Buckle your seat – this is going to be long – around 133 pages in Google Doc.
I have been in a sale role in 2015, and the more I was being a salesperson, the more I saw the similarities with dating. So I decided to write a book. Fortunately, in 2017 I found my perfect customer, closed the sale, and got married to her in 2018 🙂
I never finished this book, which was called sales and dating. Here are all the chapters, for free. I haven’t reviewed them since 2018, so I am not sure how accurate/terrible they are.
Sales and Dating
What Love can Teach you About Business and Business About Love
Sales and Dating
Copyright @ 2018 by Claudio Santori
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced
or used in any manner whatsoever without the expressed written permission
of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Printed by Vita Spaziale LLC., in the United States of America.
Fist printing, 2020.
S Y N O P S I S
Sales and Dating are extremely similar.
Sales is about convincing people to trust you to invest time and money into buying and using a product or a service;
Dating is about convincing people to trust you to invest time and money into a long term relationship”
– Claudio Santori
”We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.”
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S
I want to thank a few people who helped me during the process.
I wish to start with my friend, Vilius Kytra from Lithuania. I had several very productive months when I started writing this book, and then I suddenly stopped writing. Vilius has kept me accountable to write this book from the day the concept was born. “How is the book? When will it be ready?” He’d send me a message almost weekly, helping me several times to get back to it. Accountability works!
I got a lot of initial feedback when I started writing this book –and I especially want to thank the girl who pointed out the fact that I was single, which isn’t very credible for a book about successful dating. Somehow she made me understand that one doesn’t just want to be good at dating, but at finding the right relationship.
No project of mine would be complete without the input of my best friend, Simone Bocedi. He’s not just my best friend but pretty much my partner in crime. Simone and I constantly brainstorm ideas on how to grow, how to change the world, how to increase our happiness, peace, wealth. We often throw at each other some crazy 30-day challenges. Simone is the friend who pushes me to be better. He’s also very meticulous and attentive to details, and I have used/abused his skills since I don’t have any of them in my toolbox. I couldn’t be any luckier!
Finally, I want to thank my wife –Liya.
The simple principles in this book helped me find her. If I had met her before writing this book, I wouldn’t have had the chance to keep her. I am glad I was deep into the concepts of this book, since for the first time in my life I didn’t fall in love with somebody for their nice to haves. In contrast, Liya and I went really deep into knowing each other from day one. We were extremely open with each other and lucky enough to be meant to be.
T A B L E of C O N T E N T S
Synopsis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Scope and Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Prep Work : Time Boxing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
PART 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
What Started me on This Quest
The Challenges and Beauty of Dating
Part 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lesson from Sales and Dating
Chapter 1. You and Your Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NOTES: Obsessed with the Problem, Not the Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 2. The Market and the Ideal Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EXERCISE: Must Haves, Nice to Haves, Red Flags . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NOTES: Understand the Past to Rock your Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 3. Qualification: Finding out if you’re talking to the right people . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NOTES: Measure, Review, and Improve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 4. Messaging Framework / Storytelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 5. Lead Generation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 6. Sales Funnel: Journey from strangers to partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EXERCISE: Defining my Dates Funnel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 7. The CRM: Keeping track of interactions & engagements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 8: Successful Meetings/Dates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 9: Objections Handling & Rejecting: Overcoming Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NOTES: Look for Feedback, Not for Perfect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 10: Closing the Sale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NOTES: Account Managing & Being in a Relationship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Journey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EXERCISE: My What, Why, How . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Your Journey Continues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Author Bio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sales Vocabulary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Coming Soon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
S C O P E and P U R P O S E
If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.
I am not the first one to say that sales and dating are somehow connected.
This book aims to teach you tested, proven, and effective sales techniques –while using dating as an illustration.
If you want to learn a skill, you can’t just study it. You have to practice it. To fully understand and master sales, you need a lot of practice. Practicing sales is difficult, especially if you don’t have a job in sales –yet.
Dating comes to the rescue offering the perfect ground for applying, practicing, and learning sales.
And, guess what? While learning sales you will also improve your dating life.
If you’re put off by the idea of comparing sales and dating, this book is not for you and you should stop reading it now!
This is not a book about manipulating people into buying something they don’t want. When you manipulate people into doing something they don’t fully want, you end up with lots of unhappy buyers (the notorious buyer remorse), and you don’t want that. This book will show you how to build high-level relationships, and sell not only expensive solutions to businesses, but also how to metaphorically sell yourself to other people . Nobody will ever regret buying from you if you follow the tips in this book.
Once you learn how to build strong relationships with a strong foundation, your customers will literally come back every month to buy from you. So you can’t screw them or you’re screwed.
As much as I wanted to write this book for both women and men, I’m a man and I don’t fully understand how it feels to date from a woman’s perspective. This book will be inaccurate if I speak for both sexes. I discussed most of these concepts with my female friends and colleagues, and they helped me polsih things and clarify concepts. If you find something inaccurate or offensive, I would appreciate it if you could point it out by leaving me feedback.
Consider this book as a map to guide you into unfamiliar territories: sales and dating. The map is just an approximation of reality –a tool to help you navigate and understand reality easier.
My career as a salesperson overlapped for quite a long time with my “career” as a single man looking for my other half.
In the beginning of my sales career, I noticed how certain tips I read about dating could have been applied to sales. The more I improved my sales skills, the easier my dating life got. Then one day I finally got married!
>>> Taken from CONTENT OVERVIEW
Sales and dating are very important aspects in everybody’s life. At some point we had to sell something to somebody, even if just an idea; and at some point we also went out dating, or at least we tried. When we’re successful, both dating and sales have incredible upsides: happiness, fulfilment, money, growth, love, and lots of other things.
Both can be very stressful, too, especially when all you experience is rejections, from left and right; or failure, when a big deal goes really bad or a long term relationship suddenly ends, leaving scars on all parties involved.
The goal of this book is to help you understand how to become a salesperson, with examples you can apply to your dating life. It’s not just theory, but a chance to practice these techniques using your dating life. By using dating as a medium, the sales concepts become easy to grasp and test.
You might also have a feeling that you don’t want to change, that this is you and that’s who you are, and the techniques in this book feel unnatural.
To some degree I agree with you. We’re all unique and we’re all on our own personal journey. But, if you want to live a fulfilled life, you need to keep growing –at all times. This book offers you some useful tools for career and personal growth in the direction you yourself will decide to go.
Are you discovering more about yourself?
Are you thinking of applying for a job in sales?
Are you dating amazing people?
Please, read on.
I N T R O D U C T I O N
Your Results = Beliefs + Action
“Your decisions shape your destiny.”
No matter what you learned in the past, your success will always depend on what you do or don’t do. What you do will depend on what you believe in. The stories you tell about what you can and can’t do define your life and what is possible for you. Today you are here to write a new story, a different story for your life.
Reality = what you believe as being real
If you believe you’re too shy, you will create that reality. If you believe you’re ugly, your belief + actions will project that reality into the world and condition your mind to confirm your belief.
We all have stories we tell ourselves about why things go the way they do.
- I’m too shy.
- I’m too old.
- I’m too young.
- I don’t have enough money.
- If only I had this, I could do that.
- People like me are good only for this.
- People don’t like me because of this.
What’s interesting is that as much as we want to believe these things are true, they’re just our beliefs –stories we tell to feel good about ourselves. We are at peace, at least temporarily, as we now don’t have to work hard on changing the status quo. The moment you offload responsibilities on other people, on the world, on the seasons, on the weather, on taxes, you’re actually saying it’s not your fault. It’s somebody else’s fault.
Change your beliefs and your actions will adjust accordingly. When you have an excuse coming up, when one of your old stories comes up, kill it immediately and change it to,
“I can do this, I just have to work hard on it.”
Get your power back.
How does this apply to sales and dating? These are some of the stories you might tell yourself:
- I don’t have the skills to sell a very expensive product.
- I’m too young and people won’t take me seriously.
- I don’t have the right collaterals (presentations) to sell my product.
…AND the thing is, this is just what you THINK.
Focusing on what you have, and NOT on what you don’t have (what you believe you don’t), will produce far greater results.
This isn’t just for work, you can apply this to any area of your life. It certainly applies to dating where we constantly tell each other stories to justify how things are going, instead of making the decision to do the work that will ultimately change things and change direction.
- They are cheaters.
- They won’t like how I look.
- I’m not interesting enough.
- I’m not funny.
- I don’t have the right personality.
- I don’t know where to find him/her/them.
- I’m just waiting to find the one.
- I just don’t want to date now.
What if you start telling yourself a different story? What if today the story is: all I need to be successful is already in me.
Success is a journey involving continuous transformation. To make more money and to be more successful, you need to evolve into a different person. There will be challenges, but everything you need to grow and to conquer those challenges is already in you.
Here’s why you need a new story that will help you learn the secrets of sales and dating.
It’s easy to blame the economy, the weather, other people, yourself. Instead, why not start believing that you have full control of your life and you can always take 100% responsibility? With a new story, you’ll start exploring the world of sales with new eyes: experimenting, learning, going out of your comfort zone, getting tremendous results back. With the challenges of sales comes great rewards.
1) Financial rewards: when you sell something, you can make a great amount of money.
2) Learning: when you sell something, you learn how to communicate with people and better understand what influences people’s choices. You’ll constantly face your weaknesses and you’ll always find ways to overcome them.
Why do you need a new story in dating?
1) Emotional rewards: We are meant to love and to have relationships. When you find your ideal relationship, you’ll have a, b, c, etc.
2) Learning: You’ll learn so much about yourself and find new ways of growing and becoming the best version of yourself you’ve ever witnessed.
This book will start telling you a new story. A story of possibility. I can assure you, you’ll be tempted to question it, to think that you’re different, that this isn’t going to work for you, that this is valid only for people like X who live in Y and have N amount of money and don’t have Z like you do etc., etc. You are special, but don’t make your problem special. Don’t make your challenges special. Believe instead that whatever you think are challenges are actually resources you can use. Believe that the story suggested in this book can actually be your story. Don’t embrace it 100%, in fact you are you and you’re special and you’ll make this story your own with your millions of unique ways. What I’m asking here is to simply start believing that this is possible –that you can find success in sales and/or dating if you start telling yourself a different story.
Taken from PART 2 intro:
By no means is this a finished book as the more I sell, the more I find out there are new (and more) things to learn. Improving one’s craft is a never-ending process. What I’m sharing here are my experience from books, mentors, and years of practice selling software in most areas of the world, including North America, Canada, Europe, and Middle East. I’ve learned so much by working in sales, and it’s crazy how I’m still learning every day. Obviously it’s all mixed with my experiences in dating in North America, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East.
I hope this book serves you in more magical and beautiful ways than teaching you how to sell a product. Please share your story when you’re done reading it. I expect you to define better goals, clarify what you want, experience more confidence, and (why not) find the perfect partner.
Every chapter starts with a real business or sales situation and/or sales technique, followed by an explanation of an important principle. It’s followed by a story from dating, then practical tips on how to apply the lessons to your dating life, ending with an exercise to encourage you to work it out in your situation. The dating examples are there for you to understand the sales concepts better. By providing examples anyone can relate to, these concepts are going to be much easier to grasp.
If you work in sales, you can practice the concepts in your job, but if you don’t work in sales and you’re single, then go ahead and use the dating examples to practice these concepts in your personal life. You’d see how powerful they are.
This book will coach you on the HOW: how to be successful in sales and/or dating.
It’s your job to understand WHAT you really want and to make sure you know WHY you really want it.
This is going to be an incredible journey : a journey into your life –who you are and who you will become. Are you willing to do the work and play full out? and pull out all the stops OR see things into full fruition? Then it’s time to start your journey.
Time Boxing: How to focus on the journey
Let’s set you up for success. I’m sharing here one important tip on how you can maximise the benefit you’d get from this book.
You know your goals. Deep down you know why you picked up this book. You know your primary goal and you know why you want to achieve it.
Let’s do it!
My advice for you is to keep focusing on the process, not so much on the product.
Process is a habit you have like going to the gym, reading a book, cleaning the garage.
The product is what you’re trying to achieve with the process: hit 50 pushups, finish a book, a cleaned garage, a job in sales, a new date.
The product is your goal, and it can produce a lot of stress just thinking about completing it, as it might seem far and impossible to achieve. The process is much simpler as all you have to do is show up and do something for a boxed amount of time.
To remove the stress, I am suggesting you use a timer every day and practice the concepts you find in this book for a minimum of 25 minutes every day. Mornings are better. But whether morning or evening, what’s important is to just focus, without interruptions, on 25 minutes of reading and doing the exercises. This is called the pomodoro technique and it’s as close to magic as it can get.
Use a timer and start measuring your efforts. If you measure it with your phone’s timer, and keep track of every time you read this book and practice the concepts, the simple act of measuring the process will bring you back to the practice of the concepts more AND will get you closer to your goals!
You’ll be focused on just 25 minutes of execution –forgetting about the overall long-term goals. You’ll remove the stress from failure, since it’s hard to fail when your short-term goal is only to read and practice for 25 minutes at a time. You can forget about your old stories of why you haven’t been successful in the past, and for 25 minutes you believe that anything is possible for you, if you start practicing for just 25 minutes a day.
You’ll be successful in sales if you practice these THREE essentials:
- Activity: the amount of work you do
- Attitude: how you do the work
- Ability: your skills in performing the work
Let’s break it down:
Activity. You need to work hard on your sales making sure you talk with enough people, make enough phone calls, send enough messages and emails, organize enough meetings, and sit in front of enough people who will make the decision to buy or not. In the end, it’s a numbers game. If you do double than the person next to you, chances are you’ll do better.
Attitude is crucial. If you keep a positive attitude during the entire sales, your activity will produce better results. Once you’ve achieved a great level of activity, focus on your attitude to make sure your energy is at a high level, always positive, lifting all your conversations.
If you’ve achieved a great level of activity and a great attitude, it’s time to work on your ability. With enough activity to practice, and a great attitude to propel you forward, it will be easier and very rewarding to work on your skills. It will also be easier to see where you’re struggling, then you can work on specific areas to improve your skills.
P A R T 1
WHAT STARTED ME ON THIS QUEST
As a healthy member of the human species, I’ve been interested in dating for a very long time. During my adult life, I also got very passionate about sales. I love how much both helped me learn how other people behave and understand what influences their decisions. But, I also learned a lot about myself: how to direct my emotions, how to focus, how to communicate effectively, how to ask questions to better understand all situations, how to find my weaknesses, and how to have a system to improve myself.
It was a total accident when I made the first connection between sales and dating.
I just started working for this company a few months prior. One day at the office, after winning an important deal, a colleague gave me a compliment on my sales skills.
I answered back, “All I know about sales comes from my dating experience.”
I wanted to make a joke. But in retrospect, was it really just a joke?
That joke started a three-year journey into the rabbit hole which culminated in writing this book and getting married.
What I realized is that I was naturally applying most of the sales concept to my dating life, and that’s why I was getting so many dates. But sales made me understand how crucial qualification is, how crucial following up is, how important funnel management is, and that being busy with a lot of conversations (quantity) doesn’t mean you’ll close any successful deal (quality) if you haven’t heavily qualified them and checked that, indeed, there’s a good fit with you and the “potential buyer”.
At this point I started asking my self: “WOW! Aren’t sales and dating actually deeply connected, so that you could apply lessons and principles from one to the other?”
Let’s go in order.
Years back, after a major breakup, I started my self-education in dating.
Don’t get me wrong: my dating life looked awesome. Despite wanting to be in a long-term relationship, my relationships were all short, but very intense. They were constantly new –and that made it exciting,too. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I didn’t qualify my dates (qualification is an important concept we’ll explore in the next chapters) and I was dating people for the wrong reasons. These were people who I knew I wasn’t going to make happy and they weren’t going to make me happy either. But somehow they had one thing I really loved about them, and I always hoped it would work.
Hope is a bad strategy, both in sales and dating.
Tired of not understanding why I couldn’t find ‘the one’ (and keep her) and of why all my relationships ended only after a few months, I picked up a few books about dating from the bookstore.
At the time I was living in Helsinki, Finland. Winter is cold, people don’t really go out except for drinking on the weekend, so I had a lot of time to study. My best friend Simone happened to be single around the same time, so we actually studied the same books, shared knowledge, and went out “practicing” together. We learned so much about human psychology, but also about ourselves. We found recurring trends, and at last I started understanding some of the reasons why my previous relationships ended the way they did.
As you can imagine, at the beginning of my sales career, I knew more about dating than I knew about sales, so my knowledge from dating turned out to be a very valuable asset in sales: getting people to answer my emails, not having a problem on my part with talking to strangers, re-starting conversations, dealing with rejection or being ignored, convincing people to try what I was selling and finally asking for the sale (the part when hard questions need to be asked to get their buy-in, a signature on the contract).
Years of dating developed in me a certain level of confidence. Plus my extrovert, positive personality was a huge influence on the outcome –both on the way I was dating and the way I was selling.
After my initial success in sales, I wanted to close more deals, learn more, refine my skills, acquire more techniques. Since books turned out to be such a great investment for my dating life, I decided to do the same with sales: I started reading any book I could find with the word ‘sales’ on the title.
I learned more about the sales process, the importance of a healthy pipeline, research, planning, pre-qualification and qualification, setting up an agenda, knowing your next steps, knowing your strengths, focusing, forecasting, lead generation and lead scoring, inbound, outbound, and referrals. I also learned one of the most valuable lessons: Want more business? Don’t just focus on talking with new/more people, make sure to always talk with the right people. This concept is called qualification and it will be covered extensively later in the book. Qualification is what brought my dating life to the next level, which I can see now is what most people get wrong both in sales and dating. When you don’t qualify properly, you end up talking with the wrong people. The problem is that it gives you the feeling of making progress, when in fact you’re just wasting time (and money) and you’ll end up with no relationship or a very problematic one.
Here’s where things get crazy: the more I learned about sales, the easier it was to understand and improve my dating life.
So I refined my material, I refined the questions I was asking, I refined my criteria of who I wanted and why. I also changed myself in the process, changed my philosophy, and used different ways to present myself. Which ‘me’ was I going to bring out dating? Which ‘me’ was I going to bring to a sales meeting?
I worked on being that better version of myself as much as I could. Most of the time it was about removing masks I had put on with time, to protect layers of myself which in truth I wanted to show.
I also stopped complaining, or talking about the past, or making too much grandiose plans about the future. I brought my most real game, both in sales and dating.
Once I learned the concept of qualification in sales, and saw how much it was costing me and my company to not properly qualify potential buyers, I went back to dating and started applying these concepts to my potential-partners, and it worked like magic. (You’ll find out more in the QUALIFICATION chapter.)
I refined these techniques for two years before starting to put them in writing, and the impossible happened. I met my wife just three months after I wrote on my computer the first words of this very same book you’re reading. She was the one. I proposed three months after we met, and three months after that we were married. I’ve never been happier in my life. And, yes! We are still married.
THE CHALLENGES AND BEAUTY OF DATING
Just a few words on dating. If you’re planning to practice the concepts in this book in your dating life: Dating is the deliberate effort to meet somebody in order to get to know them and see if there’s a possibility to start a romantic relationship.
It’s the process that turns a total stranger into a potential partner and eventually into somebody you’re kissing, going to movies with, having sex with, and promising forever love to.
When you’re on a dating mode, you might be talking with multiple people at the same time, especially in the beginning. You meet somebody at a friend’s party, you match with somebody on Tinder, you exchange the first “Hi! How are you?” while having a meeting or coffee with a different person, and so on. As you may already know, online dating is not a taboo nowadays. If you’re single, chances are you have several of these apps installed and your friends aren’t judging you for it. It’s not a stigma to be single and be on a dating mode. Dating is a great way to meet new people –online dating makes it very easy: you don’t need to go out every night in bars to meet new people. You can be at home swiping to match with several potential partners. (This will be covered in the LEAD GENERATION chapter.)
But clearly, even with technology and apps like Tinder and Bumble, dating is NOT easy. If you’re single, chances are you haven’t found what you’re looking for. You might be frustrated wirh the opposite sex: why do they keep being so weird? You might tell yourself a story that you suck at dating, that you’re on a dating break. You went out one too many times on an awful date, and you’re now officially on PAUSE and not actively meeting new people. I am sure you’ve heard similar stories, and you know at least one friend telling them to you everyday!
Dating is challenging. You have several challenges when dating:
- Where to find the perfect partner?
(In sales this is LEAD GENERATION)
- You have to show your best side and make sure not to share your deepest secrets too early.
(In sales this is MESSAGING and STORYTELLING)
- You want to discover how well the other person matches your needs, desires, goals, vision, values. In the initial interactions there are usually lies, maybe white lies but still lies and half truths. They told you how much they like romantic comedies and you agree even if you hate them.
(In sales this is QUALIFICATION)
- When is the right time to kiss and move things forward?
(In sales this is the FUNNEL)
- You need to push things forward when there’s interest. You send a message after a date, you organize another date (in sales you’d want to make sure you always schedule the next meeting), and you always have a goal. “This time I will hold her hand. This time I will kiss her. This time I will tell her ‘I love you’.”
(In sales this is moving along the sales funnel or to the next stage, making sure you always have a NEXT STEP.)
- You need to push things forward when they aren’t showing much interest. This is not stalking, but it’s more like creating deeper interest after an initial meeting that didn’t go as expected, and you think there’s still a great fit and it’s only a matter of communicating.
(In sales this is FOLLOW UP)
This is dating.
Everybody does it differently and that’s ok. We’re not here to judge.
Imagine a scenario where people meet at school, at work, online, via a friend of a friend.
They find each other somewhat interesting (no need to be madly in love) and they start talking via SMS, phone, email, Whatsapp, you name it.
After a few messages one of the two asks the other out, they agree to meet again, and this time with no other people around. Voila: A date!
They meet in a park, a restaurant, or a bar, and they talk about life, work, love, dreams, dramas, friends in common, the past, the present, and the future.
They depart, smiling and hugging.
They meet again two days later, same routine, but this time the hug is a little longer, and when saying goodbye, there’s a kiss.
Third meeting. Now they’re both waiting for something more, for that kiss to explode, for more intensity.
Fourth. They go to the movies.
Fifth. They cook dinner at home. The food isn’t so good, but after that they watch a movie and it’s cold, they get closer and closer until they start kissing. The next thing you know they’re both naked on the couch smiling.
They repeat this for many other times, they eventually get married, and have kids.
If they were lucky they’ll live happily ever after. If they weren’t, they’ll slowly stop responding to the messages and calls, and end up like two strangers without going out ever again.
Why let it go down like that?
Why leave it to luck?
The advantages of following a method are immense, as you can increase your chances to end up with the right match.
You don’t need to be lucky. Wait, luck is an extremely important factor –that’s what all successful people have. But successful people know how to create it, and this is what this book will do for you.
The methods you’ll learn will help you become luckier by having a funnel, a definition of an ideal partner, great lead generation, nice stories, a proper qualification process, clear next steps, tools to follow up, and techniques to handle rejection. Your happiness is correlated with the amount of uncertainty you can handle. This book will teach you ways to deal with bad weather, with a dry season, and help you get unstuck and get what you want, with a little help from luck.
Even the naturals, the dating gurus –those who are really good at dating and/or sales, follow a method. They know their next steps which they execute so beautifully and naturally that it just looks like it’s all improvised.
The method in this book is aimed at helping you become more natural. Once you know the rules of the game, you can start personalizing them and bringing your unique flavor into the game, in your dates, and in your sales meetings.
No sale is equal to another just as no date is a duplicate of another.
The greatest artists, the ones who know all the rules, are the only ones allowed to break them.
Always bring your honest self to your dates –and your sales, while at the same time recognize that what you’re doing today might be improved and this is what we’re going to work on in this book.
P A R T 2
LESSON FROM SALES AND DATING
Welcome to the world of sales and dating.
In sales, you have Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B).
This book will focus mostly on B2B when a company is selling to another company, where the sales is more complex, it takes longer to reach an agreement, qualification is extremely important, and the kind of product/service being sold requires the two businesses to become partners and work together for as long as one company requires a service from the other. Most of the sales examples here are from my experience selling enterprise software to large companies.
The dating examples come from personal experience, stories I’ve heard from my friends, and knowledge gained from psychology and dating books.
ALREADY TRANSFERRED TO INTRO:
By no means is this a finished book as the more I sell, the more I find out there are new (and more) things to learn. Improving one’s craft is a never-ending process. What I’m sharing here are my experience from books, mentors, and years of practice selling software in most areas of the world, including North America, Canada, Europe, and Middle East. I’ve learned so much by working in sales, and it’s crazy how I’m still learning every day. Obviously it’s all mixed with my experiences in dating in North America, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East.
Chapter 1. YOU AND YOUR ENVIRONMENT
SALES Chapt.1 The Salesperson, The Company, and The Product
When I joined my current company I was focusing on selling the product. I thought this is what they hired me for. I sold it by focusing on all the beautiful things the product could do, all the features and benefits. Well it worked, at least in the beginning. Then more and more people stopped answering my emails and calls. I went back to the drawing board and realized that I didn’t build the credibility needed for them to listen to me. I didn’t build trust. By focusing on the product (what I was selling), I forgot to introduce me, to make sure they trusted me first. I also forgot to talk about my company, the company making the product, to build even more credibility that we, as a company, were able to deliver on the promises I was making.
The lesson was priceless: make sure they trust you (the company), then selling the product will become easier.
Sales in essence is simple: You’re connecting potential-customers, with their current needs and wants, with a solution (a product or a service) that would bring enough value to satisfy these needs and wants –at a suitable price.
As a salesperson, your responsibility is to speak with potential-customers, understand their needs, and show them how your solution (a service, a product, or a combination of both) will significantly improve their life by solving their problems.
Your potential customers will always evaluate these 3 elements:
- You (the salesperson)
- The company (the entity producing the solution)
- The solution (a product or a service)
Your job as a salesperson is to be knowledgeable and provide value at all times. When a potential-customer engages in a conversation with you, it needs to be clear that you’re there to help, and that you can help.
Your personality as the salesperson is important. But never forget that you’re not selling your personality, you’re using it to build trust and make sure they’ll listen to you.
Your job is to go out in the market, find a potential-customer, ask them the right questions to discover their pain points and aspirations, pitch your solution in a way that speaks to their mind and soul –while highlighting your solution’s benefits (be it product or service) and how it will change their life.
The people you’ll talk with don’t know anything about you, and they’ll judge you instantly by the way you’re dressed, the tone of your voice, how fast/slow you talk, your personal hygiene, the word you use, a dialect or an accent you have.
We assess people all the time, we shouldn’t not expect other people to do otherwise. This is human nature, it’s how the brain works. You meet somebody new, you have zero to limited information, and the brain gets busy associating meanings and making stories, deciding very fast if you should trust this person or not.
Make sure you’re aware of this. It’s easy to say you want to be yourself and you won’t change. But guess what, while you should definitely “be yourself as everyone else is already taken” (Oscar Wilde), you need to be aware of how you communicate who you are and don’t leave anything to chance –especially when your job is meeting strangers all day long who need to make assumptions whether to trust you or not. Depending on who you sell to and where you sell, there are elements of your personality you’d have to work on to make sure you project the right identity and that you build instant rapport, instant trust. There’s a huge difference in results. They can either decide to trust you in the first meeting of your first interactions or they decide you’re not worth their time.
Don’t let people guess, guide them.
The companies buying from you not only care about the solution, but as explained, they’ll first evaluate the salesperson, then they’ll try to understand if your company (the solution provider) is able to deliver it. In order to deliver, especially if they’ll work with you for a long time, they want to make sure you’ll be there tomorrow (or in six/twelve months). It will make them feel better to know your company has already solved the problem for other companies.
In today’s world, with so many startups coming and going, it’s important to clearly show that you’re here to stay, you’re a trustworthy partner, and you’re already working with similar businesses. Testimonies telling stories on how you solved the issues for other customers make all the difference. If you have somebody you work with who’s willing to tell a story about how you’re helping them, it will become your most powerful sales material.
The SOLUTION: a product or service
I’ve been selling software for almost 20 years. First, I was selling websites (I started building them in 1997), then I was selling online language learning via my own startup Bliu Bliu (Business to Customer, or B2C), and in 2015 I moved to Business to Business (B2B) –an enterprise software for Facebook’s marketing automation with contracts resulting in a very high monthly recurring revenue.
I sold to millions of people (B2C) and sold millions of dollars (B2B), and I learned a lot of lessons on how to sell a product.
To build a successful business you need to find a solution for a problem, a big enough problem where people are willing to spend time and money to solve it. Whether you own the company or you’re an employee in that company, your role as a salesperson is to find potential-customers, schedule a call/meeting to talk to them and understand their current situation.
It’s so tempting to start selling the solution before listening to them, pretending that you know them better than they do. It’s like going to the doctor and getting a prescription before you even tell what’s wrong with you.
The doctor listens first, and then tells you what the solution is.
Yes, you’re selling one solution, but the way you describe and sell it will be different depending on the people you talk with. They’ll come to you with different stories or different problems, but if you can understand how they need your solution in a unique way, and tell your story to solve their problem in that unique way, you’ll have higher chances to succeed.
SALES EXERCISE: Questions for you
If you’re applying for a sales position, don’t focus only on the salary, but ask a lot of questions about the solutions you’re going to sell. Why are people buying it? Who’s buying it? Why is it 10X better than your competitors? Do they know what potential customers won’t like about it? What’s missing that you can fix to make it even better? What is the company doing about it?
To successfully sell the solution, you’ll need to honestly love it, believe in it, and have an in-depth understanding of what’s doing to whom.
Always remember that, yes, you have to love the solution you provide but in a very weird way. What does this mean? Do not get too attached to your product because that’s only a temporary solution to a problem. The problem is always evolving, and so must your solution. In today’s world, there’s so much pressure from the market that you need to constantly provide more value to your customers.
If you already have a product to sell, you can practice all the concepts in this book using that example. Don’t worry if you can’t/don’t since you can also apply everything to your dating life.
DATING Chapt.1 You, Your Ecosystem, and the Relationship
>>>this is from CONTENT OVERVIEW. I see that it particularly talks about dating so I inserted it here:
You may wonder: is there a product in dating?
First we need to define the product, since you need a product or service to sell.
What are you selling? Are you the product? What are you bringing to the table?
What makes you valuable as a partner?
Let’s take a closer look at what we’re really selling when we date: it’s the relationship.
What kind of relationship are you looking for? What are the elements to make the relationship successful?
What are the elements, traits, habits that can sabotage the success of this relationship?
~ ~ ~
It’s crazy to think that not too long ago, so much of my life was revolving around dating. I even thought I was being successful. One date after another, I was getting better at starting those conversations and getting to know people. I would spend the first date talking and talking, entertaining the other person, and making sure to cover every moment of silence with my voice. Look, it was entertaining (for sure it was for me). But looking back I can see now why 100% of those dates didn’t end up in a long term relationship.
I wasn’t aware of the difference between the solution (the relationship) and the salesman (me) and I was desperately trying to sell me, instead of focusing on us.
By doing so, I also created this persona that was fun, entertaining, charming. But looking back, I don’t think that the persona I was projecting was somebody they thought they could trust, or that could take care of them.
Have you ever dated somebody who looked amazing, only to discover later that their family was totally dysfunctional and they kept blaming their parents for all the shit going on in their life? When I look at my past experiences, I can see how those experiences we carry with us are similar to a company. The way you are in your environment gives an example of how you solve problems.
Try to gossip about your ex on a first date, and if they’re smart, they’d know you’ll gossip about them to others.
The SALESPERSON: You
This is the first interesting revelation I had when I started doing sales. People were not buying me. I was just the salesperson. Yes, they had to like me in order to buy, but they weren’t buying me. They wanted the solution I was providing.
It’s the same way in dating: people aren’t buying you. What they’re really buying is the solution to their problem. Why do they want to be in a relationship? Do they want kids? Do they want love? Do they want to spend the rest of their life travelling the world with somebody they love?
The COMPANY: Your Family, Your Friends, Your lifestyle, Your past experiences
We know in sales that people will look at your company to decide if they can trust you.
In dating they’ll look at your life, your family, your friends, your past experiences, especially past relationships.
All these things will tell your potential-partner if they should do “business” with you or not. One thing is the solution you’re pretending to sell, another is the reality, showcases to them by the trail you left in the past. The trail you left in the past is very telling if you’re only pretending to sell a solution or it is truly your reality.
The SOLUTION: The Relationship
What you’re “selling” in dating is not you, but the relationship. It’s about you + the other person = a couple.
While it’s tempting to explain in a million ways why you’re so cool, you also want to focus on the benefits of being together: how both your lives will be transformed while “working” together?
As a comparison with the sales world, don’t imagine a product that you buy one time, but imagine a product or service you subscribe to and how it gets delivered to you every day/week/month. In my work I sell software for large companies to advertise on social media. It’s a monthly subscription so they pay for as long as they’re using it –every month. In order to keep them as clients, we need to provide constant value and improve the relationship to make sure nobody does it better.
The most common mistake is to think that you’re the product. I know it because I made that mistake countless times.
So we go on and try to sell how much money we have (which is definitely not me), our physical attributes, our beauty, our cars, how funny we are, how many of something we have, etc.
But it’s not about you or not only about you and your life. You’re the salesman and your life is your company.
The solution you’re selling is the relationship, the life you can have together.
So yes, initially you might have the impression that you’re selling yourself. You do need to deliver enough value and build trust in order to attract attention. But you need to very quickly shift gears and start selling the potential partnership and how working together can improve both your lives.
Initially the product is you, but very quickly it shifts into the relationship. So focus on selling the relationship instead of yourself. How does the other person’s life improve by spending more time together?
DATING EXERCISE: Questions for you
- Improve the salesperson: what elements of your appearance/personality might confuse your dates, forcing them to make assumptions about you that aren’t positive? Again, don’t think these are superficial things as basis of their assumptions. Be in control and take 100% responsibility for the outcome.
- Improve the company: how you talk about your life. Rethink how you talk about your family, friends, and especially past relationships. The stories you choose from your past, and how you tell them, will influence the final decision.
- Improve the solution: if they join your amazing life, will their life improve?
Are you offering something more than they currently have, or is it just all about you?
In sales, as in life or dating, the solution (a product or a service) is essential and it needs to be a quality solution. What you’re selling in dating is the relationship –the long term partnership that will improve both people’s lives.
NOTES: Obsessed with the Problem, Not your Solution
Sales, at its core, is about connecting somebody with a specific need and a specific solution. So first of all, sales is about being passionate about a problem. Your customers’ problems.
You shouldn’t be obsessed with your solution. You have to be passionate about your solution, your product, the thing you’re selling but never fall in love with it. Listen to your customers, their pain might change, and each time you learn something new, you have the chance to improve your product.
Because in both sales and dating, life evolves, the needs change, and you have to adapt –or else you get out of market.
When dating, what you’re selling is, well…you. But, it’s not just you. You are selling WE. You’re building a partnership and if you didn’t properly understand the needs (what you wanted and what they wanted), you might end up working with the wrong people or selling the wrong product. People who are really good in sales are good because they’re not afraid to ask the hard questions. They’re ready to learn. Learn more about the potential customers (prospects). Learn more about why their solution (the product/service) could enhance the prospect’s life.
Good sales people are humble. They know their product isn’t for everybody. They also know the competition is hard, so like they say, “You gotta improve constantly.”
Good sales people create opportunities, they have their eyes open at all times, and they’re not afraid of starting new conversations that could lead to new sales and new business.
Chapter 2. THE MARKET AND THE IDEAL PROFILE
SALES Chapt. 2 The Market and the Ideal Customer Profile
Misconception: “EVERYBODY WILL WANT TO BUY THIS!”
As a young entrepreneur, I came up with an idea to help people learn languages. I thought everybody would be interested and the entire planet would be crazy about the product we were building. Investors would ask me who was the ideal market and all I could think of was “everybody wants to learn a language”. When we launched, people loved it, but only a very specific kind of people loved it. Maybe everybody wants to learn a language, but who is so committed to be willing to pay for a new service promising X and Y? Looking back, I should have described these ideal customers and focused on finding them. It’s hard to find customers when you don’t know who they are. While we focused on bringing as much traffic as possible, we should have focused on bringing in more of this specific kind of people –who would have helped us sustain the initial growth and provided the initial feedback on the product. The feedback is necessary to make the product ready for a larger part of the market. It’s a common mistake for entrepreneurs to believe everybody will be interested. “Spray and Pray” in Wikipedia is defined as “someone who is behind cover and shoots their firearm around the cover without looking at their target, usually out of fear of being exposed. They are ‘spraying’ ammunition, and ‘praying’ that it will hit their target. This technique is also known as “blind firing”.” You need to know your target, your ideal customer profile. How big is the company you’re targeting? What kind of problem/s do they need to solve? How are they trying to solve it currently? How many people are involved in a deal? Do they have a marketing department? etc.
Defining the Ideal Customer Profile
It’s crucial to understand your market, your Total Addressable Market (TAM). It’s always presumptuous to think your solution/product/service will help everybody.
That’s rarely true.
Even products like Facebook took years before everybody could use it. They started small, with a niche they could easily find, serve, learn from, and slowly expanded to other areas/customers/geographies.
Your addressable market is the total of all the people who could potentially be interested in your product, and most importantly they’re willing to buy it, they just don’t know your solution exists…yet.
The more you can narrow it down to specific profiles the better, such as “people living in big cities going at least 3 times a week to yoga classes” or “companies with over 100 employees, selling products online, using platforms such as Shopify or Magento” or “European companies with a local office in New York”. It all depends on (and boils down to) the problem you’re solving.
Who has this problem? Where can you find them?
Narrowing it down to specific customer profiles will help you focus on your initial efforts.
You’re building a solution to solve a problem and the problem is your real obsession –not the solution.
Once you have an initial idea about your market, you can then build your ideal customer profile.
Your ideal customer profile (ICP) will constantly evolve. Every interaction will teach you something valuable about what works and what doesn’t. The more you sell the easier it becomes to sell, partially because you’ve become much better at understanding who’s your ideal customer and where to find them.
If you are really good you can sell a fridge to an eskimo. “That’s bullshit!” you may think.
Well, first of all, if you actually start to sell it to NOT keep things cold, but to avoid certain foods from freezing, maybe. It’s all about understanding the problem. But here’s the thing, if you focus your efforts on the Eskimos you won’t go very far. You can also focus on areas where the temperature is always really high, but then you need to ask yourself if they have the budget to buy it.
Customers now are much more informed than before. They can Google you, find more information, and are much more prepared compared to years ago when a salesperson could easily manipulate you. Today, it’s truly about building a relationship, making sure the customer trusts you, and providing them lots of value to convince them that establishing a long-term relationship with you is worthwhile.
Start by understanding your customers’ core characteristics. Use your best knowledge of the market and which characteristics you think will turn the relationship into a great relationship.
How does your ideal customer look like?
You’ll always learn something new, so have an open mind and be ready to update your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Today, with the best information easily accessible and readily available, who’s your ideal customer?
A powerful way to describe them is to list core characteristics under these three groups:
- MUST HAVE: no deal can be made without all of these characteristics
- NICE TO HAVE: it’s ok if they have these characteristics, but these are extras, and not sufficient when MUST HAVES ARE MISSING
- RED FLAGS : you don’t want your customer to have any of these
Building a relationship isn’t possible without these characteristics. Make sure to list the essential characteristics (the elements your customers must possess) or it would be impossible to do business with them. Doing business with customers who are missing one or more MUST HAVE can be very difficult, painful, time consuming, and expensive.
Examples of MUST HAVE:
- They have a car (if you sell software for cars, or even better, they have an electric car).
- They have an iPhone, if you sell iPhone apps.
- They already use cooking apps (not willing to, thinking about it, maybe one day…then do it NOW!).
- They live in a certain city (if location is a crucial factor in your target market).
- They have kids (or haven’t).
- They go more than twice a week to a yoga class, etc.
You know what these things are, because you’ll learn very fast that without these elements there’s no chance to conduct a successful business. Trying to sell to somebody who doesn’t possess all of your MUST HAVE characteristics is almost always a mistake, since they’re not ready to buy or they simply don’t need your solution. When you are ready to expand the business, when your product expands, when you offer a new service, only then your MUST HAVES are changing. Forcing the boundaries and trying to sell to a company/individual who’s missing your MUST HAVES, there’s 9 out of 10 likelihood it will turn out to be a painful mistake.
NICE TO HAVE
These are all the characteristics that might make the sales easier but they aren’t necessary. This is where it gets crazy, as inexperienced sales people often confuse the nice to haves with the must haves and go after potential-customers who possess many of the nice to haves but none (or only few) of the must haves. This translates into long discussions ending up in nothing, or worse, in painful business relationships where you constantly have to support the clients because they don’t really need your solution or the product isn’t benefiting them at this stage.
Be very careful with your nice to haves. They are often superficial traits, easy to fake, and not important enough reason to start a partnership with somebody.
Examples of nice to haves could be:
- They like to drive (but they don’t have a car!)
- They listen to a lot of music (but they don’t use vinyl and your business is all about that)
- They love the outdoors (but they never went skiing and you sell expensive ski trips)
- They are very friendly (but they don’t have $10.000/month to buy your solution)
These are characteristics that can (and will) destroy the relationship at any time. Make sure to note them (as soon as you discover them) and stop doing business (qualify out, we will talk more about this later) with every potential-customer possessing these characteristics. Your NON-IDEAL customer profile is as valuable as the ideal customer profile.
In the beginning of your career, you want to have as many conversations as possible, you want to be active, you want to practice your craft, and you can afford to make a few extra mistakes by talking with the wrong potential-customers. This will actually help you better understand your ideal customer profile (ICP). As soon as you have enough active conversations going on, work on refining the identity of your ideal customers.
SALES EXERCISE: Paint your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Let’s say this book targets mostly single people. That’s 110M of unmarried people in the US. Now we all know these are not 100% singles, so it would be a mistake to consider that as the market. These are also everybody over 18 and we have to calculate how many of these age brackets are in the target group, plus other variables, eventually narrowing it down until we get to a much smaller number of people who’ll probably be interested in buying the book. My initial assumptions are that this book will be interesting for people between 16 and 35 years old, mostly men.
Your initial assumptions about your customers will be more than enough to give an idea about your customers, give you a tool to evaluate the market, and see who’s potentially looking for your solution and who isn’t.
There’s almost no product that’s a good fit for the entire population. So always make sure to understand who your ideal customer is, what their characteristics are, what their buying process is, and where you’d normally find them.
Write down your NICE TO HAVES and stay away from them.
Do you have an ideal customer profile for your business? If you don’t have a business, can you think of an existing company you like and imagine who’s their ideal customer? Take two of their customers that on the surface look very different: what do those customers have in common?
DATING Chapt. 2 The Ideal Partner Profile
>>>this is from CONTENT OVERVIEW. I see that it particularly talks about dating so I inserted it here:
Do you have a clear picture of your “ideal customer” in dating?
What qualities must your ideal partner have? What qualities would be nice to have?
Any red flags and deal breakers you can’t stand in a person? Is there anything you can’t tolerate?
~ ~ ~
There was a time in my life when I dated very different people. Angela was a dancer, Tiffany was a musician, Roberta was an investor, Jennifer a realtor, Jenny was into yoga, Becca was vegan. They were all fun to date, for 1 to 3 months. Until I found out that they were crazy. But here’s what’s interesting, and thank you Mark Manson (an author) for teaching me this lesson: what is the one thing all your crazy exes have in common? YOU, it IS you! My fundamental mistake was not thinking through who was my ideal partner, what were the characteristics I was looking for in a person, what was really needed for us to build an incredible relationship, what kind of problems I had a solution for? The dancers, the musicians, the investors, the outdoors aficionados, those into horror movies, those crazy about color yellow, etc. These can all be easily nice to haves. And this was my problem, I was falling for the nice to haves (they’re easy to spot) and I didn’t spend enough time initially to check the MUST HAVES. I actually did not even have a clear list of the qualities I wanted in my partner, I just superficially fell in love with their NICE TO HAVES, got to know them a bit better, found RED FLAGS, then left. I then blamed the universe for always giving me bad dates. Fun times, huh!!!! Everything changed for me 15 years later. After missing a few sales, it was clear to me how in both sales and dating I wasn’t focusing on the right customers. I was wasting a tremendous amount of time on the wrong people/companies.
It’s very common to see this market mistake when people start dating: you go after the entire market. You’re afraid to narrow down the search, you think “I am single and this is already hard, why should I narrow down my search even more?”
Don’t get me wrong, it can be fun to date a bunch of different people, and certainly easier to get whatever comes your way.
It’s only easier on the surface but will get harder and harder as you progress deeper into the funnel. (More discussion in the FUNNEL chapter).
If you keep being rejected, or you have to break up in a bad way, you’ll soon mistakenly think it’s about you –and not the fact that you’re dating the wrong people.
There’s a lot to learn from every human being. The problem with going after the entire market (dating almost anybody willing to) is that your time is limited. The more time you waste in talking with the wrong people, the less time you have in finding quality people whom you actually have better chances to connect and build a lasting relationship with.
DATING EXERCISE: Define your ideal partner profile
Get your iPhone or anything you normally use to write, and start answering these questions.
I recommend pen and paper so your connection with your ideal partner profile will even be stronger.
Start answering the questions that follow.
How does my perfect partner look like?
Go crazy for 5 minutes. Describe them to an imaginary friend: their physical traits, personality, how much money they have, where they live, what they like. Imagine them on a Monday morning, Saturday night, or dinner with your family.
- Who are they?
– Height, weight, body shape, eye color, teeth alignment/color
– Lifestyle, income, clothes style, favorite music
– What’s their level of education? Do they work in Finance?
– Do they dance Tango? Do they have a dog?
– Are they single?
– Do they have a sense of humor?
– Do they like sexting?
– Are they spiritual? Religious? Do they believe in ghosts?
- Use another page and make this list:
Kids (have or don’t have)
Status (single, married, complicated)
Physical features that are important to you (eyes, mouth, lips, hair, ankles, calves, etc.)
Gym lover, into health, and fitness?
Loves adventure? Travelling?
Food? Can cook?
Passionate about movies? Types of movies?
Knows how to dress?
- Determine the needs of your ideal partner. Are they:
Looking for somebody to travel the world with?
Somebody to start a family with?
Somebody to cook great-tasting food for, drink wine with, or play volleyball with?
Who are they looking for? What’s missing in their life?
- What problem can you solve?
You can write,
“My partner is this and that. Oh my God! We do these and those together, we travel to these places. They’re funny, serious, intelligent, tall, short, blond, bold/shy. They have a dog… They have a beard or mustache (if describing a male partner)”
Go crazy! 5 minutes. Starting NOW!
~ ~ ~
Here’s an interesting fact. Now that you wrote it down, you have a much higher chance to find this person. Why?
Your brain is already scanning and looking for this person. You’re already thinking about this specific person.
Time to add more clarity to your vision. You described your ideal partner profile. You can even give it a name. John? Johanna? Teddy Bear? My twinkling star? Sparky? Make it funny.
From the long list of qualities you wrote down in 5 minutes, extract and highlight the 5-10 characteristics you can’t live without.
Order all the qualities by importance, which ones come first? This list is super crucial. Don’t skip it. Too often we start dating people who have a lot of nice to haves but don’t have MUST HAVE characteristics.
What are the 5-10 qualities your ideal partner must have in order for you to happily spend 10 years together?
Find 5 to 10 traits that you can’t live without: the most important things a person must possess for you to be certain there’s a future together.
My ideal partner must have these 5 or 10 qualities in order for me to be happy:
If you end up with a list, such as my ideal partner’s name should be Norma, she’s Italian/French, loves Asian food, lives in Tokyo, and speaks 8 languages including Chalcatongo Mixtec, well…think again. You want to be precise but make sure that you have enough potential people fitting the description. As in business, if you narrow it down too much you won’t have a business because, well, it’s far too narrow that the actual person is non-existent.
If it helps, these were my MUST HAVES:
– great smile and nice teeth
– amazing kisser
– loves to hold hands
– likes long walks
– positive attitude, fun personality, flexible
– great sense of humor & flirty
– single & no kids (as I didn’t want to deal with an ex who’s forever present in their life)
– no religion
– not smoking
– loves travelling
– health conscious (eating healthy)
I know, I had 11!! But these were my criteria. And lucky for me, this amazing woman exists and I found her!
Find your show stopper. You date somebody and they don’t have one of your listed qualities, then it’s goodbye. Or you’re seeing a friend (with or without benefits), but they’re not your ideal partner, then you should let them go.
You might be tempted to think that it’s ok if they don’t have even just one. Think again. These are your MUST HAVES, and you picked them for a reason. Don’t be tempted to think it doesn’t matter or that you can change them with time. It never ever happens. They won’t change and you will blame them, but ultimately you only have yourself to blame.
Go back to your ideal partner description. From all the qualities, which ones are NICE TO HAVES?
Knowing the NICE TO HAVES will help you:
(1) shape the kind of person you want to date, and
(2) clearly separate nice to haves from must haves.
When dating (or selling) it’s so easy to get attracted by the nice to haves, they’re normally the easiest to see.
But if all they have is nice to haves but not must haves, they’re not your ideal partner, or ideal customer. (We’ll talk more about the qualification process in the next chapter.)
For now, make sure you have a list of nice to haves which can be very, very long.
Warren Buffet, one of the most famous investors of our times, has a simple productivity hack that we can apply to dating, too.
- Make a list of 25 goals
- Identify the top 5 and put them in your List A (Must)
- Put the other 20 in your list B (Nice )
You’d think, “Well, the top 5 are my primary focus, but the other 20 come in a close second. They are still important, so I’ll work on those intermittently as I see fit. They are not as urgent, but I still plan to give them a dedicated effort.”
To which Buffett said, “No. You’ve got it wrong. Everything you didn’t circle just became your Avoid-At-All-Cost list. No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your top 5.“
You can find more about the story in James Clear’s blog https://jamesclear.com/buffett-focus
Don’t let the nice to haves cloud your vision. Stay focused on the must haves. Once you have them, the more nice to haves that surface the better, but no matter how many nice to haves they check, there won’t be a happy relationship if they miss even just one MUST HAVE.
These were my NICE TO HAVES:
– dances (Lindy Hop, possibly)
– alcohol free
– gluten free
– plays basketball
– listens to Jazz
– house music
Last step, what are the RED FLAGS?
These are characteristics you dislike or know that if someone has them, chances to be in a relationship are close to zero. List everything that pisses you off in people that wouldn’t result in a successful relationship. You probably didn’t write them in your initial description, but these should be easy and fun.
If you’re particular about diets, politics, religion, travelling, or anything you have a strong opinion about which you can’t tolerate someone doing the opposite of, then note that as your red flag.
My RED FLAGS were:
– impolite with the waitress
– bad personal hygiene
– talks bad about exes
– doesn’t like their job
– too shy
Make sure to know what you can tolerate (the pain you can take), what a total deal breaker is in contrast to what makes your heart beat fast in a person. The more of these elements you come up with, the easier your job will be in finding that person.
There are a billion people out there and you don’t have time to meet them all. It helps to know what it is you’re looking for in particular so you can speed up your search.
Imagine a train full of people and there’s an empty seat next to every single one of them. You don’t have time to stop and talk to each one. Without having to talk to all of the passengers, you can already skip some people because of X. As soon as you sit and talk with one, you need to know when it’s time to stand up and move on. Say goodbye as soon as you identify deal breakers. You have to qualify people at all times.
>>>> NOTES: Understand the Past to Rock your Future
When friends share with me their not-so-successful dating experiences, I suggest to them this simple and useful exercise.
Look at your previous relationships and think about why you were with these people. You see, it’s easy to complain about the people we dated: they’re the crazy ones, right? Well, I’m not too sure. We are as crazy as the crazy people we dated as nobody forced us to be with them. We could have broken up, divorced, moved out. Really!
But instead of moving on or moving out, why did we STAY in those relationships? Why instead of breaking up we kept being in these dysfunctional relationships, even when we knew it was time to break up?
It’s easy to say “they were selfish and they just used me!”
We always got something out of a relationship.
With every relationship we got involved in, it got us something in return. So what’s the selfish thing we were getting from our past relationship(s)?
What can we learn from all the suffering we went through in our past relationships?
Every victim gets something back.
The same goes if you’re single. What are you complaining about? They don’t understand you? You’re not ready for X? What’s the story you were telling yourself to be stuck in the past?
Find out what you’re getting from these unsuccessful/unhealthy relationships.
Whatever you find, this is going to be an important part of the puzzle for you to figure out your triggers . It’s going to help you identify “dangerous” situations that will trigger you again and get you back to an unhealthy relationship.
You might find a lot of nice to have traits that initially get you hooked in a relationship, only to find out later there aren’t MUST HAVE characteristics.
A classic example is us blaming people for using us. We started dating them and soon realized we wanted to help them get out of a bad situation, but what we got in return is them using us. They were the crazy one! So how about us? What we were getting back is the reassurance that we’re nice people, we’re helping others, and we’re just the victim here. It’s painful but also a reassuring feeling –a feeling that can be very addictive. That’s how people spend years with the wrong partner. It’s a struggle but we willingly stay on and bear it because we’re getting something back. The story we tell ourselves is that we’re the good ones. We’re the “not crazy” one in the relationship.
What we’re getting is this feeling of power by helping them, by putting them down, and looking at them as crazy and dysfunctional so that we don’t have to look at ourselves and our own mess.
Even by deciding to remain single we put ourselves higher, thinking we’re better than them or we don’t need them.
Get rid of the bullshit, breathe, relax, think of your ideal partner and become obsessed, in a beautiful way, in finding them.
Chapter 3. QUALIFICATION: Finding out if You’re Talking to the Right People
SALES Chapt. 3 Qualifying a Customer
I AM ABOUT TO MAKE A LOT OF MONEY
This company was one of the first one I tried to sell 4 years ago.
They were responsive to my emails, and I got really excited. We scheduled a first call, I showed them some of our features and they were super excited. “WOW, this is great, and can you do this and that”and for one hour I impressed them with all of our capabilities.
It took a very long time to get them onboard but this was one of my first clients and I had a lot of time on my plate.
We get them up and running and a few weeks later they decide not to continue working with us. How did this happen? They were so excited! I realized only later that I never qualified them. I was so busy telling them how great the software was, that I never spent the time figuring out if they had the kind of pain the software could solve. I also did not figure out if they were the kind of company who could afford/successfully use it. I was convinced that if I am really good at selling, anybody would buy. This philosophy has cost me a lot of money as for the first months I was trying to sell to so many companies that in reality couldn’t afford or didn’t really need what I was selling. The lesson was painful and yet extremely valuable: passion is important, but in the beginning you have to slow down and ask a lot of questions.
In business, when you qualify a customer, you are figuring out if there is a great fit between their problems and your solutions.
When you google Qualification Methodology you will find things like BANT and MEDDIC. These are qualification methodology, where bant stand for
Budget: can they afford it
Authority: do they have the authority to buy?
Need: Do they have the kind of problems you can solve?
Timing: is this urgent? (MUST HAVE vs NICE To HAVE)
Meddic stands for Metrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identify pain, and Champion.
Qualification is such a crucial part of sales, but oftentimes neglected. When you qualify a potential customer, you are assessing if you are talking with a strong candidate, a prospect, or you are just wasting time with a suspect –a person without the quality, the wants, and the needs to actually buy. Does the buyer have the characteristics and needs that match with the ideal customer profile (ICP)? Do they have the budget? Can they sing the contract? Is their need aligned with your solution? How urgently are they looking for a solution?
Look at those situations:
- Would you try to sell a very expensive security system to your cousin’s new very small company? (Budget)
- Would you sell an UltraHD TV to a kid wandering around a store? Or would you help him find his parents? (Authority & Budget)
- Would you sell an iPhone charger to an Android user? (Need)
- Would you try to sell a car to somebody who just bought a Tesla? (Timing)
Qualification is a relentless process, as you want to make sure a prospect is always qualified at every stage of the funnel, or you risk wasting time or selling to the wrong people with serious consequences which we will discuss in this chapter.
You need to know your customers. You need to know how they look like, what they’re looking for, and why they need what you have to offer. You need to know which kind of people responds better to your offering, what specific needs they have, and also what they should NOT have in order to buy from you.
The Power of Questions
Questions are the most powerful way to find out about a person or company. You can learn so much about a person by asking questions. A junior salesperson will tend to speak a lot about themselves, the company, and their solution –trying to convince the other party to buy. This rarely works. The secret is to ask questions and then simply listen. Listening (while asking questions to guide the conversation) is the number one success strategy in sales.
The quality of your life = the quality of your questions.
If you haven’t been successful in sales, you probably haven’t asked the right or enough questions. You neglected to find out about a person, you skipped ahead, and tried to sell to a person who wasn’t qualified to buy and was far from your ideal customer profile.
The art of sales is driving a conversation by asking the right questions.
For example, in every meeting you want to come with a strong agenda and then ask: “is there anything else you would like to talk about today?” and then make sure their point or answer is on the agenda.
The best way to qualify a customer: ask a lot of questions.
Not just random questions, but a set of pre-defined questions that will help you understand if they are a good fit, without them feeling like you are interviewing them for a crime they committed.
There are questions you will find an answer even before you speak to them.
Answering as many questions as possible upfront, will save you a lot of time. Now you know that even before meeting or calling them, you have done some pre-qualification. We will talk more about qualification in the discovery call chapter.
Looking back at your ideal customer profile, which are some of the questions you need to get an answer to make sure there is a good fit? Make sure they’re around discovering must have qualities and red flags –as described a few pages before.
As every good sales person, your job is to come up with an initial set of questions, practice OR rehearse them, and ask them during your first meeting.
How big is the company?
How much money they made last year?
Where is their Headquarter?
Do they have a marketing team or do they work with an agency?
I suggest to have 3 columns
|What do I need to know||Easy Questions||Smart Questions|
|Can they afford it?||Can you afford to buy my $1M software?||Out of curiosity, how much did you spend last year for the current solution?|
|Do they have the authority?||Will you be able to sign the contract?||What would it take for you and your company to become a customer? (I got this from my friend Steli Efti).|
You don’t need to get it perfect. Once you start working, and having real conversations, you will know what is missing in your question-box, and you will learn how to refine those questions to start great conversations instead of feeling like you are coldly fishing for information.
You’ll learn a lot the first time you ask them and you’ll be inspired to make your questions even better.
Make sure to mix close-ended questions or yes-no type of questions (Do you use this? Have you ever tried X? Are you more than 10 people working in this office?) with open-ended questions (Can you tell me more about this? Why is that? How is this done?).
If you didn’t qualify properly, you’ll sell to the wrong person. By the way, it’s totally your fault since you were in control of the sales the whole time and you simply failed to do some basic discovery to find out if your prospect had the qualities you required for a successful relationship.
DATING Chapt.3 Qualifying a Date/Potential-Partner
I have a couple of friends who had lost faith in me. In fact every 3 months or so, they would receive this exact same text message from me: “I found the one, she is the woman of my life!”. In the beginning they would respond “I know, you told me 3 months ago already, happy to see things are going well” to what I responded “no no, this is a different one, this one is the one”.
Here is what was happening. My dating life was quite active. For a long time I was either single, or meeting people, or involved in a short 3-month relationship. I was constantly feeling in between “I found the one” to “I am so unlucky, I will never find the one”.
I entered a spiral where all my dates were amazing in the beginning, just to find out 3 months later that they did not have enough of this, or they were too much of that and so on. Was I finding excuses to breaking up? The reality is that they were all these things already when I met them, so why was I blaming them now after spending weeks/months together? Could I have not spotted it earlier on?
In the beginning, I loved their smiles, their jokes, their passion for the outdoors, their being alternative, thinking differently, dancing, listening to jazz, being into yoga. There was always one thing that got my attention, and I was quick to generalize that trait and make the all person special, the one. My problem was very simple: I never truly qualified them in the beginning. Subconsciously I knew what I wanted from a woman, and yet I never checked for those qualities in the beginning, fell in love with my nice-to-have, ignored a few red flags and slowly, painfully discovered my MUST-have were not there.
HOW TO FIND OUT IF HE OR SHE IS THE ONE?
I’ve been guilty of being addicted to dating the wrong people.
I’ve been complaining to my friends about how crazy X was, how strange Y was, when in reality it was just my fault.
Nobody was crazy, stange, or stupid. They were just not a good match and I should have qualified earlier in the process and stopped pursuing them.
Qualification is one of the most important skills when it comes to sales, and apparently also in dating. When you speak online with several prospects it might feel good, they’re responding, we’re talking, we’re exchanging information, we’re slowly getting to know them. A lot of them.
The problem is, our time is limited, and we can really get to know only a limited amount of people. When we fail to qualify earlier, we’re now wasting time with prospects who aren’t a good match. When you qualify a prospect you go through a list of values, qualities, and elements that the prospect should posses in order to be a good prospect.
When you’re buying something, you get qualified all the time. A good sales person will ask questions to understand if this is a good match for you:
– Do you have the money to buy?
– When are you making the decision?
– Do you have certain pains the service can solve?
You should do the same.
Ask questions early on to qualify your prospects and understand who you should spend time with and who you should drop early on.
Who is it that you’re ultimately looking for ? How do they look like? What do they like?
Are they active? Sporty?
Do they love specific TV series?
Should they be politically involved?
Are they following a specific diet? Paleo or Vegan?
What are their must haves to be good prospects?
What are the traits they should NOT have, the red flags, you should look for to drop prospects early on?
What are nice to have qualities that you appreciate and will make life easier, but not really a must, to close the deal ?
Some are afraid that by discarding too many people there’ll be nothing left. Obviously when you start, you can be more flexible but as soon as you’re juggling between several people, you should be ruthless and qualify all your prospects diligently.
Why qualification is important:
– Reduces wasting time with bad prospects
– Helps with focusing on quality prospects
– Helps in formulating a clear picture of who you’re looking for and the qualities they should possess
So what’s the best way to get to know somebody? Ask a lot of questions and let them talk.
More importantly, ask them a lot of great questions.
When you ask questions, you’re guiding the conversation on specific direction. You can keep it very interesting and get to know the other person on a very deep level.
We’re all tempted to talk a lot about our self, but at the end of the day, you won’t know anything about the other person. Most importantly, you might be talking about things they don’t care about and you’d fail to discover they’re in love with subject X which is also something you deeply love.
Qualification is crucial, both in sales and dating. You want to discover as early as possible if the person you are meeting has a high percentage to be a high quality match. By simply using your Idea Partner Profile, you can quickly check how many MUST-HAVE the person has. Are there any RED-FLAGS? what about the NICE-TO-HAVE?
My problem was that I was too busy telling my stories, and did not spend enough time asking questions.
Questions are the most powerful way to discover the truth. The alternative is to guess, or hope things will turn for the best. Hope is a bad strategy. Yes luck is important, you have to be lucky too to find love, but you can help luck by asking a lot of questions, a lot of the right questions to help you qualify early on.
One strategy is to blame it on them, as they did not change, or they suddenly revealed to you they are not a great fit. A different one is to take control and 100% responsibility and ask the right questions.
Should you ask them question about Sex/Money/Politics and religion on a first date?
I just googled “What to avoid on a first date and I found this list”: Ex, money, politics, religion, family background, sexual experience, marriage, sex, secrets, work drama.
Look, I agree and I disagree. I agree you should not make a first date awkward by having a fight around those topics.
Keep it light and avoid these topics in the very beginning, unless there is a very important value/quality you need to find out if they have or don’t have. I always asked questions about religion very early since it was very important for me to understand where they stand when it comes to spiritual belief.
You want to know where your prospects are standing with these important topics but at the same time you don’t want to start a hostile conversation too early before you established trust.
Do you want to know if they are married?
Do you want to know if they have money?
Do you want to know if they are religious or not?
Do you want to know if they get along with their parents?
Do you want to know if they have kids?
Find a way, direct or indirect, to ask them. You won’t find out everything on your first date.
Every other interaction, phone calls, messages, meetings, is an opportunity to learn more about the qualities they need to have so that you can be together.
This is going to be the most important exercise of the entire book. This is how important qualification is.
The questions you will find for yourself, will be the key to finding the best partners you have ever spent time with in your entire life.
Qualification goals. You will ask great questions
- To know more about the good things > to confirm you are investing your time wisely
- To know more about the bad things > to understand you should not invest more time in this relationship.
In the beginning you want to make fast decisions, especially as you don’t have any bias in the relationship, both have not invested a significant amount of time and money in it and you can separate without emotional/financial issues.
You have done the exercise on finding the ideal partner, so you know what kind of person you are looking for. You know the quality that person MUST-HAVE, you know your RED-FLAGS and you know your NICE to HAVE.
When you ask questions, you want a mix of all of those, and you also want to find ways to be indirect and subbdle with your questions, as you don’t want to hurt the other person, or make it sound like this is a police interrogation and not a pleasant date.
The exercise is simple:
Know which answers are important for you to know, so that you can easily decide “this has potential” or “this should end now”. These are the MUST-HAVE and RED-FLAGS from your Idea Customer Profile
Think of why your previous relationships failed. Look inside yourself and find something about you, not them, that did not make it work. Is there a question you can ask your new dates to find out something to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into?
Formulate the most direct version of the question. For example “Do you have kids?” “Do you have a dog?” “Have you ever been married?” “How much money do you have in your bank account?”
These questions are mostly for you, to make sure you can ask them silently to yourself and be brutally honest. They have what I need and want in a relationship. They don’t have it. It should be easy to measure.
Find a better version of your initial question. Is there a way to know X, by asking Y? These are the questions you will actually be asking to them.
For example if you want to know “Does he/she like travelling?”, “Do you like to travel is a horrible question, as it gives you a YES and NO without giving you so much more on their lifestyle”
What about “Tell me 3 places you traveled in the last 12 months”. This will tell you so much more about who they are, which places they like, are they adventurous or not and so on.
Same story with “Do you have kids?”. You might want to be direct, but maybe you have other ways to find an answer to that question?
Learn as you go.
- Add new questions
- Refine an old question
- Change the order in which you ask those questions
- Delay a question to a further stage (but don’t postpone it too long, the truth will set you free)
|I NEED TO KNOW||DIRECT QUESTION||INDIRECT QUESTION|
RED FLAGNICE TO HAVE
|You are looking for an answer to this direct question. This is for you, often this is not the right version of the question to use on a date||How can you get the same information asking a slightly different questions?|
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it makes total sense to ask the direct question. If that is an important topic for both, and the moment is right, they will also appreciate you being direct to the point to make sure you are aligned.
Some of my questions included:
– Would you like to go for a walk? (Are they an outdoors kind of people)
– Have you ever been married? ( Know more about their past)
– Do you want kids? (Must have)
– Have you ever dated somebody crazy? Why did you stay so long together? (How they think)
– Where did you travel recently? Why? What did you like about it? (Must have: loves to travel)
– Last book you’ve read? (Nice to have: I like to read)
– Favorite restaurants in the city? (Must have: healthy choices when it comes to food)
But more often than not, when you are meeting a stranger, you want to give them space to express and to show you their personality, to tell you their stories.
Your job is to redirect those stories toward values and qualities you are interested in knowing, otherwise you will end up with a bunch of NICE-TO-HAVE without knowing any of the important stuff.
Once you have a clear picture in your mind of what you want in a person, what you don’t want, and what’s nice to have, make sure to qualify them early on in your relationship, as it’s easier to disqualify objectively early on. The more you wait, the more the nice to haves will take over and your brain will start to rationalize.
How do avoid fights? Anytime they tell you something you don’t like, simply answer “wow, this is fascinating, tell me more”.
Now you know they are not the one, but at the same time, why spoiling a nice evening? You never know, maybe you found a friend.
But don’t try to change them, don’t try to be right. Try to be kind, try to learn more about the other person knowing that this is not moving forward in the funnel and that you can now disqualify this opportunity.
>>>NOTES: Measure, Review, and Improve
We will talk more about qualification, as this is one of the most important topics in sales and dating.
Yes yes, you can sell ice to an eskimo, but why should you, when there are so many other people who would make it such a better easier case?
Make sure to learn from your mistakes.
Imagine you’ve been dating somebody for months, now all your friends know about this person. You’ve been talking about how cool they are (listing all the nice to haves) and two months in, you find out that a must have is missing and there’s a huge red flag. What do you do now?
Or imagine you have been trying to make business with a company and after months of conversation you find out that they don’t have X, and you need X to make good business with them.
Unfortunately it has become extremely difficult for you to quit, for several reasons:
- You invested so much time now, you’re committed to find out if this will work.
- Your friends/collleagues know about them, so it’s harder to change your mind.
Avoid those troubles and learn to disqualify as early as possible.
Quick tip: if you can find any of those answers even before your first meeting, you just saved a lot of time. Pre-qualify as much as possible to make sure you only sit in front of high quality potential partner.
Go back and think of all the relationships you already had and why they went wrong. Chances are, you were in control and something you can control went wrong.
What are your habits in a relationship? What is harming you?
What doesn’t help you in building strong foundations into a relationship?
Define who you are and why you’re a valuable partner.
The question is:
What are you bringing to the market?
What makes you unique?
Why would anyone want to spend time with you?
What makes you an amazing partner?
When they talk about you with their friends, what would they say?
What is a red flag you have that has killed your relationship in the past?
Find it. Fix it.
Make it into something you can stop doing. Or, if it’s something you have and can’t change (you have a kid, an ex wife/husband, a big toe, or two noses) then you have to find a way to handle it. Accept it and find a way to tell your story that will actually show you learned your lesson and this “feature” is enriching you and can enrich their life, too.
With your initial assumptions, you can already start building a profile. Your profile will be the identity you’ll use to spark the attraction. It’s not about being fake. Be at peace and accept that you can’t be your 100% best self when you meet somebody new. You don’t want to complain about your work as you do to your best friends or you don’t want to yell at them like you do with your friends. You also don’t want to brag that you just got a promotion and you don’t want to debate if God exists or not. You can still be yourself. You just need to be a specific self: a version of you that will attract them, build trust, make them want to interact more, and know more.
Chapter 4. MESSAGING FRAMEWORK / STORYTELLING
Customers were coming to our website and yet they could not understand what we were selling. There were a lot of features listed, but none of them answered the questions “why would I buy this?” or “how is this going to solve my problem?”
We started telling better stories on our website, stories about our customers: what they struggled with and how we helped them getting an edge over their competitors using our solution.
We polished our email communication, our pitches, we created customer testimonials…and we got tremendous results.
Messaging in Sales
Stories are powerful. Storytelling is the primary mode used by humanity, since we have been on this planet, to share knowledge.
We told stories before we could not write.
Then we wrote them.
Now we can film them.
Our brain is made to capture information through stories.
The power of stories is the mix of knowledge and emotions. Once the brain attach an emotion to an event, it becomes easier to remember. Marketers know this very well, and their job is to craft beautiful stories not just to capture the attention, but to evoke emotions and be remembered.
It’s the old feature vs benefit.
When we start selling, we are tempted to sell the features
- 1TB of memory
- Temperature control from X to Y
- 5g of sugar
- 100 mph
These are facts. Yes, some buyers will want to know those, and for some of them it will be enough to buy. They kinda made the decision already, they are just checking the final boxes.
But if somebody has never heard of your product, they need to get emotionally connected. Yes, people buy following their emotions. It doesn’t look that way, just because our brain is very fast at rationalizing things and creating different stories.
For a business, those stories need to be anywhere, to highlight the benefits and the features of using the solution.
What will be the tone of voice you and your company would use to talk with customers about the solutions?
The way you talk to your potential-customers defines the kind of relationship you want to build.
Before you go to your market and start opening discussions, it’s important to stop and define what you want to tell.
- Who you are: How did the company start?
- Elevator pitch: How would you describe your business in 60 words?
- Why you: Do you have a good story that tells why you’re solving this problem?
- Case studies: Any great story of how you’re helping current customers?
- Is it all about YOU, YOU, YOU or are you talking about the market and the benefits for your potential-customers when describing your solution?
- Are you talking about benefits or features?
In a company, the marketing team will work with you to build all the presentations you need, but in a small startup you might have to roll your sleeves and do it yourself.
Communicate clearly WHAT you do, WHY you do it, and HOW you do it.
Start from your website, if you have one, then use the emails you’re sending to open up conversations.
Is your Linkedin profile in line with your messaging?
What about the PDF you’re sending to present your company and your product?
Is your storytelling using case studies (real experiences of successful customers)?
Are you presenting just a list of features or are you able to bring a potential-customer to a journey explaining the benefits of using your solution, the different implications, and how the solution will make their life better?
When launching iPod for the first time, Steve Jobs made sure to use the phrase “1,000 songs in your pockets!” –much more powerful than just stating the memory available to store Mp3.
Messaging & Dating
When you date a new person, they’ll get to know you by what you’re doing together, the plans you’re making about the future, and the stories you tell about the past.
Your virtual identities will also influence their choice, such as your various profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin) and your dating profiles (Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Meetic, and so on).
You can influence how and what you communicate to make sure you’re communicating the right things and right values, and that everything is aligned with who you are and the kind of relationship you want to build.
Your virtual profiles
When you prepare your profile, you don’t need to write a shopping list.
Try to be honest and creative. Sometimes it pays to describe what you’re looking for. For example:
“Dynamic, interesting guy.
I am looking to take you into adventures, fine restaurants, and expensive shopping.”
“Happy, educated gentleman in love with Nature.
You have a Master’s degree. You like mountains. You love sleeping in a tent. You also shower regularly and you don’t mind me playing ice hockey with my friends on a Sunday.”
Don’t write too long. Keep it short and mysterious. Plus you don’t have to force people to read everything about you. Use your profile to qualify early. If you add something about your must haves, most people won’t write to you if they don’t possess these traits.
Don’t tell the entire story of your life. Long profiles are perceived as too needy and cheesy. You’re really pushing to make the sales, you come out desperate.
Short essentials only and most importantly, be honest. Define yourself in a positive light and don’t lie. State clearly who you are and who you’re looking for. It will save you a lot of time. It’s always bad to find out after two months that they believe/don’t believe in horoscopes –if that is an absolute deal breaker for you. Find out as early as possible. The more confident and clear you are, the easier you’ll find what you’re looking for. Write something like this:
“Adjective. Adjective. Adjective. Guy/Girl looking for Something.
I really love M with N.
You are X and you love Y and you don’t mind doing Z together or me doing K on a Sunday.”
Don’t overthink. You’ll have time to edit your profile and improve it. It’s a constant process to fix it –based on the response you get from your potential-partners.
You’ll have to review your pictures and profile constantly.
Ask your friends from the other sex to show you what kind of people they’re matching it. Get inspired and understand what triggers your friends to swipe right or left.
VERY IMPORTANT: more valuable than asking for dating advice from the other sex is to see how they behave with their actions. That’s why you’ll learn so much more by looking at your friends’ Tinder.
Read what other people are saying and try to match more with the profile of people you like.
Mirror their way of speaking and describing themselves. Use the same terms if you think they describe better who you are or what you’re looking for. Artists are borrowing all the time . Why don’t you do it for your online dating profile?
Be yourself, I’m not saying you need to be somebody else. But you can also learn new things and improve by speaking the same language of the people you want to connect with.
Your online profile is part of the collaterals, of the sales materials you will use, to help your potential-partner to select you.
I’ve seen several Tinder profiles of my friends who complain they didn’t get a lot of matches or the wrong matches, and it was obvious the pictures were the problem. Oftentimes, guys are accused of being superficial but the truth is, we all judge things by their cover. So you need to make sure your pictures are good.
You don’t need anything professional. Don’t make it look like you tried too hard. Everybody has a good phone, so if you don’t have any good picture, put on your best clothes, go to a park, and ask a friend to take a few pictures of you. If you like animals, and it’s important that the other person like them too, have a picture with you and a dog, a cat, a snake, or little goats. Now you’re pre-qualifying and anybody who doesn’t like animals will most probably swipe you left.
Your pictures give you the chance to describe your lifestyle. Do you like fine restaurants? Get a pic of you eating in a nice place, looking happy. This picture is very powerful because anybody with a similar taste will be automatically attracted to you, or at least interested.
When you fully understand the difference between features and benefits, you’ll select much better pictures and use them to pre-qualify your matches.
Do you have a 6-pack? Posting a picture of your 6-pack is lame. What you can do is post a picture without a shirt playing volleyball on a beach. Now the feature (the 6-pack) is communicated via benefits (spending time with friends, looking healthy, enjoying life, being sporty). We understand benefits much better than features.
A picture of you at the gym squeezing your biceps? For most people it will look lame, unless you’re looking for somebody with similar interests and you use that picture to pre-qualify.
The primary message should be “I’m having a damn good time” and let them connect the dots with “this looks awesome, and look at those biceps”.
Show the benefits, not the features.
Your bicep is the feature, your ferrari is the feature, your expensive house is the feature.
Are you trying to show off the ferrari, the expensive boat, the biceps, or are you showing the amazing life you’re having?
The goal should always be to showcase the amazing life –the experiences. Help your potential-partners to feel emotions, be interested, and qualify you.
The moment you’re trying to oversell a feature, you’re losing BIG time. People are very sensitive to features. And there are so many people with a 6-pack or a Ferrari, but how many people are having a damn good time?
>>>Make this into a seatwork for this chapter: WORK IT OUT: Listen to your own stories
Stories are very powerful. The way you tell your stories, the words you use, the angle you pick will all influence your audience –in this case the people you’re dating.
Record yourself talking about your ex, your family, the town you’re from, your work, your colleagues, your goals, where you went the last time on a holiday, what are your favorite spots in the city?
Use your phone to record yourself while answering these questions. Then listen to your recorded story or narration. If you sound too boring for yourself, imagine how it might feel for other people. Even recording and listening just one time will make a huge difference. And these questions will come up, at one point or another, so better be prepared to properly answer them with a great story.
Chapter 5. LEAD GENERATION
SALES Chapt. 5 Lead Generation in Sales: Inbound, Outbound, Referrals
If you don’t qualify properly, you end up with two very different but equally painful issues.
The first issue is very easy to spot: you have no conversions.
This is simple: either your product sucks (let’s presume it doesn’t) or you’re just talking with the wrong people, prospecting in the wrong places, talking with the wrong crowds. Simply stated: there isn’t a good market-fit here and what you’re offering isn’t resonating with the market. You are rejected.
You’re left with these options:
– Improve your product
– Change your market
– Analyze the timeline: Are are you entering the sales at the wrong time (too early or too late)?
As soon as you start selling, you need to establish a lead generation process.
The things you need to be able to address are as follows:
- Where are your current customers coming from?
- Is the process repeatable?
- Is there a channel more effective than others?
- Will you advertise on TV –hoping somebody will call?
- Will you have a physical store in the main square?
- Will you advertise on Google/Facebook?
- Will you obtain a list of doctors and call them? (if you sell medical devices)
- Will you advertise at yoga studios? (if you sell yoga mats)
All you need is a process that will produce a predictable amount of leads every month.
The THREE main channels for lead generation are:
REFERRALS. INBOUND. OUTBOUND.
>>>this is from CONTENT OVERVIEW
What about referrals?
Oh yeah, I left this for last as referrals are great in sales –not so much in dating. Happy customers will always refer you to similar persons they know, who aren’t their direct competitors, to benefit from what you’re selling. A happy person you’re dating might not want to do that. But hey, if you’re single, your friends can always introduce you to somebody they know, and that counts as a referral, too.
Once you have identified your ideal customer profile, you might realize that somebody in your network already knows someone you’d like to talk to for a potential sale.
The best way is to get an introduction (a referral) from the person you already know.
These opportunities are the best and often the ones with the highest chances to close.
The potential-customer will instantly trust you –obviously depending on how much they trust the person who referred them to you.
As soon as you can, make sure to let your network know that you would appreciate a referral and maybe help them. By identifying people in their network, they’ll know who could be a potential match.
It doesn’t hurt to already prepare a text for them to copy paste.
Never forget to thank somebody for referring you a new business opportunity.
Inbound is mostly a territory for marketing. An inbound lead is a lead asking to talk to you.
Maybe they’ve seen your TV ads or Internet ads and something interested them and now they’re asking to talk. Inbound leads are great to have, since you don’t have to do the effort of hunting for new leads, but the issue with inbound is that it’s not pre-qualified.
If you sell something and you advertise on TV, you have almost no control on the quality of the leads. Obviously, if you sell only in NY, you don’t want to advertise in London. But you’d be surprised by the amount of mistakes people do when doing inbound marketing.
Identify first where your potential market is because if you target the entire population, hoping to find people interested in your product, you’ll waste a lot of time. Focus your marketing efforts on a selected audience to make sure you reach more of your potential-customers.
Outbound leads are generated by the sales force from cold. Meaning that the person you’re reaching out to (via email, on the phone, at an event, on the street) most probably doesn’t even know you or your product, and most certainly wasn’t looking for your solution.
They might be looking for a solution, that’s why pre-qualification is always important.
Your job is to provide them with enough value to share with you their challenges and you then convince them, down the line, that your solution is a perfect match.
When you hear about cold-calling and cold-email, that’s exactly what we’re talking about: constantly reaching out to an audience of potential-customers who haven’t expressed any direct intent towards your solution.
Don’t forget to focus. Not all leads are equal.
In the beginning you won’t have a lot of leads and you’ll have plenty of time for all of them, but the more you dive deeper into sales (or dating), the more your pipeline will grow and you need to make sure you have a focus list.
Your focus list should be measurable, written, and workable.
Make sure you identify your stars, your deals, that you want to make sure you’re always on top.
You should know everything about them. These are the deals that if you close even one, you can be happy for a very long time –financially or romantically. These are the deals you’d want to work proactively on while the others are more in a reactive mode. This is more like answering their email if they write and maybe reply to some if you have the extra time on a Thursday evening. But the rest of the time should be dedicated to the focus deals.
So let’s go to the CRM (customer relationship management) and let’s put a #1 next to your focus deal. Pick any name.
Then build a filter on the CRM so that you can open it and show only your focus deals. (More on CRM in chapter 7).
Make sure you know the next step for every deal and make sure you have followed up in a timely manner. (More on follow up later).
SALES EXERCISE: Questions for you
DATING Chapt. 5 Dates Generation: Inbound, Outbound, Referrals
>>>this is from the CONTENT OVERVIEW:
What about dates generation?
Are you talking with enough people?
Are you talking with the right people?
Can you find people who are more suitable for you? Where?
Are you complaining that there aren’t enough good people to date out there?
Do you keep dating the wrong/crazy people over and over and over again?
~ ~ ~
One crucial element for success, in sales and dating, is lead generation.
A lead is defined as a potential-customer, somebody we have a vague idea that could be a good match but we don’t have enough information yet to proceed.
At any point, if you’re not seeing success with your sales/dating, these are two questions to answer:
- Are you talking with enough people?
- Are you talking with the right people?
Try to always focus on quality first, meaning talking with the right people, since time is your most valuable asset. But don’t be shy about expanding your reach. Talking with the wrong customers can still teach you invaluable lessons and help you practice some of the techniques and concepts.
So the main question is: where do I find people to talk to?
You need to build a lead generation machine –a system that will always provide you with new leads to talk to, new opportunities you can either add to your pipeline/sales funnel, or disqualify early in the process.
When we look at dating, channels could be any of these:
- Any online dating site
- Any online app
- Yoga studio
- Dog park
- Friends’ parties
- Your job
When you start focusing on the channels that could bring you more prospects, don’t over qualify in the very beginning of your journey. Work with big numbers and test things first.
With time, refine your channels and invest more time on the ones that bring better conversion rates and higher quality leads.
If you’re looking for a relationship that’s focused on health, chances are your partner is not going to wait for you drinking in a club. If you’re looking for somebody to share raves, house parties and crazy all nighters with, well, there you go.
But of course you can’t really be sure, yoga people go to dances and some people who go to clubs are also concerned about their health. But channels can be powerful and the reason why you haven’t found who you’re looking for can be related to the wrong channels you’re working on for generating leads. Your ideal customers could be somewhere else.
How do you meet people
The three main ways leads could come to you are:
- Inbound: somebody comes to talk to you, either because they have seen you advertise or met you at a coffee place. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that they start the conversation. In dating, it’s when they come to you after they’ve seen an ad, or your profile on Tinder, or even seen you at a bar, or a concert if you’re a singer. You only need to be at the right place at the right time in front of the right audience. If somebody reaches out to you they are obviously warm, they show some sort of interest.
- Outbound: you start the conversation, as simple as that. In sales we define cold approach as cold outreach when the other party doesn’t know us at all. A warm outreach is when there’s a friend in common or when they have heard about us.
- Referral: somebody you know introduces you to someone they know. Referrals can be spontaneous or you can request one. Great sales people ask for referrals all the time, since they are the most powerful way of getting new leads compared with inbound and outbound. You can practice the same enthusiasm in dating.
Example of an inbound lead generation: you are you’re drinking coffee in a bar and somebody comes to talk to you. Maybe you have a nice hat, a beautiful dress, or you’re the most beautiful person in the place. Whatever the reason is, some people will come talk to you and they’ll say “nice hat”. Very often, in dating, the first thing they say doesn’t really matter and you should not take it literally. It’s much easier to come to you and tell you “nice hat” than “hey, I noticed you and I really wanted to get to know you“.
As every good sales person does, qualify your inbound very fast. When they sense guys are trying to “sell”, women use the “I have a boyfriend technique” to quickly assess who is actually serious and who is easily intimidated. Of course they might have a boyfriend, and that’s a different case.
Inbound leads have good and bad traits. What’s good about inbound is that it comes to you without you having to do much. Ok, maybe you have to dress in a certain way to attract attention, in an online app you can be featured on the home page, or to be in front of more people.
The counterpart is that you have very little control on who will come to you. So make sure you always properly qualify your inbound.
Women tend to receive more inbound than outbound, so the secret is really qualifying early on. Also, you can control the quality of the inbound by the places you visit and the messaging in your profile. We’ll cover this later on, but your choice of pictures and text on your profile will attract certain people. So you don’t have full control on the inbound, but you can definitely make certain decisions to influence who is going to click on that button to start talking to you.
Make sure you understand your ideal customer and craft a profile tailored for them –a profile that speaks to their value, to their lifestyle, and the lifestyle you want to build together.
As soon as you qualify an inbound, make sure to move them to the next step. Is that a phone number? Is that Facebook? Pump quality leads into your funnel!
Guys, unless you’re a famous Instagrammer/blogger/singer you won’t get a lot of inbound leads. But you’ll still get some. People will come and talk to you and sometimes you’ll be surprised. Guys are guilty of this. When we get attention we get surprised, maybe a bit scared to. Don’t be a dick. Find yourself ready and when somebody approaches you, be ready to deliver a lot of value and make them feel comfortable. Because it takes courage to do the first move (you should know that), now it’s on you to deliver value.
A good trick to increase your inbound leads is to wear something that will make it easy to start a conversation:
- A funny hat (famous in the Pick Up community)
- A special T-shirt that only a few people, the ones you like, know about
- A detail in the way you dress that makes it easy to start a conversation
- A dog 🙂
Invest time in little details that 1) tells about your personality, 2) makes it easy for other people to start a conversation, 3) makes it easy for you to show some of your values.
An example of Outbound is you knocking on the door of a stranger to sell an encyclopedia. Or you approaching a stranger at a bar to talk to them for the first time. Or you writing the first message to a stranger on a dating app.
If they’ve never heard about you, your approach is cold.
If they have somehow already heard about you, the approach is warm.
If you can leverage existing connection (a common friend, same school, same former job) you can make a cold approach feel much warmer.
Warm is easier than cold, as you don’t come out a total stranger.
“Hi, this is me, who are you?
I am here to see if there’s a connection between us.
Nice meeting you” 🙂
Outbound is where most of the quality sales is done. You have full control on your target audience, you can pick the location (a bar, Tinder, the gym) and you can just start talking to anybody you want. You have the luxury of pre-qualifying (you don’t have that on Inbound, wherein you get only what comes to you) so you can screen your audience before selecting who you’re going to talk to.
Your goal with outbound is to reduce the stress, as talking to strangers is always stressful.
Make sure to provide instant value. Energy is extremely important when doing outbound.
Don’t forget to provide value. Sometimes making them laugh is all it takes to get a foot in the door. In sales you want to provide tangible value with an article to a new blog post about an important news or with a case study. In dating, it’s enough to make their day better and let them think it would be nice to keep talking.
If you’re reaching out cold, it might take awhile before the other person warms up. On the first encounter your purpose could be focusing on branding, brand awareness, making sure they’ll remember you the next time you approach. You want your prospect to put you on the map. You exist and somehow you are cool –cooler than average. At least you made them smile. Or delivered any sort of value.
Let’s imagine you see somebody at the gym you would like to talk to. Or there is a company you think would be perfect if they use your software.
Maybe they start talking to you (Inbound), or you’re brave, you have a strategy, and you approach them (Outbound). But maybe you see them talking with a person you also know very well. BINGO! You can now get a referral.
Places like Linkedin are so powerful as you can see how people are connected and you can always find somebody who knows the person you’re trying to approach.
Tinder and other apps have similar functionalities. You can see if there’s a friend in common.
Instead of being scared and embarrassed, you should use this advantage and ask for an introduction. When your friends introduce you to their network, it makes your job much, much easier.
If you want to be really successful, and make sure the referral is happening, craft the message for your friend so all they have to do is copy-paste, minor edits, and then send.
“Hey (name of their friend),
How are you doing? I know a guy/girl you should really meet.
I was thinking the other day how you two are both XYZ and I thought WOW, these guys should meet.
Would you like me to connect?”
When doing things online (phone, email, messenger) make sure not to come out as a stalker. When asking for a referral, don’t get their number and start texting them. Make sure they are notified first, and they accept to be referred. It will make your life much easier and getting a phone number and contact cold will take away the benefits of a referral and push you back into a cold outreach.
The risk of referrals
With referrals, you want to be careful with asking them only when you think it’s a good fit. Your friend is putting their reputation on the line. What if you’re an asshole?
What if things don’t work out and they end up losing a friend? What if you’re not a respectable business person and you scam them?
Study your network as it’s a truly valuable asset.
What if your friends don’t want to refer you
When you find a common connection, evaluate the possibility of asking for referrals. It’s also a good reality check to see what your friends think about you. Yeah, they might find you funny, but are you good enough to be introduced to their best, smartest, most beautiful friends?
If not, ask yourself why and then ask them. Always get feedback as your final goal is to become a better person.
If you know somebody who knows somebody, wouldn’t it be great if you could get an intro? Somebody introducing you will boost the chance of a positive response and will make the initial discussion way warmer than a mere cold call, cold email, or a random encounter.
If you can, always get a referral. Referrals are golden. People talking good things about you is golden.
Referral is when somebody you know introduces you to a potential lead. This is much better compared to outbound leads as the intros are much warmer.
DATING EXERCISE: How do I generate dates
>>>a seatwork section can be added here: WORK IT OUT: How do I generate dates
Chapter 6. SALES FUNNEL: Journey from Strangers to Partners
SALES Chapt. 6 Steps in Sales Funnel
Imagine a funnel as a series of “imaginary” steps required to complete an action.
If you want to buy a new phone online, the funnel looks something like this:
- I think I know what I want
- I search on Google
- I ask friends
- I compare reviews
- I compare prices
- Add to cart
This is the buyer cycle.
Now, the sales cycle could look like this:
- Advertise on Google so when people search we are there
- Schedule a first call to understand why they want a new phone (obviously not to make calls!)
- If they’re interested in travelling, send them amazing photos/videos taken/shot with the phone
- Send them a discount if they’re not ready to buy
- Make sure to follow up with them during the process
- Retarget them with advertisements online if they add to cart, but never add their credit card number.
The sales funnel is the combination of sequential steps you need to go through in order to convert a new customer. These are clearly imaginary steps, not real steps, unless you have to visit a store –which entails an entirely different sales cycle.
In complex enterprise type of sales, it rarely happens that somebody becomes a customer on their first day. You’re selling something with a high price tag, often requiring training, and many changes in the way the customer is operating, so it’s only normal that it takes a few days to several years to convert a prospect into a paying customer.
The length of the process is your sales cycle. Longer sales cycles are more complex, but often more rewarding in terms of opportunity size (how much revenue the opportunity is going to drive).
When you apply for a new job in sales, the company you’ll work for most probably already has a sales funnel. If not, you can help them in defining it.
Identify FIVE sequential steps your customers will have to go through, before becoming customers. Here are some ideas:
>>>Is it possible to present these as a simple flow chart or graph?
- Awareness, Education, Commitment, Onboarding, Customer
- Meeting booked, Demo done, Trial started, Contract signed, Customer
- Visit the store, Test drive booked, Test drive done, Car personalization, Customer
- Meeting booked, Discovery phone call, Demo, Training, Customer
It doesn’t have to be perfect. Start with any funnel and keep refining it on the way.
They don’t have to be five steps, but keep it simple.
Define Next Steps
At this point,
- You defined your Ideal Customer Profile
- You know your product and the benefits it provides
- You have a messaging strategy
- You have a lead generation strategy
- You have a sales process in place and a proper sales funnel, as well as the CRM
What is the next step?
Knowing the next step is crucial. In fact in sales, when you’re in a call/meeting you already know what the next step is. At least you should.
Every major step forward changes the relationship and moves you closer to the final goal.
Always identify the few crucial next steps that are important for you and your potential-customer, and make sure to follow that trajectory.
Make sure you’re consistent with the criteria for moving an opportunity from one step to another. And always understand and refine the next steps necessary to move an opportunity to step N, then to step N+1, and so on.
At times, you’ll be tempted to skip a step. Maybe you demo your solution without qualification first.
Be very, very, very careful. Steps are in your funnel because they are important. If you have any optional step, then you should remove them from the pipeline.
If you skip qualification (as it often happens), you’ll end up doing a lot of trials with opportunities that aren’t qualified. It’s easier to be confused by the nice to have characteristics, but if you haven’t checked for the must have or red flags, they could come up during the onboarding and result into a massive waste of time, with extra customer service required, and the prospect eventually not signing the contract as they couldn’t see the value.
Steps Definition and Exit Criteria
One very important concept when building your sales funnel is the exit criteria.
What’s the condition that needs to happen before you can move an opportunity from one step to another? If you’re selling expensive cars, and test drive is one of the steps in the funnel, then the exit criteria from the previous step is “the person took a test drive”. It looks like this:
Visit The Store > Took a Test Drive > Ordered a Car
When planning your sales funnel, make sure the steps are relevant for the customers. To be a step, it must provide value to the customer and it must be a crucial step that either you don’t want to skip or that you know is highly correlated with closing the sale.
Write down the criteria necessary to move to the next step. Which condition needs to be true to move the opportunity forward?
WON can only be won when you receive the signed contract –not when the customer tells you verbally they’re going to buy.
Sales Funnel: Example & Analysis
1. BOOKED MEETING (could be your first step)
You have your leads: a list of people you would like to talk to. As soon as somebody answers, you book a meeting (in person or online).
While waiting for the meeting, try to do some research. You can find so many things on the internet these days. You can search the person, the company they work for, anything that could help you gather intelligence to be used during your first meeting.
During the meeting you ask your DISCO questions, to find out if the lead/prospect is actually qualified. If all goes well, you can move the prospect to step 2: pre-qualification.
Your goal now is to book a second meeting for a demo. Make sure (1) prospect is qualified, and (2) you have enough information to tailor the demo to their needs.
Now, your goal could be to move them from pre-qualified to DEMO (step 3) where you organize a demo call and show them how your solution can solve their challenges and amplify their performance.
4. PREPARING FOR TESTING
Once the demo is done, your goal is to maybe schedule a follow up call to kick off trial.
If things are moving forward, they’re responsive and you don’t see any blocker, you could move them to stage 5.
Opportunities in-trial are currently testing the solution you offer.
You want to make sure the value is tangible and there are clear steps to move to the next step –the signing of contract.
The trial went well, they signed the contract, and became a customer.
You just went over a simplified, but also real and practical, sales funnel.
Sale Cycles and Removing Steps
As briefly hinted before, there’s no such thing as a perfect sales funnel. Good sales organizations review their funnel constantly and periodically update it to make sure they don’t have obsolete, confusing, or unused steps. A step is there to provide value to the sales organization, but mostly to the customers. If you find a step that doesn’t provide any value to them, consider removing it or re-framing it around your customers.
Lean processes are better, especially in the beginning. Remove complexity and friction to make sure a prospect can move as fast as possible to WON.
Conversion Rate (CR)
With a CRM (customer relationship management), you can immediately visualize which steps cause you trouble in moving to the next.
That’s your CR (conversion rate), and you obviously want to work on the steps you’re weaker on and constantly improve and refine them to make sure you convert better.
A healthy funnel looks like a funnel with less opportunity (narrowing) at any following steps than the previous one. If you have more opportunities in step 3 than in 2, there’s something wrong with the funnel.
The first thing to look at is why opportunities aren’t moving forward from this step.
A deeper analysis could be to look at the previous step and consider if the exit criteria are strong enough. Maybe more opportunities should stay in the previous step, or even get disqualified.
Keep a critical mind when looking at your data and constantly try to improve.
A small 1% improvement compounds very fast, so don’t underestimate small changes.
Quota & Forecasting
When you have enough experience with your sales funnel, you should be able to forecast how many opportunities you need to create every month in order to generate one customer.
You need it because as a sales person, you might get assigned a quota. The quota is the amount of business you’re expected to bring in a month/quarter/half a year/year.
Let’s imagine a 5-steps funnel, and a 50% conversion rate (CR) for every step.
Step 1: 16 opportunities
Step 2: 8 opportunities
Step 3: 4 opportunities
Step 4: 2 opportunities
Step 5: 1 customer
If your quota is 1 new client per month, all you need to know is your historical CR to plan your strategy.
With a historical CR of 50%, it’s easy to calculate that you need to talk with 16 new qualified opportunities every month to generate a new customer.
We touched on the three As in the beginning: activity, attitude, ability.
Activity: you need to generate 16 opportunities
Attitude: you need a positive attitude to close them.
Ability: your current ability converts 50% of your opportunity to the next step.
What if you could improve your ability and get your skills to a new level? Start converting at 60% instead of 50%, and 16 opportunities will generate two clients instead of one.
A 10% improvement doubled your success. Isn’t that incredible?
People underestimate the impact that small improvements bring. Work on the big and small details to constantly improve your craft.
SALES EXERCISE: Questions for you
DATING Chapt. 6 The Date Funnel
>>>this is from CONTENT OVERVIEW
What about the funnel?
What are the steps you normally follow with your dates in order to go from total strangers into partners? Do you match on Tinder and go to a restaurant? Do you switch to Whatsapp in between? Do you kiss on a first date? How long before calling back? How long before having sex? Everybody does it differently, but as much as you want to look at it as a natural process, it is “unnatural” in the sense that it follows certain patterns and routines. Animals do it, we do it as well.
~ ~ ~
Very few people will run to your store ready to buy your product.
If this is serious, it will take time and a series of steps to finally commit.
Be very careful if things move too fast –both in sales and dating.
It’s rarely a good sign that somebody wants to move fast to commit to something serious as a long-term business relationship –or a relationship!
Imagine you decide to buy a huge TV, a big 82-inch latest technology kind of TV with a significant price. Could you go to the store and buy the first one that looks good or will you ask questions, do research, go to a couple of stores, talk with friends before making a decision?
When building a relationship, there are always sequential steps that the new couple has to go through, and at every step the relationship changes, it evolves, you become closer to each other, and closer to the final goal.
In order to move to the next step:
- You need to know what they are
- You need to understand the value you can provide at one specific stage of the funnel that’ll help you move to the next
- You need to understand the signals necessary to be ready to move from one step to another
- You need to follow up and provide more value when you’re stuck in a specific step
- If you’re stuck, you need to go back to your qualification checklist to see if the person is still qualified
- Maybe you skipped a step before and now you’re trying to move forward from step 2 when in reality you were still at step 1.
In sales, you need to bring people on a journey. The customers don’t know anything about you, your brand, your product; and, you need to understand who they are, where they are in their buying cycle, whether they’re ready to buy, and how to proceed with moving them along the funnel.
If you’re selling a car for example, a simplified sales funnel could be:
1 Send sales material to their home, hopefully you’ve done your research and you know when people are ready to buy.
2 They visit the store
3 They book a test drive (or is this step a must?)
4 Discussion about the car functionalities/benefits
5 Initial commitment
When you’re selling cheaper products, the buying process is not too complicated. But for expensive purchases and important decisions, the buying process could take several months and every step of the funnel is important. We want to be sure they’re buying the right product and committing to the right partnership. There might also be several decision makers involved. In the case of the car, who’s the buyer? Who’s paying, the husband or the wife? But who’s the decision maker? Is it the same person as the buyer?
Dating is very similar to sales. The buying cycle is complex, the funnel can be very deep, and there are several people involved in the decision:
1 First connection
2 First meeting
3 First official date
4 Second date
5 Third date
7 Moving forward
8 Win/in a relationship
As touched briefly early on, every product is different. But most importantly, every prospect (or type or prospect) is different.
You need to find your niche and tailor your funnel to the way they want to buy (and you should be comfortable selling).
Going back to dating, is sex before or after marriage?
It all depends on the product you want to sell and the product needs to be aligned with the kind of prospects you’re engaging with.
So it’s very important to define a funnel that resonates with who you are and matches with the buyer personas you’re about to engage with.
DATING EXERCISE: Defining my Dates Funnel
>>>>seatwork box WORK IT OUT: Defining my Dates Funnel
At this point, we’re going to work on your unique dating funnel.
Just like your profile, things will change over time so don’t try to get it perfect now. Focus instead on optimizing it over time. You’ll add new steps and remove others. It’s completely normal and it’s the main secret of success –being able to adapt to the environment and change fast.
Your initial funnel should be as short as possible, don’t overthink it and don’t make it too complicated.
I strongly advise to work with a CRM like Trello.com. CRM is a system of collecting and keeping information about different customers/prospects. Trello is very easy to use, it’s free, and you can start building your Sales Funnel and start adding your prospects right away.
Here are some ideas you can use as you make your own funnel:
Step 1: Match online
Step 2: Chat on WhatsApp/Facebook
Step 3: Meet on 1st Date
Step 4: Meet on 2nd Date
Step 5: We Kissed
Step 6: Discussed about topic X
Step 7: Something remarkable
Step 8: In a relationship
Every step should be a huge difference from the previous one, moving towards the final goal. With difference I mean that something major has happened in between so that the relationship is now changed –you’re less of a stranger now and building familiarity.
At every step you should also proceed with the qualification, making sure the specific traits are there early on.
As you may have noticed, step 6 in my funnel is actually a qualification. If a subject is so important to you, you want to make sure it’s discussed as part of the funnel.
What if you become good at what you do and you’re able to skip ahead of your funnel with some of your dates?
This is a very interesting discussion! Let me explain my theory.
You might find that some steps are unnecessary. Maybe kissing doesn’t have to come after date #2. Maybe for you an important step is to meet the parents.
Steps should be valuable, major milestones in the relationship. And these milestones should change how you look at each other.
Typically, they’re in sequence. You wouldn’t introduce them to your parents before meeting a few times. You wouldn’t introduce them to your parents before being somehow sure they’re a good fitand you ouldn’t have sex with them before one or a few more dates.
Aim at 5 to 7 steps max before your end goal.
If a step gets skipped consistently, maybe it’s not necessary. Or maybe you’re rushing down the funnel –skipping very important early steps, avoiding qualification. Note that qualification is hard and the funnel is there to help you qualify the other person. At every step you’ll know more about them, and if you move them forward it means you’re liking what you see –you like them.
Your prospects/dates down the funnel are the most valuable since they’re close to the end goal and you’ve invested so much time already. Make sure to move forward only with opportunities you’re sure are qualified.
Chapter 7. THE CRM: Keeping Track of Interactions & Engagements
SALES Chapt. 7 Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM is the tool you use to manage your customers (and prospects).
It’s the one place where you collect all the information related to opportunities, including their stage in the sales funnel.
You might have a situation like this:
>>>Make this into a table that uses art/graphics?
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Prospect1 Prospect4 Prospect5 Prospect2
Prospect3 Prospect6 Prospect7
What’s great about a CRM is that it makes it easy to visualize the current situation, letting you prioritize your work on the opportunities down the funnel.
With time being limited, you want to focus on opportunities that have the higher probability to close.
The beauty of CRM is that you can collect all the information about a prospect/customer/opportunity into one place. You might be talking to them via email, messenger, Whatsapp, on the phone, and in person, plus many details that you need to remember, which are scattered in different channels. The CRM will be your source of truth to collect notes, to store important details, and to log the opportunities.
There are many CRMs out there. The most famous for sales is Salesforce, but it’s also complex and expensive. Other CRMs used in sales are Pipedrive, Hubspot, also Trello. At the company I work now, we started using Trello. It’s a free software that even big companies use. It’s powerful and flexible. It won’t give you sophisticated analysis but it’s definitely a great starting point. We’ll talk more about Trello shortly.
SALES EXERCISE: Questions for you
DATING Chapt. 7 Your Date Relationship Management (DRM)
Back in my dating days, I often forgot what somebody told me on our first date. Do they have a brother? Did they like ice cream or cake? What are they passionate about? I was honestly talking with different people, on different channels, and it was hard to remember what I talked about with whom, on which channel, and what did they told me.
A CRM is a very helpful system in sales, which helped collect details you know about a potential-customer in one place. Since CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, in dating we’ll rename it to DRM, Date Relationship management.
You need a DRM for few reasons:
- Consolidate all relevant data about a person in one place to have a clear picture of all the information known so far, in order to make sure the prospects are engaged.
- Prioritize and track in which stage of the date funnel they’re at.
- Having a visual representation of the funnel enables you to see where you get stuck more easily.
Imagine having many matches on Tinder, active conversations on Whatsapp, and a few people you’re meeting on a first/second date. Can you see the amount of information you’ll have to remember: birthday, favorite ice cream, has a dog, doesn’t like winter?
It’s not just the amount of potential partners, the complexity is also related to the information that’s scattered in different channels.
Someone would share something over at Tinder, then Whatsapp, then on a phone call, and more so when you’d finally meet. It’s really difficult remembering important details and you would often ask the same question twice, or make the mistake of offering to do something she clearly said she didn’t like.
It also became hard to prioritize because when you’re talking with more than one person, it’s hard to decide who to give priority to. So instead of asking for a first real date (which is much harder), what usually happens is you end up talking with your Tinder matches because it’s much easier and it still does feel like you are you’re making some progress.
Build your DRM with Trello
Inspired by the idea of applying more sales concepts to my dating life, I started using a real CRM to my dating life. As explained earlier, a CRM is a system where you can collect information on your customers. With it, you can also easily identify at which stage of the funnel your prospects are.
- Create an account on trello.com
- Create as many columns as you have steps on your dating funnel, such as: Amazing profiles / Tinder Match / Whatsapp / First Date / Second Date / Kiss / Intimacy / Dating.
You can always go back to your columns to personalize them so don’t worry for now. Improving is at the core of this method so you’ll go back to your funnel later on to refine it.
- Create a first card and call it TEMPLATE.
- Add checklists with your MUST HAVES, NICE TO HAVES, and RED FLAGS.
- Add a more descriptive text on the notes to make sure you can collect as much data as possible on that person.
- Clone the template.
- Name it with Somebody you just matched or you’re dating.
- Add one or more photos.
- Drag the card under the correct column corresponding to the right step in the funnel.
- Leave the description for the basic information (where they live, what they like, family, birthday, address).
- Track places you have you’ve been to and important topics you’ve covered.
- Start ticking boxes: how many must haves do they have?
Start with the most important person you’re currently dating or would like to date. Take every person you’re currently talking to, and add them to your funnel. Maybe it’s just one, or 50. It doesn’t matter. This is also a good time to remove people from your life. If you think it’s too much work to create a card for them, well maybe you didn’t like them that much.
Having Trello on your mobile phone (Trello has a free app) will help you in reviewing all the information you know about that person before a date. It will help you in planning the next dates, too. You want to avoid asking, “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” when they already told you the last time you met. You also want to avoid suggesting the same restaurant you went to last time.
If you feel this is manipulative and not natural, don’t think that way. Come on, don’t you write down important dates about your family and friends on your calendar? Do you remember by heart every single birthday or anniversary? You probably don’t, so why would you remember if a stranger you just met last week has a dog or likes vanilla ice-cream?
This is your pipeline. In sales, a healthy pipeline has more cards in the first steps, and then less and less as you progress along the funnel.
This is the same if you’re dating (or selling an expensive software to fortune 500s).
Using a DRM will force you to be intentional as you’ll constantly qualify and disqualify according to your criteria.
Plus, if it feels like too much work to add all these people and certain info on a card, well maybe you don’t like them so much? Should you qualify them out and search for better ones?
Clearly you don’t have to show your DRM to anybody you’re dating. Everybody wants to be special and your job is to make them feel special. Imagine how special they’d feel when one day you show them all the notes you took and all the details you know about them! You can review the card before meeting every person or before a phone call and inject small important details into your conversation.
Make sure you archive first all the other people beforehand!! It will save you from huge trouble. Promise. 🙂
DATING EXERCISE: Questions for you
Chapter 8. SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS / DATES
The Discovery Call
The first call or meeting you have with prospects is all about discovery. They might be potential-customers –only we don’t have enough details at this point. In fact, it’s even called discovery call.
During DISCO (short for discovery), you want to find out as much as you can about a prospect, without sounding weird or making it look like an interrogation.
Discovery needs to feel like a natural conversation between two or more people. The other party needs to feel comfortable sharing details, oftentimes private details. If you can enter a state of flow, you’ll get so much information from this first meeting that it will make it easy for you to understand whether the prospect is qualified and then convert them into an opportunity; or, if it’s time to disqualify and stop pursuing them.
In sales, there’s a method called SPIN that many follow.
SPIN stands for Situation, Problems, Implications, Needs-Payoff.
You want to start asking questions about the current situation, understand how things are done, who’s doing what, some historical background, and internal relationships.
- What are your goals for this year?
- Can you tell me more about the way you do X now?
- How are you organized internally?
- Do you currently have any specific challenge you’d like discussed during this meeting?
When you understand their situation, move to questions about problems (and Situation should already give you an idea of their problems).
- How many times do you have to do this?
- Is this done manually?
- Do you find this inefficient?
- Could this be done differently?
While Problems are often simple and the prospect is aware of them, there are Implications (or underlying deep issues) that they often aren’t aware of.
- Considering the process is manual, is there ever an occasion when a human error occurs?
- Does that mean you can’t do X or you can later for Y?
- How much does it cost in work-per-hour for your team to get this done?
Needs-Payoff are tricky questions because what you’re asking is for the prospect to sell your solution to themselves, and you haven’t even sold it to them yet.
Would you be able to do X if process Y could be automated?
Would solving this problem be a major win for your team next year?
If you could do this in 1/10 of the time, would that bring you closer to a promotion?
SALES Chapt. 8 Meeting your Customers
You booked a meeting with a potential customer. Great!
Before the meeting, make sure to do your research and come prepared.
- Do as much research as possible. There’s so much to know about people and the company on the internet. Leverage this at all times.
- Check for common connections and common interests.
- Review your notes in the CRM, especially if this is not the first time you’re meeting them.
In sales you have to be very proactive when it comes to booking meetings.
Questions like, “What should we do? Should we meet?” won’t get you very far.
Be decisive and proactive.
Would you like to meet Friday evening or Saturday morning?
What about going for lunch at Restaurant X on Wednesday?
Are you free Saturday night? I have tickets for the Game and I know you’ll love it.
If you’re planning a call, you can always use articles online to provide value and suggest to discuss it over the phone,
“Hey Mary, here’s an article that I’m sure you’ll find extremely interesting. LINK
It’s about the relationship with X and Y, and I’m sure it will help you save a lot of time when it comes to Z.
Let me know if you want to discuss it over the phone. I’m free this Wednesday 4pm.”
Directions influence destination.
When you have a clear direction chances are you’ll reach your planned destination.
Planning a meeting is the perfect way to influence the outcome of your meetings.
Draft an agenda for all of your meeting and communicate it beforehand to the other party.
Make sure to discuss what you think is important and don’t fail to ask them if the agenda is aligned and if there’s anything else they would like to talk about.
Start your meeting with highlighting some success you know their company is having.
Confirm the timing (do we still have 30 minutes today?).
Explain the reason you’re there today (hint at your desired outcome and ask if it’s aligned).
When you share the agenda, confirm with them if this is all or if there’s anything crucial you left out.
Make sure you have enough time to cover everything.
Leave enough time at the end of the meeting (about 20% of remaining time) for the next steps.
When you know your funnel, you know your next steps.
Your goal is to close the meeting with clear action points towards the next step in the funnel.
You want the prospective customer to trust you and take actions.
Take Good Notes
At the end of a meeting, a conversation, or message exchange, write down your notes in the CRM.
Store relevant information for every lead –information you can use later to move the opportunity along the funnel. You might discover blockers, new opportunities, or details that will become useful later one. Write everything relevant in a note in the CRM.
After every date, go back and update your DRM. You’ll have a nice, precise, and refined timeline of the interaction.
People are busy. Very busy. Yes, they told you they were going to read the presentation, but they didn’t. They scheduled a call and didn’t show up. They stopped answering your emails and messages.
This is all normal, if you work in sales you’re prepared for this and should expect this.
In an ideal world, everything goes smoothly, everybody is nice to you, and calling you before you call them. But that’s not the condition we’re operating on in reality.
Be prepared to follow up. When somebody doesn’t answer in the time you expected them to, follow up.
Send them an email checking how they’re doing, provide extra value, and confirm the previous next steps.
Try to identify any blocker you might have not discovered on the previous meeting.
Consider taking a few steps back and set a goal for different next steps, just to build momentum to propel you to the desired next step.
Sales is all about building valuable relationships.
Sales is not an art.
It’s really about polite persistence. You need to keep pushing until the prospects say yes or no.
Always be polite. Never be rude. But keep pushing to make sure you move the deals along the funnel.
While you move the deals, make sure you improve how you work, the phrases you use, the material you send, how you handle objections, and how you constantly bring new leads into your sales funnel.
If you do all of this right, you’ll have an amazing experience in sales.
At every step it’s important to deliver a lot of value.
How would you feel when you receive a message like this?
I am writing to check if you have received the presentation I sent you on Monday about our product.
It’s a 20-page slide deck explaining all the features.
Did you have time to read it?”
This is painful.
First, it’s all about you.
Second, yes I’ve received it but I haven’t read it. Are you trying to make me feel guilty now?
Third, who cares about your product? Aren’t you supposed to make my life better?
When you do business development, deliver value at every step. How can you make sure to make your prospects’ lives significantly better even if they don’t buy your product?
In dating, this could translate into having a great time, a great experience, lots of laughter, having an interesting conversation, learning something.
Buying a drink is not a valid delivery of value.
When you’re buying drinks you’re trading time with money. I spend time with you because you pay me drinks not because you’re awesome. So rule no.1 in dating and sales: never pay for drinks. Somebody else will do the sales.
Focus on delivering value.
Calling new people can be scary. You’re calling a potential-prospect to see if they want to buy your product. Now, you should never call and ask “would you like to buy X?”
You have a few goals:
1. Stimulate intrigue
2. Deliver value
If the prospect answers, you’re now on a hunt to:
1. Get more information about their company.
2. Are they a potential buyer?
3. Can you make their life significantly better?
4. Are they interested?
So when you reach out cold, aim to rouse intrigue and deliver value.
In sales it could be something that will help you make a better decision.
In dating, it could be a nice 5-minute conversation. Don’t be awkward.
And, don’t focus on you. Focus on them. Everybody feels judged –they do as much as you do.
Focus on delivering a nice experience (but do NOT pay any drink, not even virtual).
SALES EXERCISE: Questions for you
DATING Chapt. 8 Meetings in Dating
MOVING ALONG THE FUNNEL
Step 1: Online Meeting
Step 2: WhatsApp / Facebook
Step 3: Date 1
Step 4: Date 2
Step 5: Kissing
Step 6: Discussed about topic X
Step 7: Something remarkable
Step 8: In a relationship
We introduced the funnel a few chapters ago.
Moving along the funnel is the most important thing in sales.
As a salesperson, you have a customer profile in mind and a series of questions you need to answer while you move the prospects along the funnel.
Your goal is to find these questions as fast as possible to either keep them in the funnel, move them one step forward, or remove them from the funnel and disqualify.
Let’s now use dating as an example.
Step 1 Your lead generation (Lead Gen).
You have an idea of the profile you’re looking for and you have several channels where these persons are:
Dating Apps: Tinder, The League, Hinge, (Facebook soon coming up)
Friends of friends
This is your first step. You connect with somebody, and at any step you have 3 goals:
1. Is this person still qualified? (ask questions)
2. Is this person not qualified?
3. Did they commit to move to the next step in the funnel?
Going back to the funnel, you want it to be:
As short as possible, as you don’t want too many steps.
It should make sense. You’re not expecting them to sign a contract before you have shown them your product capabilities.
At every step, you should decide what the minimum qualification is and the criteria to move them forward.
You just matched on Tinder.
Your goal is to:
– Move them away from Tinder as fast as possible
– Unmatch them as fast as possible
Review their profile. Without even talking, start processing their information and see if there are any red flags that should let you unmatch them immediately. Or, maybe there’s something weird but it’s not enough to unmatch, but you want to add a note on your CRM to review this and ask a question at some point about this.
If the profile looks good, it’s time to engage.
You start with a “Hi.”
Don’t spend time thinking of something too elaborate. If your profile is good and you don’t look creepy, they’ll answer. Time is gold and you don’t have time to think of anything elaborate. Unless this is the match of your life, which you don’t really know, you shouldn’t really invest too much time.
They answer normally with just a “Hi.”
Now your goal is to engage, ask questions, and provide value. One way to provide value is to entertain. You need to provoke emotions.
Positive is better than negative, but negative sometimes works, too. You need to believe (it might be true or not) that the other 99% of the people they matched with are completely boring.
But here’s the catch: the more you stay on this step, the more you’ll be identified with these people. So you want to provide value (being funny is a good one online) and then move them to step 2.
Ask for their Whatsapp.
Stating the obvious might help you here.
“Tinder is pretty boring. Should we move to Whatsapp?”
Now, don’t ask this too soon. Wait until you’ve exchanged messages for 5 minutes and you’ve intrigued the other person enough. At the peak of the experience, test the prospect and see if they’re willing to move to Whatsapp.
You could ask for a date but if they say no, you might get stuck. It’s easier to move to Whatsapp and then ask for a date, even in the same day.
Well, first of all, everybody has it.
Second, Whatsapp is where we keep our friends, it’s a safe environment, and now you could be chatting 24-7, not just when you feel like dating.
There’s also a very important plus. You can send voice messages.
What if they never answered to your “Hi”?
A good 50% might not answer to your “Hi”.
It’s ok, that’s your conversion rate from “hi” to a reply.
If you have a better first message you should use that, but 50% is pretty good.
Wait a few hours, maybe a day, then re-engage. If you don’t re-engage, most probably you’re at the bottom of the inbox and nobody will ever check.
You want to bump back on the top.
And you don’t want to complain –at least, not about them not answering.
This is the time to connect based on something.
Check their profile, check what’s going on in the world, check the universe. Find something you can connect on.
“Isn’t that ice cream the best place in the world? I wish they would have one in Brooklyn, too.
Have you seen what X did? That was fucking crazy/hilarious.”
Now you’re doing two things:
It’s because if they didn’t find funny what you find crazy/funny, you know you don’t have a match. By not engaging with you, they’re telling you they’re not qualified and you can pretty much unmatch them.
But if they engage, game on.
Now you can talk for a little bit about this subject and then test for commitment: move them to Whatsapp.
Once you’re in WhatsApp, your goal is the same:
Test for commitment and move to the next step: meeting.
My qualification at this stage was always around sense of humor and being comfortable with sexuality. But here’s the deal. You don’t want to send naked pictures. And you don’t ask for one. This isn’t why you moved to Whatsapp.
You might send a picture but it must be of an experience you’re having. Subconsciously the message is: we could be having this together.
Don’t be obvious. Surprise is a great element.
A trick you should use on Whatsapp is to send an audio message. Nobody does and it’s very powerful.
On Whatsapp you want to continue the conversation you started on Tinder while at the same time you want to start a few more topics to make sure the conversation doesn’t get dry.
10 to 20 minutes of good Whatsapp will give you enough information to confirm the person is still qualified and to test for commitment for the next step.
At this stage I would normally test for how comfortable they are with sexuality. I would ask a question or make a statement that could imply something sexual, but not necessary. Sexually charged words are: soft, touch, flirt, hitting on. These other words are super charged and you should handle them with care: hard, wet, being on top.
If they use it, you want to point out:
The secret in sexually charging a conversation is that you shouldn’t do it for too long. It’s a one time spike and then you let it go, then you go back to normal –to your baseline. Don’t push it too much or it will break.
You got your response, you were both playful about it, and you know they like you potentially –even sexually, at least enough to talk about it. Then go back to baseline.
Pictures can also be charged sexually. Hands. Transparency. Fingers. Lips. Wet hair. Hands on your hair (if you have).
These kinds of pictures are much more powerful than a naked one.
What do you do when you get one as a reply? If you just connected, you go back to baseline.
It’s a dance. You want to take one step forward and one step back.
Test for commitment.
It’s now time to move forward. You ask to meet.
If you’ve talked about 2 or 3 subjects, the conversation was nice, and you have a feeling that you might like this person, it’s time to move forward.
Ask, “What are you doing tonight/tomorrow? I was thinking of doing X at Y.”
(Send and wait 10 seconds).
“Would you like to join?”
Have a plan.
Have a place and time in mind. Make it sound like you’re going there anyway. You have an active life, you go to places. It should be normal, it should be you. Because if they’re busy, you can still go with your friend and then tell them how amazing the experience was, and that you should do it together next time.
You do want to have a life, THAT is the secret. The more you go out and discover places, the more experiences you have, the more valuable you are.
If they say “yes,” you’re on step 3: date.
It’s good if they suggest a different time. But it should be a reasonable one.
If they say no or that they don’t like it, be playful. Be accepting. Be flexible. Check if this is a red flag, then suggest plan B, “Why don’t we do this on X plus 1 then …” because remember you’re busy doing X already.
If they play too hard-to-get, you either have not conveyed enough value, you haven’t been playful enough, or you’ve been too creepy.
Decide if you want to invest more time building rapport or if it’s time to move on and disqualify.
Let’s say they accepted. Step 3 it is!
Moving to Real Life
Moving from online to offline is crucial. To be honest with you, as a pioneer of offline dating, I’ve also been a pioneer of online dating –without meeting the person you’re dating. In 1997, when I used the internet for the first time, I wanted to learn how to code. I asked a few questions on a chat and nobody answered me. But I noticed that as soon as a woman logged in, all the guys were trying to talk to her. So I logged out and immediately logged in using a female username. Instantly everybody was talking to me. I was being flirty but not too much and I asked a lot of questions about coding. Thirty days later, many guys were sending me emails –completely in love with me. I also got to a good level with my coding, so I logged out and never got back ever again.
I also fell in love with a person I never met. We spoke on the phone for 2-3 months and it was nice but also crazy as you can’t really fall in love with a person you’ve never met.
Our brains ended up connecting all the dots –creating a person that doesn’t really exist. Maybe she has a nice voice or a nice body or a great sense of humor, and I now believe she’s great at everything else. Well, she won’t be. So as a rule of thumb, meet people you like as soon as possible.
Booking your first meeting is also a wonderful chance for you to qualify. If they want to postpone the meeting, it’s normally a great sign for you to just delete them. There’s never a good reason to postpone a meeting with somebody you like, unless they’re on a mission on planet Mars and they can send you pictures to prove it. If they’re talking to you and they don’t want to meet you, all they’re looking for is a virtual escape from their boring real life. Most probably they’re in a relationship and they’re keeping you warm to make their life more interesting and maybe one day (who knows) to meet you. But these types of people are dangerous. They normally never break up and you’ll just hold on the line suffering. Disqualify!
If a percentage of the people you talk to online are married make sure to disqualify them. If they’re very secretive about their life and identity, be extremely careful. They need to have very strong reasons not to have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or an article online talking about them.
Let’s say they exist and they’re single. Out of this pool, a percentage will be a total mess, or simply incompatible with what you’re looking for while another percentage, a small one, will be a good fit. When you’re moving from online to offline, use this chance to qualify.
Pick a restaurant that matches your lifestyle.
Invite them to a museum.
What about a classical concert?
A sport game.
Use the first meeting as a way to qualify them. If they accept this kind of invite, they’re probably the kind of people who like these things. If they suggest a place, try to understand why they picked it and if they invited you for a burger, and it’s not the best burger in town, maybe you should reconsider.
The advantage of meeting online first is that the first time you meet in person, the feeling you get is not so weird anymore since you kinda know this person already.
How to prepare for your first meeting
Dress sharp. We could write an entire chapter on how to dress on your date but the most important thing is: dress as you normally do when meeting your friends. If you don’t like your style, then upgrade it, but upgrade it for everybody -not just your first dates. You should dress as if you’d have met randomly any day of the week. If you want to change your style, change how you dress on Monday morning and you won’t have to worry about it any other day.
Few tips on style:
Careful with shirts with logos and quotes: make sure they’re aligned with who you are and what you want to project about yourself. They’ll see it the entire date and they’ll have an opinion about it. A strong statement could help you qualify people. So be conscious of how to use your clothes. Wear clean clothes, wash yourself, and put on deodorant.
Personal hygiene, please, please! If you want to date clean people, you owe it to them to be clean yourself. Brush your teeth. Floss and clean your tongue. You should do it all the time –most especially on a first date. Make sure you don’t have any infections on your molars. People with periodontitis tend to have food stuck in large pockets behind the last teeth, food rot there, and infections are generated. You can’t smell people, but people you talk to can. Mouthwash helps, so does your dentist.
Clip your nails.
Wash your hair.
Men, fix your beards.
Ladies, fix your nail polish if the one you have is several weeks old and the color is halfway.
Shake hands with confidence.
Hug if you feel like it.
Awkward moments are ok if you can both laugh about it. But an awkward moment should be followed by a confident one. Same with sexuality. Spikes are important, you want to keep dancing and move from one emotion to another, but go back to baseline. You’ll realize that after every spike, your baseline has moved up just a little bit.
Next Steps in Dating
In sales, you always have to plan for the next step.
You can improvise, but the best of the best don’t. As soon as they step into a meeting, they already have a next step in mind and they make sure to conclude the meeting with organizing the next step.
It helps for you to know what’s next. This is why having a sales funnel is so invaluable because, once you perfect the funnel, at every interaction you know what’s coming next, and you know your customers like it as you took so many on the same journey.
People love it when you have a plan. People love it when you make decisions for them.
Balance Time and Expenses
Careful with restaurant and drinks. You want to spend progressively as the relationship gets deeper. If you buy a dinner to every single person you meet, just to qualify them, things can get really expensive.
Come up with a discovery meeting that will also pre-qualify the person. Don’t pick a restaurant. This way you can already exclude every single person who’s in just for the free meals.
Pick something in line with the person you’re looking for.
Go to a museum, to a botanical garden, to a public park, to a nice coffee place with great music.
Make sure it’s time efficient. Make sure you can get out of this situation in 30 minutes if you have to, and you’re not stuck the entire night with somebody you already know won’t work out.
DATING EXERCISE: Questions for you
Chapter 9. OBJECTIONS HANDLING & REJECTING: Overcoming Challenges
You have the responsibility to overcome all the objections. And objection is when somebody tells you “this is too expensive, I don’t have time, I’m not interested, I don’t think this will work for us, this is not the right time?”. There are millions of objections, and some of them are legit (they might not have the money, they might not have time) but most of the time, if you are talking with the right person, what all those objections mean is that they don’t trust you, they don’t trust the company you are representing, they don’t the solution you are providing. Work on building that trust.
Once you’re sure there’s a good fit with your solutions and the potential-customer, your final goal is to get a signature on the contract, secure the commitment and the revenue, and the price they’re paying for your product/service.
SALES Chapt. 9 Objections in Sales
In an ideal world, people will say YES all the time.
In reality, however, people stop talking to you, or they say NO –which is common.
NO is better than silence, at least they’re talking.
There are many reasons why people would say NO to your requests:
NO = They’re not interested. (potentially not a good fit)
NO = They’re not interested, but they should.
NO = Not now.
NO = I don’t have the money.
NO = I didn’t understand what you’re selling.
NO = Your solution doesn’t provide me enough value for the price you’re asking.
NO, NO = I’m seriously not interested + you pissed me off with your attitude so get out of here.
There are many, many reasons why you will hear NO while doing sales. NO is normal. You should expect to hear it often, in fact, at all times. It means you’re actually doing good.
“NO” points are crucial –they are a reality check.
You were moving forward on the sales funnel and now there’s an obstacle.
It’s better to be expecting the obstacle –even better to consider that the obstacle is on the way (from a beautiful book by Ryan Holiday).
When you hear a NO in sales, you don’t have to immediately settle for an absolute NO. Most likely a NO means NOT YET.
Your job is to understand why NOT YET? What conditions are currently not met? What would make them change their mind?
Ask a lot of questions. Questions are powerful for you.
- Was there anything missing?
- Would you have wished for something different? What is it?
- What are the criteria that will make you buy a solution like mine?
- Why is this not a good time? Is there a better time?
If you manage to gather this intelligence, then you can let some time pass –time does make an impact here– and get back to them with a completely different story, providing all the value that you couldn’t provide the first time.
Some objections come up all the time in sales:
- Ongoing contract with somebody else
- “I need to talk to my team”
Very often these are just rational objections put up to mask the real one –which is an emotional one. They simply don’t trust you, you haven’t provided enough value, or you tried to sell too early.
The solution is often to take a step back, ask more questions, identify the real objection, and clarify that.
For example, when the objection is price, very often a discount won’t solve it. What they’re asking for is more value, not a cheaper price. If you could provide more value, if you could make their life 10X better, they’d pay anything you ask for.
If you improve their life only 2X, then maybe no matter what the price is, they’re not interested because the investment is not worth the risk.
Do you follow so far?
Paint a picture of a solution that’s 10X better than the status quo. If you can be that good, how are they going to worry about pricing?
SALES EXERCISE: Questions for you
DATING Chapt. 9 Objections in Dating
>>>this is from CONTENT OVERVIEW
What about rejections?
How do you take rejection? What happens when people stop answering you? When they don’t show up to a date? When out of the blue, they just tell you it’s over or when they send you a text to tell you that? Do you get mad? Do you blame them?
~ ~ ~
People will tell you NO. All the time.
A classic rejection is when you’re in a bar and you speak to a woman for the first time and she tells you she has a boyfriend. I can believe married people because they have a ring, but very often women use the “I have a boyfriend” line to reject young men with no style who are just showing from all angles that they’re really interested (physically) in them.
Let’s clarify one thing: not everybody is interested in you, lots of people are already happy in a relationship, and when they say NO, it IS “no”. End of story.
But oftentimes, we’re rejected just because we didn’t provide enough value. We moved along the funnel so fast and now the other party doesn’t feel comfortable with moving forward and the easiest thing to do is to say NO –to stop.
Your job, when being rejected or when a person stops answering you, is to take a step back and provide more value. Try to think when and how you could have gone too fast, and go back to where things were in control, and provide value from there.
One example could be you kissed on the previous date and now you wanted to start from where you left off but the other party is resistant. Don’t presume you’re still there. Go back one step, provide value, build comfort, work your way up to the kiss again.
Sometimes you’re the one rejecting. It’s normal, people move on.
When you do it, try NOT to hurt other people.
Communicate clearly that you’re not interested anymore then move on. Only if they ask for an explanation should you give it to them. But again, be polite and try NOT to hurt them. Do it in a way for them to learn something that perhaps they don’t know about themselves.
DATING EXERCISE: Questions for you
>>>> NOTES: Look for Feedback, Not for Perfect
“Fake like a scientist
Life’s an endless series of problems.”
– Mark Manson “Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”
>>>this is from CONTENT OVERVIEW
What about feedback?
When things don’t work, do you try to find out why? Do you ask the person why? Are you trying to understand the main reasons behind your failures? Or are you still blaming the rain?
~ ~ ~
You know who the greatest sales people are? People who learned not to take rejections personally, and who persist despite the rejections. Do you know what kind of person is very successful in dating? Somebody who’s not afraid of rejection. Wow!
If you’re not getting any NO in life you’re not stretching far enough. Just watch a kid growing up. They’re constantly checking where the line is and constantly crossing it until one of the parents say something. Now, they understand where the line is as they just crossed it and they could sense the consequences. They keep doing this while slowly growing into beautiful grownup human beings.
Your muscles won’t grow if you don’t stress them to the point of failure OR to the point of giving up. You don’t want to break things, you just want to stretch them to the limit. Your life is a workout. A constant workout.
In business, there’s a concept called WIN-WIN. It’s the perfect match, the perfect relationship, the Yin and Yang coming together.
In a WIN-WIN situation, both parties are extremely happy: happy customer and happy salesperson.
The best sales is when both sides of the sale think they got the better half of the deal.
Obviously nothing lasts forever (even cold November rain!). WIN-WIN doesn’t guarantee you’ll be together for the rest of your life. Going back to the original point, you have to constantly work on it. It’s a constant journey, a constant flow of problems to fix, a constant adjustment of direction. Bottom line is, WIN-WIN is about finding the kind of problems you really enjoy fixing.
Your perfect sales will be full of challenges.
When you find the one, your relationship will constantly test you: problems after problems after problems.
Find the limits. Cross them. Apologize. Learn your lessons and keep moving forward.
Because you have the power to fix things and make not only your partnership (but the entire world) a better place, you’d want to grow by selling to the right clients, learning new ways to serve them, and becoming more competitive in the market.
WIN-WIN creates a situation where two entities are now working together, to still solve all the challenges that arise in time because life is just an endless amount of challenges. We label “problems” the kind of challenges we don’t enjoy solving. So WIN-WIN makes it magical in the sense that yes, there’ll be problems, but the kind of problems you and your partner/customer are willing to work on to solve together.
So WIN-WIN is not a relationship where there are no issues, no fights, no problems. It’s just about fighting for the right cause, about solving the right problem. WIN-WIN is a place where you can learn from your challenges and find happiness in the process.
Life is a constant pain. There’s no such thing as 100% happiness. Think about going to the gym, or running. Running 40km isn’t fun, it’s actually painful. But it’s the kind of pain athletes enjoy feeling day after day after day. We all think of the reward, but stop for a minute and think of the pain, the suffering, the hard part of the journey, and not just the destination. Which kind of journey are you willing to embark on?
>>>>insert here a seatwork “WORK IT OUT” section where the reader is encouraged to imagine already what kinds of problems are worth solving with their potential-partner, new partner, or current long-time partner. Just like Petrus questions, what do you mean by “right problems”? What aspects of the relationship, etc. can problems potentially arise that are worth solving together? So maybe, you can provide those essential problem areas?
DATING EXERCISE: Questions for you
Chapter 10. CLOSING THE SALE
SALES Chapt. 10 Buying Signals
During this journey, as you move forward in the sales funnel from one step to the other, you have to look for buying signals. A prospect that’s telling you “this is cool,” “this is interesting,” or “I like this” isn’t telling you much. Buying signals are strong questions or statements related to stronger elements of your solution:
- How long would it take to become an expert in this?
- How long is the onboarding?
- Can we have more than one person using it?
- Will we have weekly calls to sync?
- Will you visit our office for training?
ABC, Always Be Closing.
In fact, at all times you’re trying to close a loop and move to the next step.
In my experience in sales, if you focus on providing value, serving the customers, understanding their needs, and constantly repeat-testing and crafting a better story, you’ll be sure to close a lot of business.
- Know the problem extremely well
- Know your solution
- Know your (ICP) ideal customer profile
- Know where to find them
- Establish a lead generation process
- Qualify at all times/Ask a lot of questions
- Perfect your sales funnel at all times
- Always look for next steps, don’t leave things hanging
- NO is normal, NO is the way to YES
- Repetitive testing: never stop improving yourself and the process
Always remember to serve your customers post-sales. You don’t stop providing value the moment they sign the contract. In the past, companies would sell a service with a long term contract so that you were stuck with it no matter how unhappy you are. Today, we live in a different world and there are so many alternatives that people don’t stick anymore with what doesn’t work.
After you close the sales, the work has just started. Keep giving service, keep providing value, and you’ll grow immensely and provide tremendous value to the partnership.
SALES EXERCISE: Questions for you
DATING Chapt. 10 Loving Signals
>>>this is from CONTENT OVERVIEW
What about buying signals?
One of the major problems for guys is always to understand when it’s a good time to kiss. The TV Series “How I Met Your Mother” is all based on a little detail that Ted didn’t understand, which signaled it was time to kiss Robin. But, he missed the moment and blew his chance.
Everybody struggles with this:
“Am I talking to the right person? Should I ask for their number? Should we kiss now?”
Closing the sales
We’re not talking about sex here. Sex is relatively easy. In perspective, closing the sales is equal to moving into a serious relationship. Do you know the direction you’re going? Are you always moving to the next step that will get you in a relationship?
~ ~ ~
At every step of the funnel, you should try to understand what the buying signals are. It’s the same way with dating.
Sometimes people are nice to you just because they want to get rid of you. (Ouch! Reality bites.)
You’d hear things like,
“Absolutely, let’s go out sometimes. “
“Please send me a presentation, I’m really interested”
“I had a great time, thanks!”
When we’re desperate to make the sales, we misinterpret these messages for buying signals when in reality they’re just a polite way of saying, “NO, I was not impressed and I don’t think I want to see or hear from you ever again!”
You have to train yourself to find these clues, understand what they mean, and identify which clues are actually real buying signals, such as:
“I would love to see you again. Are you free on the weekend?” (Adding a time makes it concrete, this is a buying signal.)
“Tell me more.”
“How did you do X, I’m really interested”
Asking followup questions is also a sign that people are interested and they want to know more.
Questions are, in general, good buying signals unless they ask you when you’re going to shut up to let them talk.
Inexperienced sales people make the mistake of talking all the time. They have long monologues telling all the good reasons why their product is amazing.
No, no, no.
You want to have a balanced conversation, so make sure you ask the other person a lot of questions. Go deeper with what, why, and how questions.
DATING EXERCISE: Questions for you
>>>Accnt Managing: this part should be elaborated a little bit more (example: why this stage is important in sales and in dating). No need to go into the details of HOW to manage (the steps 1-2-3). Just explaining the rationale or the WHY accnt management is important is enough.
This is to justify the existence of this section, otherwise, completely delete this, OR simply make this as the intro paragraph of the next chapter, or simply a NOTES section.
>>>>NOTES: Account Managing and Being in a Relationship
Once the sale is closed, are you struggling with being in a committed relationship? Are you struggling to provide the value you pitched during the initial dating phase? Did you show the real you or only the “kinda” version of you that you thought was better but unsustainable?
Companies with many customers often refer to them as ‘accounts’. An Account Manager is a person responsible for dealing with his portfolio of customers/accounts from day-to-day, making sure they’re satisfied with the product/service.
This is out of scope for this book. I shared all my secrets on how to find the perfect one, now it’s your job to keep them 🙂
T H E J O U R N E Y
[subtitle: What is Yours?]
Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about the destination.
You can expect that while working on improving your skills (in both sales and dating) you’ll become better at challenging yourself, changing your beliefs, defining better goals, and gaining a deeper understanding why you want what you want.
In the summer of 2017, a total eclipse of the sun was visible in New York and many other major cities in the world. The TV news outlets were talking about it all the time. New Yorkers were super excited that so many people bought special glasses to watch it. On the day of the eclipse, 21st of August 2017, the streets of New York were filled with people. Everybody wanted to see the eclipse. Every rooftop of the city was packed. People got out of their offices waiting on the streets to see this rare cosmic event.
The energy was incredible! The exact moment the moon’s shadow started covering a portion of the moon, the crowd exploded in excitement. It took a long time before the sun was fully covered, and the excitement kept growing. What really struck me is one particular fact. The total eclipse lasted maybe just a minute or two, compared to the long time leading to it and as soon as the sun wasn’t fully covered anymore, the crowd wasn’t as interested or fascinated as before. Done! The journey was over even if the sun was still 98% shrouded in shadow, and it was going to be covered by the moon’s shade for probably another 20 or 30 minutes.
We reached the destination, the journey was over. Next!
I shared the eclipse story to highlight how as humans we are obsessed about the destination, but we often neglect to enjoy the journey –the most important part, especially that it lasts way longer and it’s the process itself that can teach us so many valuable lessons.
When you learn how to enjoy the journey, you can get to any destination. I wanted to write a book to help people like you and me to enjoy the journey that will start a successful sales career or in finding a partner you want to spend the rest of your life with.
How many times do you hear people saying,
“When I get to do this, I will be happy!”
“When this happens, I’ll finally be happy.”
Then reality kicks in and once you finally get what you wanted, it actually doesn’t make you happy.
Or even worse, people just never even try to achieve what they want and let life pass by complaining about ‘what ifs’.
Happiness is found in the journey, not the destination. If you’re not happy on your way to your destination, prepare for a life of misery.
It’s important to know where you want to go, it’s important to know why you want to get there, and it’s important to know how you will get there.
Let’s start with WHAT: What are your goals?
When you picked up this book from the store, when you clicked on ‘buy now’ on Amazon, you thought this book could help you change X. What is that X that you wanted to change or achieve?
Are you planning to start a career in sales? Are you planning to improve your existing sales career?
Do you want to improve your dating life? Are you looking to find a fulfilling relationship?
Do you still want to have some fun and find out what you’re really looking for?
EXERCISE: My What, Why, How
>>>>seatwork box: WORK IT OUT: My What, Why, How
Let’s work on a simple goal-setting exercise.
WHAT is your destination.
Start with what: What do I want to achieve?
This is your goal(s).
Write down as many WHAT as you want to achieve after reading this book. (It could be to: improve your sales skills, sell more, improve your dating life.)
Do it now, I’m serious. Your chances for success will dramatically increase if you take a moment to write down your goals.
What is your destination: where do you want to go in your life? If you don’t make that decision, you’re letting random events decide for you.
Make sure not to lie –to yourself especially. The more clarity you have about your goals, the less disappointment you’ll have in life.
Have you finished writing it down?
WHY is the reason to get there.
The second very important question is why: Why do I want to achieve these specific goals?
It’s very important to have strong WHYs next to your goals. Your goals will take you on a journey that will completely transform who you are. It would really be hard to achieve them if you don’t transform and become the person who’s capable of achieving them.
Leverage the power of knowing your WHYs. They will make it much easier to achieve your goals. Discover your real motivations. Understand how much you really want it and why.
The journey in achieving your goals will transform you. This is why once you’ve achieved something, it’s easier to do it again. You suddenly become a person capable of doing X. You changed your beliefs -especially what you thought about yourself.
Work on understanding why you want to get X. When you find enough reasons for a goal, it will become much easier to achieve it.
HOW is the journey to get there.
You wrote down your WHAT, you know your WHY, now it’s time to look at the HOW.
- Your HOW is the journey.
- WHAT is the destination.
- WHY is the reasons for you to get there.
Once you know your destination, all you have to come up with is a reliable process that will bring you there.
Your goals might be to make $1000, lose 10 pounds, or find the partner of your life. These are your goals –your WHAT. They’re also easy to measure and verify, as you can only improve what you can measure.
But don’t focus on the destination. Focus on the journey. Plan a journey you can enjoy and one that’s full of challenges you can appreciate. Make a hypothesis that if you keep going on this journey you’ll get to your destination. Walk on your journey, test it, and improve the direction along the way.
A well executed process, and one that’s constantly improved, is the secret to success to pretty much anything.
If you get to your destination the first time you try –without challenges, you’ve probably picked a destination that’s too easy. Your WHAT wasn’t big enough. You didn’t have to grow and evolve to get there.
If you pick a goal/destination/what that’s challenging enough, your journey will be more intricate and definitely more interesting. You’ll have to change course a few times, change your assumptions, your beliefs. The journey –with its rigor and the raw data it provides you, will open your mind about the things you need to change to be more successful. You’ll discover incredible things along the way on your journey.
What will keep and sustain you on this journey is your WHY –the reasons why you want to get to the destination (your WHAT or goal).
Imagine a goal that takes five years. You should be excited and motivated all the way in your journey –not just when you achieve it. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. It sounds like cliche but this is the reality.
Happiness won’t last very long if you’re not happy with your journey –with the feeling of becoming a different you in the process of achieving your goal.
Too often, a lot of people start focusing on the HOW without knowing their WHY, or even worse their WHAT.
What is the destination?
Why do you want to get there?
How are you going to get there?
Put your what, why, how together and nothing will stop you. So take a second to write them down.
It’s about the journey, not the destination. It always sounds cheesy but it’s the damn truth.
What this really means is that the work never ends.
You find the woman of your life and your dream job, you close the sale of a million-dollar software, you finally marry the person you always wanted, etc. These are not “ends”, they are only beginnings –beginning of new journeys, or the continuation of the same journey you’ve already started.
This book wants to give you a map and make your journey much more enjoyable.
YOUR JOURNEY CONTINUES
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of the book.
Your journey into sales and dating has just started. If you apply some of the things you learned in this book to your personal and professional life, you’ll find a new level of success. I want to thank you for sharing your journey with me. I really hope these concepts serve you well, help you discover yourself, and unleash your inner power.
By following the steps in this book, you’ll become more confident because you know now that you’re not stuck with what destiny gave you, but you can write your own destiny.
In today’s world where people struggle to find good jobs and many can’t find the person they want to spend the rest of their life with, you now have the tools to succeed. You can start sharing these skills and tools with the people around you. When you share, they’d benefit from what you know, while consequently you get better by refining your skills and understanding the tools better. The more you explain a concept, the more you become an expert in it.
I hope that the golden nuggets you gathered from this book would help you in your sales career and/or dating journey.
Welcome into your new life!
A U T H O R B I O
Why I wrote this book
The truth is: everything changed for me when I started working on this book.
I enjoyed writing this book tremendously. It has been with me for over 3 years. I came to America with a dream (who doesn’t?), and the dream was certainly not to write a book on sales and dating. But life happens to us. Or as Tony Robbins says, “It happens for us.”
Well, I grew up as a shy kid, often stuck in the friend zone with people I liked. But because of my personality, being positive and outgoing and somehow funny, I always attracted people and had always been somehow dating or in a sort of relationship.
Sales came naturally for me by virtue of my personality. But, I started hitting the same blockers I had with dating: I could not close some really valuable opportunities.
The fact that I was always busy dating didn’t help me in realizing that I was actually dating the wrong people. Nothing wrong with them, it’s just that the reasons I was dating them were the wrong reasons. The passion was mostly due to novelty. As soon as the novelty was gone, the relationship was gone as well. I’ve always been looking for a long-term relationship, but unconsciously I was sabotaging my efforts and always picking “the wrong person”. I used to blame them (the wrong women of my life, the “crazy women” I ended up dating) until I realized I was the crazy one and all was just my fault. I was in control of the process and I could change the way I was executing my dating strategy.
Back in 2017, when I started writing this book, people asked me, “Why would anybody want to read a book about sales and dating written by someone who’s single and on very short 3 to 6-month relationships?”
Damn! They had a point.
I really appreciate the feedback, but I knew I was into something. I could see how in the past I made basic mistakes which lead to rushed, unfulfilling relationships. So I kept working on the material, testing it, improving it and I’ve worked on the method until I proved to myself that this method worked.
Fast forward to today, I used the techniques explained in this book during the summer of 2017 and finally, after 20+ years of dating, I found the woman of my dreams and we’re now
getting married married. It all happened while I was writing this book and practicing the concepts you find here.
Why would you trust me?
I’ve been into personal development since I was 15 years old, reading every book I could find. Tony Robbins was on the top of my list and I read him first in Italian when I was 15, then in English, and I even went to two of his live seminars.
Dating books came into my life 10 years ago and in the last 7, I’ve been trying to read every single sales book I could find the time for. I’ve put a long list at the end of the book if you’re interested. “The Game” by Neil Strauss certainly changed everything since it was the first one I read; and, for the first time offered me a different point of view on dating: there is a method that could be applied.
“The Way of The Superior Man” by David Deida made me understand that being successful was partly due to the method, partly due to personal development. I ended up reading every major dating book published in the last 10 years. I did the same with sales books to learn better how to do my profession.
Sales has been a recent passion. For some reason my friends always considered me a natural salesperson, in large part probably because of my personality. So when I started a job in sales in 2015, I realized that, yes, my personality was helping, but I also needed to acquire the skills to become really good at what I was doing.
I started watching online trainings, followed a few mentors, read (and listened to) every single book on sales that I could find.
Things I knew that worked on my dating life constantly spilled onto my sales profession. Inversely, new techniques that I was learning in sales turned out to be extremely useful in my dating life.
Tremendous results followed, for both sales and dating! I couldn’t believe how significantly better both my career and dating life got in such a short span of time. My learning curve was accelerated as I could test my assumptions in two different areas of my life –which consequently helped me learn and personally grow faster. Both sales and dating have a strong art-component but at the end of the day, the science makes the difference: the relentless execution of a great plan constantly improved over time. Deal after deal, opportunity after opportunity, date after date.
While I took a more scientific approach to both sales and dating, and stopped relying entirely on my personality, I found myself more in control of the process. Not only that, I started to learn more about me and what triggered my emotions. It gave me a clear idea of things that I really didn’t like in the world, things I didn’t like in me, qualities that were essential for me to continue seeing somebody or doing business with them.
I proposed to my wife the day before I turned 40.
Why it took so long to find the one?
As a young kid, I had a troubled relationship with the opposite sex.
From 13 to 18, the time when you start getting interested in the other sex, I was just terribly shy and coming up with all kinds of tricks not to confront the awkwardness of dealing with the ladies. I wasn’t ready to expose myself and I tended to reject all the girls who wanted to approach me and were interested in dating.
When the internet came, it made my life easier as it suddenly was much easier to connect with the opposite sex. Yes, I still struggled. I had one long relationship, after which was followed by very much shorter relationships with people I might not have been very much connected. But I learned a lot about myself, how to talk to people, how to build trust.
I moved to Finland when I was 26. Being Italian and smiling all the time was a good start for any conversation. Talking with strangers became easier. After seeing my dating life not being so successful, a Brazilian friend suggested a book to read: The Game. This was what started my more scientific approach to dating, studying the techniques and learning more about attraction, psychology, influence. It was the beginning of an amazing journey.
I never became a PUA (Pick Up Artist), but my dating life was way more effective. Yet still, I went from one wrong short relationship to another, from one ‘woman of my life’ to the next.
After Finland, I spent four years in Lithuania. In the Baltics I found love, lost it, found it again, lost it again. I also founded a startup and I learned a lot more about failure and being humble.
I then found a fantastic job in sales in a Finnish startup and I was good at it. In a short time, they gave me more territories to cover. Soon enough I got transferred to New York to help with the global expansion of the same company.
What an amazing journey it was!
I was telling more and more colleagues that all I knew about sales was coming from my dating experience. Some people got pissed, so I stopped saying it at the office. What’s really interesting is that the more I was learning about sales, the more I was bringing these concepts into my dating life –and seeing great results.
Long story short, in the two years it took to finish this book, I became a much better person, I improved my sales skills, and I got married with a woman who makes me happy every single day of my life.
I don’t know your starting point so I can’t promise you’ll get the same outcome, but I can promise you that this book will change your life.
Some people see sales as short-term goals, trying to fuck somebody over.
Same with dating: some immediately think of short-term relationships and one-night-stands. Manipulation.
In contrast, sales and dating to me means having the goal of building fulfilling relationships.
Because everybody has their own moral code, I will leave it to you to define what sales or dating means. Just don’t be a jerk and make sure you always bring your best game into this world.
You’ll find some specific sales vocabulary throughout the book, so here’s a practical recap of what they mean. Feel free to come back to this chapter as a refresher. If you’ve been in sales for a while you should know them, but if this is your first exposure to sales, you’ll find them useful.
Salesperson (Salesman/Saleswoman): It’s you, the person responsible for finding new potential-customers and convert them into customers. You’re selling a solution to a specific customer problem.
Your Company: This would be the company producing the product/service and hiring the salesperson. When you’re selling, people don’t just buy your solution, they also buy trust in your company in delivering outstanding products.
Product/Service: In this book, most of the examples will be applicable to a specific kind of product/service that’s producing monthly recurring revenue. Once the product is sold, a relationship between the company and the buyer is formed, with the provider forced to provide value at all times, and the customer using the product/service who’s paying a monthly fee. A product/service should solve specific problems and resolve pain points which the customer has. We’ll often refer to product/service as the solution to make sure to incorporate both.
You, the product, and the company are at the center of the sales process.
B2C: A type of sale where a business sells directly to consumers. Think ice cream shop on the street, TV store, and ecommerce website.
B2B: A type of sale where a business sells to another business. Think of the business producing machines to make ice cream which then sells to all ice cream business in town. Think of a software for accounting which is selling to a business.
Pain Points: Customers have specific needs. A great salesperson asks great questions to discover those pain points while having a meaningful conversation with a potential client. This is how sales are done.
Features & Benefits: A feature is air conditioning or high quality video streaming. The benefit is driving to work in a dry suit on a hot day or calling your family and being able to see every expression on their face. People love benefits –they don’t respond so much to features.
Sales Funnel: The funnel is a sequence of figurative [OR imaginary] steps that your potential-customers have to go through in order to buy the product. From strangers, then initial conversation, identifying their pains and needs, assessing their interest in the product, demo, onboarding, to signing contract and finally becoming a customer. The steps in the funnel define crucial moments during the sales where the relationship changes –moving closer to the final sales.
Leads & Prospects & Opportunities: This is the tricky part as every book, system, method, and website about sales assign different meanings to these words –especially to Leads and Prospects. A Lead is somebody way up in the sales funnel, somebody you’d like to talk to but you haven’t yet, somebody who’s interested in talking to you but you don’t know if it’s a good fit or not. A Prospect is somebody who you’re talking to but it’s not clear if there’s an opportunity or not. You think they’re a good fit, but it’s not clear if they’re ready to buy and when they’ll be ready to buy.
An opportunity is any prospect who has the money, the need, urgency, and a clear timeline to buy your product.
Prospecting: This is the activity involved in finding prospects and converting them into opportunities.
Deal/Opportunity: is a prospect showing interest, and a salesperson qualifying that there’s an opportunity down the line to close the sale. There’s interest, the solution offered fits the need, the timeline looks good, and there’s budget. I’ll simplify a lot in this book and most of the time will use the word opportunity to describe leads, prospects, and opportunities.The terminology doesn’t matter that much. Imagine a world where you have customers, opportunities, and everybody else whom you haven’t talked to (or you know are already not qualified).
Qualification: The process of understanding (via research + questioning) if an opportunity is a good fit or not. Qualification is so important to make sure a salesperson is not wasting time with opportunities that aren’t in fact real opportunities –as important criteria aren’t met by the potential customer, but the salesperson forgot to ask and now they’re assuming there’s a fit when in fact there’s none.
Ideal customer profile (ICP): The attributes a customer needs to possess to successfully and happily buy your product. You can sell to a lot of people for the first month, but how do you keep a customer forever? The closer the fit to your ideal customer is, the longer they’ll stick around with you.
A customer (also internally called an ‘account’) is a paying customer. They signed the contract and they’re paying you money.
Disqualified leads/opportunities are people who you spoke to and discover it wasn’t a good fit. Sometimes it’s wrong timing, more often they just don’t fit your ideal customer criteria.
Closing: This is winning a deal, winning an opportunity. It’s the end of the sales cycle when you’re finally getting a commitment, a signature on a contract. The opportunity becomes an account (a customer).
ABC: Always Be Closing is a very common acronym in sales.
**ABC: Always Be Curious is a modern version for a sales consultative approach.
Onboarding: During onboarding the customer leans how to use the solution/service/product. Sometimes it requires a lot of hand-holding from your side.
Churn: defines who is leaving you, dropping out of the funnel, or a customer who decides to end the relationship. You want to minimize churn at all times by (1) providing an outstanding service, and (2) making sure you qualify your prospects at all times.
First of all, I would love to hear your feedback. How this book has had an impact in your life.
Feedback is a gift.
Sales and Business:
- “The Saas Sales Method” by Jacco Van Der Kooij
- “The Mom Test: How to Talk to Customers & Learn if Your Business is a Good Idea when Everyone is Lying to You” by Rob Fitzpatrick
- “Sales Management. Simplified: The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results from Your Sales Team” by Mike Weinberg
- “The Sales Bible: The Ultimate Sales Resource” by Jeffrey Gitomer
- “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” by Ben Horowitz
- “New Sales Simplified.: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development” by Mike Weinberg
- “High Output Management” by Andrew S. Grove
- “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni
- “The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done” by Peter F. Drucker
- “Product Demos That Sell: How to Deliver Winning SaaS Demos” by Steli Efti
- “Way of the Wolf: Become a Master Closer with Straight Line Selling” by Jordan Belfort
- “Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com” by Aaron Ross
- “SPIN Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-payoff” Neil Rackham
- “Product Demo that sell” – Steli Efti
- “The Game” by Neil Strauss
- “Double Your Dating” by David DeAngelo
- “The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire” by Deida, David
- “77 Laws of Success with Women and Dating” by David DeAngelo
- “Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles” by Robin Baker
- “On Being a Man” by David De Angelo
- “The Origin of the Species” by Charles Darwin
- “The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships” by Neil Strauss
- “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” by Gary Chapman
- “The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth” by M. Scott Peck
- “7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness: Power Ideas from America’s Foremost Business Philosopher” by Jim Rohn
- “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity” by Ryan Holiday
- “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday
- “Principles: Life and Work” by Ray Dalio
- “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson
- “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini
- “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” by Timothy Ferriss
- “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck
- “Transform Your Habits” by James Clear
- “Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement” by Anthony Robbins
SOME MORE NOTES FROM THE BOOK
- Cupid Code (already on amazon)
Sell your love
- What sales can teach us about dating
- The New Dating Manual – inspired by proven sales techniques
- Date like a pro: discover how to apply proven sales techniques to your dating life
- Sell yourself:
- Professional dating – Apply proven business principles to your love life
- DAAS: Dating as a Service
- Dating like Sales
- Sales like Dating
New proven sales techniques applied to dating.
Improve your dating life using simple, proven and highly successful sales techniques.
Learn how sales techniques can change your life and make you more successful
Improve your dating by learning the best sales technique…
Last Updates Oct 29 2019
Pages – May 2017: 29 pages