One of the hardest things for new sellers to do is pick up the phone and cold-call brands. How do you start a conversation? What if they brush you off the moment you say the word “Amazon”? Selling yourself to a stranger is a daunting task, especially for the more introverted among us. However, it’s more than necessary. From opening accounts to snagging discounts, rapport is the backbone of Amazon wholesale. Luckily, Frank Somma, sales leader and author of B2B Is Really P2P, is here to fill you in on selling secrets to help eventually ease your fear of the phone.
Learn To Listen
First up, listen for other people’s way of speaking and mimic it. Do they spill their guts all at once or reveal information slowly? Listen for their style and say it back to them. In a ten-minute phone conversation, nine minutes should be the other person speaking and sixty seconds should be yourself. Also learn to meet them where they are! If they’re down about something, use a sympathetic voice and let them vent. Finally, your workspace should be free from distractions because when you’re on the phone, the other person should have your undivided attention.
Agree With Objections
What happens when a brand immediately says they’re not interested in Amazon sellers? If you have a hunch this might be the case, do a little research on the person or company before you even pick up the phone and start the conversation with something topical. Maybe their company’s in the news or maybe they’ve liked a sports team on LinkedIn. Bringing up either is a great way to start the dialogue from a place unrelated to Amazon so it feels more like a casual conversation than a formal sales call.
Then, when they mention Amazon, hear their grievances out and don’t object. You understand they’ve had difficulty with past Amazon sellers, you hear what their top sellers are doing, and you’ve got specific examples of similar things that you’re doing for similar brands or products. Don’t prove them wrong about Amazon sellers, prove to them that you are the exception. Agreeing with their objections stops their argumentative inclination in its tracks and opens them up to hear you out.
Show a genuine interest in the person you’re speaking with. Try to imagine what they’re going through, even what they look like. You have to fully believe that you can improve someone else’s life if that other person is ever going to believe it themselves. To help show sincerity, try Frankie’s Fabulous 14. Pick out 14 non-work-related details about their lives that they’ve revealed to you. Their dog’s name, their son’s college decision, a leak in their attic that they’ve spent months trying to fix. Starting your conversations with questions related to these details helps you build rapport in a way that feels, you guessed it, sincere.
As outlined in B2B Is Really P2P, Frank has a few simple rules. Take responsibility for everything, learn to communicate well by understanding what makes people tick, and desire wins – if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to get it. While sales is tough, hard work trumps talent. There’s nothing you can’t achieve with a bit of practice, patience, and persistence.
Resources From This Episode
- B2B Is Really P2P Book
- How To Win Friends And Influence People
- Contact Frank
- Sign up for a coaching call with Todd
- Join the waitlist for Todd’s small group coaching course
Outline Of This Episode
[00:00] Todd’s introduction to this episode
[03:53] All about Frank Somma
[08:24] Learn to listen
[20:46] Getting others to listen
[29:15] Stay sincere
[46:30] Frank’s takeaways
[53:38] Todd’s closing thoughts on this episode
What’s up everybody. Welcome to episode number 20 of the Amazon Seller School podcast and today my guest, Frank Somma is fantastic. He is a sales leader and an author of the book. B2B is really P2P. I’ve read through this book. It is a fantastic book. I’ve learned a lot from it and we’re going to dive into building rapport with brands and distributors, how to get that communication, that conversation going so that you can build enough rapport and relationship with the brand or with your salesperson at a distributor and be able to open those accounts and negotiate discounts and things like that. This is one of the most important things when it comes to selling on Amazon and it’s one of the areas that people have the most difficulty, so I’m really happy that Frank decided to come on the show and you’re going to be really happy to stick around and listen to this because you’re going to learn a lot.
I learned a lot from his book and I’ve already started putting a lot of what he talks about into play in the interview here. You’ll hear that come about several times of things that I learned about in his book and I’ve already put it into practice and I’ve had them be successful for me. In fact, one of them I even opened up and got an exclusive agreement with a brand, so this is going to be a really good episode. If you struggle at all with talking on the phone, opening those accounts and you’re just not sure what to say or where to go, there’s a lot of gold nuggets in this episode, so stick around and stay tuned for that. If you want the show notes or anything we talk about, head on over to amazonseller.school/20 and I’ll also have a link for you to purchase his a book over on Amazon as well cause you’re definitely going to want to pick it up.
You’re going to want to listen to and read about anything to do with sales. Pick up every book that has to do with sales that you can possibly read and learn from it and start putting it into practice. That’s the only way that you’re going to get better at this kind of stuff. And of course listening to this podcast is going to get you started as well so you can start diving deeper and please share this episode with anyone who you think can get good knowledge out of this. Anyone who it’ll help, it’ll help us grow the show and keep expanding the people that we can talk to on the show as well in helping you out there build your Amazon wholesale business. And before we dive into it, I just wanted to read a quick five star review over on iTunes from Tiffany. Eat, sleep.
Amazon says excellent podcast, top-notch knowledge. Todd is one of the rare ones who makes selling wholesale on Amazon more easily understandable. Even to those just getting started. He gives great content and knowledge, no fluff, can’t wait to see this podcast grow. So Tiffany, I really appreciate that five star review. If you haven’t left a review on iTunes or Stitcher or wherever you’re listening, please do that. It would really be appreciated if you’re on YouTube. Give us a thumbs up like and subscribe as well. Anything to help grow the show will help me help you even more and I really appreciate it. So with that, let’s go ahead and dive into this episode with Frank Somma,
Welcome fellow entrepreneurs to the Amazon Seller School podcast where we talk about Amazon wholesale and how you can use it to build an eCommerce empire, a side hustle or anything in between. And now your host Todd Welch
Alright, I am here with
Frank Somma and he has been a sales leader for over 35 years. So he’s owned businesses doing sales, he’s ran sales teams and a lot more than that. So he’s got a lot of sales experience and he’s also now a keynote speaker speaking on this topic of sales and is also an author of the book. B2B is really P2P Business to Business is really Person to Person. I’ve read through the book, I really like it and highly recommended. It’s a great book and it goes into what we all struggle with, right? The biggest problem that all of us have and that is sales and selling online. So Frank, I really appreciate you coming on the show. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background?
Well, sure. Todd, thanks so much. I hope I have some, bring some value to your to your listeners. So you know, I’ve been in sales and sales leadership, as you said, for all of my life. And what I added to that, the supplement to it is I’m a graduate of NLP, neurolinguistic programming, the neurolinguistic programming Institute of New York neurolinguistic programming is the communication science. This is the science that volt, the Tony Robbins to the top of the motivational speaking heat, right? So Tony is an NLP guy and and it’s a wonderful way to understand and break down a lot of what we human beings do innately. NLP exposes and allows you to look for those things. So basically what NLP does it kind of shortcuts you to rapport. And when you’re in rapport with folks is, you know, is a great place to be because once you’re in rapport, people like you, they trust you. And as we’ve all heard a million times, people do business with people they like and people they trust`.
Absolutely. And that NLP sounds really awesome. That’s actually something that I’d like to learn a lot more about. And I, I think I have read about it in your book. Do you talk about that in your book?
And after that I also looked at Tony Robbins and seeing that he does the same thing. Cause I think you might’ve mentioned that in here. Well, so it’s, it’s really interesting stuff. And building rapport is something I’ve talked about in the past and something that e-commerce sellers and especially Amazon sellers have the hardest time with because it’s, a lot of people don’t have experience with that or they’re just afraid of sales in general and selling themselves. Do you find that a lot with most people?
I do. I do. And what I feel with the book and a lot of the reviews said this, that it’s it’s for everyone. You know, I know we’re talking to people that are selling and, but it’s really, we’re all selling. So, you know, I went to the, took my dog to the vet and on the counter in the vet’s office, there’s a jar with a damage heart in it. And the vet’s assistant is saying, Hey, you know, you give your dog heart medication every month. Well, no, I’m not. Well look at this, you know, and maybe you should, she’s selling me on the idea that I’d be better off buying whatever it is, 50 a hundred dollars worth of medication, you know, to give my dog on a monthly basis when, when your, if you have children at home and they’re in school and you want to get them to read this book or that book or you’re a teacher and you want to convince your students or you’re a business leader and you have employees and you want to convince them to do something your way or you want to convince them to do something differently or you want to help them to be their better selves, all of that is about selling, convincing, selling.
You know, it, to me it’s the same. It’s the same word. And there are a lots of ways that we can do that better than a, than we’re doing it today if we don’t have the focus on it and we haven’t studied it. So what do you,
I recommend, you know, aside from reading your book, I definitely recommend people read your book to start learning about sales and get lots of books, you know, not only yours, but there’s lots of other great sales books out there after they read through your book. What are some things that people can start doing in the real world to learn or use the stuff in the real world to get a better grasp on it?
Oh, I mean, the number one thing that I teach in the book, almost every part of the book revolves around listening to some degree or another. And I hope that doesn’t sound too boring to people that are listening to us now, but it really is the key. And you’re listening for things. So there are different styles of communication. I teach in the book now, many of us have seen like you have somebody that tells you a story. So Todd and I are here on this podcast. And when I go downstairs and I talked to my wife about the podcast, I could deliver my message of what happened in a, in, in a couple of different ways. So if I am what I call a view from the air, meaning I give information in large chunks and my wife for example, is a view from the ground, meaning she gives information in small pieces.
So what happens when these two communications styles collide? I come downstairs. How was the podcast was great. I met Todd, we talked for a couple of minutes about Amazon and the website and the difficulties they’re in. And and we did the podcast. I hope I gave value. He really liked the book and basically that, that kind of tells a story, doesn’t it? But, but if the situation were reversed she would say, you know, I talked to Todd a little while ago. He invited me to come on the podcast. I went and learned more about what he does to see if I could really bring some value to the listeners. And then today I went to the zoom link. You know, he did it in mountain time and I’m on East coast time, so I was like uncertain, would it be 3:30 my time or was it 2:30 I had to look up mountain time versus this time.
But anyway, we got on and it was great. He’s in a standup desk, which was very cool. You know, I’ve been wanting to get one of those and I just haven’t gotten around to it. So I’m sitting and I think the energy level is better when you stand. So anyway, we started, right? You get, you see the difference here? I won’t go on and on now. So what happens and what I, what I’m explaining to the folks listening is you listen for styles and you understand your style. So if you’re a person who gives big pieces of information and the person you’re speaking to receives in small bits, what happens? They don’t, they’re not getting your message. There’s saying, you obviously don’t care enough about me to tell me the entire story. You’re blowing me off. So instead of getting your message, they’re getting insulted.
If you recognize that that person receives information in smaller bits, couldn’t you color your commentary a little bit? Throw in a couple of tidbits of info and wouldn’t that then make them feel better? And most importantly, wouldn’t that facilitate the communication? And what did you get your point across? So when you’re dealing with different wholesalers, distributors, clients, whatever it is, it’s super important to understand their style. And there are many others I go into in the book, but this is one that’s a glaring, when we can all understand, understand their style. Because you know, let’s see if it’s the other way around. How many of you have had someone tell you information in such great detail that you’re rolling your eyes in the middle of it and you’re saying, you know, come on, land this plan already. What do you, what’s going on here? It gets to the point.
Yeah. And, but you know, even when you’re not saying that it’s coming across in your body language and you know, our, our lizard brains, our caveman brains are seeing all of these nonverbal cues that are saying, I’m bored with you. I don’t, I’m not interested in what you’re saying. There are people that, you know, you can talk to if you’re a person who has a view from the ground and you’ll see their lips moving, they’re so anxious to respond, they just want you to be done. So understanding these two styles and then adjusting. So if you’re a person who has a view from the ground, couldn’t you edit yourself a little bit to make it a bit better for the listener? Sure. You could if you recognize that they get information in big chunks. So it’s about recognizing other styles and then considering them in your delivery and in your listening style so that you get the most out of the communication and you’re not being unwittingly insulting.
Yeah. Yeah. I definitely
Agree and listening is definitely the key there in knowing where they’re coming from. Because if you’re just thinking about, Oh, what am I going to say next? They don’t want any more Amazon sellers, what should I say next? And you’re not listening to what they’re actually saying to you, you’re probably going to miss really important details and where you can go with the conversation. Like one conversation I had recently was with a lady, her businesses in Florida and I started talking to her and she, I could tell she was very upset and because the government there had just come and the police came and made her close her business and go home even though she was the only person there. So I met her on that level and we had a pretty deep conversation about, you know, yeah, they shouldn’t be doing that. They don’t have the right to do that. And things like that. And by listening and understanding, by the end of that conversation, I actually got an exclusive agreement from her to sell her products. So listening can been a big deal in terms of how you’re going to reply.
You know, Todd, that’s a fantastic story. And what what you did is spoken about in the book. So yes, yes, you listened. But it’s greater than that because listening is, is this a big umbrella and there’s a hundred different spokes underneath that umbrella of the kind of listening. So what you did is you met her where she is, and I talk about this in the book of my, I have an older brother is a quadriplegic and yeah, it was a tragic accident that happened to him when he was almost 50 years old. And you know, he and I, I’m, I’m a motivational speaker. I’m an up guy, you know, and I would go there and I would meet with him. I would see him when it, after he got hurt, he was in the nursing home and I would see him, you know, every, every day or two.
And he was doing his best to, you know, keep a stiff upper lip as they say and present a good face. And I was doing my best to motivate him. And meanwhile we were leaving our encounters just exhausted and unfulfilled because it was, it was inauthentic. And I could not motivate him to feel better until I meet him where he is. So I called a friend of mine who’s a bereavement psychologist, and I asked him, you know, this is what’s going on with my brother and me. What do you suggest? And he said exactly what you did innately. Good for you, Todd. He said, you cannot help him to feel better. You cannot motivate him. You cannot help him to see the upside of anything until you meet him where he is. So when I went back the next time I looked at him and instead of saying, Hey man, how you doing? Whatever. And being upbeat, I looked at him and after a second too, I said, wow, this must really suck for you. I can’t even imagine how painful it is for you every day. And he just looked at me with a different face and we literally cried in each other’s arms. And then from there we could build it back up, you know, and try to find a place to feel good. But unless and until you meet someone where they are, you’ll never be able to take them to where you want to go.
Yup. Yeah. Meet them on their level. And I probably got that from your book. I’m sure I’m doing that. And, and other things that I’ve picked up, you know, by reading sales books, like meeting them on their level, but also instead of, you know, asking a question directly asking, do you mind if I ask you why you’re not allowing anymore Amazon sellers because then you’re not like attacking or it doesn’t, might, won’t come off as attacking and they’re more likely to answer the question. Is that something that you’ve seen as well?
Oh yeah, that’s very true. I talk about that a little bit when it comes to referrals. Like I’ll have referral script that says, so Todd, you’ve been an Amazon reseller for quite some time, haven’t you? I’m watching your head go up and down. Well, of course you have. I know that this is a leading question. So if I asked you to Todd, you could probably tell me the names of a couple of other resellers like yourself, couldn’t you? Absolutely. Right. So my language there was, so if I asked you it’s not, I’m asking, Hey Todd, can you give me the name of some of that? No, that’s an .So what you’re saying is that yeah, it’s ways to soften up what you’re asking anyway and, and, and then asking those questions and listening really well and using that information to come back around and continue the conversation.
Yup. For sure. I think that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve picked up and I’m, you know, I’m intro 101 on sales pretty much, well maybe, maybe 201 by now. But you know, still learning a lot of different things. So how would you work that conversation? Say I’m calling a brand that I want to sell their products and they, one of the initial things they almost always ask is, do you sell on Amazon? And if you say yes, then a lot of times it’s, well we don’t really want anymore Amazon sellers.
Well I, you know, that’s a having not been in that situation myself, I can only role play it or imagine it. And for me it might, it might be that I want to avoid that or I want to avoid getting shut down quickly. So maybe I’m asking that question from the get go. You know, when I’m approaching that brand, maybe my question immediately jumps into, Hey you know, Todd, I’m reaching out. I know you don’t want any more Amazon resellers. Is that right? Or it’s likely that you don’t want any more Amazon resellers, is that right? And if they say yes, I’d say, you know, I can completely understand that it’s kind of the parade or rule, right? You’ve got that 80, 20, 20% of your people are performing and the other 80% that you have or not. So how are you managing through that?
And I might start just asking some questions about how are you managing through that? How do you call that when the time comes? You know, what are you looking for in those people and all your higher highest achievers? What kinds of things are they doing to move more product for you? What are you seeing amongst the top, the cream of the crop for you? And then I would try to become that picture. Once they give me that ammunition, well, they say, well they do this and they do that and they do this. Well, it’s interesting because, and another brand like yours, I’m in the top 20% because I do this and this and this. Similarly, now I know you don’t want any more Amazon resellers and I understand that you wouldn’t want another one of those 80% but certainly you’d want to squeeze another one in to top 20% when that makes sense.
Yeah, for sure.
And I think that’s the way I’d go at it.
Yeah, that, that makes perfect sense because if they’ve already got say 10 sellers on their Amazon listing, then yeah, they probably adding another one’s isn’t going to necessarily get you more sales unless they’re giving something higher and above that. So yeah, that’s a perfect way to come. At it with what are your best people doing and how can we be better than some of the worst sellers that you have.
Yeah. And what would you look for and what would you advise? And then I think also sometimes the brand comparison, if you’ve got some other similar brands may be in a different product line, but somebody who’s in the same category in terms of size or notoriety that you can cite examples of what you’ve done. Well you know that, you know, the old sales expression feel, felt, found. I don’t know if I’ve heard that one. So it’s a, it’s a, it’s an old formula, but if you adapt it, it kind of works. So, you know, Todd, I understand how you feel. Some of my other customers have also felt that way, but what they found is that when they deal with me, so it’s kind of this schematic for how to approach somebody that’s objecting to you. I understand how you feel. See, I feel like with objections, I, my strategy has always been to agree with them and people think I’m crazy when I teach that.
Like when somebody says, I don’t want to any Amazon, I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t want anymore either. Like I never disagree with an objection. Almost never, because I feel like this is how an argument starts. If you make a point, and I disagree with that point, aren’t you compelled to defend that point? Right? You may appoint, I disagree. You have to tell me why you’re right. But if I don’t disagree with you, you kind of lose the fuel. There’s no reason for you to tell me anymore. I’ll circle back to it later. But if you say, you know, Hey listen, I don’t want any of my Amazon resells. I completely understand that Todd, you know, if you’re, if you’re stuck up with a bunch of resales, I get it. I wouldn’t want it to loot that team either. If I were you, now, what are you going to say to me? Well, I really don’t want any. No. So then I could go into my, now that I’ve kind of been a little bit more disarming, then I could maybe open up the conversation and ask, well, how many do you have? Well, how are they performing? Well, what are your best, you know, things we just talked about, but it’ll allow me room to do that. You know what I mean? Yup.
I agree 100%. That’s, that’s how some of my best calls have gone either intentionally or unintentionally, more intentionally. Now, as I learned more about sales. So let’s, let’s kind of rewind the call a little bit. So obviously every type of sales environment can be a little bit different, but let’s say you’re a sales person who is going to be calling brands that we want to buy their products knowing that a lot of times it’s, we don’t want any more sellers how do you open that call? So you’re calling, it’s ringing and the other person answers, hello, X, Y, Z products. How do you start your conversations?
Wow, that’s a, you know, there’s so many different ways that you can script yourself. I mean, one of the first things it depends on what level you’re at, right? So if, if you’re getting the receptionist, there’s one strategy to get past that and if you’re, if you’re phoning and you’re getting right to a C level person, then it’s a different conversation. So, you know, if it’s somebody that’s in my way or it’s a voicemail, for example, do you guys run into a lot of your calling and you wind up in relegated to voicemail?
It depends when you’re calling. So some people who are maybe just trying to get going with this and are calling after a job, then they might get more voicemails then calling during the day, obviously. So when I call, usually I’m getting a hold of someone you know, nine times out of 10 or more. But you could definitely get a voicemail from time to time. Okay. And that’s probably how you split in terms of getting direct to the person that you’d want to talk about it or getting some kind of middle person, like a secretary. Yeah.
So, yeah, with the, with the middle people, I want to give as little information as possible and sound very official. And the way that I, that I normally do that with a middle person is I would say okay Todd, thank you so much my director had asked that I reach out to Jim and I know that I’m going to be popping in and out of meetings all week, so I’ll, I’m happy to leave a message with you, but I’m going to calendar to give him a call back on Friday in case he misses me. Okay. Thank you. And I’m gone. So now I’ve not only told her that my director asked me to reach out, so it sounds like this higher calling, but what I’m also saying to her is I’m letting her know that I expect to call back by Friday and if not, I’m going to call you back.
And I’m also letting her know tacitly that I’m kind of, you know, super important and in and out of a bunch of meetings. So I may not be available for Jim when he calls me and it’s there’s just a bunch of like embedded commands and kind of embedded information when you do something like that. And then I’m getting the actual person on the phone. I’m not really sure what the best way to be approach. If you’re feeling that almost each time if you say, I’m interested in repping your product, they say we have too many, then I wouldn’t, I would never open with that. You know, I would, I would find something topical whether I go on that person’s LinkedIn page or whether I go to Google and I hit the news tab and I would, I would find something topical to talk about first.
Hey Todd, I see that this piece of news just came out about your company. You know, that really intrigued me. You know, because I’m in a similar business. Oh really? What says so, yeah, I repped for Bristol Myers and you know, you guys are this whatever it is. But I would, I think I, I’d want to come on an oblique angle and I, and it would take a bit of research ahead of time. And then today’s environment, whether it’s Google or, or LinkedIn, there are ways to find out things that can help you start a conversation differently. And if you do, do any of your folks make, like, is it dialing for dollars kind of thing? Are they making 30 or 40 calls in a row or is it typically,
So a lot of times with the people that I work with, it’s, it’s the actual owner of the business who’s making the phone calls so I have a virtual assistant who I work with remotely who does make some calls for me so in that case, yeah, they’re making call after call and then I myself am making phone calls and stuff like that. Usually I’m making like follow up phone calls where I need to build the relationship and then they’re making like the introductory phone calls. So that’s kind of how it’s going. But a lot of people who are probably watching this, they are, it’s just gonna be them. They’re the owner, they’re the director, the CEO, the sales person and the secretary. So,
Okay. Yeah. So if you’re, because if you’re making a bunch calls, you’re going to want to make pattern interrupts and you’re gonna want to say things that take people off their game. So if the person answering the phone is so used to a solicitation call, you might want to say something just completely crazy. So I’ve, I’ve called people and they’ve answered the phone and say hi. You know, it’s a mix. It’s me Todd and and I say, wow, you have to say that every time. And it’s a pattern interrupt. It’s not what they expected. Or I’ll, if I get a guy who answers the phone, I’ll say, no tie today. I’d be like, what? You’re not wearing a tie today? Like what are you talking about man? This is a phone call. Yeah, you know, just having a little fun with you, whatever. But the most important thing is to work within your own personality as you do these things.
It’s important that I don’t try to be Todd and Todd doesn’t try to be me. So you can take these techniques and let them work within what works for you. And at the end of the day, the good news is for everybody that listens to your podcast is that, you know as you’re learning hard work beats talent all the time, it’s really about the work. The person who makes 100 connections will always do better than the person who reaches out 10 times. It just is, if you’re, the worst there ever was at making phone calls and you’re just learning as you go, if you just put in 10 times the effort of someone who is supposedly more skilled, you’ll beat them. This is tortoise and the hair stuff. It’s a, and it works. The answer is always to keep upping your skill level, reading what you can, learning what you can getting mentors and coaches.
I can’t say enough about coaches. You know, I rely on mine tremendously and I’m in a mastermind group with my, you know, some of my coaches, clients that we meet six of us every two weeks and then I meet with her one on one and it just, it’s, it’s such a huge improvement. You get so many great ideas. So I can’t talk enough about getting coaching, reading enough books and up and you skill level, but never use that as an excuse. Well, I’m going to get started as soon as I learn more. It’s really important. Just throw yourself at it. As long as you know your backend is prepared, you’re not presenting yourself badly. Like when you reach out to a client and they go to your website and it doesn’t exist, that’s, you know, we don’t want that. So you’ve gotta be ready.
But don’t be afraid if you don’t think that your skill set is up to snuff. The best way to learn how to relate to people, how to communicate with people. Read as much as you can, but practice and, and the, and the number one thing that I can offer, I mean, the most important part of all this is sincerity. You’ve got to really care about the person you speaking with. You’ve got to really imagine what they’re going through. You’ve got to kind of picture them. Sometimes when I’m on the phone with somebody, I’ll close my eyes because I feel like I could see what they’re doing better. When it’s a phone call. But it’s, it’s about sincerely trying to help. If you, you know, you have to believe that you are an improvement for them. That sincerity will come through as you speak.
Yeah, I agree 100%. And, and understand that you’re going to screw up, especially the beginning as you’re learning, you’re going to Bumble and fumble and say something. Maybe that doesn’t make any sense and that’s just all part of learning.
Yes, absolutely. Yeah. For real. I mean, you know, one of the best to me, one of the best books of all times, also one of the bestselling books of all time and and it’s ancient Dale Carnegie’s how to win friends and influence people.
And you know, the book was written in 1930s and one of the things that he says in that book that I absolutely love, they said, remember that the person that you’re speaking to cares more about his own two thick than he does about a famine that kills 10,000 people in China. And it’s, it’s what we have to watch, right? So when you’re on the phone with somebody, imagine for a moment all y’all who are out there making these phone calls that you’re going to be on the phone with someone for 10 minutes. If you had a stopwatch in front of you that you clicked on and off every time you spoke at the end of a 10 minute call with a potential client, it should be nine minutes. Then in 60 seconds you,
I would agree, people like to talk and if you can listen,
That just puts you a step ahead.
Absolutely ask questions and listen, one of the cool techniques, Todd, that I can give you, cause sometimes you call people and, and I want to help your guys out that are making calls. Sometimes you call people and they give you one word answers or the conversation doesn’t have you had this where you call them up and they’re answering your question, but it’s not going anywhere.
Yep. Yeah. And I can be frustrating.
So a neat little technique to use. Sometimes it’s called backtracking. And backtracking is just repeating the last one or two words of someone’s sentence with a question inflection. So if you said to me, I went for a run this morning, I could say to you, Oh good. And the conversation might die there, but if I wanted to get you talking and you said, I went for a run this morning, I’d say went for a run.
And he sai`d, well, yeah, I, you know, I like to run. So I go a couple of days a week, a couple of days. Well, yeah, not every week. You know, I do the best I can, you know, like if it’s raining or whatever, I maybe I don’t go and, but most days I go and I get a good run in the park. Ah, the park. Well, yeah, I don’t like to run on the streets. You know, in the parking lots that you followed them down. Like if you just repeat those last one or two words with an, with a question inflection, often it prompts the speaker to elaborate on the sentence that they gave you.
Yeah. And it’s, it’s so simple, but you don’t think about it when you, when you say that it, I’m smiling because it’s like, yeah, that makes perfect sense. I can think of times that people have done that to me and you’re, you just, you don’t want to leave that person hanging so you just keep adding more information. So yeah, definitely would be helpful.
And I think one of the thing that’s super important when you’re communicating with people, not face to face, if you’re on the telephone and whether you have an incoming call or whatever is make sure that you don’t have any distractions. It’s, I, I, you know, there have been so many times in my, when I was running businesses, et cetera, that I’d have somebody call me and I’d be, well, somebody come into my office or whatever, but I’m on the laptop and it becomes obvious, like people that really know you, they’re like, what? Hey Todd, I lost you there. What’s funny? Oh, sorry, I was just looking at an email away. You’ve got to make sure that’s not happening. Focus on that phone call. Close your eyes. Picture the person on the other end. Stand while you speaking. Consciously smile while you’re speaking. Because you’ve got to do, you know, there was a great study by a guy at UCLA and he said that 68% of our communication is body language 30.
So I don’t, you know, my math is great here. 30 something percent is the my vocal tone and only 7% of the actual words you use. So now when you get on the phone with somebody, the 60 something percent is replaced by the next biggest thing, which is your tone and how you say things. So it’s incredibly important to not have any distractions because it you, your vocal intonation gets lost when you have distractions and to listen for their style, like we talked about before, whether they’re giving lots of information of bits of information and try to match it and matching their tone and their pace. You know, if I’m speaking to someone taught, are you speaking to someone in there giving me answers? And they’re saying, well yeah, you know, on Thursday I like to go check on my distribution list and then I go here and then I do this and that.
I can’t respond on like, and say, well sometimes on Tuesdays I also, it’s just a bad mismatch. So if you’re a person who is deliberate in your speech and a slower pace and someone else just speaking to as a different pace, you’ve got to match them. You can often lead them to your pace. But first thing is to match, match their vocal intonation, match their pace. There’s more intricate stuff with listening for the kinds of words they use, which is I think too much for what we’re doing today, but at least that at least listen for their tone and their pace, match those things to begin with. And then you can lead to a more comfortable pace for yourself a few months.
Yeah, definitely. I think that’s also called like mirroring, you know, mirroring the other person.
if you’re, if you were face to face, you could mirror them and you talk about this in the book about, you know, mirroring their posture and leaning forward, leaning back and things like that. And that’s the same kind of thing. If you’re just talking on the phone, then you’re mirroring or matching there,
They’re vocal crossed. Yeah, for sure. For sure. Now you talk about a lot about like building rapport
With people and stuff like that. Any, any additional tips with that when you’re talking with someone over the phone?
I can say that it’s about getting off subject. So, for example there’s a statistic that says that most sales are made on the 12th attempt and most wait, let me get this right. 80% of sales are made on the 12th attempt and only 90% of salespeople stop after three attempts. So bringing that back around to what you were saying about building rapport, it’s, you’re going to call people multiple times, sometimes before you gain agreement with becoming a reseller for them. Yep. And carrying their product. So what happens during those calls? You’ve got to listen for things that are not part of the business. I have something that I call a Frankie’s fabulous 14. It’s the 14 things that I want to know about my clients. So when I call my client, Bob, and I know that Bob has a, a dog that he’s training and his vision for himself is to work in his home office with his dog at his feet.
And I know the dog’s name is Dakota. When I call Bob, I’m not going to say, Hey, Bob, how we doing? You know, do we have any orders or can I pick up some more products with you? Whatever I’m going to say. Hey Bob, tell me I, you know, we’re not face to face. We’re on the phone. Is Dakota at your feet? And he’s gonna be like, what? You know, why did I remember that? Well, he mentioned it. I wrote it down and in my CRM I have a place for pets, married or single wife’s named kids. How many approximate ages? Where do you go to school? What kind of car did he drive? What’s his favorite charity? If I know where he went on vacation last year, so I can call up and say, Hey Bob, how’s it going? How’s the middle son down in Florida?
You know, and, and it’s not contrived. I’m really interested in that kid. I wanna know how he’s doing. He’s got a son who’s a boat captain. You know, I’m really interested in that. How’s he making a living? And did he get his own boat yet? I know that’s his dream. Now, Bob has been trying to support him. So all of these kinds of things that you know that have nothing to do with the business that are, if you’re sincerely interested, again, I’ll go back to sincerity if you’re sincerely interested, are wonderful ways to gain rapport because now you’re not just some other person that’s calling and moving product. You know, you become a friend of sorts of business associate friend when you know things about people and, and, and it separates your conversation from the other guy that’s calling.
Yeah, I agree 100% like that. And I called that I mentioned earlier about the lady who had her business shut down in Florida. That call was about 40 minutes and total length and maybe five minutes of it had anything to do with what I was trying to sell basically. So unbelievable was basically just building rapport, you know, understanding what she was going through
And you really gave a darn about what she was going through.That’s, that’s the key. They see. You can only get away with that a little bit if you’re, you know, when, when we’re selling and we’re convincing and we’re gaining rapport with people, it’s so important to remember that people have the guard up for this. The media has told everyone to be aware. There are tricksters out there that have tried to take advantage of you and people have that guard up and you know these movies that come out that depict salespeople with, with this degree of sliminess and insincerity, and they were out for their own gain and somebody else at somebody else’s expense. That’s just crime. That’s not sales. That’s crime. It’s wrong, it’s immoral, it doesn’t work. So the most important thing is to lead with sincerity. Be genuinely interested in that other person as you were with this woman of Florida, what a horrible thing.
She’s the only person that closed the business. She must’ve felt devastated and it was, must have been wonderful for her to have a soft year. Yeah, you’ll do business down the road. Maybe, maybe not. But even if you didn’t, aren’t you a wonderful citizen of the world and didn’t you do the right thing by given that person a soft year who was in a time of peril? That’s what we’re supposed to do as people, you know, this is who we’re supposed to be. Be a good person. Serve the other person, listen well, be genuinely interested in them. And the more of that you do, the more good things will come out for you. The universe is circular. The more good you put in it comes back to you. It can’t be avoided not to get all woo on you, Todd. You know, like, but, but I really believe that with all my heart and soul.
I’ve, I, you know, I had a business, I was a partner in a business that sold and serviced copying machines and through a charity organization that I gave my time to, I wound up doing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business from people I met through the charity. I didn’t go into the charity to meet the people, to do copier leases. I went into the charity because I was drawn to the kids in that charity. And what came out of it is people met me at a different level and then whole a, by the way, what do you do? Oh, why don’t you come to my office and here we go. So you really, you know, sincerely being interested in other people and other things only serves you in the long run.
Yeah. And, and, and you can a lot of times pick out sincerity or people not being sincere. I, I, you know, we’ve all had that salesperson who calls you and, and asks you questions and halfway through your answer before you even answer, they just move on to the next thing or whatever. You could tell they’re not listening at all. So sincerity can come across pretty easily, even over the phone to determine if someone is really means what they’re saying.
Yeah. Yeah. Or if it’s a gratuitous ask, just to get it out of the way and, and, and soften you up. And that’s, you know, one of the exercises I do in my sales seminars is I sit two people down and I have one person is going to tell something personal, you know, something about themselves and the other person’s going to look them in the eye and listen, but they’re not allowed to respond or lose eye contact for 10 seconds. So one person says a statement about themselves. The first is just looking them in the eye for 10 seconds is the most uncomfortable. Awful. I feel badly even making people go through it, but it just illustrates, it’s only 10 seconds. Yeah. It illustrates how quickly we jump on the end of somebody else’s sentence to give our input. And that’s why people don’t feel listened to. You’ve got to pause nuts and seconds, but you’ve got to pause that beat like you were saying, that the person who calls you up and does this gratuitous ask and then jumps on in the middle of your statement. They’ve got a pot, you know, as a, as an interested listener, you pause a beat when someone says something, you take it in for a moment and then you respond.
Yeah, yeah, definitely. It makes, you know, I’ve seen studies that prove or show that people, when they’re talking with someone, if the other person is pausing in between things that they’re saying or their reply that they appear more intelligent, number one. But you know, then also, yeah, shows that you’re actually listening. And I just read recently too, that we give ourselves or we give other people 30% more leeway in how quickly they respond to us than what we give ourselves. Because that awkward pause when it’s our turn to talk, we feel like it’s awkward, but when someone else is pausing and we’re waiting for them to respond, it doesn’t feel awkward because we know someone else’s in waiting on us. So that’s a good, I gotta consciously think about that stuff.
Yeah. And you know, it’s with all of these things that we’re talking about in the various techniques that you have, that, you know, when you just said conscious, it kind of kicked this off in my head that you’ve got to practice this stuff because the, you know, the idea is to become that it becomes an eight. So it’s, you know, which is difficult if you’re focused on trying to use a technique like backtracking or, or something like that. You know, it becomes hard because you’re focused on the technique and not on what the person’s saying. So it’s important to practice those things and you know, the levels of learning, right? You’re consciously incompetent and then you’re, you’re consciously competent. Is that right? You’re at, you’re consciously incompetent and then so you don’t know what you don’t know. And then you become consciously competent. Now you know that you don’t know it and then you become consciously incompetent and then you become conscious and competent. Now you know what you know, and then you become unconsciously competent, which is mastery, where you’re doing it seamlessly. So I think a lot of these techniques that’s really important to be careful practice a lot and, and make it, you know, just who you are. You’ve got to become that listener, practice it at home and the dinner conversation, you know?
Yeah. And you can definitely do it mean it takes time to learn it. Like I used to say Ums and Uh a lot until I read a book about that kind of stuff. And then I started consciously recognizing when I was doing that and trying to stop myself from doing it. And you know, I still do it from time to time but it’s a lot less, I’m not trying to fill those empty spots with Uh and Uhm and stuff like that. So just being conscious of it and then eventually like say it just kind of becomes naturally a habit that you just do. So it’s, it’s really important. I want to go back to what you talked about earlier with LinkedIn and looking at news articles and stuff like that. Cause I just thought of another call and this one didn’t turn into a relationship or anything, but before I called them, I went on LinkedIn and found his profile and he had posted something about the Boston red Sox.
So I looked up their schedule and they were playing, going to be playing the Yankees. So one of the first things that we started talking about, I asked them, you know, how are the Boston red Sox doing? And so we just had a conversation about baseball. You know, he asked me if I liked the Red Sox. I’m like, no, not really. But to anybody who can beat the Yankees, I’m always in support of that. And so it had started a really nice conversation and ended up being that he was not the person that could make the final approvals. I had to talk with someone else and it never went anywhere. But those are the kinds of things that make those conversations just a lot easier. So when’s your book coming out?
Yeah, right. Yeah.
That’s perfect man. That’s absolutely perfect. My goodness.
It’s a, it’s all stuff that’s come from me reading books like yours and I got a lot from your book. It was really, I appreciate it.
Anything else in the book that we need to dive into? Aside from everybody going out and buying it and reading it, which I highly recommend. I mean, to me the, the overriding themes that we have in the book are communicate well, take responsibility, right? Personal responsibility. So look at what’s going on in the world. Now we’re in the middle of this pandemic and I’ve spent 10 hours a day in business development on my speaking business. It’s arguably the worst time in the world to be a guy who goes to meetings as a speaker. Holy cow. So I can say, well, this is silly. I’m not going to call people about, they may not even having meetings. That’d be really insensitive me to call, or I can call, I choose to call, I choose to take the action and I’m doubling down on my effort when something like this happens.
Like let’s look at what’s going on with this Covid 19. You know, it’s, it’s almost like going through the you know, the stages of grief. I was doing a a virtual motivational talk with a group last week and I said to them, it’s like going through the stages of grief, which are, I think if I remember right, denial, anger, bargaining, and then finally acceptance. There might be one more in there that I missed, but when I see something like this, this is what people are going through. Ah, man, I can’t believe they go through the dial first, right? I can’t believe this. This is nonsense. I can’t blah, You know, and then starts the the bargaining and then, then they get mad about it, right? And they spend a whole bunch of time mad about it. Oh, and the next thing is depression.
Then they get really depressed about it and then finally they accept it. So my recommendation to anybody that’s in business development is let’s skip steps one, two, three and four and get to acceptance yesterday. Just skip the first four because they’re not serving you. I jump right into acceptance. And then the way to get through something like this is with enormous action, massive action. I’m going to make five times as many calls during a crisis like this because it’s, you know, it’s kinda like in a weight when we went through the recession in a weight right? There was just less business to go around. So it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any business to go around. It means that there’s less, which means that in order for you to get your share, you’ve got to be better than the competitor. Well, how can you be better than the competitor?
Well, you’ve got a put in twice the effort so that you can take business from those folks that are left. This is, you know, this is a time for action. It’s not a time to sit back and feel badly. So I would say, you know, the overriding themes of the book are about personal responsibility. There are no excuses. It either you either got it done or you didn’t get it done. The marketplace didn’t fail you. Amazon didn’t fail you. Your clients didn’t fail you. Your spouse didn’t fail you. None of these things, although you could find rationalizations and all of that. And I’m sure that there are people who can tell me legitimate reasons why something completely impacted them and hurt them very badly. At the end of the day, it may be true, but how is that helping you to recognize it as not helping you? What you need to do is take personal responsibility for the outcomes that you have.
That’s the first thing. The second thing is communicate really well. Understand communication, understand what makes people move, what makes them tick, how to give embedded commands, how to ask great questions, how to be a great listener, how to grunt at the right time in a conversation so that people understand and that you’re listening and feel understood. How to make people feel understood. How do you feed back to them their words so that they may know that you got what they’re saying? So I think those are the super important things. And then in the end, the final piece to me is always a desire, wins. Desire always wins. If you want something bad enough, you’ll figure out a way to go around it, over it or through it. Desire always wins. If you have the, you know, read, you know guys that read a Frankl man’s search for meaning, right?
It was a book we were required probably in college or high school, whatever, but essential part of his message was if you have a big enough why you’ll find a way. And it’s about creating that huge why, you know, with my coaching clients, we go out five years and I look at where do you want to be in five years. We create this huge why this, this structure of where I’ve got to be in five years and then we work backwards. But we always keep that thing in mind that longterm what we want in the in the purest sense and that why we’ll drive you. So yeah, to me, personal responsibility, communicate well and desire wins.
I agree 100% on everything you said there. It’s what I, I try to live by, you know, taking responsibility for everything too. It’s, it just makes everything in my opinion better because then you’re, you’re no longer a victim even if something happened to you, but you take responsibility, you put yourself in the wrong position or whatever, put you there, made that happen, you know, then you’re not a victim anymore and you are taking charge of your own life and, and moving forward and it’s one of the big things for sure.
Yeah. I mean it allows you a way out. If it’s somebody else’s fault, then you have no power over changing it. Yeah. So you’ll still be in the same position. I’d rather take the responsibility so that I’ve got the power to make the change. Otherwise I’m just sitting in the same spot.
Definitely. It’s big. Well, Frank, I really appreciate you coming on the show. I think this has been fantastic. I’m going to put links to your book. B2B is really P2P. If people are on YouTube, they’ll see the link down below. Otherwise they can click over to the show notes. Where would you like people to go to get in touch with you if they want to talk to you or find out more about what you do?
Well, first of all, I’m thinking podcast even though we’re doing it on zoom, you’re recording it and then I’m going to go to you know, Apple or something and listen to it. So here I am in my sweatshirt and you’re talking to me about YouTube. I would have got dressed that’s for, I did shave today though, but I would have got dressed. So that’s first of all, apologies for for the, for th, my covid 19 gear where here. But my website has everything on, you know, if, if to be a, a speaker at a meeting or my coaching programs or whatever, it’s all at Franksomma.com Franksomma.com. And and that’s the best way to get ahold of me. If you email me, call me whatever, I’ll respond to everybody. I hope I can help.
Okay, perfect. I’ll put that link in the show notes as well. So people can click over to it and check out, find out more. Maybe there’s people who are listening, maybe wanting to have you at their next event so they can get ahold of you for that as well. Real quick to, my wife actually just signed up for a virtual event, so I think that’s going to become a lot more of a thing as well. So like the one door maybe closes new,
Sure. That’s the way we have to look at it, right?
Absolutely. 100% all right, Frank, I appreciate it. And you have a great one.
Oh my God. Thank you so much. I appreciate the conversation as a pleasure.
All right, so there you go. What did I tell you? Another great interview there. Frank had a lot of golden nuggets. You’re probably gonna want to listen to this episode maybe two or three times to get all of that information and of course pick up his book over on Amazon. It’s a fantastic read, a really easy read as well. You’re going to be able to breeze right through this and pick up a lot of really awesome information and it’s going to help you start selling better, negotiating better. Building that rapport and everything else that we talked about in this episode is just so important that that become like second nature to you. Myself, if you go back to me in high school I was shy and introverted. I still am, but I made a decision back when I was in college that there was lots of things I wanted to do, whether it was in politics and business and speaking and I’m just going to have to get out of my shell.
So I started reading and learning as much as possible, putting that stuff into practice and I was really bad at all this stuff in the beginning and I just slowly keep getting better and it becomes more and more natural as the more you do it. In the beginning you’re just going to be stumbling through feeling foolish, but that is completely normal. Just do this stuff and eventually over time it will become second nature. You just have to maintain or be conscious of what you’re doing and it will come to the forefront. You’ll think about it more. You’ll notice it more like for example, when I was talking about getting rid of Uhs and ums in my speech, it becomes so obvious when you just start thinking about it and you can slowly remove that from your vocabulary. And the same thing is for sales. Anything else you want to do?
You can definitely do it. I guarantee it. There is absolutely no reason you can’t do any of this stuff. It’s just mind over matter and learning and getting to know what you don’t know and finding books. Youtube videos and learning that information. So get out there, get your Amazon business going if you haven’t already, build it further. If you already have one, going and shoot me an email or a comment and let me know where you’re at in your business. I want to know and hear more from you guys. Maybe we can even have some of you on the show in future episodes and we can talk to people who are already have their Amazon business going or just getting started, so let me know that as well if that’s something you might be interested in as well. Get the show for this and the transcript over at amazonseller.school/20 also just a reminder that I do one on one coaching calls, so if you’re interested in that amazonseller.school/coach and I’ll have links as well in the show notes and then the small group coaching that I’ve been talking about, we’re getting closer to revealing more information about that.
It’s going to be high level so it’s going to be more expensive than not, but if that’s something that you might be interested in in working with me and walking through building your Amazon wholesale business to six figures or maybe even more puts you on that path, then head on over to amazonseller.school forward/group and get on that wait list and you will be the first to know. Again, I really appreciate everyone out there for listening. I appreciate all of you. Without you, I couldn’t make this possible, so thank you again. And without further ado, this is Todd Welch with the entrepreneur venture signing off. Happy selling everybody.
This has been another episode of the Amazon Seller School podcast. Thanks for listening, fellow entrepreneur and always remember success is yours if you take it.