Seven Touches: Simple Steps To Consistent Sales Success In Construction With Neil Rogers | Ep. 257

COGE 257 | Consistent Sales Success

 

No one dislikes consistent sales in their business. But what makes successful sales consistent in construction? Today, ripping off the walls behind his secrets in sales, Neil Rogers, the author of Bar Tips: Everything I Learned in Sales, I Learned Behind the Bar, explains the importance of having and defining the sales process. He also shares the simple steps to consistent sales success in construction. He also identifies some practices in bringing business development. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to get consistent sales success today!

Neil’s Book: Bar Tips: Everything I Needed to Know in Sales I Learned Behind the Bar https://www.amazon.com/Bar-Tips-Everything-Needed-Learned/dp/B0BZ1V85T1

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Seven Touches: Simple Steps To Consistent Sales Success In Construction With Neil Rogers

My guest is Neil Rogers. Neil is the VP of Rogers Marketing and has 40-plus years of hospitality experience in sales and marketing. We’re going to be talking about sales. Neil has zero experience in construction sales, and that’s completely okay because there are fundamental aspects of being a successful salesperson that translate in all industries. You are going to learn some of those insights.

It begins with your inner game, how you prepare yourself mentally for sales situations. It then translates into your sales process and clearly understanding what that process is from the first point of contact all the way through to making the sale. It includes understanding why people buy and what they’re looking for when they buy your services.

We dive into the importance of being extremely disciplined in how you sell, emphasizing a seven-touch process that can get people into a place where they know you, trust you, and like you. That’s who people buy from, people who they know, trust, and like. Let’s dive right into this conversation with Neil. I know you’re going to enjoy it. Thanks for tuning in to Construction Genius.

Neil, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me. This is great.

I want to dive right in. You’re an expert when it comes to sales. You can’t sell something if you can’t build a project. What sets apart a high-performing salesperson from someone who’s merely ordinary?

That’s vital here. I know I struggle with listening. What are some key frameworks or ways of thinking that I can bring into a conversation that will help me to be a better listener?

Let’s set up the framework. I’m not big into sales techniques, but there’s one thing in a little study I did at Sandler Sales. There was a thing called the upfront contract. It’s used in the insurance business, the scope of the appointment. Set the expectations with your prospect or your client, whoever that may be. Be courteous and kind to them.

Ask them a few questions. “How much time do we have today, 15 to 30 minutes? Great. In that time, I’d like to tell you a little bit about us and how we might be able to benefit you, but I want to hear a lot about you and what’s going on in your world. What are your pain points? What are the things that keep you up at night as it relates to your business?” When we’re done with that, we’ll have an idea whether or not moving forward is a good idea.

Does that sound okay to you? Who says no to that? You’re reminding yourself to take a step back. This is not about you. It is about them. Dale Carnegie said it best. Everybody wants to talk about themselves. Let them do it. Let them go. You may want to rein them in if you do have a hard stop at 30 or 15 minutes, depending upon how long the meeting is scheduled to go for. The good news is, if you let them go, they may run over and that’s okay. Let them go. By the way, write it down. Take notes.

Taking notes then helps as far as listening.

Listening and keeping your mouth shut. One of my favorite managers, and he’s a friend too, had the greatest lines. Never avoid an opportunity to keep your mouth shut.

Listen and keep your mouth shut. Never avoid an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. Share on X

I’d like to go back to setting the expectations. One of the struggles that I think a lot of people have in sales is they spend a lot of time playing other people’s games instead of clearly defining the sales game they want to play and inviting people into that process. Did you understand how I’m framing that?

Yes, I do. I’m very process-driven.

What is the importance of having a clear sales process? The follow-up question is, how can I begin to define what my sales process should be?

The importance of the process is almost like the framing of the appointment. You have to have some script or process, or in today’s parlance, an algorithm. We’re moving, but you go along systematically, taking through it. Not robotically. That’s where practice comes in. That’s where getting your chops in dealing with people, talking to people, working with your wife, brother, cousin, whatever that may be, and getting your wrap down, but don’t get so robotic that it’s like, “Here comes a salesman.”

The balance between being disciplined and knowing where you are in the sales process with keeping things free flowing.

Correct.

How do I go about defining my process?

In our world, we use this positive activity process that I spoke of. That is, we set up our day in a positive manner. To rewind for a moment, the best way is to tell your audience what we do. What I always say is, “This is not an absolute, but here are my thoughts. Here’s what worked for us for the last 37 years, and all the accolades, the awards, and the commissions. Maybe it’ll work for you.” In positive activity, we make sure what we say is it’s the practice. We say practice because we’re yoga people and nothing’s perfect. Nobody bats thousands. It’s the practice of getting your mindset right and clearing your day.

Get in your mind in a place of positivity so you can then be in a creative mode. Share on X

What are your steps to clearing your mind and getting yourself in the right place? We’ll talk about that. Once you’re there, you’re now in a place of open-minded, divergent thinking, solution-providing, and creativity. You don’t see issues anymore. You only see solutions because your mind is right. You’re not in a lather over whatever happened yesterday and you woke up and you opened up your email. There it is again. I say this, everybody, because I’m a victim of this and I’ve done it to myself. Over time, I’ve moved away from doing that.

The day may start and here’s a little tip for your audience, another great book to try. It’s called The Happiness Advantage. It is written by a man by the name of Sean Achor. Sean studied happiness at Harvard for twelve years. Through his research, Martin Seligman and all these other people who have studied happiness, you control 90% of your own happiness. Ten percent is your car, your house, and how much money you make. The rest of it, you control. Let’s work with that. What are the steps to get in a place of positivity so you can then be in creative mode?

Give us some of those steps.

COGE 257 | Consistent Sales Success
The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

What we do is we meditate every morning. It sounds spooky. I’m a transcendental meditation. It’s hard to believe that a seventh of eight of an Irish Catholic family isn’t the TM, but I am. I do twenty minutes in the morning. We have a gratitude practice. This is not new stuff. A lot of this stuff is out there. We’re writing down the things that we’re grateful for. That shifts your mind to a positive place. We do random reachouts. We did these a lot during COVID. You think of an old friend. Comment on social media in the appropriate way. Say happy birthday to everybody that comes up on your feed. If you’ve got their cell phone, send them a text.

I had a birthday and I did not get disappointed with anybody’s text, social media posts, and all that. It was a great day. It was significant, too. I used Medicare, so the birthday wasn’t casual. We believe in random acts of kindness. A random act of kindness could be that reach out. I texted a buddy of mine that I know is in the hospital. He’s having yet another surgery. He’s been going through this for three years. I feel good doing it. He feels good getting it. It’s a symbiotic gig. Now, you’re there. Those are the types of things. Go for a walk. You’ve got to move your body. Get out in the sunshine. Listen to a little music and put some background music. We are always having the classical station on in the kitchen.

It’s not jumping around. We’re not looking for a party. We’re looking to have some background music. Those are the steps that we do here. My wife is an expert at it. She is as disciplined as you get. Now, you’re in that place. Now, you’re ready to do your productivity part because you’ve got your mind right. You’re creative.

What are your steps going to be in terms of what’s your daily activities? What’s your business development activities today? What is your accounting? What are your employee activities you got to do? Those are the things, so now you go through those steps. In positive activity, the ones that we outline there are business development steps that we’ve been successful using for the last 37 years, plus or minus. I’m also using the same program in my music. It works in a lot of ways.

Let’s talk about that business development then. What are some of the steps in your experience? Give us those crucial steps that if you’re going to be successful in business development, you have to be disciplined and consistent. You begin with this inner game, which I think is tremendous because if you don’t have your inner game right, your outer game is going to suck as well. What are some of those outer game practices that I need to bring to the table in terms of business development?

First of all, for the love of Mike, make sure the person you’re pursuing can buy what you sell.

COGE 257 | Consistent Sales Success
Consistent Sales Success: Make sure the person you’re pursuing can buy what you sell.

 

Why is that important?

It’s because so many salespeople spin their wheels chasing what they believe to be their avatar when they can’t even buy what they’re selling. They’re not compatible for a number of reasons. Maybe they can’t buy it. Maybe they’re completely locked up. At least get that in line to know who you should pursue.

What you said is fundamental. I was working with a general contractor many years ago. They’re bidding on a $70 million project. They’ve worked many hours to put together their proposal and I ask the guys, “Who’s the final decision maker on this contract?” They looked at us and looked at me and said, “I don’t know.” Now, you’re shooting it. Now, you’re hoping against hope.

Who is that person? Let’s at least direct it. Let’s get it in the same ZIP code anyway. That’s number one. Number two, who are these people then? Yes, you’re going to have to take a silly, wild guess at some of this stuff. You’re not going to bat a thousand, but again, that’s why we call it a practice. We call it a practice early, so you’ll get better at it as you go. You’ll recognize who can buy what you sell and who can’t. You should start listing them simply. We’ll get to how we do that in a second. You all should have defined your benefits and all these simple 30-second commercials.

Be very step-by-step with us here, Neil.

Thirty-second commercial, elevate a pitch, whatever you want to call it, then your benefit statement. From there, everything that you should communicate with a prospect should be able to fit on one sheet of paper.

COGE 257 | Consistent Sales Success
Consistent Sales Success: You should communicate with a prospect.

 

Why one sheet?

It’s because less is more. You’ve got a certain amount of time. You’re just trying to pique their interest. You’re not going to close. There may be those times when you close them on the same day you get in there, but typically, you’re building the relationship. By building the relationship and we talked about this earlier, you’re respecting their time. That’s the scope of the appointment. That’s the upfront contract or whatever you want to call it.

By showing like, “I’m not going to get overwhelmed with details from this guy or gal. He’s giving me the broad strokes of what we knew.” Remember what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to live to play another day. I claim to them after the presentation is done in our little 15 to 30-minute coffee meeting. I say, “I think that we can help you.”

We're trying to live to play another day. Share on X

My suggestion would be, “I’m going to send you some materials. I’d like to send you some samples.” For you, it would be samples and whatnot. If it’s software, it’s going to be a demo or something like that. Let’s get to the next step, because we want to continue the relationship. We want to continue to show you the hospitality we do in the bar business to move it along and stay in the game.

Now that you know who the people are and the people that can buy what you sell, you start to list them. Where are you going to get more? Where does the list come from? Three groups. People you know, people you meet, and the people you buy. The people you know are going to be your friends, your family, and your business associates, so the people that are connected to you. Why do you want them to know? They could be a potential prospect, but at least you should let them know what you’re doing.

Probably in your world, you mentioned something about a big construction company bidding on a $70 million project. Who on God’s green Earth doesn’t need a contract in some way, shape or form? Is it going to be you? Also, then, there’s the group you meet. The group you meet are the people you meet at a Chamber event. You belong to Rotary. You go to cocktail parties. You sit at a counter for breakfast. I’d say, “Never sit at the same counter. Try to move it around.” Those types of simple things. You have your elevator pitch together and all that.

Just so everyone understands, what is an elevator pitch?

It’s getting your message down to a point where back to the less is more, that if you were in an elevator with somebody and it was a 30-second ride up, they get an idea of what you do. It’s also in the Sandler Sales Power Lance. It’s called the 30-second commercial. In there, you would have your benefit. What do you do? This is how we help. Then you’ve got the group you buy.

What does that mean?

That’s the list service, but they’re not your lowest-hanging fruit. They’re not as much fun to deal with. Typically, if you’re in the group you know, the group you buy, the group you know, and the group you meet, there’s some relationship. Obviously, you know the people in the group you know, but the group you meet, you just met them.

Now, structured from there, I would have structured campaigns to follow up on each. The people you know that probably won’t be as robust than the people that you meet, but the people you know should know what you do because they could be a referral source. They may or may not be able to use your services, and then in your world, like I said earlier, who doesn’t need a contractor at some point in time in their lives?

The people that you meet, because you had a cocktail with them, you gave me a 30-second commercial, and they were interested. Don’t be deluded to thinking that they’re sitting by the phone waiting for your call because they’re not. “Eric was a good guy.” “Yeah, I remember him. I think I put his name down or whatever.” You have to get him in queue systematically. We believe wholeheartedly in the conventional wisdom, that seven significant touches is what you need in order to get somebody’s attention. When I say significant, I don’t mean 7 voicemails or 7 emails. You’ve got to change it up and do something different.

Let’s talk about that a little bit more then. Seven significant touches to get someone’s attention. I’ve heard that sometimes before someone buys, you are thinking mainly in terms of developing a relationship.

If our goal is to get that coffee meeting, the cocktail, the 15 to 30-minute intro gig, that’s what we’re looking for. That’s what I’m looking for on that. Now, you get that with the blind squirrel finding the acorn. All of a sudden, you hit somebody at the right spot. I can’t believe you called me because I’m looking for that stuff, whatever that may be.

Give me some examples of what defines a significant touch, and then give me some insights into how often those touches should be occurring. The reason I ask that is because sometimes salespeople stumble because they don’t want to be a hassle to people, so they don’t necessarily keep in touch enough. Give us some insights there, please.

Elevator Pitch

It’s very kind of you to put it in that fashion because the average salesperson doesn’t go past the third page. You might say it’s kindness. I might say it’s laziness. I might say it’s not staying with the program. In my view, it all has to be interconnected. Your elevator pitch, your 30-second commercial should have that message, should come through. Let’s say they gave you the business guide. They’ve invited you to call them and email them. I’m not opposed to a digital or a voice, but I think you’ve got to use both. It should be connected. It should always be thematic.

Thank you for tuning in to this interview with Neil. I’m enjoying it a lot. A quick plug for my book, Construction Genius: Effective, Hands-On, Practical, Simple, No-BS Leadership, Strategy, Sales, and Marketing Advice for Construction Companies. This interview is all about sales. In Construction Genius, you’ll get two chapters of the book that are specifically focused on selling and marketing. If you want to check that out, that’s chapter 11 and chapter 12 in the book. Go to Amazon and purchase the book. Purchase it for everyone in your company.

If you buy 10 or more copies, reach out to me via email, [email protected], and say, “Eric, I bought 10 copies.” What I’ll do is come into your office via Zoom and we’ll do a one-hour Q and A session and bonus leadership training session that is from the book. You can bring in your leadership team. We’ll have a tremendous time. The book is $19.99 on Amazon. Spend $200, get 10 copies, and you will get a 1-hour session with me for which I would normally charge $2,500. That’s a killer deal. Check that out. Get the book. I know you’ll love it. Now, let’s get back to the conversation with Neil.

What do you mean it should be thematic? What does that mean?

It should work back to your 30-second version.

Every touch should come from the core of what it is that you’re doing for your potential client.

Lumpy Mail

Yeah, your benefit statement because we’re going to intermingle that. You hope that they answer your email, and then voicemail, so it’s okay to leave voicemail. I don’t think relying exclusively on digital and voice is the best use of your time. The third touch I would suggest is something lumpy. These envelopes get opened. Send them. This is media mail. I’m sending my books out in this fashion. $3.92. Now, you have to decide what an initial engagement is by working with whomever you’re approaching. What is that going to be worth? That, you can work back as to how much your campaign is going to cost you.

You send that, and then you would follow up with yet another email. That again, I just sent you this piece. Now, you could get real creative with what goes in there. I suggest, because yes, I’m in the swag business, that you should have some sort of promotional item in there because the research shows that everybody loves the swag. That’s anecdotal evidence.

By swag, you mean what?

Anything with a corporate logo on it. Put your logo on something. Go to 4Imprint.com and buy all the pens. If they’re bigger companies, they can come and see us. If they’re going to go get 500 pens, they better serve going somewhere else. Now, it gets opened. Just so you know, this is another thing where we forget about things because with 24/7 media and everybody chasing AI and the iPhone, this, that, and the other thing, everybody listens to this, direct mail. It’s up in 2023.

By direct mail, do you mean physical mail?

Physical mail. Old school snail mail. It all comes with tracking. I know they’re much maligned, but I will tell you, they’re tracking services and whatnot are as good as UPS.

You’re talking about the postal service?

Postal Service

Yes, indeed. Now, with that tracking service, always make sure you get an email and an email receipt because the tracking is right on there. You click right from there and you can see it has been delivered. You might well guess, after all your years in sales, what do you think we should do now? How about a follow-up? Did you receive my book? I want to make sure you got my book. I’m interested in your thoughts. I’ve just followed up.

That’s another touch, so now you’re at four. Now, I would send another physical piece. What that is up to the person that’s doing it. They have to determine, “How badly do I want this business?” How badly do I want to have that first meeting and go after this? As contractors, they may not be looking. We’re looking for Fortune 500 companies or companies with a lot of employees or that do a lot of promotional work that we can help.

It’s critical that you’ve rightly targeted the people that you’re going after.

It goes back to point one, doesn’t it?

Yes, it does.

It always starts at the beginning. This is where you could have some fun. The internet is wide open. Google something about their industry. Find something that you believe might be of interest to that particular prospect about the business and about something. Have one of these things with you. That’s a highlighter.

Highlight a passage that you believe would be germane to that person. Write a personal note. Get yourself some of these babies, post-it notes with your logo on it, and put it right on the article. “I thought of you when I saw this. I’m interested in your thoughts. Let’s get on a Zoom or whatever you want to do. Let’s have coffee.” We’re still zeroing back into that next thing or that next step.

What we do here, now there’s another follow-up to that because, again, you’ve got your tracking for USPS. That, by the way, is less than $1. You can buy these things at 500, somewhere less than $1. You’ve got a highlighter. It’s free. Your ink is coming off your printer. It’s not like there’s a huge cost to this. It’s about doing it. It’s not always about the cards, the letters, and the gifts. It’s about doing it. It’s about making sure that you’re following the process.

It’s being disciplined in that process consistently.

Exactly. I’ll finish up with the last touch. The last touch that we have is a pretty grandiose touch. This is where we say, “We’re in,” or, “It’s decision time,” because it’s an expensive piece we send. It’s got in our box. It’s a box dimensionally, so it’s going to cost us, if we go USPS, certainly $10. The goods inside are probably $20, $30, or $40, something like that. It’s all sorts of promotional items with all of our logo on them. It would be things like this because we’re prescribing these. When we take them through, the goal would be I walk in with that kit.

That’s part of our meeting or the next meeting if we move along. If we get more time, if he says we have an hour, then I can take him through that box and tell him what the significance is of a highlighter or what the significance is of this. The significance is what I told you. That box also serves as our promo kit, so we send that out. In terms of timing, we subscribe to the tenacity theory.

What’s that?

It’s versus persistence. Persistence sounds like pest for a reason. Tenacity means you did what I described to do. You broke out the highlighter. You grabbed an article. You know the guy’s a Boston Red Sox fan, whatever that may be. We send them something that we heard. We saw their LinkedIn profile. They’re a Michigan grad. Who’s crazy are the Michigan grads? They love this. Send them something. You saw that Michigan beat Michigan State? Beautiful. What a great day. I hope you enjoyed it. I would suggest that a two-week timeframe is stuff that is rarely the frequency we use.

Each touch over a two-week timeframe. Let me ask you this. Where does cold calling come in? Going right into the office. I’m driving around and I drive by a guy’s office, and I’m like, “I’m going to walk in and see if he’s around.”

Have something there. Have something with you because this was also a very specialty of mine. With my first two jobs, I was with wholesale and retail, wholesale food distribution. I was in and out of every kitchen in Boston. I’d make 20 physical calls before 10:00 on a Monday morning. You’d have to go and see chefs. I don’t know what the equivalent is in the construction business. I’ll bet you there is one.

It would be like the superintendent on a job site.

He wants nothing to do with you. If you’re the new guy, even less. “You’re new to this? You’re going to be gone in two weeks.” You have to show them. It’s just now, you’re killing them with kindness. “I got some information on what our lumber prices are, what the commodity prices are. I’d like to drop them off, maybe stop by every once in a while.” Leave them with something. Have those promotional items ready. You’re probably not going to get to him. You’re probably going to be with his or her admin. Leave something behind, and then you start your creativity. Get his address. Start sending him stuff.

You want to wear him down. You want to say that, “This guy’s or gal’s not going away. He’s serious about this.” What’s the last thing somebody wants to do? Start a relationship, and a month later, the rep’s gone because they didn’t make it. They didn’t make it because they were probably probably set up for failure and didn’t have a process.

We’ve talked about the importance of having a process and then executing that process. It leads me to the question then, can anyone be a salesperson?

I believe so. Have you ever heard of Howard Gardner?

I haven’t.

Howard Gardner wrote a book called Frames of Mind. In Frames of Mind, he speaks about the seven types of intelligence. Neil here was not classically academically intelligent. Middle of the road. My book is for people that were just that. I always joke that my combined SAT scores and my class rank had one thing in common. They were both in the triple digits. Not stellar, but not awful. It wasn’t like I was bottom of the class, or I didn’t at least try, or didn’t show up.

I did discover, and of course, I read the book many years later because I didn’t even know it existed, that what I had was interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence. If somebody is academically intelligent, has an engineering background, and is logic-based, they would probably have to work on those skills. I would suggest things like Toastmasters. I’m involved with Toastmasters now. There’s a ton of people in our group. We probably have 25 or 30 members in our little chapter. I would suggest there are a few of us who have been in sales, a few of us who want to sharpen our skills.

Most of them are engineers trying to get out of their engineering mindset and get into more interpersonal. Not just stuck on the computer coding or whatever that may be. They want to be leaders. They want to be out front. They certainly have knowledge. They might have a little bit of problem. That’s where the 2 ears, 1 mouth is going to come in. It’s going to be a challenge because they know so much and they want to jump in like, “Let me tell you everything I know about it.” If they can hold that back and become great listeners, I think anybody can. I’m very positive.

If I’m new in sales, in the context of my audience, let’s say you’ve hired a business development person. Maybe they’re relatively new to the industry and relatively young. What do I need to do in the first 90 days to set up a business development person for success?

I’m partial to positive activity for obvious reasons. The 90-day window fits right in my wheelhouse because what I say is the EBDs. I talked about positivity to creativity to productivity. You do those steps every day for 90 days. Activity begets activity. You get on a roll. You start feeling good. Who hires the BD person?

It would typically be someone in the sales side of the company. Maybe the head of business development or something like that.

They would have to buy into that as well. They’d have to reinforce it that you keep score. How many of these did you do? What after-hours events are you going to this week and this month? What do you think your 30-second commercial is? Let’s work on that together. What are you going to tell people when you meet them elsewhere? You’re not going to just sit there and get people on phones. It does not happen anymore. I don’t know about you, but if somebody calls me on my cell phone that I don’t know, I’m not happy.

Can we go step by step through what a 30-second commercial should have in it, please?

A quick little introduction, a little bit about what you do, and a little bit about the benefit statement.

What is a benefit statement?

“I’m Neil Rogers. I work in the promotional products industry, promotional marketing, the corporate logo stuff. What we do is we help people get their brand out there to drive awareness and business to them. That’s what we do. We help you.” You have to be smooth with it and you have to massage it to the right person. If it’s a salesperson or a business development person, “We help you get attention. You need to get attention.”

It’s interesting because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. Depending on the person you talk to, every company will have an elevator pitch that they might customize. I’ve been working on this particular one. Someone asked me, “What exactly do you do?” I tell them, “You know when a project manager gets promoted into a project executive role and they have to make the shift from building projects to building teams of people? That’s one of the biggest challenges they’ll ever face in their career and I help them make that shift.”

What I found interesting, and this is something I would say to people, that phrase, the shift, I got that from an interview that I did with a construction company CEO. He literally said those words to me. I asked him, “What’s the biggest challenge that you find leaders have?” He said to me what I had said is my elevator pitch. I took the words of my clients and I turned that into an elevator pitch because it meets the particular pain point or the particular issue that they’re looking to solve by using my services.

There are no new ideas. We just pick them up off the ground. Over here, we call it R&D.

What does that mean?

Rip off and duplicate.

I call it standing on the shoulders of giants.

If you don’t think I’m not going to take a little bit of what you said and weave it into something that I’m going to use, you’re crazy. It’s going to happen.

It’s funny because I was thinking the same thing. I haven’t done lumpy mail in a while. I can remember the last time I did a postcard campaign. I landed one of the largest GCs in the country as a result of a postcard campaign. This guy didn’t know me from Adam, but they became my client. I’m encouraged to be doing some lumpy mail in the new year. I appreciate that particular insight.

I want to hear about it. Let me know. Do you want to do a fly-by or whatnot? What you’re trying to do, I’m happy to do it.

Tell us a little more about yourself, how people can get in touch with you, and the kinds of things that you do to help people excel in sales.

I know I keep circling back to this positive activity program, but I’d like to make it harder for everybody, but it’s not. It’s like we coach you through that, take you through it, we can create the products for you, and all those things. Quick little example, there was a consulting company. It was Hitachi Consulting. He got in there. He wanted to do a campaign. They’re not McKesson, they’re not Deloitte and Touche, but they’re probably a $100 million consulting firm, that type of thing. I don’t know what they are now and I don’t even know if they exist.

He said, “I’d like to do a campaign. What I’m going to do is with ten of our business development people that were phone-based, I’m going to have them give me their top 10 hard-to-get intos. We get 100 people we’re going after.” Their opening silo is $250,000. If you sign up, it’s $250,000 to start. They’ve got some wiggle room if they’re going to do an attempt on this. We didn’t get fancy. I think I told you earlier, it’s not about the cards, letters, and gifts. It’s about doing it.

COGE 257 | Consistent Sales Success
Bar Tips: Everything I Needed to Know in Sales I Learned Behind the Bar

We did a seven-touch campaign, thematic, no fancy anything, and they got ten appointments. I can’t remember. I don’t know if they closed any, but that was the end of it right there. That’s all as far as I got, but I believe they got ten in-person appointments. That’s a 10% return on a $10,000 investment. By the way, five of that was mail and I don’t make any money on mail.

How can people get in touch with you?

You can go to PositiveActivity.net. That’s where you can get ahold of the book. It’s also where we’ll be putting our speaking bio up there and all that, so that’ll get a little bit more built out over the next little bit. We’ve decided to brand that part of our company Positive Activity instead of pushing the book exclusively.

What book are you referring to by the way?

It is Bar Tips: Everything I Needed to Know in Sales I Learned Behind the Bar. It’s practical advice from your bartender. Simple solutions, simple things, doing every day that could help propel your business. That’s what’s propelled mine. By the way, if they want to email me, it’s [email protected].

You wrote the book Bar Tips. Have you been a bartender?

I was a bartender for ten years in and around the Boston and Cape Cod area. It’s G-rated, so don’t worry. None of the 4:00 stories are in there.

What was the biggest thing that you learned about people during your time as a bartender?

There’s a lot there. I think what we got out of there and what I later came to find out is a very important thing, and it was kind of innate to me when I stood in the bar and took ownership of it when something went wrong. The story that goes with that is my buddy, Dennis Mayer. A woman came up to the bar and she says, “I’d like a vodka martini very dry. Straight up.” Dennis, a veteran of at least 10, maybe 15 years at the time, poured a vodka martini like he pours every vodka martini dry and put it down in front of her. She took a sip of it, looks at him, and goes, “Not dry enough.”

When something goes wrong, take ownership. Share on X

He comes over to me and he says, “I’ve been doing this for ten years. I’ve never put a drop of vermouth in a martini. Every martini’s the same, dry, just vodka or just gin.” What does he do? Get into a beef with her? Argue with her? How about you remake it? You remake it right in front of her. “This is how we make these. Let me help you out. Let me do that.” Pour the drink, put it in front of her, take a sip of it, yeah, much better. Same drink.

Do you want to get into a beef? Do you want to keep a client? Do you want to do whatever? It goes from the premise that I do believe in the old adage that the customer’s always right. I also believe that the customer can be unreasonable. If she did it again after that, that would be unreasonable, but he avoided confrontation by taking ownership of it and saying, “Yeah, that’s my fault. Let me do it again for you.”

Neil, I appreciate your time and your insights into that seven-touch campaign and how to get your mind and your inner game right before you get out into your sales day. Those are absolutely essential. I appreciate you joining us here on the show.

Eric, it’s been great. I love the construction business.

Right on. Thank you.

Thank you for tuning in to my interview with Neil. Feel free to check out his book that he’s written, Bar Tips: Everything I Needed to Know in Sales I Learned Behind the Bar. That’s on Amazon. Feel free to reach out to him on his website as well. Feel free to share this interview with other people that you think would benefit from it. Of course, go out to where you get your shows and give Construction Genius a rating and a review. Thanks again for tuning in. We’ll catch you on the next episode.

 

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About Neil Rogers

COGE 257 | Consistent Sales SuccessNeil Rogers is a newly published author of the book, “Bar Tips: Everything I Learned In Sales, I Learned Behind The Bar”. He’s currently the VP of Rogers Marketing with 40+ years of hospitality experience. Rogers spent ten years slinging beers behind the bar at some of the top establishments in and around Boston. The lessons learned during his “cocktail years” have provided him with the skills needed to excel in sales and marketing. And now, he’s sharing the knowledge gleaned from long nights of sticky floors and slinging shots that have propelled Rogers to the upper echelons of salesmanship.