Learn how sales is like developing a romantic relationship with our guest, Jack Vincent.
Our episode guest is Jack Vincent, Strategic Poet. Jack helps companies sell more effectively, from tactical questioning to killer stories.
The one with Jack Vincent on the phases you must pull a buyer through to build trust and secure the sale
Five things you’ll learn from this episode:
How a sale is a love affair
The five phases you need to pull a buyer through in their purchase
Tactical tools help your sales team sell more effectively
The killer question for closing and bringing the sale to conclusion
How marketing leaders can guide sales people to pitch like they’re storytelling
“We have to get attention in an attractive way. You need to disrupt and get attention to prove you are worthy of my attention.” — @jackvincent
“Asking questions is not a sign of ignorance, it's a sign of professionalism.” — @jackvincent
“Love your customers even if they tell you no.” — @jackvincent
If you enjoyed the episode, would you please leave us a review?
@jackvincent on Twitter
Presented by: ReviewMaxer, the platform for monitoring, improving and promoting online customer reviews.
- In this episode of On Top Of PR, we are talking to Jack Vincent. Jack is an author, Jack is a poet, Jack is a great guy, and he's gonna talk to you about how sales is a love affair, and how you can help your sales team identify ways to sell through his unique process and techniques. This is a great episode, I'm glad you're tuning in, you're gonna really enjoy it. Here we go.
- [Announcer] Welcome to On Top Of PR with Jason Mudd, presented by ReviewMaxer.
- Hello, and welcome to another episode of On Top Of PR. I'm your host Jason Mudd. I'm joined today by my friend, Jack Vincent. Jack, welcome to the show, glad you're here.
- Thank you for having me, Jason. Lovely to be here.
- Well, we're glad you're here, I'm glad to be here. I am so excited to have you on the show. As we were reminiscing before the show started, you and I met in 2016 in Puerto Rico at a public relations conference. You were a keynote speaker, and I loved it. I loved every second of your presentation. In fact, that whole conference was great, and there were many, many good speakers, and you were definitely one of those top speakers. And as we just were talking about, I was able to put some of the information you presented into practice immediately in a meaningful way at our agency, and I'm sure we'll count circle back to that during our conversation. I wanna turn over to you for just a quick second to give maybe a two or three-sentence background on kind of who you are and what you do to set the stage for our conversation today.
- Well, thank you. I started my career as a magazine writer and editor, moved to Barcelona, Spain, loved brought me there. Writing for magazines was not an easy thing to do before the internet and things like that. So the next thing, I was working in marketing communications and then marketing and then sales, and then international business unit. And at the end of my stint at Barcelona, which turned out to be 12 years, I was working on the worldwide sponsorship program of the Olympic Games, Barcelona '92 was a component of that worldwide sponsorship, in sales and taking care of customers. And then I worked on other sports business. Finished my sports career selling sponsorships and TV rights to the ATP Tour of men's tennis. And that ended right around the turn of the millennium. And I've been doing sales training and pitch training and coaching for the bulk of the last 20 years.
- Okay, excellent, excellent. And we are recording this in late August. Where are you currently located?
- I'm in Switzerland, I've been here for the last 20 years. I divide my time in Spain. That's gotten complicated in 2020. So I lived in Spain 25 years ago, and five years ago, I bought a flat in Madrid. And with EasyJet, it's like JetBlue very. So I divide my time between Switzerland and Spain and a lot of other places. But this is 2020, I'm pretty close to home.
- Excellent, that sounds good, Jack. All right. Well, first of all, you have a book. Talk to us a little bit about that. How did you decide to write a book, and for those would be interested in it, what is the book about?
- A Sale Is a Love Affair: Seduce, Engage & Win Customers' Hearts. I was actually finishing a first book book on pitching, which I finished, but as I was finishing it, the next one came into my mind. I was in fact divorcing. And I was in a moment in my life where I wanted to play. I wasn't gonna hurt anybody's feelings. I certainly was not out there to hurt anybody, but I was out there to have fun. So I was dating and things like that. And things like that. And I realized after a three-day workshop with a financial firm in private equity, the first morning of that, I cracked a joke like, "It's like a love affair." And that became our joke for the rest of the three days, that in a certain part of the sale, they latched onto the joke and started making a parallels between the selling process or even servicing and the romance, human sexuality, psychology, spirituality, and all of that. And when that workshop was over, I went, "A Sale Is a Love Affair." And I couldn't get the title out of my mind, and it kept morphing and morphing and morphing. And the next thing, I had 45 chapters, of which the first five or the big picture kind of thing, and the remaining 40 chapters of a step in the sales process, that has a direct parallel with the falling in love process or vice versa. And it was a number one new release on Amazon. And I'll just add one more thing. When it first came out, I was on a lot of stages as it happens with a book. The odd thing is that I would come off stage sometimes, and guys would come up to me and go like, "Dude, do you feel safe? Do you think you're gonna get killed or?" And women would come up to me and say, "Wow, that really resonated with me." So I was totally unexpected until it just kept happening a lot. 'Cause it's very human, it's a very human thing, it's not exploiting or anything like that. It's the process of romance and the process of winning deals.
- Well And I don't know if you're entitled to the credit or not, but every sales coach I talk or every person I talk to in the business, they refer to it as it's a dating process, and bad salespeople jump right to the, "Hey, let's get hitched, let's get married," instead of kind of taking the time and building a relationship and building trust and all of that, right?
- Absolutely, absolutely. So we do have to seduce. And I say that very open, we do have to disrupt. We have to get attention in an attractive way. But then if you're always talking about how good you are and the seducing attracting, look at me, I'm good, that's not gonna last long. So you need to disrupt and get attention that you are worthy of my attention. Then you need to flip it in the romance process, as I found out in 2011, and then flip it and say, "Enough about me, let's talk about you. That blah, oh, you apparently shop in really nice places." And then in the sales process, how does that match your big challenge or something like that. And then flip it. So attract, but then engage. Seduce, engage and build trust to win their hearts.
- Is that the entire process?
- A good subtitle has three beats to it, Seduce, Engage & Win Customers' Hearts. Actually, I mean, I have a sales methodology called the SCORE-selling method, and there I have five S-C-O-R-E, scope, challenges, outcomes, resistance, and execution, the five phases that you need to pull a buyer through. And I say pull and not push, and asking questions is the primary way of doing that. So S is very much open the meeting, say something to get it going, but as quickly as you can, move into questions methodically.
- Well, let's start there. So our audience is typically somebody in marketing or public relations, corporate communications, typically speaking, at a mid-market or enterprise-sized company. They may perceive their job to be, hey, I help sales get more leads, I provide more leads for sales or I develop interest in a product or service so our salespeople can help close those deals. So I think we both agree the best marketing departments, the most successful companies, have marketing and sales working very closely together in a loving relationship, right? And so let's go through SCORE. Let's talk about SCORE for a minute. So help the marketer who's listening to this podcast better understand the challenges and the opportunities the sales team and the sales force has on a regular basis and how they might use SCORE collectively to reach a better outcome.
- Very great question. And again, A Sale Is a Love Affair: Seduce, Engage & Win Customers' Hearts and SCORE are aligned, except for one has five steps to it, and the other has three steps to it. We want to attract. And I believe that the early phase of if you go in, and they say, "Jack, thanks for coming today, we got a big problem." Great. You're already past the attraction and somehow you've built enough trust that you can go right into the next questions. If you walk in and they say, "Thanks for coming today, what have you got for us?" You kind of have to open and present. Now, I am not saying take out the PowerPoint and present for 30 minutes, but the ball's in your court. And you can't say, "Tell me your deepest problems." Like oh, you're divorced, what went wrong? Just like in a romantic relationship. So you have to earn the right to get to each next phase. And if they say, "Thanks for coming in, what have you got for us?" You need to open, and a story is a good way to open your competitive advantage is a good way to open. And of course, a story of an existing customer who you have helped and then right into a question. And so S is scope, the scope of your business and the scope of theirs, very much fact-based when you move into here's what we do, here's what you do. Ask a question or two that are quite fact-based answers, and then move into questions that get them thinking as they're answering them. This helps build trust because asking questions is not a sign of ignorance, it's a sign of professionalism. You go to the doctor, he asks you five questions before he starts saying things, those questions, your best friend isn't gonna ask you. And so in your area of expertise, asking great questions is a sign of professionalism. And if you do it the right way, it's gonna build trust.
- Yeah. I've recently heard somebody refer to that as, when you go see the doctor, his first step is he's diagnosing. The second scope, and then he's prescribing, and then he's applying and reapplying as needed. And so that was kind of eyeopening to me because one of the challenges is, a lot of turns, PR pros, we like to jump right into the applying stage instead of really listening carefully to diagnose and then prescribe and then actually do the work, right?
- And it's interesting that you say PR pros. I will say that in IT, I've worked, as I mentioned, private equity, I've worked in pharma and they go in, and they start talking about how good their product is or jumping right into a solution that they think would be a problem that applies to a problem, and they haven't even diagnosed yet. And so many people say, "Well, our business is different." Yes, it is, but a good sales coach, I go into customers and I say, "I don't know your business." If I'm supposed to know your business, you may say, "Oh no, you don't know our business, why should we hire you?" And that once happened as I was about to close a deal, and the CEO saw that they were gonna spend some money, this must be the guy in the meeting with the CMO. Then he walked in and said, "Jack, you don't know our business, why should we hire you?" And so I started asking him questions. And after about two minutes, he looked at the CMO and said, "This guy knows more about our sales cycles than we do." 'Cause they were saying, "Our sales cycles are four years." And I said, "No, they're not, they're three to six months." And he said, "No, no, no, our biggest client, we met them, and four years later, we sold them." And I said, "That was a four-year relationship." But the deal started when Marcus took the phone call from Seattle. And he was kinda like, "Wow." I said, "That's when the sales started." So I don't need to know pharma, I don't need to know a private equity, and I've helped companies in both.
- Yeah. Well, I think it's also the fact that you don't know their businesses, you can bring a sense of candor and insightfulness to the relationship in the conversation that they may have never seen or not experienced before. I know when we're talking to a company that's in vertical X and we start to work with them and we realize they're facing the same challenges that our clients in vertical Y experienced years ago because their compliance or their regulatory agencies are ahead of that curve. And so they're just now starting to see it. It's like, hey, we've navigated this before, let me show you how our other client was able to do it, lemme make introductions to you. And suddenly they've got a guide leading them through a process that is brand new to their industry, their industry's never seen, but yet another industry, especially you talk about IT or regulatory compliance, has become an issue. So nowadays we all know what HIPAA is, and we're all been touched by HIPAA, but rewind years ago, and we were helping healthcare companies navigate these new waters of HIPAA. They had no idea what it was, and then once they learned and adopted it and deployed it, then it started becoming part of the commons and macular and business. And now, IT and other people have to keep in mind about data records and privacy and things like that.
- Yeah, yeah, our problems are common ones, even though our industries are different. My first sales job, I worked for a California winery, Sebastiani Vineyards back in the '80s. And the head of sales and marketing, there was a change, and the guy who came in was from Procter & Gamble, you could imagine the jokes going around Sonoma and Napa and San Francisco about this, but you know what, nine months later, sales were flying. And so that and other things that I've witnessed throughout my career, I believe great salespeople can change industry, and in six months or so, be selling very, very well. I feel that product specialists have a hard time, even if they stay in the industry, changing a product and selling well because a good sales person, again, he's not a pickup artist, he's a lover. He's part psychologist, part spiritual guru, and I say he or she, part psychologist, part spiritual guru and part lover. They want the best for you, baby. You know what, I'm not your man. You know what, you need this and I can't provide it. You need this, but before I do that, I gotta diagnose and through diagnosing, you will see that you need it. So sales is really getting into the heart and the head of the customer and building that relationship.
- Jack, that's really good. And we've come to a point now where we'll take a quick break in the show, and I'll be right back on the other side.
- [Announcer] You're listening to On Top Of PR with your host, Jason Mudd. Jason is a trusted advisor to some of America's most-admired and fastest-growing brands. He is the managing partner at Axia Public Relations, a PR agency that guides news, social, and web strategies for national companies. And now back to the show.
- Welcome back to On Top Of PR. I'm with Jack Vincent. And Jack is an author, a consultant, and coach, and many other things, and just an all-round great guy. We are talking about sales and the role that marketing can play in sales and the difficulty of having those two come together, as well as obviously the importance of selling, but selling in a relationship way where sales might be a love affair. And Jack's already shared his SCORE process with us a little bit. So Jack, let's say a company, whether it's B2B, typically, I guess, in this case, but they're coming in and they're doing a pitch. and I'll just set the table as they got an important presentation, important sales meeting. We've got marketers on the line, listening to this. Kind of walk us through what is that sales pitch like, and how could a marketing leader or a marketing department professional guide sales teams to making their pitch like a story and telling a story or sharing a story with the audience?
- Well, it's interesting. One of my clients is the Basque region of Spain, and every year they have a startup event, accelerator event. And I coach up to 40 startups each year in their pitch. And this year I've also gone back to fiction writing in my spare time, and I'm studying that. And one thing I noticed every year when I do this, the third consecutive year, I've done it, every year, I have a shtick, every year, I have something that I find myself repeating, and it's new. And this year, I found myself saying that your pitch needs to be like a thriller novel or a blockbuster movie. When you go into a pitch, when they say, "What have you got for us? Over to you, give us 20 minutes or give us five minutes of what you guys do," don't start with what you do, don't start with your company, don't start with your magic sauce, don't start with your great management team. Start with a story that is a thriller novel. I honestly believe this. So when you pick up a novel and get hooked by chapter two or go into the cinema and 10 minutes in, you forget about your popcorn, what's happening, there's a hero. And the hero is not Superman, a hero is somebody who is suffering, who struggles and has to make a decision, the protagonist. And we want somebody that we can identify with. Yes, it might be Tom Cruise, and he might be able to run faster than us, but he's got some problems that we identify with too. And that's what you wanna do in a pitch. Tell the story of a previous client, similar to the one you're sitting in front of, who is that. Then what do they have? A challenge. They've got a problem, they've got an opportunity that they want to exploit, but it's a challenge to do that. Very, very clear, this is their challenge. But there's no drama yet until you quantify it. And that's where drama in a novel, and that comes through consequences. What's at stake? You work this into your pitch, such and such a customer previous to us, or our typical client, this is them, this is their position and this is what they manage. This is a problem they often face, and here's the story of one who, if they didn't fix it, they were going to lose efficiencies or they were losing efficiencies. And so you need to quantify it at what's at stake. And in a novel, they could lose their relationship with their family, they could get laughed out of town, they could die, they could get murdered, somebody is chasing them. What's at stake? Their life. So what's at stake for your ideal client if they decide not to hire you and if they blow it? Then what do you need? A villain. You need a villain. Now, the villain doesn't have to be Lord Voldemort, it doesn't need to be a character played by Donald Sutherland, it can be the dynamics of the marketplace. And in marketing type, it can be if you don't tweak your brand, if you miss this opportunity. But what is the villain? Go into define it and make it as character as you can. Then you need a plot, and the plot is your solution and how it works and how it gets implemented. Know if you hire us, it won't be easy, but it will be good, okay? But we will be there working on it, and we're gonna tinker with it. And then you need the mentor. This is where you introduce yourself. If you introduce yourself too early, they're gonna go, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." Of course they are good, of course they got magic sauce, of course they got a great management team, they're selling. But if you put somebody else's life on the line, then when Professor Dumbledore comes, you're very eager to meet him. And then you can say a bit more about yourself, and they'll be like, "Yeah, yeah." But not too much because you wanna leave them wanting more. Then the moral of the story. The moral of the story is here's how it worked out, and here's the big message, and the big message is our competitive advantage. So those are seven beats. There are more beats in a thriller. There's like 15 actually. But I'll stop there. And those are the primary ones for your pitch.
- And that concept is very familiar to me in how we try to write our case studies. So you write a case study that has that kind of story where it sounds like there's the hero or maybe the star, right? In my experience, you always wanna keep your client or your audience as the star because it'll be more engaging to them. And so they have a problem or a challenge. And as there are trying to overcome that, that problem or that challenge, they meet a guide, and that guide walks them through it, and that guide is, either in my case, the agency, or in the audience's case, it might be the software they provide or the data security they provide or the construction services that they're providing to fix that challenge and overcome that challenge. And your hero or your star or your character, in the story, they may succeed or they may fail, right?
- That's right.
- Ideally, if it's a case study, you're writing about how your company helped them succeed, but I guess you could write a reverse case study where they didn't use us, they use the little bidder, and then that bridge collapsed, that they had built, and then they had lawsuits, and people lost jobs because they hired a little bidder.
- They hired the lowest bidder, or they decided to do it internally. "Hey boss, I can do this." Which happens in sales training a lot and probably in PR and large marketing departments. We can do that. So that is one of your biggest competitors. We have two other competitors other than the obvious ones. One is we can do it internally, and the other is, you know what, we don't need to do this at all. And that's where tactical questioning actually helps pull them through. Helps pull them through seeing the need to do it. And that SCORE, one area is the R, and R is resistance. What kind of resistance will they have to moving forward. The SCORE is very customer-focused. So what challenges, S-C-O-R-E, challenges, what outcomes are they pursuing, what do they want to achieve, what resistance will they have and with you and with the whole process. If you noticed that, it seems like they might not make a decision at all or there's some great questions there that are an R resistance-related question is where will you be a year from now if you don't move forward on this? It's a great question if you've been through the process with them and you notice they're cooling down. It doesn't guarantee you a deal 'cause nothing guarantees you a deal. But it does improve your probabilities.
- Yeah, that's good.
- And where will you be a year from now if you don't address this or if you get it wrong?
- So let's walk through it real quick. The SCORE and it's a scope, is that right?
- Scope. So this kind of the factual parts of your business and their bit, how many salespeople do you have working in the Northwest? The questions that they're easy for them to answer because they're fact-based, but you don't wanna use too many of them because you don't want them to be thinking that, "What did we bring this guy in here for, Harvard education?" And C or challenges. So if you, for example, give the case-study pitch, the hero and the storify your pitch, and then you say, "How does that line up with what you're up against?" What you're up against is the same thing as saying, "How does this address your challenges?" So C is challenges. If you're talking to a startup, you might wanna say, "What keeps you up at night?" If you're talking to the head of a major corporation, you may be dressed differently and say, "How does this address your challenges?" And everybody's hip today. You can still be wearing a tie and say, "It keeps me up at night." But you adapt your language, but the topic is the same. Challenges. Let's go into your challenges. What we just talked about, how do you see that? And if they go, "Well, not quite, that's perfect." And we'll also get to that when we start talking solutions. When they say, "It's good," but a good salesperson doesn't say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know." You say, "Oh, that's brilliant." And you slide over the piece of paper and you both start writing on it together. Now, it's co-ownership of the solution. And that's outcomes, that's outcomes. You're the expert, so when you put something out there as an expert should do, when they say, "Yeah, 80% of the way, but here it's different." Wonderful. Tell me how it is different. Embrace that, embrace that, and let them take co-ownership of the solution.
- And then the next step is R, which is resistance. What is E?
- E is execution.
- Execution. Okay.
- E is execution is executing the deal.
- Okay, perfect.
- I'll give you one magic question right now. The magic question is not do you want it in green or blue, should we get started tomorrow or next week, that is manipulative. And closing is no time to alienate the love. You took me to dinner. A good chat on the sidewalk and a little lovey dovey would be really cool, and the next time we date, it's gonna be bombastic, okay? What you don't wanna do is grab the other party and kiss too hard. I mean, you gotta be smooth. And in closing the deal, yes, it's a love affair, dammit. The non-pushy question, but the responsible question, I'm here for love. You turn me on, I wanna know, baby. And it's the same thing in a sale is how would you like to proceed. That is not manipulative and it empowers them, but it also is asking, tell me, baby, do we have love or do we have mutual friends? Where are we going, how would you like to proceed?
- Okay, that's good, that's good. So Jack, we're wrapping up here quickly. Our time is running out quickly. Did you have any closing thoughts that you want to share before we wrap up?
- A Sale Is a Love Affair. It is psychology, it is spirituality, it's good faith. You can break up and break up the right way. You can destroy a family if you break up the wrong way, you can destroy your relationship in a city if you break up the wrong way. It is so parallel. It's just so parallel that love your customers, even if they tell you no. It sounds cliche, but when they say no, do it in the most positive way you can. And you may get a phone call in six months. It's happened to me where people have turned me down, and then I've asked a few questions, and six months later, they call me for a different project. I wasn't right for that project, but we have this other little thing. "We hired a big agency, and now we kinda need you for five days work, can you do it."
- Yeah, that's good.
- Yeah, break up responsibly.
- I like it. And Jack, when our audience hears this episode, I know they're gonna love it and wanna connect with you. What's the best way for them to connect with you, and what might you recommend they do? Is it say buying your book or checking out your content?
- Jackvincent.com is my website. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if anyone puts On Top Of PR, I'd be happy to give them a good consult conversation. And approximately 15 minutes, be happy to talk to anybody about anything related to their business of going from marketing to sales, be delighted.
- Perfect. And what format are your books available?
- They are on Kindle, and they are paperback.
- Okay. And available on your website?
- Through my website, amazon.com. A Sale Is a Love Affair, Jack Vincent, and Sales Pitches That Snap, Crackle 'n Pop. And if anybody's into love poetry, I curated a book on love poetry with 17 other poets.
- I remember. Yeah, that's great. Jack, thanks for being with us today and sharing your smarts and your experience. You've had an incredible career, and I know you've traveled extensively. And it's always a pleasure when we have the opportunity to connect, and I look forward to reconnecting with you soon.
- Jason, thanks so much for having me. Thanks, again.
- Yeah, my pleasure. Glad to be here, glad to have done it. And thank you for tuning into our episode today. If you liked what you heard here, please check out Jack. Be sure to subscribe to our podcasts and make sure you hit the notification so you get alerts whenever we have a new episode. We will drop a new episodes each week, and we're really excited to bring you great guests and great content. And if you like what you heard here, please feel free to leave a review so that others can learn about On Top Of PR as well. Again, thanks to Jack for being here today, and we wish you all very well.
- [Announcer] This has been On Top Of PR with Jason Mudd, presented by ReviewMaxer.