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In this episode of The Speaker Show, Maria Franzoni interviews Tony Morris.
Tony Morris is a conversion strategist and author of 5 books who works with organisations and leaders to ask better questions and get better results.
His first book, Coffee’s for closers, was #1 best-selling book for telesales on Amazon.
He brings actionable, practical, real-life techniques that the audience can implement the day after your event and get instant results. He conducts LIVE SALES CALLS on stage, to the audiences dream prospects, to demonstrate techniques he teaches.
Organisations see tangible results and numeric improvement in their customers’ average order value, increase in their bottom line and the transformation of customers into raving fans, that will recommend them for years to come.
In this fascinating episode, we discuss:
- Conversion Strategy
Maria Franzoni (00:17): Hello and welcome back to The Speaker Show with me your host, Maria Franzoni. Today, we’re talking about sales, conversion strategy and making more money. The Speaker Show is brought to you by Speakers Associates, the global speaker bureau for the world’s most successful organizations, providing keynote speakers for events, conferences, and summits. My guest is a conversion strategist and the author of five books. He works with organizations and leaders, helping them to ask better questions so that they can get better results. His first book Coffees for Closes was the number one bestselling book for telesales on Amazon. He brings actionable, practical, real-life techniques to the audience so that they can implement these the day after an event and get instant results. He conducts live sales calls on stage to the audience’s dream prospects and shows exactly how his techniques work. Organizations see tangible results and numeric improvement in their customer’s average order value increases to their bottom line and a transformation of customers into raving fans that will recommend them for years to come. How’s that for brilliant results. Please welcome my guest today, Tony Morris. Tony, how are you? Looking gorgeous surrounded in flowers.
Tony Morris (01:35): Oh, bless you. Thank you. I’m very well. Thank you. And how are you doing?
Maria Franzoni (01:38): I’m wonderful. Thank you very much, indeed. And this is one of my favourite subjects. I love the subject of sales conversion, making money. Tony, it’s important, right?
Tony Morris (01:50): Let’s see. Look, sales is the key, it’s the engine of any business. And without that, as you said, if you’re not making money, you don’t have a business. If you don’t have a way to acquire new customers, you don’t have a business. So it’s everything.
Maria Franzoni (02:05): Yeah, absolutely all starts with the sale. Now, the thing is right a lot of people don’t want to make calls and often we talk about cold calls. Tell me about how, how we can avoid a cold call and maybe make a warm call? What are the tips on that, on that regard?
Tony Morris (02:24): Yeah, it’s a really good point. So one of the first sales books I ever read was a gent called Art Sobczak. He’s a sales guru in America. And his first book was called Smart Calling. And so I’ve never believed in a cold call, but by the name cold, we’re assuming that no need, are they not expecting a phone call, but we’ve done no research. We don’t really know who the key stakeholders are. The key influences are, and we’ve just not done our homework. We’re not prepared as a professional. So immediately I would change that word cold to a value call, a smart call. So we do homework and we’re fully prepped and ready, but in today’s world of sales, from my experience in my business, but also working with hundreds of clients, you do need to try and warm the prospect up.
Tony Morris (03:14): And some of the best ways to do that is to send them a video email first. I use a software called Bomb Bomb. There’s another one called Loom. And you send them a personalized video, 30 seconds where you basically articulate your value proposition, your elevator pitch, explaining how you’ve helped like them. And the call to action at the end is I’m gonna be in touch in the next few days to see if I can help you as well. And I it’s the keyword there is to help because our job is to serve, to help, to develop, to improve as opposed to, to sell.
Maria Franzoni (03:53): Yeah, no completely with you completely. And actually only yesterday I received a video from, it was actually on LinkedIn. So I think they probably used the native, native LinkedIn opposed to which you can do as well, which is great.
Tony Morris (04:05): Absolutely.
Maria Franzoni (04:05): And it was somebody now, if he had written the message, the message would’ve worked as well, but because it was so personal warm, and I could see the face and the expressions. And I feel like I know him now from that message. It was really good. I didn’t dare respond by video because my hair, I was having a bad hair day, but,
Tony Morris (04:25): I don’t believe that.
Maria Franzoni (04:26): Yeah, but you can also do audio, can you as well on LinkedIn as well now.
Tony Morris (04:29): Absolutely. So on LinkedIn, when you compose a message, you can, as you said, do audio or video, I think there’s the key thing with it is what one of the little tips is you should hold up a whiteboard. So I’ve bought on it on Amazon, this for five pounds, this speech bubble whiteboard, where you put the recipient’s name on. So if I was sending a message to you, you’d see, Hi Maria, you hold that up in the first three seconds, put it down and then articulate your message. The point is the open rate will massively increase if the recipient sees their name. So that’s a big tip that most people don’t do. And you wanna, how do you wanna be perceived? So you gotta think about dress code. You’ve gotta make sure you’ve got the right lighting, the right audio, because this is your opportunity to create the right impression.
Tony Morris (05:19): And if you’re gonna do it, let’s do it properly. And I think that’s the key, but the whole point behind this is warm them up. So they know who you are and they’re expecting your call. And interesting the point you made of you felt familiar with that person. This comes back to psychology and there was a fantastic book called Influence by Dr. Robert Caldini. And he said, once someone’s seen you, they feel that comfort with you. So, and that’s why I’m a big believer in sending a video first, because when they see you, they recognize you and they feel that instant connection.
Maria Franzoni (05:56): I’ve got his book actually on my shelf, it’s a brilliant book. Brilliant book.
Tony Morris (05:59): Right.
Maria Franzoni (06:00): Fantastic. Fantastic. Okay. So, gimme some tips then. What should you say in your first 30 seconds when you’re calling somebody?
Tony Morris (06:10): Yeah. So if you know, they’re the right person and that’s a lot of research, right? You, you often depends on the complex sale. There’s normally numerous stakeholders. They call them. But as long as you’ve got the right person and the first thing is have a clear objective. It was the late Richard Denny that said, if you don’t have a goal, you can’t score. So have a really clear objective of the call, but in terms of what do you say that the principle should be? Don’t talk about what you do. Talk about what you’ve done successfully with people or businesses like them. People actually don’t care what you do in terms of your product or your service. All they care about is the result that you can help them achieve, be it to minimize or eradicate or remove some form of pain or challenge, or to help them gain or grow in some part of their business or personal life.
Tony Morris (07:05): So that message has to be, so when you are calling a company that the first, the two things you need to know is who have you helped like them and get ready to name drop. And most importantly, how have you helped them? How have you changed their life or changed their business in whatever aspect. And as long as you can articulate that within 20 to 30 seconds, you’re gonna make an impact. They’re gonna, the recipient will say they get me, they understand my business. They’ve worked with people I know, and they’ve had a result. I wanna speak to this person more.
Maria Franzoni (07:41): I love that. And I’ve got my notepad out as you were talking, because it’s just so much juice. I love that you talk about what you’ve done and not what you do. I think that’s so important. Really important. That’s such great advice. Okay. So say you’ve done some great work. What’s the best way to get a referral?
Tony Morris (08:00): There’s actually two ways. So, the, it depends on the behavior of the salesperson, but more importantly, the behavior of the customer. And so the one that most people feel comfortable with is a three step process. And I call it the positive affirmation referral. So the first thing you have to understand is have they been happy? Are they comfortable to endorse and recommend? So you would say to a customer, Maria, we’ve dealt with each other now for a few weeks or a few months, may I ask, I’m always keen to learn. How have you found the experience or how have you found working with my company? You have to wait till you get that positive endorsement. Cause if they go, you know, you’ve been highly average, you’re not gonna go great. Who do you know that we can speak to? So wait till you got positive validation, then my response would be well, I’m so pleased to hear that.
Tony Morris (08:54): Funny enough. Most of my business is actually from recommendations. With that in mind, who do you know, someone like you, that I may be able to help. And I think that’s the key point. Not do you know anyone, or if you do pass them my way, who do you know, keep it open. And the key line is someone like you. And they’ll start to think about that. So that’s one technique that most people are comfortable. The one that I use and I, you’ve gotta have, you’ve gotta better get away with this. It depends on your persona. And it does depend on the persona of the customer. But I often say to them when I’ve done a good job, say, imagine we swap jobs. So tomorrow you run a sales training company. My company, TMI Training, be the first person you would phone to try and win your first customer.
Tony Morris (09:50): And what happens is you start to see their eyes turning and they’re thinking about their connections. And if they’re not thinking of anyone, you load it by going, think about your friends, your family, think about previous work connections, be your first phone call and get them to write it down if you can. And then when they think of someone you say share, and they’ll tell you and say, I would really love an introduction to them. And it really works because they enter, they enter your world for 30 seconds to a minute. When they, when they see the world, like you are seeing the world, you are lens. They they’re able to then think who who’s the best person that I would reach out to in terms in my business where they, they know the owner or a sales director of a business with a sales team. And it, they start to, yeah. They start to find that connection a lot quicker and easier.
Maria Franzoni (10:43): Love it, love it, love it, love it. Really good. And, of course, yes, either customer has to be happy first, but they all are, aren’t they Tony? When you work with them, they’re always happy. Exactly.
Tony Morris (10:51): Of course.
Maria Franzoni (10:52): Okay. Here’s one that I struggle with or I used to struggle with when I had my bureau. It’s not so bad nowadays, actually I have to say, but how do you get a prospect to respond to an email? They’re just not responding and they, I’m sure they have their reasons. And you’re just imagining has my email gone to junk? Have they gone off the planet? I mean, I’ve got some ideas of what we used to do, but I’d love your take on it. Cause you’re the expert in this area. How do you get someone to respond?
Tony Morris (11:20): Yes. And it’s an excellent question actually depends on the relationship. So if it’s cold, cold, cold, I would just keep trying other methods. You know, there’s a well known, well, it’s not well known, but a saying that I learn when I studied neurolinguistic programming, that was, if the doors firmly locked, rather sit there and just keep knocking on that firmly locked door, try the window. So to always try and think of another angle, maybe it’s you put something in the post. So something that I do quite often to potential clients is another way to warm them up. And therefore more likely to get a response is I send a colored envelope. I use the color of my brand, which is Navy. And in the envelope, I put a screwed up piece of paper. I write a handwritten letter. Then the content of the letter is all about how I’ve helped someone like them.
Tony Morris (12:13): And then my same call to action. I’m gonna be in touch in the next few days, but the key is I screw it up into a bull. They often will open that because who gets a screwed up letter right in the post. And as they open, it will say, dear Maria, this is the only thing I’d ever screw up. And then you, then you’ve got your message. It’s different. So therefore they’re more likely to respond. So my first point is try different things to try and gain a response. If you’ve got a prospect that you have spoken to. So you’ve had some dialogue and now they are ghosting you. They are just never coming back to you. In my experience, the best way to get response is the subject line is, have I offended you question mark? And you simply say, dear Maria, when we last spoke, blah, blah, blah. Since then it’s been radio silence, and I’m really worried. I’ve done something to offend you. Please, can you come back to me your earliest convenience to understand what I’ve done, because obviously that was not my intention. And I find you get a very response because no one wants to feel that you’ve offended them. And then normally they’ll come back and say, not at all, this is going on in my world and apologies. That’s why. And then you can set up that next phone call.
Maria Franzoni (13:32): Lovely. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Love it. Before I go and actually pick your brain further, cause this is for me is a great brain picking opportunity to get lots of great tips. Let’s talk about. Let’s just talk about conferences and events and how I’m often surprised Tony, how often there isn’t a speaker talking about conversion, talking about sales, talking about talking about the really important stuff on the program. And I think every single conference should have someone like you helping to boost, boost those sales and keep the sales team motivated. What’s your thoughts on that?
Tony Morris (14:07): Yeah, it, it’s really interesting. I think an organization, so many people would say they’re not in sales. That’s the first point. And for me, anyone who works for an organization represents that organization. And therefore they have a, opportunity whether it’s direct or in direct to open a door for one of the dedicated sales team. So I would argue everyone is in sales. Some have that as their exclusive role and title. Others might work in admin. They might work in HR. They might work in operations, but they still represent the company. So I would argue everyone is in a sales function. And in fact, actually the person who takes that first phone call for the company, which often is not the salesperson or the dedicated salesperson I call when the CEO of the first impression. So I think the first point is a lot of organizations might feel they have a small sales team, therefore it’s not relevant.
Tony Morris (15:10): That’s I think the first misconception and I think probably the second misconception is they, their sales team might be performing. They might be hitting target and hitting quota every quarter or every month. And feel, we don’t need someone to boost ’em around, or we don’t need someone to develop or grow our sales. But the massive error with that is complacency will kick in. Bad habits will be picked up. Salespeople by nature, have peaks and troughs in both performance and attitude and moods. And therefore it’s, it’s more critical than ever. They are always inspired on a regular basis. So I think yeah, event, conference organizers, event managers, whoever are arranging those conferences. I can’t actually think of one speaker that’s more vital than someone that can increase that conversion, which improves the bottom line. And I think that’s the key point. You know, I’m a conversion strategist because I develop and I tweak every single part of that sales process, be it from a call to a contact, contact to an appointment, an appointment to a sale, so on and so forth. So I agree with you, there is nothing more important. And I just think it’s a misconception by the organizations that, is it relevant? Is it needed?
Maria Franzoni (16:36): Yeah, no completely get it. And, actually on that note that your work is in conversion strategy and you say you tweak the process. How much can you actually improve the bottom line by tweaking that process? What’s the biggest result you’ve ever had? I’d be curious to know.
Tony Morris (16:53): Yeah. So my most proud actually was with a car leasing company. One of the biggest. And I actually, their conversion when I started working on was 7%. So they spent thousands upon thousands every month in the region of 25,000 pounds a month to generate leads through Google ads, Facebook ads, YouTube ads, so on and so forth. And their sales team converted 7%. And there was things I spotted very quickly when I spent a day diagnosing them and assessing the team that was causing that low conversion. One was after three attempts of trying to get hold of them. They quit. They would make an excuse of, they clearly aren’t that motivated to lease a vehicle. Otherwise they would take a call and we know that’s nonsense. I know there was a study done by the Institute of Sales and Management about 10 years ago that said 90% of buyers buy between the 7th and 12th touch points.
Tony Morris (17:55): And 90% of sales people quit by the third. So that that’s the first massive point. And what I helped actually create with this leasing company is we called it the sweep up team, which started as one person who phoned all the leads that we quit after the third attempt, it became such a successful role. They now have 12 people in the sweep up team. Ah, so that, that was the first point. And the second point was just about how they were simplifying the opportunity. It was done really badly. The questions asked were dreadful and I’ll give you one example mirror of this. They need the company wants to know, had the prospect received other quotes. And they’d often say, may I ask, have you had any other quotes? And the prospect would go, yeah, yeah, I have. Do you mind sharing what that was?
Tony Morris (18:47): And often they’ll say, I’d rather not. I’d rather hear it from you. And they getting that reaction. And they said to me, Tony, we need that information, but no one will share it. And I said, they will. You’re just asking for it the wrong way. And the line, the question I created was may I ask Maria, what’s the best option you’ve considered so far. And that question changed the response massively. So now they knew what they were quitting against because in the prospect’s mind, it was the best one they’ve seen so far, right? So just by changing some of the questions, some of the statements they made their computation, we actually got their conversion to 22%.
Maria Franzoni (19:30): I was gonna ask you, what did you achieve? So, yeah, seven to 22%. Wow
Tony Morris (19:34): So we over tripled it. And that was done in about 12 weeks, which is my biggest success. And in, so the client wouldn’t share their bottom line. They didn’t want to share that with me, but I knew the conversion, but you know, it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to work out the bottom line. Would’ve massively increased because it’s a compound effect. So it, yeah, it would’ve actually been a game changer for their business.
Maria Franzoni (20:00): Love that. Love that. Brilliant. Well done. So that’s the power of increasing your conversion rate and just looking at the process and making little tweaks and seeing where things are going. That question’s good that, you know, asking the right question to get the right information. It’s such good question. Okay. Talking of questions then, as we are sort of opening up and we are having to go back to that dreadful thing of networking again, which some of us love and some of us hate. So let’s ex, let’s imagine we’re at a networking event. What are the three best questions you would ask? That’s tough one for you. I’m picking your brain very, very deep.
Tony Morris (20:35): No again, please do. Please do. So I do a lot of networking, in, you know, playing golf, a network and part of a actual networking, golf networking, business called for business. So, and I see this mistake so often where the salesperson or the person who’s, non-sales not a dedicated sales, but they represent the company. It’s all about them. So their last things like you work with, you know, could you introduce me to, and it’s all about them, whereas the best professionals change it. And it’s all about the person you’re networking with. So the, my first question would be, tell me a little bit about your business. Do you have, how do you help them? And that’s the key question, because often you think about a network, you go, what do you do? And someone says, I’m a project manager, I’m an accountant.
Tony Morris (21:28): I’m a life coach. That’s not what you do. That’s what you are. I am a, so the first question is, what do you actually do? How do you help people help businesses? So you get a true understanding. Then I would ask, do you serve, wait, if you had to break down your niches or your biggest clients, be it most profitable or ones that you just love to serve and work with, get an understanding of that. And then my third question would be, is a champagne referral. If I could introduce you to anyone in my network, your dream introduction, but the whole point Maria is you turn it around. It’s not about you, it’s all about them. And it was the famous late Zig Zeigler and who they claim is the best sales persons ever lived. And I’ve interviewed his son, Tom Ziegler, who now runs the Zeiger Corporation on my podcast. And Zeigler, one of the amazing things he said is you could have everything in life that you want, if you help enough people get what they want. And that’s why networking should not be about you. It’s helping anyone you come across, iIf you can. And then ultimately by power of reciprocation, they’re gonna look to return the favor. So you are much better going in at that stance of how can I help you grow your business and you’ll get it back in abundance.
Maria Franzoni (22:58): I like that. Yeah. Zig Ziglar. Very cool. Brilliant. Some good name dropping here. Tony, you’ve dropped some really good names. Lots of people that I admire as well. So that’s nice. And tell me, because I think anybody listening who has a sales team will know that it, you know, it’s quite pressurized, especially if the sales team’s on commission. And as you said, there are peaks and troughs, ups and downs. Any advice to keep your mindset positive when you are in sales?
Tony Morris (23:24): Yeah, definitely. So sales can be quite a lonely job, especially during the pandemic, right? A lot of sales people had, were forced to work remotely. They’re away from their team and often salespeople, you know, I wouldn’t say they’re often extroverts, but you do get extroverts in the sales team that, that feed off the energy of their team, the camaraderie, and that was taken away from a lot of people. So, and still has been. So the, sometimes their morale is low. And the one thing that I think really works is for sales people to have their own what I call your success Bible. And it’s a way to record every success you’ve ever had. Be it a sale, be it a review, a testimonial, be it a recommendation. Anytime you’ve achieved something in your sales career, make a note of it.
Tony Morris (24:15): And the reason for that is that becomes your mini trophy room. So you surround yourself with the success that you’ve achieved. And therefore, when you are having that low moment, you can look back at your success Bible and remind yourself that you are great because we always have those bad days, bad weeks, bad months that we do need to remind ourselves that we are great on what we do. I think that’s the first thing. And I think the second thing is the reason a lot of salespeople do get down or demotivated is they’re focusing on the wrong thing. And what I mean by that is they might have a week where they’re doing smart calls or value calls, and they’re not making appointments or their appointments are not turning into business. And they start to get a bit low and they also start to get a bit panicky.
Tony Morris (25:01): They’re not gonna hit target, but the salesperson is focusing on. They didn’t achieve, i.e. no appointments. Whereas if you question them, they actually achieved a lot from their day. They found out new decision makers, names, mobile numbers, email addresses that current, that prospect supplier is contract dates, feedback on that relationship, likes and dislikes. That is a really positive part of your week to start to warm up your prospect pipeline, but sales people don’t focus on that. They focus on what they’re not achieving. So I think it’s a mindset shift of try to focus on what you did get out of a call, what you did achieve out of your day, as opposed to what you didn’t. And then I think your mindset would massively change.
Maria Franzoni (25:55): I think you probably need the managers to support you in that as well, because often they’re looking, they’re looking for something different, aren’t they, I think that’s really. I’m gonna create a little success Bible. I really like that idea. I’m gonna do that because I’ve got bits everywhere in terms of sort of, you know, testimonials and things that I don’t have it all in one place, but I like the idea of having a success Bible.
Tony Morris (26:15): It’s interesting. I’ve actually got three Bibles. So I’ve got a success Bible. Obviously I have a sales Bible, so anytime I learn anything in sales, be it a technique, a question, a statement, whatever it goes in my sales Bible, when I break it down by theme by role. So if it’s about questioning or objections, it will go into that section. And I’ve as a professional speaker, I now have a speaking Bible. So when I see some amazing speakers virtually or face to face, I sit there making copious amount of notes, as I’m sure you do. And I’m always looking to learn constantly. So, and there’s so much we know in the craft of professional speaking. So I could probably produce a book actually out of my speaking Bible, but it’s, it’s, you know, for me, I’m always wanna grow, learn, and develop. So these Bibles help me do that. So I can refer back to them every few weeks to remind myself of the great things that I should be doing and need to be doing.
Maria Franzoni (27:11): Very organized. I like that. What platform do you use for your Bibles? Do you just use the word document or do you have something else to use?
Tony Morris (27:17): No. So I do it mainly on my iPhone because it’s always with me and I use the free app notes app, and I literally have three different folders called those titles. And honestly I add to it, I probably make two additions a week, I would say to one of those three Bibles, because it’s always at hand, so it’s easy. And then when I’m at the train or at an airport, or whenever I’ve got some downtime having a coffee somewhere, I will just flip through the Bible to remind myself of some of these key things that I learn and therefore I commit to it. Cause we often, we see some amazing speakers, some experts, some thought leaders, and we do nothing with the content we learn. And I think by documenting it, it just helps us then implement and take action.
Maria Franzoni (28:05): Well, do you know what Tony? I think people, when they listen to this are going to be making notes in their own success Bibles, their own sales Bibles, post sales Bible.
Tony Morris (28:14): I hope so.
Maria Franzoni (28:16): Yeah, because the it’s full of juice. I cannot thank you enough. Thank you so much. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
Tony Morris (28:21): I’ve loved it. And thank you for having me really appreciate it.
Maria Franzoni (28:24): You’re welcome. So, and thank you everybody for listening to The Speaker Show. If you have enjoyed this episode, please leave rating on Apple Podcasts and you can keep up with future episodes on the Speakers Associates website, which is (speakersassociates.com) or your favorite podcast app. Now, if you want to invite Tony to come in and help boost your conversion rates at your next conference, please make sure that you contact Speakers Associates in plenty of time to book him so that you won’t be disappointed. I will see you all next week. Bye bye.
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Maria Franzoni is an established and recognised speaking industry expert and one of the most experienced speaker bookers in Europe.
As well as working with speakers, Maria also hosts live shows and podcasts. She currently hosts The Speaker Show podcast for Speakers Associates.