there? Continue ReadingRobert BellDon’t Just Ask Questions, Actually Listen to the Answers Sounds simple, but many don’t do it when trying to sell eyewear. Published 2 months agoon March 12, 2019By Robert Bell A LONG TIME AGO, I overheard a conversation between two people:Person 1: “Ugh, I just wish there was a magic potion you could drink to lose weight!”Person 2: “There is. It’s called water.” Sponsored ContentNano Vista—The Quintessential Line for Kids Sponsored ContentNew ‘Auxiliary Skin’ Transforms Eyewear into Seamless Sunglasses VideosTeen Sees Color for the First Time — Watch Her Reaction Makes me laugh, every time, because of its sheer simplicity. Anytime I put myself on a weight loss plan, drinking lots of water a day is on the regimen. Simple, right? Well, yes and no. The not so simple part is actually doing it. To drink all that water per day (… hold on, I gotta go refill my water bottle…) isn’t easy. It is, however, very doable.Well, it’s the same thing with selling.There isn’t a magic potion for selling (trust me, I’ve drunk a lot of red wine just to be sure) but there is a magic wand. Know what it is? Listening. I mean really listening! The best salespeople I ever meet, in any industry, are always, hands-down, the best listeners. Simple, right? Well, yes and no. The hard part is doing it. I’ll share with you how to make that easier.One of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received was from one of my first clients, Dr. Robert Ratzlaff of RealEyes in Taos, NM. About a month after his EyeCoach training, he told me I had made him a better doctor. Hmm, strange I thought. I’m not a doctor nor did I attend optometry school.“Doctor, how the hell did I do that?”“By making me a better listener.”“Ah, and how did I make you a better listener?”“By teaching me to ask better questions. It forces me to listen to the answers.”It forces me to listen to the answers.If you’ve read my sales columns before, you know I’m all about the questions. The more questions, the better. The questions I ask have a “share with me” or a “tell me” element to them. Meaning, with each question I ask, I could have “Tell me” or “Share with me” as a preface. It implies we’re on the same team. It says, “Look, I’m not trying to persuade you, I’m trying to find out exactly how I can help you.”“Tell me… when you’re reviewing your children’s homework, do you notice you’re moving the paper further away to read it?”“Share with me… what’s happening with your eyes and vision when you’re at your daughter’s soccer games in the late afternoon? Just how harsh is that sun?”“Tell me… how often is the baby grabbing the glasses off your face?”“Share with me… how often are you rubbing your eyes and exactly what part of the day do you start to feel most fatigued?”Wait for the answers. Don’t interrupt them, ever! When they’re done responding, ask another question until you have all the information you require to help them purchase all the eyewear they need.I tend to nod my head up and down while they’re responding. Why? For me, it actually feels good and reminds me that I’m an active participant in this conversation. For them, it shows them I’m being an active listener and I care about what they’re talking about.Listening. What a concept! Continue ReadingAdvertisement LatestTrendingVideos Press Releases3 days agoABB OPTICAL GROUP and Paragon Vision Sciences Announce Fifth Annual Optometry Student Challenge Headlines3 days agoShopko Optical Acquisition Completed; 80 Stores to Become Freestanding Locations Sanity Files3 days agoFor This Miami OD, It’s the Simple Things That Get Him Back On Track Press Releases3 days agoSafilo and David Beckham Announce 10-Year Eyewear License Agreement Headlines4 days agoFDA Approves Drug for Diabetic Eye Disease Headlines4 weeks agoEyewear Executive Dies Unexpectedly Headlines3 weeks agoOnline Eyewear Seller Gets More Prison Time Headlines2 weeks agoWalmart and Optometrists Agree On New State Bill Headlines3 weeks ago2 Accused of Selling Counterfeit Ray-Bans in $2M Fraud Case Headlines4 weeks agoEyewear Chain Launches Drive-Through Pickup Service INVISION Podcast3 weeks agoPodcast: What the Heck is Marketing? And What Should ECPs Focus on to Attract New Clients? Sponsored Content1 month agoHoya: The Right Lenses for Sun Protection Sponsored Content2 months agoNano Vista—The Quintessential Line for Kids Sponsored Content2 months agoNew ‘Auxiliary Skin’ Transforms Eyewear into Seamless Sunglasses INVISION Podcast3 months agoPodcast: More Ways to Motivate Your Own Eyecare Business Team Advertisement AdvertisementSubscribeBULLETINSGet the most important news and business ideas for eyecare professionals every weekday from INVISION. Facebook Most Popular Headlines5 days agoLongtime AOA Leader and Volunteer Dies at Age 62 Headlines1 week agoDry Eye Treatment to Be Acquired in $5.3B Deal Photo Gallery1 week agoIdaho ECP Takes on the Snow in Style … and More Brain Squad Members in Their INVISION T-Shirts America's Finest4 days agoA Stunning Milwaukee Practice That Is the Culmination of 3 Decades of Constant Improvement Headlines4 days agoFDA Approves Drug for Diabetic Eye Disease Headlines6 days agoEssilor and Luxottica Iron Out Leadership Struggles Headlines3 days agoShopko Optical Acquisition Completed; 80 Stores to Become Freestanding Locations Real Deal4 days agoEver Feel Like Your Billing Policy Is Backfiring?