I had the chance to chat with sales guru Kory Angelin about his new book, #SELLOUT: How a Great Experience Can Help You #SELLOUT of Your Product (Outskirts Press, 2018), which I reviewed for this site. Angelin’s no-nonsense guide is for anyone who has to sell anything, though his own background is in the fitness industry — one of the toughest markets there is. He’s had marked success along a wide range of avenues, from working with Nike to hosting on QVC to working with pro NBA athletes.
So what’s his secret? According to Angelin, the key to selling is not to focus on the sale at all. Read on to find out how.
When you say create a great experience for the customer, how does that translate into a sale?
I believe that people don’t buy what you have to sell but rather why you believe in that very product or service. When you get to know a customer and ask open-ended questions throughout the experience, and then go over pricing at the end; the customer feels more at ease and trusts you more. The result is that you have a higher chance for a sale.
Can you give a good example of the kind of customer experience you’re talking about? Rule number one: Always to address the customer by name, any chance you get. This creates a more personal bond between the two of you. Ask questions that activate the middle part of the brain, which is the decision-making part. How would you feel if you were able to drive this car down the road? How would it feel walking into the party with this outfit on? Those are good examples of how you do that. The other part to creating that experience is sharing a little about yourself. Making yourself human and vulnerable are also very important when creating a great experience. Lastly, don’t “sell” until the end. If you find yourself talking about the price in the middle of the experience, then you are failing. Price is only discussed at the end.
Why is selling so hard, and why are so many salespeople not successful?
This is an easy one. Selling is hard because we don’t go to school to learn how to sell. My degree is in Sports Medicine, and at no point did I walk into my biomechanics class and have the professor tell us we were going to learn how to sell that day. We learn how to sell from our own experiences, and those experiences tend to be at average at best. Most salespeople sell too much by talking about the great promotion or sale the store is running that day. But that doesn’t inspire people to buy a product. Get more people to believe in what you believe in, and you will have more success in selling your product.
How does your experience in the fitness industry influence your approach to business?
I have spent my whole life helping people live a healthier lifestyle. I know that if working with a trainer was free, then everyone would work with a trainer. I had to realize one key aspect in order to be great at sales — to stop thinking with my own wallet. In other words, although a $1600 personal training package was a lot of money to me, it might not be to a person who needs to lose seventy-five pounds because they have a family history of heart disease. Building value in the product or service is the most important aspect in sales. Build value and people will pay.
Can you talk about the experience of QVC? Did that change how you sell?
I give the hosts on QVC all the credit in the world. They have about 30 seconds to jump on set with you and learn a little bit about your product. What I took away from QVC is the art of an “elevator pitch,” the ability to grab someone’s attention within ten seconds. I remember practicing my opening lines a hundred times: “The versa pod xx20 is like having several pieces of equipment all in the palm of your hands.” Over and over I memorized that line, and if you watch the episode it’s exactly the first sentence out of my mouth. My one piece of advice for salespeople is to know your product and be able to pitch it within ten seconds.
You’re a popular motivational speaker. What’s the one question you get more than any other?
The question most people ask me is this: “How are you so confident standing in front of a lot of people and talking?” The answer is simple: be passionate about what you are talking about. Anyone who hears me speak will say that I certainly don’t lack passion for what I’m talking about. If you don’t believe it, the audience won’t either.
How can a small business owner use the strategies in this book to improve their customer base?
One of the chapters in the book actually teaches you how to build value and then how to ask for a sale. I find that even if people give a great experience, they feel awkward at the end when its time to ask for the money. There is a simple formula in the book where I share how easy it is to ask for money. That’s one of the most important elements of the book.
What do you hope readers get from your book?
The understanding that to be successful in sales, it’s not about selling — which is ironic. Stop focusing on the price of your product or service, and start focusing on the needs and wants of the customer. Build value and be relateable. Then you will find that at the end of that experience, a person is more likely to buy.
To learn more about Kory Angelin, visit his website.