Building Towards the Close Chess Not Checkers

Building Towards the Close   Chess Not Checkers

Hi, my name is James Shepherd. I’m really excited about this particular
video/podcast episode because I get to talk about Chess, which I love and which has a
lot of parallels to the way that I sell actually. So most sales people that I talk to and I
watch them sell and observe, they basically are playing Checkers. What I mean by that is they are not really
thinking very far ahead. They are not thinking in any complex thoughts
at all. They are basically just out there pitching
something and they are basically playing a numbers game and they are hoping that some
people will say, “Yes.” Now the good news for that strategy is that
people will say, “Yes.” In fact, if you go out and work really, really
hard and you talk to a lot of business owners, a lot of them will say, “Yes.” However, I decided a long time ago that prospecting
while it can be invigorating once you get out and start doing it, it’s not really
the thing that I want to do with all of my time. So I’d really like to be able to sell a
higher percentage of people so that I have to prospect a little bit less in order to
make my numbers, right? So I started figuring out that actually playing
Chess is a lot more similar to the way that you would sell correctly. Let me explain what I mean by that. There is two concepts. The first concept is the concept of pressure
or leverage. So when you are playing Chess, many of you
I’m sure have played Chess before. The concept is to kind of really put pressure
on the person that you are playing chess with. So you are moving your pieces in a way to
kind of pressure them, meaning that you are really directing what they can do. So you start the game off by really kind of
narrowing and saying, “Well, I’m going to make sure they can’t move there. I’m going to make sure they can’t do this
and I’m going to make sure they can’t move there.” That really is about kind of memorizing ahead
of time your opening. If I’m playing somebody in Chess and they
do a normal opening, I kind of know. I don’t really have to think very much about
it. I just kind of know if they move there, I’m
going to move here. If they move there, I’m going to move here. I have the whole kind of opening thing memorized
because I really want to move my pieces in a way where I kind of know where they are
going to move, so I know what they are going to do. That’s very similar to the opening in Chess
is very much like the opening in sales. Your opening in sales should really be a series
of you know statements that you are going to make where you have planned responses. You pretty much know what they are going to
say. If your opening pitch is giving you like all
kinds of random things are happening after the opening, you know they are saying all
kinds of random stuff and you never know what to expect. That’s a real problem. You need to fix your opening. You need to make it to where it is much more
predictable, so your opening and your initial conversation, you should pretty much always
know how that’s going to go. Again, there is definitely a lot of variations
to it, but like maybe three or four variations to each thing that you do, so you kind of
know generally where you are going to go. You keep improving that because just like
in Chess, the further into the game where you’ve already thought through and you know
exactly what move you are going to make when they make a move, you are going to do so much
better. A really experienced professional Chess players,
many times the first 15 moves, they don’t have to think about it. They know exactly what they are going to do
based on what the other person does because they’ve already thought through all these
variations and they’ve memorized it all. In sales, it’s very similar. You got to memorize all these things so you
know what your lines are, what you are going to say. Start working on that. So that’s that pressure you are putting
on where you are really applying the pressure because you’ve memorized some lines. You know what you are going to say. You know what they are going to say. You’ve got this whole thing kind of figured
out. The next thing that is very similar with Chess
is that you have to think ahead, multiple moves ahead, okay, so you can plan what you
are going to do. So this is where you are starting to close
off options, and you are moving in for the final “Yes,” or in this case the check-mate,
right? So the idea here is when you are out selling
in the field and you get to the point where you are talking to them about the solution. You are coming down to the close. You need to make sure that you have all the
of your pieces arranged, so that when you go in for the final “Yes,” you actually
get it. Okay, what do I mean by this? What I mean is you need to start thinking
in terms of what your prospect is thinking, not just what you are thinking. The mistake most sales people make is that
a lot of them have a pretty good opening presentation and have kind of figured this out and they
are like, “Okay yea, I’m going to say this. They are going to say that.” They figured a lot of that out, but then when
they get further and they get passed that, all they know how to do is pitch the benefits,
pitch the value, logical, logical, logical, but they are not thinking about their prospect
because each prospect is a little bit different, and they are going to tell you things. They are going to say things, where you are
kind of like “Oh, I see where they are going with that. I kind of know what they are thinking. I get it.” So you are first going to take care of that
concern. You are first going to address that issue
before you go in for the final close. Maybe they might volunteer information where
you know a certain closing tactic is not going to work. If they say something like, “Well, you know
my business partner isn’t here right now.” You are not closing. You are just talking and they are like, “Well,
my business partner is not here right now, but definitely I want to go over this with
him the next day.” Well, you already know that you are not going
to go in for a hard “Yes” or “No” close because you already know that they are
going to say, “No.” So you can’t do that. So you’ve got to change tactics a little
bit. Because you’ve seen what they are thinking
and the direction they are going, so now you are going to come in with something where
is it less commitment, maybe a trial offer or something like that, as I talked about
in the last video. So you are going to kind of come in and close
that way because now you’ve seen what they are doing. The idea is you need to slow down and you
need to think about your prospect. What are they thinking and feeling? What do you want them to think and feel? Because closing a sale is actually all about
feelings. It’s not about logic. The logic is what you take care of in that
opening and that part that is more prepared. You know your presentation. Here is what it is. Here is what I can do for you etc., etc. Then you get into that okay, now they are
interested. They are sitting down. You are talking with them. Now there is no script. There is no pitch. There is nothing you can have that is just
boom, boom, boom, everything ready to go, no. Now you are in a moment where you are playing
off of their emotions. What are their concerns? What are their questions? That’s why I love asking them, “What kind
of questions do you have for me? You know, I know that was a lot of information,
Robert. Are there any questions you have for me about
all of this?” I’m not going to close until I ask, “Are
there any questions they have?” I a lot of times will ask, “How do you feel
about all this?” What a great question. One of my friends, Josh Bryan, who is just
a superstar salesman in a different industry, we talk about sales a lot. One thing he likes to say when people say,
“Well, I don’t know. I really need to think about it a lot.” He’ll say, “What do you think about it?” Then he’ll smile at them. You got to ask these questions. You need to find out what are they thinking? What are they feeling right now? Because your whole pitch, you need to move
in that direction with them and help them to you need to take care of their fears. You need to answer those fears. You need to deal with those issues before
you move in for the final close. Because if you don’t have all your pieces
in place, you are going to jump in there for the check-mate and you know, “All right,
great, I think I’ve got all your questions answered. Let’s go ahead and move forward. Now what’s the legal name of the business.” Then they are going to hit you with, “Well,
like I said, James, I can’t make a decision right now because my business partner isn’t
here.” Then you are like, “Ah.” How do you recover from that one? They already told you that. If you would have been listening, you could
have changed your tactic a little bit and done something different that would have worked. In sales, it’s so hard to recover. It’s much easier to be proactive. My advice to you is this, Stop playing Checkers
in sales and start playing Chess. Start planning your openings ahead of time
and then start thinking ahead. What are their emotions? What are they feeling? What direction are they going? So you can adjust your pitch and adjust your
presentation accordingly. By the way, if you want to actually play Chess,
it’s a lot of fun. So you could try that too, and that will help
you with your tactics, patience, and strategy. My name is James Shepherd. Have a great day!

4 thoughts on “Building Towards the Close Chess Not Checkers

  1. Thanks for the call the other day James. It was quite enlightening and it very well may end up being one of the most beneficial calls I have ever made, for both myself and my family.

  2. You have some of the best training and sales approach I've seen.

    I work with a very progressive merchant services company. I think we could do a simple digital training program for all of their reps. I could do all of the work besides the content. There's much more to this. When can you give me 20 minutes on the phone?

  3. Thanks again for some GREAT pointers again James…you're very motivating, logical, calm, sincere, and in turn effective. Everything a person SHOULD be in the sales industry. All the best!

  4. Grew up playing Chess and you make some valid points. Sales people who sell just features and don't build a relationship, that's checkers.

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