Oct. 29, 2021

365: How Do You Ask Great Questions?! -with Tim Wackel

Asking great questions. It is both a science AND an art.


Asking great questions. It is both a science AND an art.

 

So... how do you ask great questions?

 

Tim Wackel is a sales legend, serving as the founder and president of The Wackel Group, which serves as a training and consulting firm focused onons find, win, and keep customers for life. Wackel is one of today’s most popular business speakers who has mastered the ability to make information entertaining, memorable, and easy to understand.

 

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Transcript

Brian Nichols  
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Unknown Speaker  
selling is all about really it's we're not selling a product you're not selling a service you're not selling. You're not selling whatever you think you're selling a solution you are selling change Welcome

Brian Nichols  
to The Brian Nichols Show your source for common sense politics on the we are libertarians network as a sales and marketing executive in the greater telecommunications cybersecurity industry. Brian works with C level executives to help them future proof their company's infrastructure for an uncertain future. And in each episode, Brian takes that experience and applies it to the liberty movement. And this is why we talked about being the trusted advisor you should be able to help us that expert guidance and all the opinions that I'm sure that you have and help lead them towards not just a decision but the right decision. Instead of focusing on simply winning arguments or being right. We're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and their application in the world of politics, showing you how to ask better questions, tell better stories and ultimately change people's minds. And now your host, Brian Nichols. Well, happy Friday there, folks, Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show. And thank you for joining us on Yes, another fun filled episode. I am your humble host and for about the next half hour or so. Strap in folks because you are in for a masterclass in the art of asking. Great question though. Yes, yesterday you heard about the art of being different. But today we're going to figure out how to ask great questions, as we are joined by the sales legend that he is one Tim Wako from the wacko group who's joining the program to teach you and frankly, to teach me how to ask great questions. So without further ado, onto the show, Tim Walker here on The Brian Nichols Show.

Tim Wackel  
Thank you, Brian, I appreciate you having me. Absolutely. Tim, thank

Brian Nichols  
you so much for joining us here on today's episode. I'm really looking forward to this conversation. I had mentioned to you when I'd first reached out I really enjoyed your section in Brandon Branson's book sales secrets. And it was focused on the art of asking great questions, which is any person in sales knows that is one of the secrets to be a very successful salesperson. But I also find it's a great secret to be great in politics, specifically reaching people where they're at on the issues they care about. But before we get there, let's go ahead and go back to the battle card. So Tim, I love the opportunity for you to introduce yourself to the audience and kind of go through how you found yourself in this sales world where you're helping people figure out how to ask these great questions. Well, that's

Tim Wackel  
Thank you, Brian. So I'm kind of an accidental salesperson. When I got to college, I actually graduated with an electrical engineering degree, and had many different opportunities to go do electrical engineering work that one organization thought that, you know, I'd probably be an okay engineer, but that I might have more potential as a technical sales rep. And that company was HP so I had the very good fortune to spend in the first 20 years of my career working for HP really learning firsthand kind of the blocking and tackling of being really good at sales. You know, they were longer sales cycles, and they were real strategic and you know, you had to connect with people and ask the right kinds of questions and present really complex information in really powerful and meaningful ways. And so that's where I spent my first 20 years and then the last 20 years Brian I just kind of decided I wanted to kind of go out on my own and fix sales call and I haven't found it yet. I've seen some and I've had some that were pretty good, but I'm still looking for that perfect sales call

Brian Nichols  
in pursuit of the perfect sales call is funny you know let's let's talk about my day job for a hot sec. I find myself leading a sales team here in the greater telecommunications cybersecurity world I get it the long sales cycle and it really you have to put in a lot of time, energy and effort but also build those relationships but you go how do all these conversations start? Now? I hear all the time. I never answer my phone. I never do that anymore. And I go back and I forget who it was. I was listening to Victor Antonio, and that the stat that blew me away, it was like 88% of all C level executives said that any solution that they put in place that started with a salesperson started with a cold call. Wow, isn't that crazy? And crazy. We see that though. And you you mentioned it, you you don't know maybe how to put it into words. But you know what, when you see it, kind of dig into that, Tim? What what is it that we feel when we feel we're having a really good sales call, whether you're the recipient, or you're the person delivering? Well, I

Tim Wackel  
think, you know, Brian, there's a connection there. You know, the person that is interrupting your day, let's assume it's a cold call, the person that is interrupting your day does so with a level of professionalism, and maybe a level of humor, self deprecating humor that you're like, Okay, listen, I'll give you 15 seconds, you can explain the purpose of your calling, and we'll decide, you know, where to go from there. But I always feel like there's, there's, there's an immediate connection, and more often than not, and this gets back to the topic at hand, that connection doesn't happen because of stuff. The salesperson is saying, I think the connection happens through the stuff the salesperson is asking. I mean, I sometimes we get confused. And we think we demonstrate our brilliance through what we say. I really think you demonstrate your brilliance through what you ask and how you ask it. Because you got to really kind of have your head around it. If you're going to ask the right kinds of questions. And when somebody asked me the right question the right way. I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, have you? Have you tried riding this pony before? Because you seem to be experiencing the same bumps and bruises that I am. And so that connection happens and the conversation has a chance of moving forward.

Brian Nichols  
i MAN i that resonates so much Tim because as an interviewer, one of the biggest compliments one can receive is Oh, I like that question. I've never gotten that question before. And I get goosebumps when somebody says that because I say yes, I know that I've hit something that not only is something they care about, but I can almost guarantee it's going to give them a chance to kind of go off on something that they now only care about that they can really dig into and show and bring value to the table. So I love hearing when people say that's a great question. And back to a salesperson, you also love to hear that as well. But if somebody kind of leans back and says, Hmm, let me think about that for a second. You know, they're pondering, you know, there's something there, right? So what I would love to hear maybe some stories of just, in your experience, those perfect sales calls, can you give us kind of an example of maybe one you've received,

Tim Wackel  
you know, there's not very many of them that I've received, but when I received them, Brian, the person on the other end of the phone, has done their homework and in the process looks like this. And this is kind of the process, I teach salespeople. Number one, you got to have a list, right? If you don't have a targeted list of people, you're trying to have conversations with each and every day, your children are going to get to be really, really skinny. Because all you're doing is answering the phone and you can answer the phone and sell things reactively and you probably make a decent living. But what if you could answer the phone several things reactively, but also proactively be reaching out to people. So perfect sales call, I was on somebody's list. The second step is now just you got to list that's great. But now you have to have a sales story. If I'm going to reach out to you via the phone, if I'm going to reach out to you via email, if I'm going to reach out to you via social media, I got to tell you a story that gets you to say, Huh, that's interesting, I'd like to learn more. So the perfect sales call, I'm on the list, the sales rep will leave me their sales story, which is a very brief, you know, 12 to 22nd, kind of, hey, this is what we do. And this is why I think you'd be interested. But you can't be a one and done. Right? If I was really looking for what you just offered me I probably would have already had a conversation with you. So you're kind of you're not hitting the bull's eye, but you're on the target, right, you're in the right zip code. And so I love salespeople that really understand the art of professional follow up, right and follow up is not just banging it every day. And hey, I'm calling to check in or I'm calling to touch base. Nobody needs you to check in and quite frankly, I'd rather you don't touch my base. But can you in a very professional way. Try to try to nurture may try to warm me up to this idea of having a conversation. And then you know, at the end of the day, Brian, when you finally had that conversation, man, don't don't don't whip me to death with your tongue. I really don't want to hear all about you and how great you are and how wonderful your solution is and all the people are doing business which I want to hear. Hey, listen, I think we might be a good fit, but I'm not going to know more until I ask you some really, really important questions. Would it be okay, if I let off by asking you some questions and once once we're going down that path, like you said, if I'm on the other end, I'm going wow. You know, that's a great question or Wow, nobody's ever asked me that before. Or I'm actually having to pause and formulate a response to your question. Guess what, nobody else has asked me that question. Bravo. You're doing a really good job.

Brian Nichols  
I love the comment you made I put a note here the art of the professional follow up. There's two things you're saying. And that number one, and you mentioned it beforehand is that there does have to be that nurturing campaign without being an overt nurturing campaign? How can I keep you in my world without it being aggressive? But more so so you still see that I'm there? Is it the comments on the post that I'm doing is that the, you know, the quick, Hey, I just saw this poll, and it made me think of you fire it over into your inbox. But also, and you say, in the art of the professional follow up in the word, it's in the expression itself a follow up, it's implying that a sale isn't always made every single time you engage into a conversation, and that's okay. You mentioned this beforehand. It's okay, when I might be in the ballpark. But if I'm not in the ballpark, then I shouldn't be wasting my time, I also wouldn't want to waste yours. So I think there's almost that understanding of mutual respect, saying, Hey, I'm not going to try to fit a square peg through a round hole. It's not a good time. It's not a good time in so long. It's it's not, you know, the traditional, easy objections that not only I think we should be trying to be able to overcome, but maybe block entirely just in the way that we're presenting our solutions. And the questions were asking. So with all that being said, Tim, I would love to kind of go through when you're going out and you're meeting with businesses, and let's say their sales, they're just they're having some struggling in terms of not only getting new, new leads coming in and actually converting those into close business and not even close business, we'll get rid of the word closed. I don't like the word close, get just real business, you know, that client relationship, but they're having trouble also upselling those existing clients to be able to help grow their accounts? What would be some of the first things you do when you take a step into a company?

Tim Wackel  
Well, the first thing I want to do is I kind of want to see what, you know, what, what is the day, what does a typical day in the life of a salesperson look like? Right, and whether they're doing things virtually, or whether they're doing things toe to toe doesn't matter to me, I want to see what does their day look like? And so it kind of goes back to Brian, do they have a targeted list? Do they know who they should be having conversations with? Okay, good. You got to target the list? Do they have a compelling sell story? And most sales stories I hear are not very compelling. They're not very interesting. They're not very intriguing made. They're just like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It's like, Nope, don't have time for that. Then the next thing I'm looking for is Okay, show me what your follow up sequence looks like. Show me what your cadence is, show me how many touches show me what different mediums you're using, show me the kinds of messages that you're launching. And then if all of those things are in place, then it's like, okay, let's look at the art of the dialogue, the art of asking questions, the art of actually being prepared, and going in there as a problem solver, and that word gets thrown around a lot. But when I label myself a problem solver, and I show up and I asked about needs budget, time frame fit and decision making process that smells like a salesperson talking, that does not smell like a problem solver, right? Problem solvers, ask questions about the problems, not questions about the selling. I've always believed that if you can solve the problem, the sale will happen naturally. People that try to force the sale, are forgetting the elephant in the room, the elephant in the room, there's got to be either a problem or an opportunity that the customer wants to do something about.

Brian Nichols  
Tim, you mentioned the compelling sell story. And you've said that a couple times. Could you give us a couple of examples of some companies or maybe I don't if you can give specific names, just entities that you've worked with in the past that had some pretty compelling sales stories? Do we have some examples to refer to?

Tim Wackel  
Here's what I can tell you. Let me tell you what, what that's hard to do. But what I can do is I can tell you what a compelling sales story has in it would that be fair? That's perfect. So the first element we're looking for Brian is the compelling sell story needs to connect with the listener. So in other words, when I'm out looking for new business, I have to be able to say Brian, you know what, I work with sales executives like yourself, or I work with business owners just like yourself, or I work with training enablement managers just like yourself in other words, that person on the other end wants to wants to hear from me that I work with people just like them so so first off, we want to make sure we've got the title of that target in there. Hey, I ended up I work with I specialize in working with blank just like you. The second thing we want to be able to talk about is we want to hear what are some of the specific results you have helped those people achieve? You know, if I show up and I'm like, Hey, I've worked with sales executives just like you before brand, and I help sales teams sell more. You know, like what sales coach is not gonna be able to say that. So I've got to be able to say look, you know, Brian, I specialize in working with sales leaders just like you. And I've helped some organizations actually grow their new business quarter over cover by up to 20%. Right? Not a promise not a contract, not a guarantee. But I've got to have some sort of wow factor. And I'm not giving anybody license to be loose with the facts in that, here's the sad thing, Brian is when you go to most salespeople, and you go, Hey, why do customers buy from you? It's their stumped. It's silence. Yeah, what are some of the specific results you've helped some of your key customers achieve? Right, we're so busy getting the sale that we don't stay involved, we don't understand those results. So the first criteria is, hey, listen, I dropped that title. I specialize in working with people just like you. Second thing is, these are the kinds of results that that we've you know, got a history of helping them produce. The third thing you want to be able to talk about is the challenges, right? Why aren't they able to get those results in themselves? Why? Why have other customers called you because you know, what, they're not getting those results, because these are the challenges that they're facing. So that other party's like, wow, you work with people just like me to get these kinds of results. The reason other customers reach out to you is they have these challenges. The fourth thing we want to drip in there is the emotion, you know, how do people feel about those challenges? I've always said, if your target doesn't think it's a big deal, guess what? It's not a big deal. So I want to work with people who are pressured, concern, frustrated, scared, those are the people that are really, really looking for help. The Fifth Element then would be, what are the benefits of having a relationship with you and your organization? The sixth and final element is how are you different than everybody else? So here's what I'm gonna tell you up. I think, Brian, those are some hard questions to answer. And the funny thing is, none of those questions talk about you, per se. It's about it's about them how I work with people just like you who are looking for these kinds of results. And the reason they call me is they're having these kinds of challenges. And they feel this way about those challenges. And so you change the language, and the language is not about me, me, me, me, me. That was some sort of character on Sesame Street or something, right? It's not about me, me, me, me. It's about you, you. And if you if your sales story has those elements, you've got a fighting chance of somebody saying, Okay, I'll give you five minutes. Tell me a little bit more. What's the old adage, you got to remember, you're not trying with the sales story, you're not trying to sell the solution, you're trying to sell the idea of having an initial conversation,

Brian Nichols  
a conversation, and that's the right there. That's where we, especially in the world of politics, too, people get so lost in being able to actually communicate to the, to the extent they can have a conversation, they end up talking past one another. And I think that really boils into where we see a lot of problems, especially our modern political discourse today. But one of the things 10 that you mentioned way back at the beginning, was if you can make them laugh, and I think that right, there is one of the most underutilized tools in any tool salespersons tool belt because I found in I would say, probably 90% of all the conversations, whether it's on the phone, or even in person, if I can make them laugh, I know, I got this because when then we're on a level that's beyond the They're waiting for me to ask that question. When's the sales part start? Now it's more so they're viewing me as instead of the salesperson back to I'm the trusted advisor, I'm the problem solver. And then it's not even a matter of me trying to push them to make a decision. It's more so me helping them make a decision that they were already going to be making in the first place. But it all started because I was able to make them laugh, we were able to establish that connection. I think that's something that's completely under discussed a lot in sales.

Tim Wackel  
Yeah, you know it, you're onto something there. I agree with everything you've just said one of the challenges is that not everybody can pull the humor off. And I'm not convinced and there are probably people out there that would argue with me. I'm not convinced I could teach humor because I think some of the best humor is that non scripted just spur the moment my isn't this awkward for both of us kind of thing. Right and and it's it's in the moment where you make some quips, some remarks some observation, and you get that chuckle on the other end. I do a lot of presentation coaching. And I was working with a client last night. And he's working on his hook. His hook is the first 30 seconds. And and he he's come up with this bit that I think is going to be very, very funny. And he goes, What do you think I said, here's the deal. If you deliver that bit in the first 30 seconds, and it's funny, your audience is going to laugh, which means you're going to laugh because you're really appreciative that they're laughing, and everybody's just going to take your great big sign because it's like, wow, this presentation might actually be interesting, versus the browbeating that 99% of them are

Brian Nichols  
and I think part of it goes into you have to be confident in yourself. I think that is sometimes what holds salespeople back from being there. our authentic selves is they're always thinking about, Okay, I have to make sure I do this step. And this step, and I got to make sure I put it into my Salesforce or whatever CRM I'm using, I make sure I see see my manager, so I don't get in trouble, you have all these little ticky tack items that salespeople get stuck with. But instead of focusing on, and I'd say this to all my sales team, whenever I hire a new person, I say, listen, we're gonna focus on, you know, sales training, we're gonna focus on the text and specs, but at the end of the day, the number one thing I'm concerned about, and the thing I want to make sure that we're always improving as I want you to be a better person from where you are today to where you're going to be. Because that in in seeing the confidence level increase in not just what they know from a sales in the text and specs, but just that they can do this. And they feel that they can do this, then you kind of don't have to dig into the inner workings of your your mind of okay, this is what's the next thing I have to worry about. Now you can just focus on what's the goal, the goal is to help solve that problem. And then it gets a lot easier. Oh, yeah,

Tim Wackel  
yeah. I mean, you're spot on. Your business gets better when you get better. Right? Nobody, nobody goes home at five, and turns into a rockstar, right? I mean, you go home at five. And you're kind of the same person you are 24/7 365. So you know, you find me somebody who's you know, a good listener, you find, show me somebody who's great at follow up, you show me somebody who's genuinely interested in others, you show me somebody who's got a lot of curiosity. You know what, we got a fighting chance, we'll probably we'll probably be able to sell some stuff.

Brian Nichols  
Well, how about this, I know, we have about five minutes here as we get ready to wrap up the show. So what I like to do at the end of the conversation is I always like to do a quick connection to the world of politics. And I think this is an I actually discussed this with Victor Antonio, when he was on the show is we're not selling a solution, you're not selling an item or a service, you're selling change. And in the world of politics, it's very difficult to actually sell change, when you're selling what you think people need versus what they actually want. And I think we see a lot of politicians or even just your average politico, they will tell people what they need to be concerned about. But Tim, is it am I wrong? That if they just maybe Hey said, what's wrong? What's What are your issues that they might tell them?

Tim Wackel  
You know, we've, we've kind of lost our way just a little bit, because when I look at it, I don't even think and I'm, I'm not a I don't spend a lot of my energy and effort. For obvious reasons, I would hope but, you know, when I look at it, it's it's never tell me about the good things you're gonna do. I always see it as being the platform's are always like the other person is a bigger idiot than I am. So therefore, you should vote for me, which I've always found to be fat. You know, nobody ever shows up and says, Look, you know, we've talked to the people, this is what we've heard from the people, you know, we we prioritize these things. And you know, what, we can't be all things to all people. But but we're going to try to do the most for the most. And here's the things we've heard, and here's our plans to fix them. And it would just be so refreshing to know that somebody actually has listened and cares and has a plan of action, versus some of the hyperbole that we're listening to.

Brian Nichols  
Tim, I can't agree more. So how about this, let's go ahead, I want you to have the last word here for the show. So what I like to do is give my guests a platform to really anything on your mind. Is there anything you wish that folks could take away from the not just the episode today, but just overall in the world of sales, maybe specifically looking at the art of asking great questions for the audience.

Tim Wackel  
You know, if I would leave them with something, and this is an old old adage, you just always got to remember that the less you try to sell, the more you're going to sell. Right? And so work on your craft. You know, I'm an engineer that now after four decades, has the great fortune to teach organizations across the globe how to do a better job of selling, if I can figure it out, you can figure it out. But if any of the things I said resonate, man, if you don't have a story to list, there's your first step, if you don't have a compelling story, there's your second step. If you don't understand the art of follow up, there's, you know, the next step if you don't understand how to manage the conversation, to ask the right kinds of questions, because if you if you don't win the first call, you're not going to get the second call when I say when when being that when that client when that prospect gets off the phone, they're like, Wow, that was really a good use of my time. That's what we should be striving for versus this smile and dial. Try to find somebody with the poles and push your wares. I mean, it's, it's really problem solving and if more of us would do a better job of problem solving.

Brian Nichols  
We could probably do an awful lot for what people think of salespeople today because I think you've got like politicians and then sales people and I'd like to start some differentiation if I had anything at all to do with it, I'll give you a real life example, Tim of something. So I lead my sales team and I like to get in the trenches cuz I, I, how could I train if I don't know what's actually going on? So I was doing calls, it was back actually last Friday. And I got this gentleman on the phone up in upstate New York, you pretty large law firm. And just from the onset, I could tell not good food. And you just, you know, I'm good. I'm good. Yeah. And I literally stopped. I said, Bill, he goes, Yeah. I said, What's up? Like, what's, what did I do wrong? And he goes, Oh, nothing. And I said, Okay, well, I if I, if I caught you at that time, no worries like we can we can reconnect, and he goes, Oh, no, it's not you. It's just like, I literally can't do anything. And I was like, Oh, tell me. And he explained how his company was recently acquired. And he was kind of waiting to see whether or not he was going to have a job. Because they were going to be doing some downsizing. And he knew the IT department was one of the possible areas, they were going to go ahead and have it absorbed into the big company. I said, Listen, I get it. Like, I, I'm not going to try to force you to take a phone call with me if you're trying to think about your job future. So here, you know, at the very least, if anything happens, where you know, you end up figuring out what the next steps are at this company. Let's go ahead and have a conversation in the future. We'll go from there, if not, no worries, said he appreciated that. And I was stunned that about 1520 minutes later, he added me on LinkedIn. He goes, thank you for understanding. Talk soon.

Tim Wackel  
Yeah. Well, you gave him the opportunity to say no, and I think that's one of the more powerful things you can do as a salesperson, I sometimes use the is probably a pretty good example. But oftentimes, salespeople want to put somebody on the pipeline bus, and then they will shut the doors in the windows, right? No, you can't get off the bus. And what you did there is like, Hey, man, I'm getting the feeling. This is not the right time, you're not interested, I don't want to waste your time. That's when you find it out. You know, that's where you make the real connection, you find out who really wants to talk to you. But even if they don't want to talk to you, you left him with a very positive impression. Channel, none. Now we

Brian Nichols  
have a possible next step because God forbid, God forbid that Bill loses his job because of this issue. I know for a fact that when the time comes that he lands on his feet, and if I can help him, I will do that too. On that you'll likely reach out. And it's not a matter of it's not and this drives me crazy to say I'm I know we are short on time here, but it's not a matter of the what's in it for me, right? Like, I'm not looking for that sale. It's it's a mutually beneficial relationship. If he's down his luck, I'm helping him find an opportunity. And in return, I'm now bringing services, they're gonna help him thrive, help him succeed, and help him have job security in the future. Because when it comes down to it, who's gonna get the thumbs up? It's not me. It's him. He's the one who brought me in is the person that he's gonna say, yeah, these guys can do this. So that's, that's where you win. So Tim, I know we're short on time. So how about this, let's go ahead for the audio listener, where can they go ahead and follow you if they want to go ahead and continue the conversation? You know,

Tim Wackel  
hit me up on LinkedIn. Check out the website, call the office systole answer my own phone. So www dot Tim Walker calm. Or like I said, hit me up on LinkedIn. I try to post on LinkedIn every week. So there's a lot of stuff out there has been created. And if any of it seems to scratch an itch, pick up the phone, let's have a

Brian Nichols  
call. Awesome. And folks will make it easy for you to go to your podcast catcher. Click the artwork there will bring you right to Brian Nichols show.com, where you can catch today's episode with the entire transcription, plus all of Tim's social media links and all 370 plus other episodes. With that being said though, Tim, walk all the art of asking great questions. Thanks for joining The Brian Nichols

Tim Wackel  
Show. Thank you.

Brian Nichols  
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Tim Wackel

President

Tim Wackel is one of today’s most popular sales speakers who has mastered the ability to make information entertaining, memorable and easy to understand. He combines more than 30 years of successful sales leadership with specific client research to deliver high-impact programs that go beyond today’s best practices. Tim’s keynotes and workshops are insightful, engaging and focused on providing real world success strategies that audiences can (and will) implement right away.

His success as a sales consultant is built upon a lifetime of accomplishments and first-hand experiences that include:
• Being recognized as the number one producer in a 10,000 person sales organization
• Helping lead a Silicon Valley startup through a successful IPO
• Directing a 50-million-dollar sales organization for a Fortune 500 Company

Today Tim is hired by clients who want their managers and salespeople to succeed in business and in life. His list of clients includes organizations like Allstate, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Wells Fargo, Lexmark, Philips Medical Systems, Red Hat as well as many professional and trade associations.

Tim is the founder and president of The Wackel Group, a sales training and consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations find, win and keep customers for life. He earned his Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Nebraska and currently lives in Dallas where he tries to spend as much time as possible on the golf course.