Step 8: The Interview – WNABE

This is the eighth step in the free sales course. It is called The Interview or WNABE (it’s an acronym).


Step Eight: The Interview – WNABE

Now it’s time for step number eight: The interview. I’ve taken you through the pre-meeting close, the client has agreed that he wants help, so now we’re going to get into really the depth of you offering your solution, and you’re going to do it using a framework that I’ve created an acronym to describe. That acronym is WNABE. Wants: What the client wants to accomplish. Need: What the underlying need is, because the client brings you what he wants but that’s just a symptom, that’s not the actual problem. The A stands for avoid, what the client’s looking to avoid. What the client fears most about entering into this process with you. The B is the benefit, what the benefits are that the client will achieve from the process in which you’re engaging. Then, the E is the emotional engagement, how you make that connection with the client ultimately to continue to work with him down the road. WNABE, WNABE. Let’s take each of those and I’ll break it down for you.

Let’s start with the wants. Every client comes to you with what he wants, and that really is only a symptom. Imagine that you go to the doctor’s office, and you go to the doctor’s office with a stomach ache, and he says, “Either you ate some bad seafood, or you have cancer.” Both opposite ends of the spectrum, right? One, inconvenient, painful, not a big deal. The other, really, really big deal, right? One symptom, two different potential problems. Well, your client has brought you that stomach ache. He’s not bringing you the underlying issue, so you have to identify first what he wants, and then look for the reasons behind it. The way that you do that is simply by asking, “Why?” The client will say, “I want this.” The client may even say he needs it, but he really wants it. Then, you have to ask, “Why?” “Why is it important? Why is this something that is going to be impactful for you?” That will help you uncover the real need.

Then, your job is to help the client see the solution will solve the actual problem. It will give him what he needs, and in return, it will help him get what he wants. That sounds like a lot of double talk, but it really is something that’s powerful when you work with a client to achieve the outcome. Think about that for a moment. The client says he wants more money, and you say, “Why do you want more money?” “Well, I want more money so that I can have more free time. That money will enable me to hire more people.” “That’s great. What you really need is, you need to hire more people, and the money will enable you to do that.” That’s how you get to the bottom of what the client really needs, and that’s what you’re looking to solve. That’s where the problem really lies. Helping the client see that what he needs is important, and helping him want that is the first part of the WNABE process.


The next part of the WNABE process is what the client has to avoid. We address this in terms of risk. When it comes to risk, there are really seven different types of risk the client faces in engaging someone who provides a product or a service just like yours. I’m going to go through each of these types of risk with you right now, so that you can recognize them when they show up in your conversation with a client. The first type of risk is the risk of physical harm. Very few of us sell a product or a service where the client could actually receive physical harm if it’s not delivered appropriately. Now, if you’re working for a cosmetic surgeon, or you’re working for a skydiving operation, well, yeah, there is actual physical harm there, so you have to address that risk of physical harm, and you have to demonstrate how your product or your service will take away the risk of physical harm the client may experience from working with someone who’s providing the service that you provide.

The second type of risk is the risk of poor performance. This is present in every sales situation. Your client is really concerned that you’re not going to be able to do what you say you’re going to do, and you can take away that risk by providing the powerful proof that we talked about previously, by sending those testimonial letters in advance, or by having someone give you an endorsement. Helping to make the client feel comfortable that you 99.9% of the time provide outstanding performance will take away this risk completely, giving them that proof, that social proof, from testimonials, from endorsements, from other people who work with you, is the way to reduce the risk of poor performance.

The third risk that the client faces in hiring you is financial risk. What if he invests his money in you and nothing happens? Even if you make your best effort and nothing happens, that financial risk is out there for the client. Again, providing that powerful proof eliminates this risk. If you can offer any sort of money back guarantee, or some sort of insurance against the financial risk, that will also be helpful. Taking the client through the step by step process you use to deliver your product or service will help him feel better about the financial risk associated with working with you.

The next type of risk you face when it comes to client resistance is lost time. Oftentimes, clients will need to invest a significant amount of time in you, and how you provide your solution, whether it’s a service or a process. Either they’ll have to work with you to deliver the service, or they’ll invest time with you to help you get ready to provide the service. The client’s always concerned that this time could have been better spent somewhere else, so you always need to reiterate the value you’re providing so the client realizes that any time he invests in you will be returned at an exponential rate. Always reiterating your value helps alleviate the risk of lost time.

The next risk is the risk of lost opportunity. If the client didn’t work with you, and he worked with someone else, maybe he would have a greater opportunity. Again, you need to focus the client on the return on investment of his time, of his money, of everything that he’s put into the emotional investment that he’s put into working with you. That will help him feel better about losing out on other opportunities by working with you. If you tend to provide only the bare minimum of value for your client, you’re going to face this risk of lost opportunity. If you always strive to go above and beyond the value you’re providing for your client, this fear of lost opportunity, the risk associated with it, will never be a factor.

The next risk is the psychological risk. The client may have hired you to solve a particular problem, and you may be the best person on the planet at solving this problem, but the underlying psychological element that this situation may continue will still be out there. The example that I always give for this is the exterminator. You hire an exterminator to come to your house because you’ve got a problem with a pest. Maybe you’ve got ants all over the place. The exterminator comes. He does a great job, and the ants go away, but the psychological risk is always out there that these ants are going to come back, and you’re going to wake up one morning and your kitchen is going to be infested with the little things. Well, that psychological risk can only be eliminated when you explain the process and how thoroughly it eliminates the problem. This is where detail really is your best friend. If you sense that your client has this underlying psychological risk issue, you need to provide substantial amount of detail, which will help them feel better about your solution to ensure that they don’t have to worry about the problem coming back.

In the example that I gave, the exterminator, the exterminator would simply explain how the chemical is so pervasive that it gets taken back to the habitat where the ants live, and the ants spread the extermination solution so that the whole colony dies. In addition, the service comes with follow up service that pre-treats all the areas of your home so that you never have to worry about the situation coming back. That completely addresses the psychological risk, makes everyone feel better.

Finally, there’s the social risk. The risk of hiring you and having everyone else figure out that they had to hire you. You experience this a lot when people are hired and they’re service providers to address a specific situation. Two situations that come to mind, the hiring of a criminal defense attorney to face, let’s say, a drunk driving charge. You made a mistake. You had an extra glass of wine at dinner. You got in your car. You were pulled over. Now you need to hire a criminal defense attorney, and maybe your name is published in the paper. There’s the social risk of, “Hey, the attorney is going to know that I made a mistake.” People feel bad about it. The second scenario I’ll give you is you hire a publicist to handle a particular crisis situation, and the crisis situation hasn’t gotten into the news yet, and the publicist is there to make sure it doesn’t get in the news, but you had to share this uncomfortable situation with someone. That’s social risk.

If you’re in the business of helping people with difficult situations, you will face this social risk frequently. You need to address it, and the way you address it is, number one, by communicating that everything that’s discussed remains confidential. Number two, if it’s really that serious, you may want to sign some sort of a non-disclosure agreement and help your client feel comfortable that that non-disclosure agreement carries significant financial penalties so you would never violate it. Number three, you want to give your client the sense that what they’re experiencing is not uncommon. They need to feel like they’re not the only person who’s ever had that problem. This way, they’ll feel like they’re part of a group. Even if it’s an auspicious group, they’re not isolated. They’re not alone. That will help them address the social risk.

Those risks are the A portion of the WNABE process. Now, we move on to the B. The benefits of working with you. Once you’ve gotten them past the risk hurdle, you can begin to talk about the benefits of working with you. Really, the biggest benefit is solving their problem, so if they’re convinced that that’s the only benefit they need, you don’t need to sell past this. Just highlight that you’ll solve the problem, highlight that you’ll solve the problem in a time efficient and effective way, and then move on. That’s the biggest benefit. That’s what I want you really focused on.

Then, finally, the E. That’s engagement. Engagement includes showing the person that you’re speaking with that you understand what they’re going through. Helping them understand that you feel what they feel. Really being empathetic and showing them that they’re not alone. They have you that they can count on in this process. They have you that they can count on to help solve their problem. That’s the emotional engagement. That’s the WNABE process, and that’s how you take them through the entire sales meeting, and once you get to the point where you’re emotionally engaged, the client is ready to work with you.