Podcast 907: Strikingly Different Selling: 6 Vital Skills to Stand Out and Sell More with Dale Merrill

“Change your thinking from surprisingly average to strikingly different” states our guest on this edition of Inside Personal Growth.  Dale Merrill is the co-author of a new book entitled “Strikingly Different Selling: 6 Vital Skills to Stand Out and Sell More.” and a global Managing Director in FranklinCovey’s Sales Performance Practice.

In my interview with Dale about this new book he co-authored with Scott Savage, Jennifer Colosimo, and Randy Illig (the sales performance experts at FranklinCovey), we speak about the many facets to consistent sales success and   helping clients become strikingly different in the way they think and the way they connect with their clients.

We also speak about the 6 vital skills to stand out and sell more:

  • Capture Attention with Verbal Billboards
  • Create Excitement with Movie Trailers
  • Build Confidence with Flashbacks and Flashforwards
  • Become Essential with “Why Us!” Differentiators
  • Get Curious and Find the Gaps
  • Navigate Traffic Lights and Close the Gaps

If you want to learn more about Dale Merrill and their book Strikingly Different Selling: 6 Vital Skills to Stand Out and Sell More, please click here to visit the book website.  You may also click here to see Franklin Covey’s events, courses and services.

I hope you enjoy this informative and engaging interview with Dale Merrill.

THE BOOK

Everyone thinks they’re different. No one wants to be average. Yet, to clients, salespeople often don’t stand out at all, leading to average win rates of a dismal 17% globally.

What’s going wrong?

Until now, there have been lots of questions and rarely any helpful answers.

Strikingly Different Selling reveals a simple formula and six vital skills to outperform your competitors and radically change your client interactions and results.

THE AUTHOR

Dale Merrill is a global managing director in FranklinCovey’s Sales Performance Practice. He is a thought leader and a highly sought-after advisor to sales and business leaders at many of the world’s most admired companies. He focuses day to day on helping clients dramatically grow revenues and profitability

For more than thirty years, Dale has led businesses and helped a wide range of clients solve complex challenges and win more business in virtually every region of the world including North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Prior to joining Franklin Covey, Dale served in senior executiveleadership roles at several different companies.

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transcription (not edited) of the interview.

Dale Merrill Audio Interview

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. This is Greg Voisen, the host of Inside Personal Growth. And joining me from Salt Lake City actually just a little bit outside of Salt Lake City I take it that right down right Alpine, Utah Alpine so it's not that far from Salt Lake City is Dale Merrille and Dale and his partner Scott savage at Franklin Covey wrote a new book called Strikingly Different Selling Six Vital Skills to Stand Out and Sell More. Well, it's a pleasure having you on insight, personal growth. It's a pleasure. For a lot of reasons, one, you know, I've been involved in selling and management consulting all my life. And I've never seen such a huge shift, not only in selling, but then the customer service after the sale. And I really think that I know that isn't part of the book, per se. But the reality is, it seems like we've seen a degradation of that happening with almost every company, right? There's a few I could name where there have hasn't been, and one of them would be Apple, actually, I think exceptional customer service. But I want to let our listeners know just a little bit about you. Dale is a global managing director in Franklin Covey sales performance practice. He's a highly sought after thought leader and trusted adviser to sales and business leaders, and many of the world's most admired companies. Dale focuses on helping clients dramatically grow revenues and profitability. For more than 30 years, he's led businesses and helping a wide range of clients solve problems, and win more business in all regions of the world. So he's got quite a bad background, a Bachelor’s of Science degree and master's in accounting degrees from Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University, and is a certified public accountant. So that makes him actually quite interesting, because usually you don't find Certified Public Accountants dealing in the sales field, to be honest with you, but we're going to have a lively discussion today about this book, from the sales performance expert, although experts wrote the book, four of them from Franklin Covey, we'll be talking with Dale today. So Dale, you know, I always like to find out from authors. Why, why did you decide to write this book, other than the fact that, you know, maybe the management and Franklin Covey said, Hey, we need another book or whatever. But the reality is, is, you know, it's selling is, as they say, been an age old practice, we've had selling for a long time in the profession has definitely morphed. I go back to the days of Larry Wilson consultative selling. And he was a partner of mine and a great friend and confidant, and you look at how people are now selling, tell us what the striking difference striking the different ways are that people are being sold. And why you and Scott decided to write this book now.

Dale Merrill
Yeah, well, Greg, it's great to be with you today. And it's an honor to be on your program. I'm a fan. And just love the concept of helping people transform themselves. As you ask the question, why did we write this book? We work with 1000s of salespeople around the world. And we were finding that clients were coming to us, our clients, these sales professionals and saying, Help us because we're really struggling to either win more deals, we're not winning enough, or we're having a hard time getting meetings, or when we're getting meetings, they're not going anywhere. What's interesting, you know, and so we had some ideas of some coaching, this is a multi year effort. And as we thought about it, many years ago, we realized that salespeople have blind spots, and they don't see themselves like clients see them. And this kicked off our multiyear journey. Quick story, this will kind of illustrate the blind spots that salespeople have and really why this book and this kind of body of work is very timely today. In this three second world that we live in. We had a chance over six years to watch. 1000s of salespeople interact in meetings across the sales cycle with client executives. And so we watched more than 20 100 sales professionals participate in almost 1700 meetings. And after each of these meetings, we were the fly on the wall that became animated and we were able to actually asked questions. So a debrief of the selling team after this this meeting, and we would ask them, how did that meeting go? From your perspective? What do you think we heard?

Greg Voisen
I heard that it probably didn't go very well. Yes. Meaning? Well, I know the statistic is 17% of the people only think the clients are, are strikingly different, or have something unique. All the vendors’ kind of look the same. So is that

Dale Merrill
one thought exactly what we would have thought, here's what we found. We asked the sales professionals, how did it go?

Greg Voisen
And they did this? Yeah, of course. Yeah. Great. We

Dale Merrill
beat yourself people, right? Yeah. Amazing. We told good stories, we ask good questions, we really feel like we're going somewhere. Then we went to the client, and the C suite people, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, you know, CIO, CTO, CMO, and so forth. And we asked them, Hey, how did that meeting go? From your perspective? There was usually a long pause. And then 70% of the time, they said something like this. That meeting was a waste of my time. Ouch. So here, we have the salespeople giving a thumbs up, and we have the clients giving a thumbs down. How could you have such a dichotomy? How could you have such massive blind spot in, in one group thinking they're doing great the salespeople, and the clients saying is not going well? Well, it's no wonder that 42% of the time, clients are saying that they can't tell the difference between vendors and what you mentioned, that leads to 17% global win rates. So there's a challenge. So we wanted to uncover the blind spots, and write a book from the perspective of the buyer, the clients, what did they want to see? What did they want to hear that would actually make a difference?

Greg Voisen
Well, I know one of the things that goes wrong, Dale, and you having a background doing this and consulting people around selling, and an interesting background, also, as a CPA, that's pretty unusual for somebody with your talent to say, Okay, I'm going to go over into the selling field. Um, you know, are they asking the right questions? Are they curious? Are they inquiring? Are they really finding out the need? What is the true need of the client? And what I've found is, you know, people will go into this somewhat animated presentation, thinking that that's what this client wants, when they don't know, pardon me crap about the client. They haven't done their due diligence, they haven't really found out. And they're not helping the client solve the problem with anything unique. They're not creative solving, problem solvers. It's the same old thing. just regurgitate it. Now, you state that the primary question today is how can sellers stand out as different, that lead to what I just said, none of his people are different and better than the competition, and at a high level, so speak with us about being relevant to staying memorable. And what makes a salesperson strikingly different, because honestly, I bet you most sales, people listening to this really a big percentage of them. Unless you're just audacious. When you go in, and you really do something crazy, like a song and a dance. It's very memorable, you know, you're probably not going to be remembered.

Dale Merrill
So that is the $64 million question, Greg, which is how do you stand out in a way that actually matters to your client. And we found that being distinct, meaning just being different, is not enough, you actually have to be different in ways that matter to the client. So we found that he can put these three things together being relevant, which means focusing on what matters most to the client, then being different, showing them something different and better from their perspective, because it's not about us being different than our competitors, even radically different. It's really about showing the client how they will be different in better buy as a result of working with us. And the memorable part is making whatever you say, easy to share and hard to forget. We found that you can actually put those together relevant, distinct and memorable. And do that almost like a mantra or a song. Am I RDM? Am I RDM? Is my message RDM will the client be relevant, distinct and memorable as a result of working with us? If you can do that, it makes a huge difference.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, I love what you just said, you know, hard to forget. And I think the key is being hard to forget, but easy to remember. So in other words, whatever it is that you're doing, kiss and then make sure that it's hard to forget that whatever you said, or whatever the offer was, or whatever came out, was to sink. Now, let's discuss if you would the first four skills that help to make someone strikingly different. You call it capturing the client's attention. That's number one, to creating excitement, three, building confidence for becoming essential. So how would a salesperson who's listening today, or an executive or a sales manager, help their sales people use these skills to conduct now in this case, a lot is being done online. Right? And, you know, we have people doing DocuSign all the time 1000s of transactions. But the question is, and I just did an interview with Jeff Rosenblum on his book exponential, which I just thought was phenomenal. You know, are we doing transactions? Or is it an emotional sale? And I think once you get to the level where something's emotional, it sticks. But frequently, the internet makes it very transitory, it's like, this is just another transaction, I'm going to sign the DocuSign and get this escrow done, and boom, bada bada dot whatever it might be. Tell me how we can make that different over the internet?

Dale Merrill
Yeah. Well, it's all about going from digital selling, to authentic human selling, especially in this disconnected world that we live in. We're still in the midst of the pandemic, at some point in time, we will be out of that I believe. And we will have a hybrid world of in person and online. So how do you actually connect with your client and engage in a meaningful way? So the first four skills are all about that. And the essence of it is, the first one is capturing attention. Well, that's not a big surprise. Any salesperson in the world worth their salt would realize they have to have contrast, most struggle with the right kind of contrast. And they think when someone asks them how you're different as a salesperson, they have to talk about themselves. So flipping that, on its head, this book, and those first four skills is all about how the client will be different and better. So that first skill you mentioned, of capturing attention, the vehicle for that is something called verbal billboards. The mindset is, how can I help the client get something different and better themselves? So we have some principles inside of there of how you do that? And on the second one, well, if you've captured their attention, how do you get them excited? And there's the movie industry, the film industry figured this out movie trailers, and we have something called movie trailers for sales. It's not a movie trailer, like going to a, you know, a musical or a James Bond movie. Rather, it's how do you almost like when you hold your phone? And you have to click and decide what you're going to what news report you're going to read? How do you get them excited about the message? The next one is you got to build some confidence with your client, we have two vehicles to do that. One's called a flashback on prior success stories, and one called a flash forward on how you'll get the client confident that they would want to go on this journey with you. And finally, the big question, when clients say, Well, how are you different than everybody else? The way that you answer that through the lens of the buyer makes all the difference between just standing up and blending in is blase. And actually standing out in in a provocative, insightful way to the client.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, you know, you give some great I love the way the book is laid out. I love the the way that you've used examples throughout the book. And I think for my readers, this is a book that you can pick up and read and really take away. I always remember Zig Ziglar, saying, it's not your aptitude that determines your altitude, it's your attitude. And I think really, for sales people, if you add that element of attitude on top of the skill sets that you're teaching, it would be extremely powerful. Now you have two more skills, which are get curious, find the gaps and navigate traffic lights, you call it. Speak with us about the message house as you refer to it. And the skills and helping the clients and the salesperson have what I refer to as a win win. I think it's got to be Win win today. It isn't really about competition. It's about how do I create a win for the client and a win for myself?

Dale Merrill
Yeah. So if you think about the concept of a house, Greg, we I find here's what we find salespeople around the world Have distracting messages that are not on point. And they're not focused on the client. They're all over the place to keep all of your messages in a house, where the roof is the core message for the house, that would be your capture attention with verbal billboard. Right underneath that, how are you going to get the client excited? Almost like trusses hold up the roof, you've got some walls, you know, how do you build confidence in the foundation is relevant, distinct and memorable. All of that's your core message for the client, to get them excited about what they can do. Those other two skills you mentioned are huge, because it's not just about your message or your solutions, your ideas, you have to move away from those enough to understand what problems are being the client trying to solve? What results are they trying to achieve? And how can we get curious and find that, and then with the client, validate, and CO create. And then the client inevitably will have some what we'll call net traffic lights, you know, there'll be a green light when things are going great yellow lights, like when you're driving in the city in the in kind of rush hour traffic and everything slow. And there's some red lights when it's a grind? How do you handle objections and push backs and challenges in a way that builds a relationship. So we found the concept is be provocative and insightful, but be the advocate for your client, and the provocative insights on how they can get something different and better that they would like. You're simply their champion, their helper, their advocate. And so all these skills are designed to work together in a very practical way, with the mindset of helping the client succeed. When you do that, you actually stand out as different and better to the client,

Greg Voisen
Dale, what, you know, there's a lot of people out here listening that are using email campaigns, and they're doing all kinds of things to capture attention. How would you recommend and I know you probably have an answer for this? So that and I think this is the big challenge we face today is interruption. You know, you've got an email coming out. You're trying to capture somebody's attention. You know, I go back I used to teach Dale Carnegie attention if interest, conviction, desire clothes, well, the clothes should be the easiest part of the sale. Right? But the reality is, you know, today the messaging is just so pardon me, it's just so crazy. Our cell phones or iPads or computers, or whatever, and everybody's vying for our attention. What would you say so that we aren't as obnoxious, interrupting, to actually get that message across?

Dale Merrill
Well, that is a huge challenge, because we live in in a soundbite add world, right? Meaning everybody like you saying, we're so distracted. In fact, there's research done that a lot of research that showed that our neural pathways are changing, and we're not going as deep anymore, we're staying surfacing. What we found is, when you have a message that has contrast, which very few messages do I keep all of the inbound emails that come to me, I've have, I have 1000s of them. Very few pop out having contrast meaning, here's, here's the from here's where you are today. And here's where you could go to. And you and you have a chance to compare those two. So we found when you get into your messaging, if you can have a provocative, insightful from to message that's perfectly relevant, you know, I say perfectly, really pretty relevant to that client, they're going to have a high likelihood of wanting to click and go one step further. That's great.

Greg Voisen
I echo what you say with a gal that's big with Tony Robbins. And her name's Ellie Gould. And her book is called feeling forward. And the reality is, is you're putting the client or the prospect in the position of having solved the problem. So they can feel what it's like to have it solved, right, emotionally, versus just trying to sell them what you have. And I think that's great. Now, could you speak with us about using a sales billboard to capture the client's attention? And do you have any advice on building this compelling sales board in the book, you give places where you ask questions, and then people can answer them and they can build the billboard. And it's, it's very nicely done. Speak with us about it, because it is an interesting concept. I don't think anybody has heard of it. who's listening to this show?

Dale Merrill
Yeah. Here's how I'll set it up. Here's how this we were inspired to do this. You ever been driving down the road and you're driving your car and something off to the right or to the left grabs your attention? A billboard and it's so interesting to you that you kind of do a little bit of rubbernecking and swerve a little bit. I don't know if you've ever done that. Oh, yeah. Yeah, me too. And we were talking with a client and we were watching A sales presentation with a sales team and the client. And the client got frustrated said, sum it up, give it to me in a billboard, we realized that the advertising industry has found a great way to get our attention and keep it, they do it quickly. So in the sales selling world, it's all about contrast. So these three things would be really helpful for any listener who's trying to figure out whether they're selling or doing any kind of influencing, by the way, because we're all sales per salesperson in some regard, thinking speaking headlines, the principle behind that is be concise. Don't be too wordy. Second, whoever you're talking to link your headlines to their most important goals or their issues. And finally, use the contrasting point of from two outcomes. You can use emotions, which I completely agree with, or symptoms or even metrics. But those three things together, we found after testing this with 1000s of salespeople and real clients, seeing what works and what doesn't. Those three things together make a really big difference.

Greg Voisen
It's interesting as you're speaking, and flashbacking, because we're going to talk about that in a minute, about my good friend, Brian Tracy, and the psychology of selling. You know, I've known Brian personally for years and years. And you know, as much as you revisit these concepts, and you put a new take on them, there's so many that have a correlation because it really is about what's the psychology behind the client, what's going on with the client, you know, and then creating excitement with your prospect. You speak about the use of movie trailer. So we know it's not an actual movie trailer. To assist in the process. Can you speak with the listeners about how you use what you refer to as movie trailer, to create excitement, the prospect, and for my listeners who will have the book, this is on pages 45 through 48 book, I made a note of that, because I wanted to make sure that you knew that's where I had pulled this from.

Dale Merrill
Appreciate that. Let me give you a lead in IDEA. And then I'll tell you about movie trailers, we were working with a guy who has worked with a professional services firm. He was one of their executives trying to get into WalMart, he wanted to meet with a marketing executive at Walmart. And he was struggling to come up with the right kind of message. Because as you might expect, one of the top marketing executives at Walmart is hit constantly by everybody. It was we brainstorm together, we shared some of these principles, we helped him in about a 20 minute time period go from something that was surprisingly average. And that's a term you'll hear a lot in the book because it looks and sounds like everybody else to strikingly different. And we did that by having him list all the goals and issues that he thought the marketing executive would have like product is sitting on the shelf too long at Walmart, Amazon was eating their lunch, right? Because Amazon is taking business away. And so both online and in the store, they had two different experiences, all of that he listed out and boiled it down. And I won't go through all of the details of that in the book actually says example. The very last headline he came up with was the winner that got him through. And this he said this, what if to the marketing executive, you could change your customers mindset. From all this, go get that from Amazon, to I go to Walmart for everything. So the front and the two became very compelling. The that's a headline that comes out of your billboard, the movie trailers all about what is the film industry do to deliver their messages. So the movie trailer industry is a big industry, it's separate. And apart from the movie trailers, or the movie production company, it's usually a creative agency. And their formula is to capture attention quickly create interest, and then call to action. So we took that headline and that concept and helped him build a movie trailer. So he could very conversationally in a human way, whether it's email, or whether it's real time with a phone call or in person, capture attention. And then you have three supporting from two sub headlines how in this case, Walmart could go from x to y by a certain date from x to y by a certain date. But he tapped into Greg this what you mentioned the emotions of that situation. And putting that together, the movie trailer can help you start a great oral presentation. If you're doing a proposal. It can help or it can help you get a meeting for the first time or start a meeting. And it's all about getting that if you were doing this in a digital ways to double the click, you're going to click from the headline down to the next message and you'll click down one deep notch deeper to actually engage so we just It's a multipurpose tool, it works beautifully. And it really is helpful to engage the client in a human authentic way.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, I think that from two is really quite a beneficial skill set to have to be able to think through that. And on top of that, you know, it reminds me of almost like, you know, when you when you get somebody's attention, and then you can move them all the way through to the natural, which should be natural, the closing, right? It's almost like these website landing pages that you go to, and they're parallax, and they just keep moving down. And they're actually moving you down to the close. Now some of those I hate. And some of them, I would never read all that copy. There's just way too much copy to read. But you get where they're going. They're trying to take you from the problem all the way to what they consider the solution. You know, can you speak with us about building confidence with prospects and with the use of flashback and flash forwards? And how do we do this while making a meaningful without what we call yakking too long about flashbacks and flash forwards? Yeah,

Dale Merrill
great question. Let's imagine you're talking with a client. And the client says, I like this discussion. Where have you done this before? What the clients asking for is for us to set the table. They don't want a five course meal served. And most salespeople below it, they ramble. They throw out random names of companies they've worked with, or they launch into a diatribe of, you know, five minutes of some case study. And so a flashback is when you're asked a question like that, you might respond with something like this using a format that we've discovered this just beautiful, it taps into Simon Sinek. You know, start with why, why, what why it would sound like this. Greg, if you asked me that question, where if you've done this before, Greg, as we've been talking, I couldn't help but think about another client in a similar situation that we recently helped achieve great results. Let me just tell you why they needed to change what we did and learned and achieve together and why that might matter to you, then we'll come back and dive into your situation a little bit more in depth. That's called a flashback. It's a multi-purpose consulting slash, you know, engage with client approach. And we've had such positive feedback from clients. They say, I love that, because it shows me you're listening, and you care. And because of that, you just give me a little tip of the iceberg like setting the table. I'll ask more questions if I want. So it's another blind spot salespeople have that we help them uncover with flashback and that builds great confidence in the client.

Greg Voisen
You're saying flashback with obviously a positive story about something that you fixed for another client and how you did it. It reminds me of Mike Bosworth customer centric selling, it used to be something that it was used. And I think those flashbacks and flash forwards are like, well, here's an example of someone that we did this for correct. And here was the result flash forward if we solve the problem. Yeah,

Dale Merrill
exactly. So the flashback is exactly what you said, is telling a great success story in a way that they can swallow it. Flash forward is at some point in the conversation the client might say, or you might suggest, well, what would this look like for me? Right? Well, let me just briefly tell you, based on our conversation, why we believe you should probably change what the journey would look like and why you should consider doing it. Very simple. So it's flashback flash board. And we found it's a, as soon as, as sales professionals hear this, and they get it, they can put the information inside, it becomes the delivery vehicle of human engagement that's authentic. Yeah. And

Greg Voisen
I think what's important for salespeople is, you know, remember that everything you're selling is not about a monetary gain for the client. There's so much more to it, you know, I know they go well is my price, right? You know, where is this priced? Right? It doesn't, you don't have to be the lowest price person to make the sale is a matter of fact, it's been proven statistically, that usually isn't the lowest price person, that always wins the sale. Now, you stated that the research completed with primary intelligence, that buyer see no difference between vendor, the vendor at 42% of the time, that's, that's high. So you're saying like 42% of the time, they're not seeing any difference at all. That's like, I'm just going to round it up and say 50% of the time guys who are listening, no one even knows that you're different. Okay, that's big. What are the top two things sellers do that makes it hard for buyers to see why they're different?

Dale Merrill
Yeah, this stat was very shocking to me, because we looked at more than 19,500 interactions between b2b buyers and sellers. And if it's 42% of the time, like you say, Greg, round up to 50. Wow, that's shocking, because there's a lot of work and energy that goes into trying to differentiate. There's two things that the buyers told us that the sellers do that. drive them crazy, meaning the buyers and cause them to not see any difference. First, the sellers are too focused on themselves. It's always about me and my solution, and my company and my people, my process my tech, whatever, me, me, me, almost like if you know, the comedian, Brian Regan, he has a hysterical thing called the me monster. You know, me, when you hear some person at a party going, maybe that's what salespeople do, tragically. So the tip is, don't do that.

Greg Voisen
Salespeople just need to learn to pause and wait for the pregnant pause and allow the other person to talk. Because they think they have to fill the air with something in it isn't that important? And so I think frequently, that's what will lose them the sale.

Dale Merrill
Totally, yeah, that that leads to the second thing that that the buyers told us they don't like, which is sellers made it impossible to tell the difference between them and anybody else, they all looked and sounded the same. If the client was looking for apples, and they had three different apples in front of them, they perceive that all the apples are red, they're the same variety, that red delicious, and it tastes about the same. When a client's looking for an apple of a different color. That's what salespeople struggle to do. How do you become the green apple or yellow apple? If that's what the clients looking for, with the right taste and texture and mouthfeel? That's the richness that we tried to put through the book. And this whole body of work is it's done on the margins is done in subtleties. no great surprise, you have to stand out. Right? Everybody knows that. But how do you do it in a client centric way? That's good. That's where we feel like we've kind of cracked the code a bit on helping people do that in their selling in the presentation as well.

Greg Voisen
Well, you know, it is about refining the process. But at the same time being sensitive to hearing the answers to the questions that you're getting responded to, and then formulating something that meets the client's goals and objectives. You then just by doing that would be different. Seriously, I mean, you say the margins, that's probably the biggest margin there is right there, right in the middle, is doing those things. And you have an exercise in the book about drafting why us differentiators? I loved it and you speak if you could speak with the listeners about the key questions they should be asking to create their why statement? Because, look, in the end, if they're going to differentiate, differentiate themselves, the buyer has to go why us? Right.

Dale Merrill
Otherwise, it was a fun trip, but nothing's going to happen.

Greg Voisen
Exactly, exactly.

Dale Merrill
So we use the same pattern of flashbacks and flash fours. Why, what why? Because we found that system. It's such an awesome communication vehicle. It's applied a little bit differently with wise differentiators. So the mistake I just mentioned that most salespeople make is they focus all on themselves. When you give your differentiators, it has to give the client a different and better outcome. Or there's no point. They don't care. It doesn't matter to him. So in the first why you have to be linked to whatever problem they're trying to solve a result of trying to achieve. For example, if you're talking to the Chief Financial Officer of some company, and the person says, risk is our biggest concern. Well guess what? Your first why your first why is differentiator better be how you can address risk better than anybody else. So it's here's the difference. And here's the secret sauce. Greg, what's the point of comparison, difference and a point of comparison, if you don't have a point of comparison, it's not going to resonate. One of my favorite books, I've read a lot of books, this one by Dan Ariely called Predictably Irrational. And it's all about how humans make decisions in rationally but they do it in a predictable way. When you have a point of comparison on your first differentiate or any differentiator, it makes a big difference. The second thing is, what would you do with that difference that will help the client in a different and better way? And the last Why is why will the client get a different and better outcome? As a result of this difference, so it's 100% focused on the client. This sounds so much, Greg, I'm sure like will die, of course. And in real life after watching this 1000s of times, the salespeople don't do that this way. They always trumpet how amazing they are. And it's always focused on themselves. It's why clients can't see any difference between them and anybody else.

Greg Voisen
Well, you know, what, truly down makes people different is their own unique self. And if that wasn't the case, then everybody would be an A player in sales. You know what I mean? It would be like, okay, so you look at the top salespeople, and what make what's the difference between them closing versus the middle and the lower 1/3? Right? And what you find is usually, and I'll just say this having done lots of sales training, it's their curiosity. It's they're willing to engage, it's their ability to ask good questions. It's their ability to be very skillful at learning things that work, and then repeating those things that work over and over and over again, whether it's on the phone, or wherever it might be. And it's their dedication and commitment to their career as a professional salesperson, always learning. This show has a hundreds of people, I've done almost 930 interviews so far. And selling is one of the areas that we focus on quite a bit. Overall business, personal growth, right. And I think, you know, you probably know, Whitney Johnson, but she was on here, not too long ago. And a great example of this, and then we'll get to your last question to kind of wrap this up, was, you know, what, made the difference at a company here in San Diego where I live, that you could never get this level of engagement from the employees. And I thought this was fascinating. And it was because Gary, the CEO there basically said, you have to reinvent yourself every year, every year, we want you guys learning and reinventing. And that made it challenging for the employees. Thus, their engagement level was in 93%. versus the average Corporation today is usually around 23 to 30%, engagement 93. And nobody leaves. Yeah, their retention is crazy. And it's again, because of the kind of thing that you're doing was strikingly different selling. That's where this is leading to, is educating salespeople to be constant learners on the asker. Right, some of this stuff is challenging. You know what you know, Dale's talking about today, you got to take time to learn. And wherever you are on that curve, take the additional time to learn this. Because this is going to hone your selling skills, it's going to make you a better person with the client. That being said, what are the three most important elements of your book that our listeners, whether it's a sales manager, or a sales executive, or the sales person could take away and use tomorrow, tomorrow, or today, and, and take immediate action on?

Dale Merrill
Well, if I were to summarize this in three big ideas, first, I'd say change your thinking from surprisingly average, to strikingly different. If you actually step outside of yourself, and look at yourself compared to your competitors, if you're honest, you're likely going to realize you look and sound an awful lot like all these other people, therefore, you're surprisingly average. Even if average is at a very high level, very strikingly different means something that's clearly different and better than its comparison, something that stands out. So change your thinking. In other words, find that blind spot and be willing to acknowledge that, wow, I do need to do something different. Second, see the world through that lens of relevant, distinct and memorable, relevant, am I focusing on what matters most to my client? distinct? Am I showing them something different and better, and memorable? Am I making whatever I say easy to share and hard to forget? And if you can do that, when you're gone, the clients will actually repeat your messaging on your behalf when you're not there. Third thing is, small changes make a big impact. You don't have to be perfect at this fact. You can step on your tongue you can make mistakes, clients will cut you slack. I think get the sense you're trying to help them succeed. So Being directionally correct and doing your very best like 1% at a time, just take one thing and do your best at that then add to, to it. Another thing, you'll find pretty quickly, you'll be making the move from wherever you are today, more towards strikingly different. And all of that wrapped into a bow, it all has to be focused on helping the client succeed as a strikingly different client. And if you can have that mindset, you can do all of that immediately. And it will make a big difference for you and for the client.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, you know, I remember trying to remember the author's name from Stanford, but tiny habits, all of this is about just get, you know, changing something incrementally. Every week, every day, whatever it is, whatever you're trying to do, every professional athlete at the Olympics, what you find is, it's trying something different to see if they can make themselves throw the, you know, the thing farther or ski down the hill faster, do whatever it is, and you see the fraction of a difference, because I've been watching between the person who gets gold, and the person who gets bronze and silver, and we're talking fractions of a second, it is not that much of a difference. Now, Franklin Covey, where people should go is Franklin covey.com strikingly hyphen, different book. We'll put up the links to this so that people won't have to remember this. But what courses do you currently have that you're offering? Or things that people could get involved in beyond just the book, you know, they buy the book, that's great. But now they want to send their sales force through your course? Do you have an online course? Do you have something they can take? It says courses and services. So I figured that's an opportunity for you to fix that.

Dale Merrill
Yeah, there you go. It's really interesting. We help clients become strikingly different in the way they think and the way they connect and engage with their clients. We do that in two ways. First, we help them put in place a capabilities engine, where their mindsets and skills are strikingly different, get into their DNA. We do that with training, some focus coaching, that's pretty cool. Second is we have a really unique way to help clients get consistent, predictable, measurable results quarter after quarter, year after year. It runs on a system that many of your clients may have heard of called the four disciplines of execution, Franklin Covey is known pretty widely for that. And with a little mobile app, you can see what's working, what's not, and you can fine tune and adjust real time to help everybody pull in the right direction. And so it's a focus training, coaching and the system that we put together in a way that really helps clients get big outcomes on their sales teams with their whole company.

Greg Voisen
Well, I know what the 40x at Marriott you guys made difference with 300,000 employees.

Dale Merrill
Yeah. Vegas case study.

Greg Voisen
Yeah. Believe me, I know your prodigy there. Why am I blanking on his name? The guy that can lift so much weight, Jim. Oh, yeah. Jim Huling? Yeah, I'm an amazing man, overall and amazing person. And, you know, the 40x. I've used inside companies, so I know what it can do. And when you look at Marriott, which is where you've been trained as well, they look for fractions of a difference in actually the change in customer satisfaction levels. I learned this from Jim and I'm like, wow, that's not even a percentage point. It only has to be like a quarter of a point. And they're like, they see the revenues change drastically. So you know, kudos to Franklin Covey, kudos to you and Scott and the rest of the team who did strikingly different selling again, for my listeners. Go get this book will have a link on Amazon. strikingly different selling. Thank you so much, Dale, for being on the show. Thank you for spending time with our listeners, and really given us a chock full of just solid not just information but skills we could learn and take away. I really appreciate that.

Dale Merrill
Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.

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