Always Be Closing: Meet Michael McIntyre, The Quintessential Salesman
Michael McIntyre is a rags-to-riches example of classic American success.
After building a $3 billion dollar insurance benefits business, recruiting and training thousands of salespeople, and opening offices in 40 states, he wrote a book called The Authentic Salesman: Mastering the Art of Transforming Real Objections into Real Transactions.
Now, as an insurance executive and motivational speaker, he spoke to us about his book and how it can help any small business close a sale.
ISBB: Why do you compare yourself to Don Draper of Mad Men?
McIntyre: We have a lot in common. We were both in the military. We're both rainmakers, salesmen, and persuaders. Above all, we're both closers. He started out as a used car salesman and I started out as a light bulb salesman at the age of 11 at my elementary school. That led to being a young entrepreneur.
What can your book – The Authentic Salesman – teach a small business owner?
My book talks a lot about my failures and how they taught me valuable lessons. For example, I learned that enthusiasm can overcome many obstacles. The subtitle of the book is Mastering the Art of Transforming Real Objections into Real Transactions because it focuses on my five-point closing system that has proven, time and again, to work for just about any business of any size.
Why does your closing technique have five points?
This came out of my military background. They set simple five-point goals for all Air Force grunts. The simplest goals were part of a natural process. If you do it consistently, it will guarantee you a close most of the time.
Can you take us through the five steps individually?
1) Agree with the objection – You must have an objection from the prospect. For example, if I’m trying to sell an annuity, and the prospect tells me he needs to talk to a spouse, he’s not saying “no,” he’s saying “maybe later.” You’ve got to agree to the objection to gain their trust and always, always, always, let them be right.
2) Overcome the objection – To make the close, you can say something like, “I understand that you have to think about an investment this large right now. Maybe you can start with $10,000 or $25,000 instead of $100,000, see how it does for you, see how much peace of mind you gain from it and possibly invest more later." Or you can say, “I understand your feelings about insurance salesmen in general. There are a lot of bad apples in the barrel, but I have great credentials and a successful track record in my field.”
3) Create a sense of urgency – If you want to make the sale, you have to create a sense of needing your service now. An important word I use to close is “imagine.” For example, I train my salesmen to say, “Imagine that you buy this annuity and the stock market drops 1,500 points, but your investments are safe and you have guaranteed income. Or imagine you have a life insurance policy, you happen to die suddenly but your family is taken care of. Or imagine that you have a great looking Cadillac in your driveway and your neighbors are envious.”
4) Provide a strong selling point – You have to know what you’re selling to be able to provide some facts. You can say, “This annuity provides three or four options to get money out if you need it, so it’s a solid investment with a locked-in interest rate that provides some liquidity.” Or if they’re looking at a car, tell them that it has one of the highest resale values on the market or very high crash test ratings or exceptional mileage. Money is never the problem. It’s the solution to the problem. You may realize that they can’t afford a $41,000 car, but you have to create value with a strong selling point, or you can do a price drop to a less expensive model and still make the sale.
5) Ask for the order – This is where the rubber meets the road and I’d say that 90 percent of sales people are scared to death of the close. What I always teach my people is you’ve got nothing to lose because you already have “no” going in. So many people expect you to make a decision for them, and that’s why my success in closing is so high.
What’s one of your favorite closes?
I like to say, "Why don’t we do this? We know you like this car. Do you like the blue one or the red one?” They would then say, “I don’t want to do this without my wife being here.”
I'd say, “You’re right. She should be here. What’s her favorite color? Red? Then why don’t you get her the red one?” I’ve found that when they have the need and the money, this type of close will work 95 percent of the time.
What kind of advice can you give to anyone about sales?
Reward your sales staff. Get them incentives. Give them constant motivation and training.
Always be looking for new business, new prospects, build your pipeline, and fill your funnel. You need to make 10 new contacts every day somehow, some way, to get your name in front of people. You can do it with Facebook or Twitter, but there’s no excuse for not being there in person and pressing the flesh.
Business always goes where it’s wanted. You should always make it extremely easy for business to come to you. It’s like water and should take the path of least resistance.
To read more about Michael McIntyre or to buy his book, visit his website.