01 Apr April 1, 2019 – THE Sales CLOSER Ben Gay III and Hyper Local Marketing Ed Ukaonu
If you have a built-in objection, bring it up first, and brag about it.
Ben Gay III has been called a living legend in the sales world. In his 40+ years of professional selling and sales training, he has been the #1 salesperson in every organization in which he has ever worked . . . and he’s a powerful speaker, trainer, and author to boot! Having started his first business at 14, by age 25 he was the president/CEO of what was then the world’s largest Direct Sales/MLM/Network Marketing company. And he was personally trained by fellow sales legends J. Douglas Edwards, Dr. Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, William Penn Patrick, Zig Ziglar, Merle Fraser, Fred Herman, James H. Rucker Jr., and many many other sales giants. Now one of the most famous, popular and powerful sales trainers in the world, Ben accepts and conducts just 24 live “The Closers Sales Training” seminars a year and writes/publishes/produces “The Closers” series of books, audios, videos, newsletters, and teletrainings . . . a series that is considered “The Foundation of Professional Selling.” He was the founder and is the current Executive Director of The National Association of Professional Salespeople.
Ed Ukaonu – Hyperlocal Ad Strategist and CEO of Indoor Billboard Network and CEO of SandySprings24/7
We created a digital platform that has different digital assets that
will help small businesses project their brand in their localities.
Ed Ukaonu is the CEO of IBN-GA, LLC, a digital branding and advertising platform that includes the following digital assets; Indoor Billboard Network, SandySprings24/7 mobile app & The Node. Ed has a remarkable passion and interest in providing an affordable platform for small business enterprises to extend their brands via effective and affordable mediums. Indoor Billboard Network enables small businesses to extend their brand, enabling them to stay relevant and top of mind. SandySprings24-7.com enables businesses, residents and non-profits stay connected; providing a medium for businesses to geo-target their current and potential customers. The Node enables businesses that offer free WIFI to turn their WIFI into a fantastic lead generator that will not only increase customer retention but also give the business that connection with their customers that every business strives for.
The Closers is the best selling, most popular, most powerful series of books ever written on how to close sales and be a professional salesperson. People can do that by going to my website, bfg3.com. A little box will drop down where you can give us your name and email, and we’ll keep you up to date on what I’m doing; we won’t try to sell you anything. And near the end, if anyone’s interested in acquiring it, I’ve got a special place for them to go.
I had joined a multi-level marketing company, direct sales company called Holiday Magic Cosmetics. It was a little company when I joined on September 15, 1965. They ran a little ad in the paper and only two people responded, a cookware salesman from Columbia, South Carolina named Ziegler, and me. In a friendly way that put us head to head, although we didn’t know they were going to have contests. He got off to a quick start, he was 18 years older than I was, but we quickly got up to speed, and by the end of the year, we were the dominant distributors nationwide in the company.
Then they had a year long contest. First prize was a mystery prize. Second was a Rolls Royce. Third was a Lincoln Continental. Fourth was a Thunderbird. I was after the mystery prize. When I won it, beating Zig, who got the Rolls, I wanted it flown to California for the presentation. I asked William Penn Patrick, the owner of the company, “Why is it a mystery prize?” He said, “It’s a mystery prize because if somebody I didn’t like won, I would’ve just thrown in another Rolls Royce.” Apparently, he liked me. And on bad days, I used to call Zig, and I’d say, “Zig, here’s the deal. I’ll give you the keys to the front door and you give me the keys to the Rolls Royce and he’d say no, no, you beat me fair and square.” People said, “You would have made it anyway.” Maybe I would have. I was tops in mowing lawns when I was 14. Maybe I would have been tops in some business, but I’ll often wonder how life would have been different had I not answered that little ad in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
I don’t know what the circulation of the Atlanta Journal Constitution was in 1965. Nor do I know what it is today. But let me just throw out a number and say 200,000 copies of that newspaper went out. When I moved to Atlanta with my family in 1948, the population of the metro area was a quarter of a million people. So let’s say 200,000 people had an opportunity to see that, and a certain number never looked at want ads. And of those who did, only two of us answered the ad, Zig and me.
When I was there that day it was a colonial grocery store. And I called from the phone booths right outside the store. It turned out the Holiday Magic local office was two blocks away. So when I began interviewing, I was Ben Gay, early 20s, flat broke, flat top, and acne leftover from my teenage years. I got about five questions deep in my interview with Bill Dempsey, and he said, “Where are you?” I told him, and he asked me to be standing in front of his desk in 10 minutes or never dial his number again. I could have been terribly offended by that, not gone to the meeting, and that would have been another opportunity not to take off. But I was there with about 60 seconds to spare. The receptionist had a guy sitting there, but turned around when I introduced myself, “Hi, I’m Ben Gay,” and he said a gay joke. When he finished, I said, “What’s your name?” And he said, “Ziegler.” I said, “With a name like Zig, you’re laughing at Ben gay? You gotta be kidding me.”
Ziegler JD Edwards, a great sales trainer, and the third guy I forget were in my office, and Sandra fell one day and asked to go to lunch. Dr. Napoleon Hill was there. And he always worked off the end of my desk, which was a big conference table. I said, “Dr. Hill, do you want to go?” And he said, “No, I’m fine. I’m writing.” So we went off to lunch. We were gone for two and a half hours and when we came back, Dr. Hill said, “What was that about?” And I said, “The entire lunch was devoted to the need to change my name, because Gay didn’t just mean happy anymore. This is the late ’60s in California. My name was a distraction. Dr. Hill’s advice to me was very short and pointed. He looked at me said, “Ignore them.” The subject was never brought up again, and thank goodness I ignored them because I think you’re right. It’s a huge help. It’s tremendous when I go on stage and they read a prepared introduction. And the last thing is, “Ladies and gentlemen, here is Ben Gay III,” and I walk on, and if they did a good job, usually the audience is standing and clapping. The minute they sit down, I say, “Let’s get this Ben Gay thing out of the way.” And they always, they always crack up. So it’s most speakers have to have an opening joke and then you have to change the joke. But no one can steal that one from me, so I’ve been using the same one for 30 years.
I liken it to sheep dogs. When you bring them back from rounding up the herd, the sheep dogs are much better than they were before. Meaning you can get more prospects in front of you, either on the internet or the phone or face to face or whatever.
I wish I was just starting out with all these tools; I could be the benevolent dictator of the world. My business partner, Jimmy Rucker, and I used to drive around, pick people up, and take them downtown to the Hotel in Atlanta. There was a lot of time and manpower involved. If I could have put up something on the internet, clicked five things, and had 25 people show up or get on the phone with me, life would have been a lot simpler. But once the sales process begins face to face, over the phone, over the Internet, and so on… Selling has really changed since the days of the Yankee peddler, when he was riding around on horseback, selling soap or books or whatever. The only slight difference–and it doesn’t make any difference unless you’re a content man–the only slight difference is that the customer now knows, or thinks he or she knows, more than they did back then.
You don’t know the profit margin unless you’re the head of General Motors, but nowadays you’ve got a much better idea than before. I’ve never sold cars, but I’ve bought a lot of luxury cars, primarily to give away in contests, so I’ve had a lot of dealings in the auto industry. The difference today is that the customer thinks they know more. Customers believe they should beat the sales person down to some point where they don’t make any money, which is silly and leads to bad service. I want everybody to have a fair deal.
The last car I bought–I was no longer in the business of buying them 50 at a time and giving them away–was a car for us. And I said to the salesman who I befriended, “I want you to make money. I want the dealership to make money, and I don’t want to be cheated. What price would make everybody happy?” He told me, and I said fine, let’s do it. Then I asked, “How much did you make?” I was happy I got 10,000 off the sticker price. With the dealership’s factory warranty specials and this and that, I wound up getting it for about $17,000 less than if I just walked up with a sticker and wrote a check. But at $17,000 off, they were happy, and I was happy, and it was no haggling. He called me for a seminar that I sell. I give him the good news, it’s been pre-haggled. I figured out what I really wanted. I figured out what you really offer. And I came to this figure to make both of us happy, and that’s it. If that isn’t good enough for you, it’s a big world, go find somebody else.
Haggling’s part of the sales process. But I teach in seminars, and I’ll teach all your folks for free right now, 85% of all the problems with selling go away if you sell a quality product or service, preferably the best available at a competitive price. You don’t have to be the cheapest to be competitive, you can make up the difference in quality. For instance, I tell people the difference between this price and that price is you get me with a private phone number that you can dial 24/7 if something goes wrong. That’s a difference right there, but it’s competitively priced, and you spend your time talking to qualified prospects. I charge $9500 for an hour or full day of seminar work. I don’t spend any of that time trying to sell it to a homeless person, or the receptionist at some business in the lobby, because the homeless person has no money and the receptionist can only say no. Spending your time talking to qualified people is really crucial.
My closing rate is 86% How can you do that? Well, I’m very good at what I do. I don’t waste any time talking to people that can’t buy. I’ll try if they’re not sure, if they want to delay or procrastinate. It’s my job to overcome all that. But I spend zero time talking to people who aren’t in a position to buy, don’t have the money to buy, and don’t have the buying authority. Zero time.
By this time, I’ve written 12 books on how to close sales, but let me get it boiled down for you. After we’ve talked for a while, gone over all your concerns, you would hear me say something like, “Based on what we’ve discussed, here’s what I recommend we do.” And then fill in the blank. Get this, don’t get this, buy this, go here, whatever. Fair enough. 86% of the time, it’s fair enough.
One of my great examples, Douglas Edwards, taught in the grid sales training. After he died, I wrote a book in coal sales closing power from his teachings. He taught me many things, but the one thing that comes to my mind every time I think of Douglas Edwards is, if you have a built in objection, bring it up first and brag about it.
For instance, if I was selling Rolls Royces in San Francisco, and you walked in and I was a salesperson there, I’d come over and greet you. “Hi, my name is Ben Gay, your name is Jim Beach. Damn nice to meet you,” and so on. “One of the joys of working here is getting to meet and work with people who’ve done well enough to invest $350,000 or more in a car. That’s just astounding, so I’m going to want to know a lot about you.” As I say “$350,000 in a car,” I’m looking at your eyes to see whether the irises dilate. If the blood drains out of your face, or you vomit or faint, you’re not qualified. But if, on the other hand, you bow and say, “Well thank you very much, yes I am successful in the world,” then unless it’s raining outside, and you came in to get dry, we’re on the right path.
If you’re selling timeshare or vacation ownership or camp ground membership, you’re primarily talking to people who are at the resort. We already know the vacation. We already know they’re spending money to vacation. Our job is to show them a better way to do that.
An ad in the Atlanta Journal Constitution said, “If you want to know how to make more money, and know anything about marketing plans, dial this number.” I was putting a wife through nursing school, and I was making $100 a week in 1965. But making $100 a week, all I needed to hear was, “If you want to make more money.” I was in! I didn’t know what a marketing plan was, but I figured we’d cross that bridge when we came to it.
A lot of it is where you need them, how you need them, referrals, etc. For instance, I haven’t run an ad for The Closers material, or my seminars, or anything else in 25 years. I was good enough at it, then did it long enough that my reputation preceded me. And my materials, The Closer series, has gotten to the point that all I have to do to a prospect is answer the phone when it rings, and check my emails.
First of all, I am pro-script learning. I made zero dollars the first six months I was in multi-level marketing, zero, because I wouldn’t learn the scripts. I thought a smile and a handshake would do it, and I wasn’t concerned about a better way to do it, until I got the meeting at the Georgian Terrorists Hotel and Bill MC met me at the door, and said, “I need to talk to you.” The long and short of the conversation was he didn’t want me coming back to the meetings anymore, because I didn’t bring anybody. I was no help. I didn’t know the closing script or the presentation, and I’d screw up the invitation. So I am pro-script, and I solved that problem.
By the way, eight or 10 days later, I stood in front of his desk, giving him all the materials word for word. And that’s the night I started making money. I made more that night, the first night after I’d learned the script and was allowed to come back to the meetings, than I made in a year working for my father. So I’m a big believer in scripts. However, when I teach scripts, I say, “But you must listen. “It was said of Nelson Mandela that he was a dynamic listener. He was known for speaking and being a dynamic listener. So when you’re running through your script, your prepared presentation, I don’t mean go A to Z no matter what they say or do. You must listen carefully, and find out their objections, concerns, etc.
The window person let me cover, and at times people came just to get show tickets or the free TV or what have you. That’s part of the game. So they should be prepared for that, to work around it. One of the things the window person told me to avoid is a one-legged presentation. Because if both people aren’t there, in most cases, it does require both people, and if the lady Mrs. Beach isn’t happy, you’re not buying any windows. But the other thing is, if you are Mr. Beach and Mrs. Beach isn’t there, then your automatic out is, “I have to check with my wife.” They want the wife sitting there, so you don’t have to check with her, because she heard the same presentation you did. But there are exceptions to the rule.
Some people want customers to call the police. I do work for a vacuum cleaner company. I’ll leave out the name for the moment. And they say the presentation isn’t over until you’ve been paid, or the police have been called. I didn’t teach him that. I don’t agree with it. I’ve been fighting them for 20 odd years over it. But that’s their attitude towards it.
The great, now deceased, speaker and founder of the National Speakers Association, along with 11 others, used to say of me, “Ben Gay can tell you to go to hell and have you looking forward to the trip.” So by the time I finished with you, you would have convinced me you really could make a buying decision on the windows without any other input from anybody or Mrs. Beach would be sitting on the sofa behind you. We would have to be convinced of both things, because the odds of just overwhelming is low in that business. First of all, it’s the one call close in timeshares, very few callbacks actually happened. There are just enough callbacks in both businesses to convince amateur sales people that it’s okay not to close. You know, it’s like when you play golf, every round I’ve ever played, no matter how bad it was, there’s always one shot that brings me back next weekend. We love seeing things piled out in front of houses free, an ugly sofa, and so on, and we always laugh and say, “Must have just gotten married.”
My father saw me sitting on the sofa one too many times in the summer and suggested I get a job. I came up with stories about that. And he said, “Get out of the basement more, and start mowing lawns.” This is July in Atlanta, and I know long, manual labor was not for me. He then taught me a sales lesson. He said, “Go up, tell them you’ll mow the lawn, and they can set their own price after you’re done.” And I said, “What if they don’t pay me enough?” He said, “They’ll pay you more than you would ever dare to ask.” So I did that. And sure enough, he was right, but it was still hot. So I came back, and I said, “They’re paying more, but I don’t like doing it.” He said, “Get your friends to do it, and you do the inspecting and collecting.” I said, “How am I gonna pay him?” He said, “You’re already getting paid twice what you were asking. Give them half of it, which will be twice what they would ask. And they couldn’t ask anything because they don’t have the nerve to knock on the door and ask.” So I did, and pretty quickly in the growing season, for a few years there, I had 20-25 kids working for me. And I was making as much or more money than many of the adults on the slate.
Here’s what they do if they’re in selling, or know someone who doesn’t want to be nice to them. What they want is The Closer’s series of sales, training books, what’s called in the industry, the famous blue books. They happen to be blue. So rather than go to my go to my website and sign up, we’ll send you stuff about where I’m going to be and so on. But to buy, I have a site for you that is less expensive than what I sell, and that is at stores.ebay.com/ronzonebooks. If they go there, there’s currently a special that features special pricing and free shipping. I offer neither at my website. So that’s the place to go; it still comes with an unconditional lifetime money back guarantee. And I still sign and date every copy that leaves this building.