JF1139: How To Sell High Ticket Items (Like Real Estate) #SkillSetSunday with Stephanie Chung
Stephanie has sold private jets to very high income earners. She has amazing insight and tips on how to be better at selling, one of them is to shut up and and ask questions. We process information faster than we can speak, so letting your potential client, buyer, or seller, speak is beneficial to you. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
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Stephanie Chung Background:
-Award-winning executive coach and high-ticket sales closer
-Creator of “High Ticket Selling Made Simple” course, to help small business owners sell and make more
-Former sales executive in the private jet industry
-25 years of team management, business development, and sales leadership experience
-Based in Dallas, Texas
-Say hi to her at http://www.stephaniechung.com/ and http://www.getmoreclientsandsales.com
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.
I hope you’re having a best ever weekend. Because it is Sunday, we’re doing a special segment like we usually do, and that is Skillset Sunday. By the end of our conversation you’re gonna have a specific skill that you can then go apply to your real estate endeavors. Today we’re talking to someone who’s a former sales executive in the private jet industry. She was selling private jets to individuals and companies, and she has mastered how to sell high-ticket items, and how relevant is that to real estate in terms of getting the most value from our properties that we are selling. Maybe we’re doing a conference and we wanna sell more premium tickets – whatever it is, we can use some tips and practical ways to implement how to sell high-ticket items. With us today – how are you doing, Stephanie Chung?
Stephanie Chung: Thank you so much, Joe. You really know how to introduce a gal.
Joe Fairless: [laughs]
Stephanie Chung: I’m doing fantastic, thank you so much for asking.
Joe Fairless: Well, my pleasure. It’s such a natural fit for real estate investors, your background. A little bit more about Stephanie, and then we’ll get into it in more detail. She is based in Dallas, Texas, she’s got 25 years of team management business development and sales leadership experience, and she’s an award-winning executive coach and a high-ticket sales closer, as I mentioned earlier. So by the end of our conversation you will know how to sell high-ticket items. With that being said, Stephanie, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your focus?
Stephanie Chung: Sure, absolutely. Our organization, Stephanie Chung & Associates, we’re based in Dallas, as you mentioned, and really what we specialize in is executive coaching; we work with the C-suite in regards to leadership communication, and then also – really my love and my passion, is high-ticket sales closing. Companies, because of our background (because of my background specifically), companies will bring us in to really work with their skilled professionals or managing partners or business development – those folks who specialize in very high-ticket items. So we will come in and talk about how do you close those high dollar items, and what does it take.
As you know, there’s a difference between selling a high-ticket item to a high net worth individual versus selling a high-ticket item to all the rest of us. It’s a little bit different, and different techniques and skillsets are needed, and it really centers around the conversation itself. Getting in that show, we do executive coaching and we do anything all sales-related, as well.
Joe Fairless: So how do you close a high dollar item and what does it take?
Stephanie Chung: At the end of the day, one of the things that just can send me through the moon in a negative way is when I hear people say things like “Oh my gosh, they’re such a people person, and that’s why they’ll be good in sales” or “They have the gift of gab, and that’s why they’ll be good in sales.”
The fact of the matter is the best people in sales are the ones who do a lot of asking and very little telling. That’s the very first thing – you wanna focus on asking your questions, and not that [unintelligible [00:04:25].29] but getting down into the core… Because we’ve heard this before, and now there’s enough science to back up, that we don’t make decisions based on logic, we make it based on emotion. So as a sales professional, which by the way, anybody that runs their own business, I always call them a sales professional, because at the end of the day that’s what we are, right?
Joe Fairless: Yeah, I agree.
Stephanie Chung: All of us grind it out every day. As sales professionals, we have to understand the neuroscience behind selling, which is why mine is a little bit different than just your typical open probes, close probes, like the normal stuff. It’s because I’ve spent a lot of time looking at what does the brain do when those kinds of conversations are happening. To give you an example, Joe, we talk about “Ask, don’t tell.”
Here’s the science behind why that is. One, there’s the obvious – the more I could ask questions, the more information I can get. And if you ask people enough questions, they’ll tell you everything you ever wanted to know about them, right? But the science behind why you do that is you and I can probably talk at a speed of, if we’re lucky, 300 words per minute. That’s how fast we can speak. But the brain can process anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 words per minute, so the reason why you don’t wanna be the one talking all the time and you wanna be the one asking is because you have the unfair advantage based on you being the asker and your buyer having to speak. So if it’s the buyer speaking, they’re speaking 300 words a minute, maybe, if they talk fast like you and I, Joe, but [unintelligible [00:05:50].28] calculates 3,000 words. So as they’re speaking, we can watch their body language, we can listen to what they’re saying, we can hear the essence of what they’re saying, and then that helps us then drive and guide the conversation.
But if you reverse that, and most salespeople do – they’re doing all the talking – then the buyer has the ability to sit there and look at you, politely smile, but in their mind, because they can process so much faster, they’re thinking “What does she have on? Oh, I wonder how am I gonna get out of this conversation? Maybe I’ll just tell them this…” – you know, they have the advantage to think of so many other things which can come back to bite you later on.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, it’s so true… I’d never consciously thought about that, but that you mentioned the 300 words per minute that we talk, versus 3,000 that we can process, it makes a lot of sense. Now I’m thinking back on situations… I do feel like my brain is working more when I’m listening than when I’m actually talking. I’m processing a lot more information.
Stephanie Chung: Exactly. And you know, another reason why you do it is when you ask someone a question, especially if you’re asking them a question about themselves, the fact of the matter is the brain produces like a dopamine effect. That’s why we all like to talk about ourselves; we actually feel good about it.
Well, what’s great then from a sales perspective is how we wanna use that is we wanna use that to our advantage. So we wanna ask people questions about themselves and build rapport, because people won’t buy from you, as we all know, if they like you, trust you and feel like you’ve got their best interest in mind. But how you can simply do this is by asking them some questions to build that rapport. That, in fact, lets the brain start to produce the dopamine effect; they feel really good about you, and you may not have said anything about your product. All they go is “I like that Joe, he’s a really great guy” – it’s because you asked them questions and let them just talk about themselves.
Joe Fairless: So high-end ticket sales – asking questions, don’t tell; you gave a reason why, and also really another reason why… What else do we need to know? Now, I get I should ask more than I should tell, but what else do I need to know to do high-end ticket sales, or high end sales in general?
Stephanie Chung: A couple things. One thing a lot of people don’t really think about is you’ve gotta get your mind set to be able to talk those big dollars. What that means is your financial beliefs have to be under control. We all have them – we were brought up, and it’s a matter of how were be brought up in our home? Were we brought up where money was based on scarcity? “Turn those lights off”, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Or were we brought where money was spoken about in abundance?
However we grew up, we have our own financial beliefs. So whenever you’re selling a high-ticket product – or any product, for that matter – you have to make sure that you’ve never let your financial beliefs get into the conversation. Because once they get in, unless you grew up around money, which most people did not, it can sabotage the results and sabotage the sales, and you end up actually not selling the high dollar, but you come in and you settle for something less, because that’s where you’re comfortable. Does that make sense?
Joe Fairless: It does, it makes a lot of sense. Any way that you recommend someone expanding their mindset so they can talk big dollars and live in a world of abundance, versus scarcity?
Stephanie Chung: The very first thing I would say – and this goes without saying, but unfortunately I have to say it all the time – is you really do wanna be about the buyer in front of you. The more you can focus on what exactly do they need — not so much what I feel comfortable selling them, but what do they need? When you can focus in on that, then the conversation takes a whole different direction.
Here’s what I mean by that. I have a client, and they sell memberships. I’ll give you just a quick story on this. A membership in their particular world can range anywhere for $50,000 to $100,000 or more. So this company brought me in for some of their salespeople, and as we were coaching through it, I kept asking this one particular salesperson (he was their number one sales guy)… I said “Why do you keep selling everybody the $50,000 membership”, when clearly this particular scenario he was giving me, the guy really was better suited for $100,000?
He said, “Well, I wanna just get them in at $50,000, and then they love it, and then down the line I’ll sell the the $100,000.” Well, that’s putting your own financial beliefs into the equation. This customer was better suited for the $100,000. It’s a very subtle effect how it can sabotage the deal. In his mind, he truly believed that “Well, you know, I’ll start him at 50k and then we’ll ease him into 100k.” Well, now that’s two steps for the buyer. If the buyer is better suited for 100k, then that’s exactly where you start. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
So that’s one thing I would tell you – if you think about the stuff that we have to do, when you have those conversations, the first part is be really listening and be attentive and mindful of what is, and of course, it’s not about me. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is you have to know your stuff. Long gone are those days that you could wing it. Those days are dead. There’s way too much competition out there. No matter what space you’re in, the market is flooded… And really, what’s gonna separate us is our ability to get the job done for our results, and knowing our stuff, and having that swagger, if you will; you’re confident. When you’re selling a high-ticket item, you have to be sure, you’ve gotta know what you know, because A-list players wanna work with A-list players. They don’t wanna work with A-list players in the making, they wanna work with — you’ve got to have your act together. You’ve gotta know your stuff, you’ve gotta stand firm on whatever your price is, and you have to have that air about you – not arrogance, because nobody likes that, right? But you definitely have to have that air about you where they feel comfortable that you’re competent in what it is that you do.
And one thing, Joe, along those lines, I would tell people is if you’re not that person just yet, that’s okay. None of us are coming out of the womb competent; we have to build and get to that place. But if you think no one else notices — yeah, we all notice; we all know when people have insecurities, we’ve all got them… So get them figured out and worked on.
Joe Fairless: How do you have confidence, but not talk as much and just ask questions? Because usually I would think people would consider confidence with talking and telling them what you know, versus being more quiet and listening and asking questions?
Stephanie Chung: That’s a great question. It really comes down to the quality of the question. You wanna be able to ask those questions that get your buyer to literally stop for a second and go “Huh! I’ve never thought about that before”, or “That’s a good question.” You want that awkward silence, and that’s when you know you’re really getting somewhere… Because everyone else is asking the normal questions, and you have to be mindful. What I always tell clients – and everybody’s got a different field, but when you’re asking one of those questions, like… I’ll give you an example, since you have a lot of real estate folks – one of the clients that I work with – again, they work with high-end dollars, and this particular gentlemen is just super smart; Ivy League school… Just a beast; this guy, he reeks confidence. But he’s newer into this space, so where he’s a little bit challenged is on the people skills.
He can do the numbers real good, he’s got a strong financial background, yadda-yadda-yadda, but when it comes to socializing or the social skills – not necessarily his strong point, which is why he brought me into the equation. So some of the things that we were talking about – we were doing an example because he was working with a husband and wife couple, and the husband and him just resonated, because the guy was exactly like him. But of course, the wife had a big influence in whether or not they were gonna move forward with this particular purchase, and certainly with this particular realtor. So we worked a lot on his soft skills, and one of the things I shared with him was I said “When you’re asking the question, instead of [unintelligible [00:13:44].20] as far as how long you expect this to take.”
A part of sales is keeping the sales cycle down, Joe; so if it normally takes you five or six touch points to close the deal, well how do we get that down to two or three. So that’s the first thing. But in that particular scenario, what we worked on – I said “Part of it is you’ve gotta guide the customer”, because again, this isn’t their expertise; they’re counting on you to be the expert… So guiding the conversation.
In his scenario, I said what you could tell him is “Listen, I’ve understood everything that you’re looking for, and let me just give you an idea of how we tend to work over here, at the XYZ company.” Have him go through — so you’re guiding the customer, because it’s like a dance, most people wanna be lead in that sense. But one of the questions I had him ask, I said “Ask the question about when you’re trying to figure out which home is gonna be a great choice for them, instead of just asking about what are they looking for, ask them about their childhood and what they’re used to”, because now you can attach the dots, okay? So you could ask something like “Well, I know that you’re looking for [unintelligible [00:14:43].13] and a two-car garage and three bedrooms”, and the basic stuff, right? I said, “But instead, ask them a question like ‘Well, tell me a little bit about when you grew up. Walk me through what your house was like then.’ Now I’m gonna take you back…” Again, we don’t make decisions on logic, we make it on emotion. So the more I can get you back there, and now I’m training the dopamine effect – you’re talking about yourself, you’re talking about your childhood, and you’re walking me through that process, and I’m digging in detail. “Oh, so your mom was a stay-at-home… Wow, what was that like? Oh yeah, she cooked all the time and she made the best apple pie…” – I want those details, okay? Because that’s going to change the game. For starters, you’re gonna remember me; “Yeah, I really liked that person, they were great.” Why? Because I let you talk a lot about yourself. I was listening to all the little cues and keys, because the things that you’re describing are going to help me better serve you now, when we get back to “Yes, you want a home with three bedrooms and a two-car garage etc.”
Most realtors will ask that question, right? Hardly anyone will go back and dig into the background as to why, what got them here at this point? So I would say you’ve got A through Z – most people will start at M, and try to get you to Z and close you… Whereas I’m like “Hey, start at A, so I can build that stickiness, build that relationship, get you falling in love with me”, making myself stand out from my competitors, and then by the time I get to M, getting the Z is easy. Does that make sense?
Joe Fairless: It makes a lot of sense… Yes, it does make a lot of sense. You’ve delivered as you promised. You’ve given some practical tips and strategies for how to do high-ticket selling, or just high end selling in general, high-ticket items. Anything else that you wanna mention as it relates to selling high-ticket items that we haven’t discussed, before we wrap up?
Stephanie Chung: I would say two things. One, we always know it’s never about the money, but a lot of times people will use stall tactics – “Let me talk to my wife, let me talk to my investor, let me talk to my dog…” That’s just stall tactics, they don’t need to talk to anybody, so always keep that in mind. So when someone says that to you, your comeback is “That’s great, it makes complete sense, Joe. Just for my own knowledge though, can you tell me specifically what is it that you need to think about specifically?” That way I can get that objection up and I can go back around to try to close it out again.
So call them on it. That’s the first thing – don’t just let the people off the hook when they say that. Always know there’s no such thing as next week. “Yeah, let’s get back in touch next week” – there’s no such day as next week. So narrow them down. “Great, would you like me to call you Tuesday? I’ve got Tuesday at 2 or 4.” Narrow that next week stuff down.
And then my last one, and I am a big fan of this, is you always want to use the pre-emptive strike. We’ve all been in business, and that’s to know that we’re gonna get the same one or two objections all the time. So what you wanna do… This comes with your confidence and you being in control, and your swagger – you bring up the objection ahead of time, so you can control the narrative.
I’ll give you an example. I know that I’m one of the more expensive coaches in the Dallas area, so because I know that — let’s say someone calls me and they wanna talk about my coaching services or what have you… So what I would say is “Great, based on what you told me, this is what I believe that you’re looking for. You and I have talked about, Joe, how this, that and the other would actually be a great solution for you, so let’s talk about pricing.” So now I’m gonna bring it up, right?
So I’m gonna say something like this to you, Joe – “Something you need to know, Joe, is I’m actually one of the more expensive executive coaches in the area, but here’s why.” So I’m going to bring up the objection, so I can control the narrative. That’s what we call a pre-emptive strike. So for any of your listeners, whether you’re negotiating a commission, listing fee or any of that stuff, bring it up in advance; YOU bring it up, so you can control the narrative. That way you’re not on the defense when they bring it up, and you’re stumbling all over yourself trying to answer it. You bring it up, you’re in control, you’ve got that confidence, and it will usually go really well because they appreciate the fact that you brought up the objection.
Joe Fairless: Bravo, thank you for mentioning that. That can be applied in so many scenarios as real estate investors. You’ve just said three things – control the narrative, proactively bring up things, no such day as next week… And then the first one, “What will you need to think of…? — will you just say that example again? I wanna make sure I wrote it down correctly.
Stephanie Chung: Sure, no problem. A lot of times people will use a stall tactic, and the stall tactic will be “Oh, let me think about it” or it would be “Let me talk to my wife” or “Let me talk to my dog” or to whoever. They’re just trying to stall from making a decision. So the answer to that is — let’s say they said “Let me talk to my wife.” “Sounds good, Joe. It makes complete sense that you would wanna get a second opinion. And just for my own knowledge, could you help me understand what specifically will you be discussing with your wife?” That’s it. If you’re really still involved, you could say something like “Is it price?” Just call it out. If you can tell that they’re kind of getting a little wobbly because of price or something like that, bring it up, call it right out, so then you have the objection right there for you to address.
Joe Fairless: Outstanding. Where can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you, Stephanie?
Stephanie Chung: StephanieChung.com is probably the easiest way. This has been so much fun, Joe.
Joe Fairless: Oh, it’s been a lot of fun and educational for me. There are a couple things that I absolutely will implement in my business, and that is the last couple things that you said… The “bring up the objection to control the narrative.” I kind of do that already, but not consciously, and now I will. And then also the thing I just asked you to repeat, and that’s why, because I was really interested in that… Just the stall tactic, if they have one. It’s not even really to close anyone, it’s just to learn more about what the potential objections are, so that you can learn for the future, and then perhaps optimize the approach that you take, or the different business plan that you have, or whatever… So “Just for my knowledge, what specifically will you be discussing?”
And then also the many lessons along the way that you mentioned earlier about asking the questions, don’t tell, how we make decisions based on emotion, and how to have the right mindset and really be conscientious of what our financial mindset is and does that align with who we’re selling to?
Thanks for being on the show… I hope you have a best ever day, Stephanie, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Stephanie Chung: Excellent! Thanks so much, Joe. Bye-bye now.