Free Sales Training: What to Say

Want to know what to say in order to make more money? Here is some free sales training for you.

This is a session I did for some professionals who wanted specific scripting for a few different occasions when they were trying to deepen relationships.  Attending this session live would normally cost $550.

Enjoy it.

Free Sales Training: Critical Conversations: What to Say to Make More Money

Below is the Transcript of Free Sales Training: Critical Conversations: What to Say to Make More Money

Today’s presentation is on critical conversations. I’m actually going to give you a whole set of scripts that you can use for five different areas. I’m going to cover some things that you shouldn’t say. Although we started this conversation with the fact that hey, you can discuss religion, you can discuss politics, in certain circumstances I would recommend that you stay away from sex, but if you feel comfortable discussing it and it’s part of your business, go for it.

You can do some of those things to be provocative and from a marketing perspective, they may work for you. There are some things that you shouldn’t say. There are some magic words that you shouldn’t say and I’m going to share those with you at the end of our time together today.

Let’s talk about critical conversations.

What to Say When Networking

The first is networking. When you’re out networking, if you’re in an environment where it’s you and somebody else and you want to connect with that person, here’s a script you can use. This is a script that I developed for myself because I personally hate one on one networking events, an event where it’s a Chamber of Commerce event and you find yourself standing in front of somebody.

You’re in front of them and you say, “Hi. My name’s Dave. What’s your name?” By the way, if you don’t say, what’s your name? They will not tell you their name. You’ll go the whole conversation without knowing the person’s name. If you don’t think this is true, try it the next time you’re at an event. There are people that our kid plays baseball with, whose name I don’t know and he’s played baseball with them for like a year. I have a conversation with them every week.

“Hi. My name’s Dave. What’s your name?” You tell them. Then, you say something along the lines of, “What do you do for work?” or “What do you do?” and they will tell you. No matter what they say at this point, no matter what they say, even if they say, “I’m an accountant,” you say, “Wow. That’s interesting. How’d you get into that?” No matter what they say. “Wow. That’s interesting. How did you get into that?”

Then, my friends, you are off to the races. They will tell you exactly how they got into it. They’ll tell you, if you look like you’re still engaged, they’ll tell you why they do what they do. At this point, you’ve connected with them. You’ve made an emotional connection. Then, you say, “Tell me about business. How’s it going?” You can use, this is where politics can come in handy, “Anything going on in the political climate that’s affecting your business? How are things going for you?” They’ll tell you.

“What are you hoping to do this year? What are your goals?” If business is going well, “That’s great that business is going well. What are you hoping to accomplish? What are your goals?” The key thing is to get into what they’re looking to accomplish. Then, what you want to do is you want to understand why those things are important to them personally.

“Well, we’re hoping to grow by 30% this year. I know that’s aggressive but we think the economy’s going to grow and when the economy grows, our business grows.” “Oh. That’s really interesting. Why is that that level of growth? Why 30%? Why is that so important to you?” “Well, I’m a small business owner and if I grow at 30% I can hire another employee. If I hire the other employee, I can take more time off, spend time with my family.”

What you want to do, is you want to get to the personal impact that the business is going to have because that shows that you care. At this point, you could just be a lawyer looking to get their business by asking these questions but when you say, “Why is that important to you personally?” That shows that you’re looking for something more than that. You have an interest in them.

Then, the next question, it seems a little intrusive but really, intuitively, it’s a smart question to ask. “What’s keeping you from that? Why haven’t you grown to that point as of now? What could possibly be a barrier? What could hold you back?” “Well, it could be the uncertainty in the political climate. It could be this. It could be this,” or “I need a new marketing person. I’m struggling to find the right marketing person for my business. I need an outside sales person.”

That’s the point where you have an opportunity. If you’re comfortable, you could say, “Hey, would you like some help with that?” or “Who could I introduce you to that could help you in this area?” That’s the point where you have the greatest opportunity.

This last question here, “Who can I introduce you to that could help with that?” or “Would you like some help in this area?” If that’s what you do, that’s the money question but you shouldn’t feel pressure to ask that right in the moment. At that point, the conversation will probably turn to you before you get to this question. The conversation will probably turn to you and they’ll probably begin talking about you but you file it away. You go back to your office and you think about who you can connect them with to help them achieve their goals.

That’s where the relationship begins to develop because then you have an opportunity to make a connection with this person to help them achieve their goals. If they see that you’re looking to help them achieve their goals, they will help you achieve yours. I put the question up here so that you know what the endgame is. Either you’re going to introduce them to somebody to help them or you’re going to help them yourself.

One out of every 10 times, I come across somebody who I could help directly and I say, “Would you like some help with that?” They’re rocked. They’re like, “Well, what do you mean? What would that look like? How would you help me?” I say, “Look, I know a person I can introduce you to. I can connect you tomorrow,” or “This is what I do, I can help you with that.” Thoughts on these, the networking conversations?

Most of you are sharp. A lot of you, Brian and Steve and Bob, you guys have been networking for Carlos, networking for a long time. You know you have to make networking about the other person. You know that when you’re in a networking environment, you can’t walk up to them and hand them your business card and say, “Hey, do you want to do business with me?” That doesn’t work. It has to be about them. Bob.

One comment.


It’s not just the substance of what you’re saying, it’s how you’re coming across, I think is critical.

Okay. Expand on that.

The thing that bugs me, you’re having a conversation with someone in one of these networking events or wherever and you’re asking the right questions or err on saying the right things but you notice that their eyes are roaming the room.

Excellent point. Yeah.

If you do that, you’ve lost them.

You’ve lost them. Yeah.

Lost them.

Yeah. Agreed.

I think it was Bill Clinton, people who have met him said he is the most engaging charismatic person in the world because when Bill Clinton spoke to you, you felt like there was no one else in the world-

Nobody was more important than you. Yeah.

He did that. He probably still does it.


I think that’s … You know.

I agree. The way that I do it, you can come up with your own formula, the way that I do it, is if I go to one of these things and I very rarely go to these big networking things where there’s hundreds of people, I set a goal of three people. I want to connect with just three people who I can follow up with later on.

The first thing I do is I walk in, I go to the bar, I get a drink. The second thing I do is I meet person number one and then I take a break and I go talk to somebody that I already know. Then, I go meet person number two and I take a break and I talk to somebody I already know. Then, I meet person number three and I just give myself permission to relax the rest of the time so that I’m not constantly looking around the room. I think the looking around the room is part of what you get when you have somebody going, “There may be somebody better. There may be somebody better for me to meet.”

If my goal is just to connect with three people, you don’t know who these people know. The most important person in the room may be Steve Rosenthal but you’re looking to meet the guy who’s the president of Carnival Cruise Lines. Steve Rosenthal may have that connection that you need in order to advance your business and the president of Carnival Cruise Lines will never even give you the time of day. Good point. I agree. Thank you.

Quick point.


When you said, eventually they’re going to say, “What do you do?” but then you’ve got to always have your elevator pitch ready.

Ah. Okay. What do you say, Mr. Hill? When they say, “What do you do?” what do you say?

I say, “I help people fight over money.”

I love it. I love it. That’s great.

“And I usually win.”

Yeah. Okay. I usually win is good too. You’re going to win so much, you’re going to hate winning.



The other thing is, when people ask me, “How’s business?” I had a managing partner in my firm early on say, “The only answer to, ‘How’s business?’ Is business is great.” [crosstalk 00:08:36]

Yeah. It’s fantastic. Right. Yeah. That’s another good point. Okay. William makes two excellent points. The first point is, you’ve got to know what to say. If you don’t know what to say, here’s the way that I tell people about their tagline, or their commercial line, or their elevator pitch, whatever, you want to say something that’s going to get them to say, “How do you do that?” or “What is that all about?”

I personally use, “I help people make more money and get home on time for dinner every night. I help people make a great living and live a great life.” People look at me and they go, “What? How do you do that?” If you just say, “Oh, I’m a lawyer,” they’re going to be like, “Okay. How many times have I heard that?” or, “I’m a CPA.” Come on. Come up with something that’s going to make them go, “That’s really interesting. Tell me a little bit more about that,” or that’s at least going to give them an opportunity to go, “Wow.”

Klitzner has a really good one, “I solve IRS problems,” because if you have an IRS problem, he’s the most interesting guy in the world to you. If you don’t have an IRS problem, people are going to go, “Oh my God. How do you deal with the IRS all day long? How can you stand them?”

Dave, how quickly do you disengage with someone who it’s obvious to you, has no interest in your work?

Oh my gosh. As quickly as I can.

Run out of the room?


You’re out of there.

Yeah. I go, “Oh, did you hear that? I’ve got to go.” No. As fast as you can. What I do, it depends on what the situation is. There’s a story that I actually put on paper for a book I’m writing about this guy and the Aventura Marketing Council. Anybody ever been? Klitzner has been to an Aventura Marketing Council meeting. There was this guy, in when was it, Kary? When were we going to those meeting a lot? 2007? Before we had kids, right?

Those meetings, it was the economy was doing great when we first started going and then it went right into the tank. As the economy got worse, those meetings got packed. There was a guy who would come up to you if he hadn’t met you and he would run across the room and hand you a business card. He would go, “I can give you three tips right now that’ll save you 20 minutes on Excel. Do you want to hear them?” You’d be like, “What?”

I swear to God, this was this guy’s approach. It was just so overwhelming. That was the closest I ever came to being absolutely rude. I just took his business card and I went, “No,” and I walked away. Most of the time what I will do, is I would say, “Listen, I appreciate connecting with you. I will absolutely keep my ears open as I move around the room for somebody that I can connect you with. I just don’t think that your service is right for me.” That’s if they come on really strong.

If they’re personable and you can find something in common, I usually have a five minute conversation with them before I can break away because what you’re looking for in networking situations, is you’re looking for points of commonality. If the person’s coming on really strong about business and you’re having a hard time disengaging, a way to stop it is go, “I get everything about your business. Tell me what you do for fun. Tell me about your family. Tell me about what you do on a Saturday afternoon.”

Then, if you can find some point of commonality, you can make a quick little bit of chit chat. Say, “Listen, it was really great talking to you. I’ll keep my eyes open. If I find somebody that I can connect you with, I’ll definitely introduce you.” Then, you shake their hand and move way. That’s the hardest thing for me, is the disengaging, because I have this need to not make people feel bad when I’m trying to get away from them. Sometimes, by trying to do that, I do exactly what I don’t want to do because I’m like, “Yeah. No. I’ve got to go.”

All right. Now let’s talk about new client relationships. All right. You’re sitting down and you’re talking to a new client. “Tell me about the economy. What impact is the economy having on your business?” Do you guys ask them about the macro economy when you’re talking to your clients? “Hey, who are you? What do you do for a living? What are you seeing? What kind of impact is the economy having on your business?”

I’ve used that line that I gave you guys who are here, about the tax attorneys. I gave a talk to tax attorneys two weeks ago. That’s the perfect line. “They say there’s going to be 4% GDP growth next year. What do you think?” “Oh, I think deregulation and everything, maybe get us to 2.2%.” “How would that impact your business? What impact will that have on your business?”

Bob, for example, your business could be dramatically impacted by the political climate.

Could be. Could be.

Right? The people you talk to, you could have a 45-minute conversation with everybody you talk to every day about what’s going on in the political climate and the economy now.

There’s a lot of uncertainty. They don’t know what to do. Do they need to change markets? You know.




“Does volatility in the stock market or commodities market interest rates, have an impact on your business?” Carlos, interest rates have a huge impact on your business.




When you’re out there talking to people you want to connect with, real estate lawyers and stuff, interest rates, that’s an easy in, easy point of commonality for a conversation. You guys, who are criminal defense attorneys now, civil liberties, today, it’s dominating the news. There’s no way to avoid it. It’s a great point of commonality.

That’s the next question. “Does the current political climate have an impact on your business and what events currently in the news are impacting?” Can you imagine? “So, what events in the news are currently impacting your business?” Think about this in a normal climate. Don’t think about this in the first 20 days or the first 30 days of a new presidential administration.

Things in the news, dominate conversation. Any time you can pick a topic that’s in the news, that you feel comfortable talking about. That’s the big point. I’m not going to tell you you have to talk about politics but if you’re comfortable and you can do it in an intellectually honest way, absolutely. Do it and do it in a way that respects the other person’s point of view. Hopefully, you get that level of respect back.

On this topic, I’ll leave you with one thought, answer questions and then we’ll move on. If you’re having a conversation with somebody, even if they’re a client and you’re talking about politics and they make it personal and they start insulting you, at some point you’ve got to say to yourself, “Maybe it’s not worth having this person as a client.” How much money would it be worth to be insulted all day long? That’s just my thought on people who take it to that level. Questions about the economy and when you talk with people, in a business setting. Okay.

Industries. What we do when it comes to conversations, is we take it from a macro level and we narrow it down. The economy’s out here, industry gets more narrow. “Tell me, what are the top three things impacting your industry today?” If you’re sitting with a client, “What three things are having the greatest influence on your industry?” Now, I’m not asking you about them about their business yet. I’m asking them about the industry as a whole.

Now, you may be thinking, I’m supposed to be an expert. Steve’s an expert on healthcare. You don’t know everything and nobody expects you to know everything about your industry. “Mr. Hospital Administrator, what are the three things about the industry that are most concerning to you? What are you worried about as it relates to the industry? What lobbying groups or industry education groups do you belong to? What are the most effective ones?” Why is this important? Anybody want to take a guess?

To come from all points of commonality.

Points of commonality. True.

So you can join them.

So you can join.

If they’re a good client, that’s where you want to be to get more clients like them.

Exactly right. What about speaking? If you want to speak, you want to find out what organizations they belong to so that you can speak to them. You could join so that you’re in the room with them, with your clients, with your best clients. Also, you can speak to those groups so that you can speak in front of industry groups that are full of your clients who are just like your best client.

“What magazines, websites, trade magazines,” I should put blogs up there, “do you read?” Why is this important? Similar to the associations because if you write and you want to publish, that’s where you want to write and you want to publish. It’s more important to me that if you’re a writer, that you publish in places where you have [angellists 00:17:27], people who could refer you clients, are reading, or your clients are reading.

It’s more important that you do that than you appear in the DBR. The DBR is great for your credibility. If you want to write and publish in the DBR, go for it because that’ll enhance your credibility. If you have great clients in a specific industry group, every other month, or once a quarter, you should be publishing something in that trade magazine so that everybody in that industry says, “I see William Hill in Tow Truck Driver Monthly, every month. He must really know how to resolve issues related to towing companies.”

By the way, there is an Industry Trade Association for tow truck operators, for people who own towing and transportation companies. There is an Industry Trade Association for everything. Everything, everything, everything. There’s a directory and if somebody reminds me, I will send you a link to it online. It’s quite pricey but it is a directory of trade associations, of industry publications and websites and blogs and also of conventions.

Every year, they update it on a rolling basis. I think it was like $600 a month for monthly access. You can go through it, pay 600 bucks, go through it in one month and make a list of everything you need to know and you can go after those organizations or have your marketing person go after those organizations. If you’re in a firm, they should have access to that information. That’s where you need to be if you want to speak. It’s an invaluable, invaluable resource.

Now, you’re narrowing it down. You do economy, industry, company. “What’s your company’s revenue profit? How does that compare to your goals? How you doing and how does that compare to where you hoped you would be? What’s your company’s biggest accomplishment this year?” You’re further in the year, you can ask now about 2016. “What did your company do last year?”

I was with a bunch of people from Marriott a couple of weeks ago and foolishly, stupidly, I said, “What are you guys most proud of? What are you most proud of your accomplishment?” They’re like, “Well, we acquired a little hotel company called Starwood.” “Oh, yeah. Yeah. That makes sense to me. Have you missed any goals? What goal did you missed that surprised you? What did you think would be a slam dunk that you didn’t hit? What’s prevented you from achieving your goals in the past year? If you could change one thing about the company, what would it be?”

Economy, industry, company, then you can make it personal after you do that. When you make it personal, “How have things been going for you this year? What are some of the performance objectives you’re focused on? How do you measure your progress? Is there anything that worries or concerns you?” Then, the money question, “Would you like some help with that? Would you like some help with that?”

When you say to someone, “Would you like some help with that?” people don’t know what to say when you offer help. Sometimes, you’ll get a cynical person. They’ll say, “Oh, you’re just trying to make money.” “Well, I mean, I like money and money’s important because it enables me to live the lifestyle I deserve but right now I’m just trying to figure out what I can do to help you. I think that there’s three things I could do to help you.” You give them the three things and you see if they’re interested.

We don’t ask people, we don’t offer our services to people often enough. I’d be willing to bet that at some point during the course of the week, there’s at least one opportunity for you guys to work with someone, that you miss out on because you don’t offer your services to them. We have these conversations all the time and people are throwing up flares asking for help and we’re just missing them. We’re just flat-out missing them.

Here’s the thing, even if there’s somebody that you’re talking to that needs help in a different area, you still have an opportunity to help them because of all the people you know. The best days I have are when people tell me, “Hey, so and so got arrested,” or “Hey, I got a bar complaint.” That’s a great day for me because do you know how hard it is to refer these guys?

When somebody tells me that, I’m like, “Huh. I’m really sorry to hear that. Do you want some help? What do you mean? I know somebody who can help you. I know somebody who can help you right now. In fact, I can get them on the phone.” That’s great. I get to help two people. I get to help the person who’s got this problem that’s keeping them up and I get to help people who are looking for business. Don’t be afraid to offer help, even if it’s not in an area that is outside your area of expertise because you know people who can resolve issues that are outside your area of expertise. That’s how you build relationships.

What to Say When You Need to Talk About Money

Okay. Let’s talk about money. We’ve got a little time, so some of these questions are going to be contentious and I’m ready. All right. I’m getting engaged on people retaining you. “How much is this going to cost me?” Brian, nobody’s ever said that to you, right? “How much is this going to cost me?”

Not since last night.

Yeah. Let’s not talk about fee just yet but about value and your outcomes, all right. That’s a very verbose way of saying, “Look, if you’re in jail, you can’t make money. Don’t worry about how much this is going to cost. You should start worrying about what you’re going to do with the next 10 years of your life if you don’t retain me. Got it? Let’s talk about value and what you’re looking to achieve.”

I’m doing this project. Some of you guys helped me and you introduced me to some car dealers a while ago. I’m doing this project where I have to reverse engineer the sales process. I’m doing it with big ticket purchases, believe it not, like eyeglasses, jewelry, cars, that sort of thing. When I talk to people and I say to them, “What do you want to pay? I’m not a car dealer, I’m just a guy. What do you want to pay per month? You want to drive a Lexus, what do you want to pay per month?



Did I just hear that eyeglasses and cars are similar price?

Have you ever bought eyeglasses?

Not. Because I got LASIK a while ago …

Oh. Okay.

… I’ve been blissfully out of that but are you serious?

Okay. I’ll tell you the placeholder for a story to go with that.

I’m just saying.

Yes. I’ll demonstrate what I’m talking about. Yes. I will demonstrate. Okay? I’m sitting with people who want to buy a car and I say to them, “You want to drive a Lexus, how much are you willing to pay a month? I’m not a salesman, I’m just Dave.” “Well, you know, I can probably afford 450. I can go to 500 if the car’s really, really nice.” They walk into a car dealer and I say to the dealer, “Look, this guy wants to pay 500 a month. What can you give him?” He could pretty much, it depends on how long he wants to go out in terms of the deal, but as long as his credit’s good, 500 a month, he can drive a really nice car.

“Here are the three types of cars you can drive for 500 a month. What do you think?” “I’m really concerned. I think I’m getting taken.” “You just told me you could spend 500 a month. This is what you can get for 500 a month. That’s the value. Focus on the value.” There’s no trust there so it’s harder for them to focus on the value because the trust isn’t there. Make sense?

When you ask this question or when you say this, “Look, I know you’re concerned about price but let’s talk about what you want to get out of this. Let’s talk about what you want to achieve. Then, I’ll make sure that you’re comfortable that the value is equal to what you pay or we won’t do business,” that makes people feel a lot better.

Now, I said eyeglasses. I’ve got to tell you the story about eyeglasses. Just three weeks ago, we went to buy glasses. I go to buy glasses, I bought these. This is not something I can do by myself anymore because the last time I bought glasses, apparently I didn’t do a good job. I heard from my wife and my sister-in-law that my glasses were horrible and I was not allowed to buy glasses unless I went with somebody else.

I go with an entourage. I go with my wife and my sister-in-law to buy glasses. I get an eye exam. Those of you who don’t know, the eye exam is a ploy just to get you in there. The glasses are where they make their money. All of these … Steve, are they optometrists or ophthalmologists? The people who just own the eye … The optometrists, right? They’re entrepreneurs. They own an eyeglass store and they also happen to be a doctor.

I come out of the exam, they have a prescription, which I still haven’t seen. We never got a copy of the prescription. They have a prescription and then they say, “Pick out frames.” Then, you sit down with the consultant. The consultant is a sales person. I sit down with the person and it took us like 45 minutes. I got like a dozen frames. I narrow it down to four. I have reading glasses and I have everyday distance progressives.

She comes back with something like, what was it, like 650 or close to $700, for the glasses. Insurance doesn’t cover that. Insurance maybe covers the eye exam, maybe if you have insurance. I said, “Look, you know, that’s more than I want to spend.” Also, by the way, I need eye drops because I’ve got clogged pores. The doctor says to me, by the way, this is just an aside, the doctor says, “Are your eyes itchy?”

I’m like, “Right now?” She’s like, “No. Ever.” I’m like, “Sure, my eyes get itchy from time to time.” She’s like, “Okay. I’m going to prescribe you some eye drops, that’ll take away the itch.” I’m like, “My eyes are itchy because I wash my hands with soap and I touch my face.” They prescribe eye drops, which are like 50 bucks. Then, some kind of thing to clean the glasses, which is another $30. I’m like, “I’m not spending 700 bucks on the eyeglasses.”

I go, “Ask, see what you can do.” She goes wherever she goes, the consultant. I think she’s just going in the back to drink a cup of coffee because she doesn’t want to reduce the price out of hand. I excuse myself and say, “I have a question about the eye drops. Can I see the doctor?” The doctor comes out, I said, “I picked out two sets of frames. The most I can spend is 500 bucks. I can take the prescription and go to Costco or I can spend the 500 bucks here.”

The doctor says, “Give me a minute. I’ll talk to your consultant.” I go back and I sit down. I get the $700 glasses for 500 bucks. The sales process for buying glasses is identical to the sales process for buying a car, is identical for the sales process for buying a diamond. No matter what happens, you feel like you need to take a shower afterwards. It’s just awful but it’s an exchange of value for financial compensation.

“Let’s not talk about fee just yet but let’s talk about the value you’re going to receive and the outcome you want to achieve and let’s talk about how we can make sure you feel good about the value.” That’s the thing. You can sell people on anything and I hate to use the word sell because I know you guys hate the word sell. Selling is not something you do to someone, it’s something you do for someone.

You can sell people on anything as long as they feel good about the outcome. That should be your goal. Make sure the person leaves your office thinking to myself, “Man, I can’t believe I got William Hill for $700 an hour. That guy’s an $1,100 an hour lawyer. I’m getting such a deal.” Great. That feels good. The guy feels like he’s getting a good deal. Okay.

“At this point, is there anything hindering you from signing our proposal that we haven’t discussed?” Okay. Verbose, too many words. “Look, I’m going to send you a retainer agreement but I’m not going to do it until we agree on the terms and here’s what the terms are. You pay me up front. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this. At the end of the day, nobody can guarantee you a result but I’m going to give you five cases where I got the result you’re looking for. Do you think we can move forward? Yes or no?”

“Yes. Okay. I’m going to send you the retainer agreement but if you have any hesitation at all, tell me because I don’t want to spend the time, I don’t want to invest and hour-and-a-half of my time writing up this retainer agreement unless we’re going to move forward because there’s nothing in the retainer agreement that we haven’t discussed. Once I put it together and send it to you, you should be able to sign it and send it back to me within the hour. Is that fair?” “Well, it may take me an hour-and-a-half because I have to have somebody review it.” “Okay. An hour-and-a-half is fine.”

That’s the point of this second bullet. People should not be surprised by what you put in your retainer agreements. We like to send stuff out and lawyers don’t do this as much as regular sales people. They like to say, “Hey, do you want a proposal?” Then, they send out the proposal and they sneak the price in there. You’ve got to talk about the price first. They have to agree to the price and then the retainer agreement goes out. Nobody should be surprised. “What? I can’t believe it.” That should never happen. That should never happen.

Ah. I love this. Okay. You’ll have the best meetings you’ve ever had with people who can’t make a decision. They’ll agree to anything because they know they have no authority. Yeah. What you want to do, is before the person comes into your office, “Ethically, I need to make sure I’m talking to the person who can make the decision. Is there anybody else we need to include in this process when we sit down to have this discussion?”

“I will talk to you but if your husband has to be there or if you grandmother’s going to fund your defense, I don’t know that I need to get into the specifics of the case with granny but if she’s going to fund this, she needs to be the one who’s in my office with me when we talk about the price of the representation.”

Dave, why do you use that word, ethically? Maybe, are you using it loosely or-

Well, I use the word ethically because I’m concerned about somebody misrepresenting what I say and translating it back to the other person. Your ethics are what I’m concerned about. I’m not concerned about my ethics. Just to be sure we’re on the same page, you don’t even have to use that specific word if you don’t want to.

You can say, “Listen, I would feel better,” or you can say, “The investment of my time is so important to me, that I want to make sure that I not only talk to you but I talk to anybody else who’s going to help you make that decision.” If you’re challenged by that word, you don’t have to say the word ethically but I want to make sure that what I say gets translated to the decision maker, so I’d rather say it to his face. “Is there anyone else we should include in this discussion?”

Then, this last bullet, if you take nothing else away from our time together today, this last bullet will save you a lot of heartache. Here’s what’s going to happen when you come into my office. “You can say yes or you can say no. What you can’t do, is you can’t say I’m going to think it over because I will stay in that room and answer every possible question you have and make sure that we’re clear.”

“I’m going to ask you a whole bunch of questions. You’re going to want to ask me a whole bunch of questions. When we get up to leave, we’re either going to decide we’re going to work together or we’re going to decide we’re not going to work together. We’re not going to think it over. What I encourage you to do, is there’s 48 hours between now and our appointment, write down every possible question you can think of and make sure we leave no stone unturned.”

“If you can’t agree to this, to give me a yes or a no and I’ll agree to give you a yes or a no, if you can’t do this, we shouldn’t meet. Are you willing to do that?” “Yes, I’m willing to do that.” When they come in the room, they will be completely attentive to what you have to say and this is the close right here. If they agree to meet with you, you’re going to know at the end of that meeting, whether you got a deal or not but you’ve got to have the courage to say this up front.

Most of us won’t do it because we don’t want to hear, “Well, you know what? I’m really concerned. I’m not sure. I’ve got to talk to other people. I’ve got to shop around. I’ve got three names.” “Okay. Do you know what you do? Meet with the other people on the list. When you’re done, call me, meet with me. No problem.” What do we do instead? “Oh, come see me first. Come on,” because we think we’re going to change their mind. We’re going to persuade them in the room. They’ve got three names, they can … No. “Come to me when you’re ready to make a decision. I don’t need to see you before then.” Good or good?

You’re good.

Excellent. All right. Ah. We’re tightening our belt. We’re tightening our belt. “Yeah. Unfortunately, we’re tightening our belt. We’re not going to be able to use your services anymore,” or, “We’re tightening our belt. We’re not going to be able to make a decision.” “Well, let me ask you, why do you think some businesses are thriving right now, even in your industry? Why do you think that’s happening?”

Then, they’re not going to know what to say. Obviously it’s because of your sage wisdom, because of your guidance. “I don’t blame you. So are many of my other clients. Let me tell you what we’re working on together.” Any economy, even the worst economy, people are using your services. You need to come up with a reason why and you need to share that when people tell you they’re tightening their belt.

“We’re tightening our belt.” “That’s what the last six people who came into my office told me. Five became clients, the other’s still struggling. Which would you want to be?” That takes guts but it’s a good one. It’s a good one. We’re tightening our belt. Then, you’ll want to hear about some of the efficient ways to reduce the risk you are facing.

“Think about this. You’re tightening your belt. Do you want a bargain from your parachute manufacturer? No. Do you want a bargain from your dentist? ‘I’ll only clean half your teeth.’ Do you want a bargain from your heart surgeon? ‘Well, we can replace one of those valves. The other one can wait a year.'”

“Come on. Why would you want a bargain in your legal representation? I guess I could do a half-ass job. The Bar might have a problem with it but if I only charge you half … Come on. Don’t be ridiculous. You want to reduce your risk. If you’re tightening your belt, you can’t afford a lawsuit now. That’s why you need me.”

“Think about the things that people say to you, think about how ridiculous they are and you’ll come up with some, this is just simulating your thought that you’ll come up with some good reasons why you’re the last place they should cut back. Go to Disney one less time this year and hire me. Maybe take one less vacation and work with me.”

Getting paid. “Ah. I really value our … John, I really value our relationship and for that reason, I’ve asked Carrie to apply a 10% discount to your investment on this work.”

Thank you.

“As long as you pay up front. Write the check for the year. Give it to Carrie on your way out. We’ll take 10% right off the top,” or, “I’ll extend an additional 5% discount to your investment if you send us payment by X date. Once again, I thank you for your trust and I’m grateful for the relationship we’ve developed.”

My friends, you never know if you can get paid up front unless you try. Those of you who are doing monthly retainer work, if you want to try and get paid for a quarter, you want to try and get paid for a year, try offering a discount on your services if they pay up front. I work with some big companies and I’ve never had a problem getting paid up front by a big company, as long as I offer some sort of a discount.

I’ll give you one quick example. The other day, we’re at baseball and we hired a coach for my son’s team. The dad, who was the coach of the team, the team is beyond his capability now, so we had to hire a coach. They take a collection from all the parents. We have to pay like 150 bucks and that’ll get us the coach for the year. One of the dads says, “Well, I don’t want to pay up front because what if the guy doesn’t show up? Who gets paid before they do the work?”

All the dads are standing around, I raise my hand. This was curious to them and I’m like, “Are you guys lawyers?” No. I said, “Yeah. I get paid or I don’t show up,” and they’re like, “Well, how do you get paid up front?” I’m like, “Well, I ask.” I worked with IBM and I worked with Pfizer, who are notoriously bad. They pay net 90 usually because they want the money to work for them.

The way I got them to pay me is I marked up the cost of my services 10% and I offered them a 10% discount for paying in advance. They were thrilled to do it. I got a check before I ever walked in the room. What I’m asking you to do is I’m asking you to consider taking an increase on your monthly retainers if people are paying you monthly, actually monthly flat fees, not necessarily a retainer, and giving people a discount if they pay up front. You can offer it. If people say no, you get yourself an extra 5%. You just get it on a monthly basis.

What to Say When You Don’t Have an Answer to a Question

When you don’t have an answer. These are what I call 180s. When you don’t know what to say. See if you recognize any of these from political conversations. Somebody asks you a question, you’re put on the spot, particularly in a group like this, you don’t want to answer it, “That’s a great question. Why’d you ask me that?” Now they have to tell you why they asked you that question and there’s a good chance that you can move on from the topic or there’s a good chance that you can get to the underlying issue versus the point of the question.

They ask you a question and you go, “Hmm. Interesting. I’ll answer it but tell me why that’s important to you. Why is that such a big concern for you?” Then, when you know they’re just being a pain in the neck, “I get the feeling no matter what I say, you’re going to say no. I get the feeling no matter what I say, you’re not going to agree with me. Is that a fair statement?”

“No. That’s not a fair statement.” “Well, tell me why. Why is that not fair?” Now, you’re putting the burden on them to explain to you why the question they’re asking you is leading to something that’s not fair. “Why did you ask me that right now?” That’s my favorite. They ask me a question, you say, “Why did you ask me that now? Why that question now?” Then, they get all confused and they forget why they asked you what they asked you.

“What were you hoping I could do? Listen, Dave, you know, I don’t know. $50,000 is just too much. I can’t believe that it costs that much.” “Well, tell me, I told you what I would do, what were you hoping I would do?” “Well, I was hoping you would do that but for less.” Then, you know there’s a disconnect somewhere.

“Well, I was hoping that you would just give me two or three things. Well, I was hoping that I could just meet with you once.” “What were you hoping I could do? If you could change anything, what would it be? I appreciate you’re upset about this, Bob, but if you could change anything, just one thing, would this be the thing you would change or would you change something else?”

“Why do you think people work with me?” I love this one. I use it. I say, “Why do you think I’m so expensive?” You say to me, “You’re really expensive.” “Why do you think I’m that expensive? Why do you think people work with me when I’m that expensive?” “Well, I mean, I think you’re really good.” “Exactly. That’s why you should pay me. Then, take a guess off the record, I won’t hold you to it.”

Whenever you ask somebody for what their budget is and I realize a lot of people don’t come to you with a budget for your services, but when you’re in a situation where somebody needs to have a budget, “What’s your budget?” They’ll say to you, “Eh. You know … ” Nobody ever gives you that. I don’t know why they’re not honest with you, because they think that their holding back is going to get them a better deal. “I’m not really sure. It depends on what I get and everything.”

“Look, just take a guess. I mean, off the record. I’m not going to hold you to it.” The magic term is off the record. “Look, I’m not going to hold you to it. Just tell me.” “All right. I could spend 500 bucks.” “Perfect. That’s all I needed to know.”

Finally, words to avoid. Words to avoid in a presentation or in a conversation. The word just. “Just do this and you’ll be fine.” Just is a word that minimizes everything that comes after it. Take it out of your vocabulary. “Just do this and you’ll be fine.” You’ll notice your kids use this a lot. “Dad, it’s just $20. Just give me $20. That’s all I need. Dad, just buy me the car. That’s all I need. If you buy me the car, I won’t have to bother you anymore.” It minimizes what’s actually happening.

The word honestly. “Bob, honestly, I really like you.” What does that tell you? “Honestly, I really like you.” How does that make you feel? Don’t use the word honestly. We’re going to assume you’re always being honest. If you say the word honestly, it makes us assume that everything else is dishonest.

My opinion. When you speak, we are going to all assume, that if you’re not giving us facts, you’re giving us your opinion. You don’t have to say my opinion or in my opinion. Even if you have alternative facts, we’re going to judge for ourselves whether those alternative facts are really facts or your opinion. You don’t have to state that it’s your opinion.

I think. You guys are experts. You don’t have to say you think. You speak and we need to assume that that’s the truth and you need to assume that you’re telling people the truth. I think is irrelevant in the conversation. The word actually. “Actually, I was on time.” All right. Look, if you’re stating a fact, there’s no need to use the word actually. Literally. I don’t like this because nobody uses it right. Just throw it out. Just remove it from your vocabulary. Never, ever say that again.

The word very. It’s a modifier. It’s a weak modifier. It’s a tool of a lazy mind. Something is either good or it’s bad. It’s not very good. But. I hate the term but. Try replacing the term but with the word and and see the difference it makes. “I would be able to work with you and it’s going to cost 5% more than you thought.”

It seems a little better than, “I would be able to work with you but it’s going to cost.” But is a word that just gets people ready to fight.

As soon as you hear the word but, you’re like. If you need to create a contrast, replace it with the word and and watch what happens. And is a word of agreement, but is a word of conflict.

Here are a few additional articles you should read to be able to connect with clients and develop deep relationships:

Are you ignoring sales opportunity? There is a pretty good chance you are. This article will help you identify a good opportunity and take advantage of it.

Never Dumb It Down: When you sell you must be yourself. Do not water down your content or your language because you think it is too advanced for your target clients.

Combine Value and Relationships for Sales Success:  You must deliver value and you must develop relationships if you want to be successful in sales. this article discusses the ways to do this.