The following transcript features Clay Clark, US Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year, and Mickey Michalec talking about sales concept "the power of the pen" on Thrive15.com, one of the best business schools in Florida!
Clay: I've heard about this. I don't know if it's true. Rumor has it that you have a tool that you use when you're talking. You focus the attention on the doctor or the prospect, you're talking to them, but you use this little thing; the power of the pen. Talk to me about this little tool and how you use this to keep somebody engaged. Even though you're focusing on them, how do you keep them following what you're wanting to talk about?
Mickey: This was learned probably more as a survival method. This was my survival tool that I had to get me through my first week of sales. I to this day still get frustrated when people say, "Well, I don't know the material well enough to go out there. I don't want someone to stump me. I don't want someone to ask me a question and I don't know the answer to it so I'm going to stay and study a little bit more and then maybe in a couple of weeks I'll get out there and go try to make some sales. I need to study more."
The power of the pen started there because I got flooded; I was drinking from a fire hose; all this medical information that I had to learn. I believe in sales now. Go out there, jump in the deep end with both feet and try to survive.
Clay: Sales now?
Mickey: Let's get out there and go now. So many people say, "Oh, I don't know it. I need to wait." The power of the pen, this is where it came in. The reality was that I didn't know all the information on the paper in front of me. What I did know was that there's natural reactions that when you place ... Let's be honest.
Clay: You don't know all the information about the product sometimes?
Mickey: It's not that I didn't know about the product in it's entirety. I was trying to listen and also get out the points that I need to, and I knew that I had to look at my paper and stop looking at my customer. I didn't want to seem like I didn't know what I was doing so what I did was I always carry a pen right here, right in my front pocket. I pulled it out like this, and what I did was I was kind of tapping it and I realized that every time I tapped it the doctor looked down at what I was tapping on.
I went wait a minute, this tool; it's like a tool. He's following it. So I went, "I'll tell you what real quick, the reality is this is the point that we're talking about here, and I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but is this line better than that line?" He was like, "Yeah, it is." I said, "Well, hey, that's great."
What I did was I realized that if I took this out and I used it as a pointer that that little eye would follow that every time. I would carry that pen with me everywhere and it gave me an opportunity to look at the product with him, and if I didn't know the material, the exact words that we had to use, I could simply read it with him. I could say, "Okay, I want to show you this." I would simply read it with him. He's looking there, I'm looking there, and we're just reading along.
Clay: You're kind of like hypnotizing them really.
Mickey: Yeah. I've actually done that.
Clay: Does this work with the power of the finger should your pen be out of ink or something?
Mickey: No. I think you should always have a pen. The reason why is because at the end of the day you are providing an opportunity for them to learn, but when that sale comes in let's go ahead and make this something that they've been following, let's go ahead and hit that for them. "If you want to order that today, let's go ahead and sign that right now and I'm going to get on my way."
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Clay: This isn't a benefit I've ever heard you tell about the power of the pen, but something that I've learned from years of sales, is that professionals have a pen and take notes and amateurs don't take notes and professionals get very frustrated when they're in their presence. I've seen a lot of doctors, high level real estate people, wealthy people; when they're in a meeting and somebody is in the meeting with them who's not taking notes it annoys them.
Mickey: Or nothing in front of them, just sitting like this. "Hey, great meeting." Right?
Clay: Yeah. There's a study that I have read that was interesting in a Harvard Business Review. This was years ago. Executives retain like three-quarters more information than their subordinates and they take notes and most of their subordinates don't. The pen, it's got a lot of power there. It's like a life saver almost.
Mickey: I think when somebody is speaking a great way that you can show value without telling them is to write down what they're saying. If you're speaking and you see me writing down and listening to what you're saying, obviously I find value in what you're saying enough to write it down.
Have that pen with you and if you have a question you can always take that pen back and say, "So, Clay, when we were talking I wrote this down right here." I can reread what you're saying by just using this and saying, "Hey, that's it." I can direct you where I want; just use it as my pointer is all I'm doing.
Clay: Sales is not warfare. Point number four here, sales is not warfare. May salespeople feel that selling is warfare. Jerry Vass, he says, "Many salespeople feel that sales is warfare. The buyer is the enemy and the words are ammunition and the seller's advances are turned aside because they are so predictable, amateurish and easily deflected."
What he's saying is that these people feel like that they are a salesperson and they're just going to war, just shooting ammo at the prospect. We have all these benefits. We have all these great things. This is the machine gun approach and it freaks out the prospect.
Best selling author Brian Tracy writes, "Approach each customer with the idea of helping them to solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling them a product or service." Mickey, what have you done to keep you focused on solving problems rather than approaching sales as a form of warfare like most salespeople?
Mickey: It's finding the need first and giving an option for that need to meet the end result. I like what he said there about not selling a product or service, but finding a problem to help achieve a goal. I think that's what you have to do. It's always a mentality. You always have to go into it.
Before I go into a sales call, and I drive to each different location, but before I go in I stop in the car and I pull up what do I know about this physician, what did I do the last time I was in there, how was the result, and what can I do to build on or redirect the conversation.
Clay: You keep detailed notes though from the last time?
Mickey: Absolutely. You have to, because how am I expected to remember everything? I'm just a simple guy. First of all, I'm a guy, right? My brain can go anywhere, but I've got to take notes and remember where did this go last time? If it was good, I'm going to build on it. It's the call continuum. We continue the call from last time.