Episode 58: Tony Morris – Discovering the ASK Philosophy: How to Attract, Solve and Keep Clients
In this episode, the Social Sales Link team are joined by Tony Morris, best-selling author of five books and also the founder and CEO of Tony Morris International. Tune in as Tony talks about the ASK philosophy and why it’s important to understand and focus on your “unique client benefit” to gain a customer.
Tony Morris 00:00
Making sales social to me what resonates with me is about utilizing social platforms to gain trust from your ideal target audience. Build credibility that you are the go-to expert in your area to share as much value as possible with your niche and audience. And then on the back of that, hopefully, opportunities will arise.
Bob Woods 00:27
Welcome to the Making Sales Social Podcast! Featuring the top voices in sales and marketing. Join host Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick, as they discuss the best tips and strategies they are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. You can also listen to us on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Here are your hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 01:04
Hey, welcome to Making Sales Social! I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 01:07
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 01:09
So Brynne, who’s joining us today?
Brynne Tillman 01:11
We have my friend, Tony Morris, who we met a little over a year ago, he was talking with Jeb Blount and asked Jeb, who else should I be talking to? And Jeb said, “Me!” so I was on Tony’s podcast. But since then, we’ve really built a great relationship and we’re even doing some collaborative things together. Welcome to the show, Tony.
Tony Morris 1:33
Thank you. Thank you guys, for having me.
Brynne Tillman 01:35
Oh, we’re thrilled that you’re here.
Bill McCormick 1:37
So Tony, tell everyone a little bit about you and your company and what it is you do?
Tony Morris 01:41
Yeah, thank you, Bill. I’ve been in sales for 22 years, I was one of those irritants that would phone you on an evening, disturb you during dinner, and switch your utilities over. But I really fell in love with sales from that moment, really. And having been able to influence and persuade people to take the action you want them to take. I sold software for six-year and then I set up my sales training company just over 14 years ago. So I set up in the UK with my father-in-law. I’ve now spoken in 25 countries at sales conferences all over the world and then I bought my partner out two years ago, and Tony Morris International was born.
Bill McCormick 02:28
Well, congratulations. That’s a great run that you’ve got and so ( Tony: Thank you) we start the episode off by asking all of our participants the same question What does making sales social mean to you?
Tony Morris 02:41
Making sales social to me, what resonates with me is about utilizing social platforms to gain trust from your ideal target audience. Build credibility, that you are the go-to expert in your area, to share as much value as possible with your niche and audience. And then on the back of that, hopefully, opportunities will arise. That’s really what it means to me.
Brynne Tillman 03:10
I love that. That really aligns a lot with our definition of social selling.
Bill McCormick 03:16
And there’s a lot of alignment. I’ve been on Tony’s website and looking around, he’s got something called the “Ask Philosophy.” A-S-K and as I’m looking like there’s…He uses cars so if you go to his website, tonymorrisinternational.com you can see that but I want to talk about that, the Ask philosophy. So it’s an acronym. So what does that stand for?
Tony Morris 03:39
Yeah, it stands for attract, solve and keep. And in a nutshell, when I look at the 30,000 salespeople that I’ve helped, the two biggest problems they seem to come up against is attracting the right leads into their funnel, and solving their problems which ultimately, I see my job not to sell to solve, to serve and to help solving these prospects problem, so they become a customer and then how do we retain those customers for life, so we keep them and they become a raving fan. And that’s what that whole framework and philosophy is exactly that teaching my clients to get the right people, solve their problems and make them raving fans
Bill McCormick 04:27
That’s so good, so good and so we talk about, attract, teach and engage. When we’re talking about relating to folks on social. So let’s talk about that attraction piece. What are some of the things you know, we have a lot of folks that are listening to their independent sales reps. They’re not part of larger companies or if they are they’re not getting a lot of support from on high. What can they do on a daily basis to make sure they’re attracting the right clients?
Tony Morris 04:55
Yeah, brilliant question. The first thing is they need to know, “Who is that ideal client?” When I ask people, you know, who do you aim at? They say those horrible words, “Everyone.” And the second you hear that you go, “Right, so no one.” And I play with it , I go, “Well, my son, Harry, he’s 12, would he be our ideal customer?” And they go, “Of course not!” So I said, Well, it’s not everyone then. So my first recommendation to my clients is, know your hit list, your dream prospects and what I always recommend in coaching is grade your previous success stories, grade your clients, A to D, you’ll A’s, your dream customers that earn you the most or that you love to work with, hopefully, both. B is your bread and butter. C is your one off clients, and D are the dead clients, the ones who pay you the least, but give you the biggest headache. And we’ve all got those right.
Brynne Tillman 05:53
We have ones that pay us a lot and give us the biggest headache too.
Tony Morris 05:57
Absolutely! And I guess when you know who your “A” clients are, the first place to go is to really look at their key competitors. As long as it’s not a conflict for your products and services that you offer, and then start to see where do they hang out on social? What Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups are they part of? What content can you be sharing with them that speaks to them about how you can solve their problems, or achieve their aspirations, so that when they think of you, they think that they see you as the go to expert in that space. And I think once you get your head around that, and really for me, sales, social selling is about 80% of giving value to the right person, the right message, and then the 20% Yes, you might put a pitch their way but actually, I think if you give enough value, the business will come, the opportunities will arise.
Brynne Tillman 06:57
Bill, share what our actual definition is with Tony, because like, you’re hitting.
Bill McCormick 07:02
Yeah, you are! So our definition of social selling is building relationships, providing real value and being a resource, understanding that the sales will come when the time is right.
Tony Morris 07:14
Perfect! We’re on the same page, right?
Bill McCormick 07:17
Absolutely, so there are a couple of things that you said in there. First of all, knowing what clients you’re going after. You know, not everyone is your client. So important and the same thing that I tell my clients, go back, look at your clients, look at who are your A’s, so that’s so so good.
Brynne Tillman 07:34
I want to add to that, kind of just throwing a little LinkedIn piece there (Tony: Please) a lot of times LinkedIn will help you to identify their competitors. If you go to the company page, on the right hand side of a company page, you’re going to find other companies that people search (Tony:Nice!) Like this company knows, typically because the biggest searches are recruiters. you’re going to get very similar companies. So it’s really simple and then when you drill down to one company, you’ll see more companies. Yeah, very good. So it’s a great little easy hack to leverage LinkedIn and your favorite companies and your favorite clients to find more like them.
Tony Morris 08:19
Love that! And I think the one thing that I then suggest to my clients about using LinkedIn is and obviously Brynne you’re the expert not me here and Bill, is setting up triggers. So when a company just announced they’re about to do a merger acquisition or they’ve taken on a new person, or they’re going to a new area. If they’re on your hit list, you’re now aware of that, right? So you can actually reach out with purpose and demonstrate that you follow them, you’re interested in them and I think that’s another piece about… The attraction piece for me is yes, we want to attract the right people but also we want to be seen as attractive to the right people. And it’s a real big point, it’s got to work both ways.
Brynne Tillman 09:07
So often we say stop telling them what you want to tell them and start sharing what they want to consume. right? There’s a difference, right? We want to tell them (Tony: Massive difference)
Tony Morris 09:20
Massive difference and I think this is the biggest mistake salespeople might use LinkedIn for selling, and I call it “Commission breath”
Brynne Tillman 09:32
Ohh… Larry Levine? Yeah, I love that. We love that!
Tony Morris 09:35
I spoke to Larry today. I didn’t know you’re gonna… I love Larry.
Brynne Tillman 09:39
Yeah. We’re great fans and that’s were we heard commission breath
Tony Morris 09:44
I love it. So I’m a big fan of Selling From The Heart. He’s an amazing guy.
Brynne Tillman 09:49
So Bill is currently in their course.
Tony Morris 09:53
Oh, brilliant. He’s amazing. Well, I was coaching a client of mine last week. A big pet… They’re called Pedigree, and they sell pet products and they’re all reading Larry’s book. And I said I know him. The guy’s one of my heroes. He’s one of my heroes. And I said, and I reached out to Larry this morning, and he’s now coming on joining me for a collaboration for training with my client because I knew (Brynne: Perfect partner) Absolutely! And for me goes back to what I said at the beginning of this. It’s about value ads. I knew they would love that. My client, it serves them, and then it’s a win-win. Right?
Brynne Tillman 10:32
Yeah. I love it so we do collaborations with Larry as well. So the idea that you’re doing that, and now we’re newly collaborating with you. It’s so interesting.
Tony Morris 10:43
Perfect! Love that.
Bill McCormick 10:43
So let’s, let’s continue to talk about attracting.
Brynne Tillman 10:50
Ohh yeah, we’re on a show.
Bill McCormick 10:51
Let’s kind of switch gears here. And so Tony, what are some of the things you’re telling your clients to do? In terms of thought leadership, in terms of being that thought leader? What type of content? Are you encouraging them to share on social?
Tony Morris 11:06
Yeah, it’s got to be different because otherwise, how will you stand out? And a lot of my clients, they try and articulate their what they call their USP. Right? We’ve all heard of it, your unique selling point, and really trying to add value, but articulate that USP. And I say, it’s not your… USP is about a selling point and I don’t believe our job is to sell, it’s to serve. So I believe it’s your UCB, your unique client benefit. What are you offering the world that’s genuinely unique in the market, but that will absolutely benefit your client. Because a USP is like a tactic and people don’t like to be sold to. So to go back to your question, Bill, the content has to be about what are the problems and challenges your target audience are facing? And the more we can understand that, and the more we can then give examples of how we’ve helped others, solve those problems, solve those pains, that’s the value. So really, the content should be designed with your dream customers, pain points in mind, every time.
Bill McCormick 12:20
Yeah, so USP is sales process. UCB is buying process. And I’ve been saying that a lot lately, we need to stop worrying about our sales process because that’s about us. (Tony: Correct) And we have to start worrying about the buying process because people buy in a much different way than we think they do.
Tony Morris 12:41
Absolutely. When you can marry that up, the buying and selling process. That’s when you got a customer.
Brynne Tillman 12:49
I just love how this is all coming together. And one of the things that I’ve just been playing with a little bit is,” Are your sales questions about getting the information you need to make the sale? or are your sales questions getting them excited to buy from you?”
Tony Morris 13:08
Hmm, I like that. I like that!
Brynne Tillman 13:11
Playing with that.
Bill McCormick 13:13
And I’m gonna guess here, but I think now we’re kind of moving into the “ask and ask and then solve” am I right?
Tony Morris 13:21
Totally, and actually, Brynne hits the nail on the head. To enable us to solve our prospects problems we need to know what their problems are, which all comes down to great questioning, and but also listening with intent. And the biggest tip, I’d say salespeople is don’t listen to respond, listen, to learn. Genuinely listen, listen to what they’re saying, or what they’re not saying. And I call these killer questions because having worked with so many different organizations, so many different industries, one of the biggest areas they fall down is their questioning is terrible. And therefore, unfortunately, when they sit and think, “God, this prospect’s not opening up, they’re really difficult.” I actually say, are they difficult? Or are you asking the wrong question? And I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you’re in the B2B environment, and you’ve got an inquiry. And they’ve already mentioned that they’re speaking to other people, and they’ve reached out to you. And yes, I want to know what keeps them up at night. That would be one of my first questions, and I might do a future pace question. Let’s fast forward six months from today. What does success look like, rather than what you hope to achieve? But what I hear a lot of salespeople say is, “Are you speaking to anyone else?” And the company will go, “Yeah, yeah, absolutely.” And “How have they been? Have you liked any of their offers?” “Yeah! I have.” It’s the wrong question. (Brynne: Right, you can do that in the end) Do that in the end and at the end, ask, “Just out of curiosity, what’s the best option you’ve looked at so far?” And I like that because it’s good to know the sponsors of five companies. But I want to know what they see is the best in their eyes and what they liked about that, but maybe what was missing. But it really is about and I think for salespeople Bill and Brynne my tip here is write down a list of what key information do you want to ascertain from that, that interaction, and then design those killer questions that’s more likely to get them to open up about their pains and challenges that will enable you to make a recommendation.
Brynne Tillman 15:36
I love that, you know, when I originally had sales training, like forever ago, they would say, you need to find out right away, what’s their budget? Who are the decision-makers? And I’m thinking, you know, what, we’re on a call because they have interest.
Bill McCormick 15:53
Brynne Tillman 15:54
You know, if I start to talk about all the information that I need to make the sale, we’re gonna kill the interest.
Tony Morris 16:02
Yeah, absolutely. So really good point. And look it different if maybe we’re outreach, and we’ve never spoken to, it’s cold, but obviously, we’re on social selling, right. And therefore we’ve provided value, they know we’re an expert, we’ve given them so much that they’ve now reached out to us and said, I loved what you wrote about X, I want to know a bit more. So it’s completely different, it’s a different process. And as you said that the budget, you know, bands, the budget authority, etc, is all about us. And it should never be about us it’s all about them.
Brynne Tillman 16:38
Right? Yeah. And you know, it’s interesting, because we just made, we just closed a very nice client. I’m very excited about we’re gonna launch in a couple of weeks. And they were shopping a lot of different people. And so they came to me at the very end of they’ve already vetted and actually, internally had made a decision. And someone said, Wait, talk to Social Sales Link real quick before you go ahead. They actually came to us saying, “We think we’ve made a decision but, you know, an internal person’s been following your stuff and so we should come to you.” I did not go into who are all the other people. So I said, well, tell me, I didn’t care about who, “What are the things you’ve asked other people to do for you?” (Tony: Brilliant, great question). Right. And I still don’t know, because it would not have made much of a difference and hopefully I’ll know today because I’ll ask now that I won the business. Yeah, I want to know. But it was interesting, because one of the things they said is, “One of the companies that we’re working with, is also doing Twitter. Will you do Twitter, too?” And I said, “We don’t, I can introduce you to someone else. But what I recommend based on what I just heard, and there was a lot of other information is the fact that LinkedIn is your primary consider, the company that you hire, has LinkedIn as their primary. And then, if you really want to use Twitter, don’t use a LinkedIn trainer for that, use a Twitter trainer.
Tony Morris 18:19
Absolutely. The one thing I’ll push back on Brynne from what you said, just to give you a thought here, you closed a big deal. My thoughts would be you’ve opened a new relationship.
Brynne Tillman 18:31
Yes, I love that. I’m going to change my speak.
Tony Morris 18:35
It’s true, though, right? Because so many will say, you know, “I’ve closed a deal today.” I’ll say, “So did you close the deal? or Did you open up a new relationship?” It’s a new client, you’re gonna serve. There’s a different look in it,right.
Bill McCormick 18:48
And so now with just a couple of minutes left, let’s trend, let’s make another transformation into keeping that relationship going and that’s the K in keep.
Tony Morris 18:59
Absolutely. So this is all about how, you know, for me, I don’t want clients, I want raving fans, I want ambassadors for my brand, that believe in as much as I do, and are advocates for what we do. And one thing that a lot of salespeople struggle, I think, is how do we articulate our UCBs that I mentioned earlier? They really think, what makes us special? What makes us different? And my advice, ask your client because it’s not what you think it is, it is what your clients believe it to be. Their perception is what matters. So in terms of the keep model, my first thing is go back to your clients and say we want to be the best at what we do. Share with me if there’s anything you think we could do better, what would that look like in your world? And if they give you some stuff, great, implement it, but often they’ll go, you know what, you’re so good at what you do. We love it. These have been the results. We’re happy. And then I say I’m so pleased. Can I ask a weird question? And they’ll go for it and I say, imagine we swap jobs. So tomorrow, you did my job, you ran a sales training organization, they go right? Who would be the first person you would reach out to in the next week to win your first ever customer? And I always get this weird face and they go, “Oh, well, often my brother in law, Mick, you know, he’s a sales director of a big manufacturing company, I’d phone Mick.” And I say, I’d love to speak to Mick.
(Brynne: That’s fun! I love that!) And it really works. So when I find a client enters your world, and they start to think how you see the world, then they find someone, if you say, you know, anyone you know that I can help. Again, it goes back to that anyone, you know, everyone, you’ve got to be specific. So I think, get them to swap jobs with you.
Brynne Tillman 20:55
I’m going to add because I’ve got to add the LinkedIn piece phase. You can also search and filter their connections and identify the eight or 10 people that they know and run those names, by them, it may become two or three or four introductions or permission to name drop.
Tony Morris 21:10
Love that. I love that. Absolutely. And it is always good to say, “I noticed you were connected with X. How do you know one another?” You know, to start that conversation.
Bill McCormick 21:20
This has been so good and we could keep going. But we’re out of time. So everyone that’s watching remembers the ASK acronym, attract, solve. And keep Tony, it’s been so great having you tell the folks how they can stay in touch with you and connect with you.
Tony Morris 21:37
Thank you. Thank you so much, Bill. Well, as Brynne mentioned, we’re going to be collaborating together now with Social Sales Link. So I have a learning management platform called TMI sales University. It’s all of the content that I’ve taught over the last 14 years to help over 30,000 salespeople. And I’ve reached out to experts like both of you to get some of your content on there now for my members. So I know there’s some of your content will be uploaded on there as our collaboration. But I’d be more than happy to give out a free trial. And I’ll send you guys a link to send out to your listeners to try it. And I’ll also send out a copy of my book as a gesture of goodwill for them to be coffee’s for closers, I’ll send you an ebook that you can send to your listeners. But the best place to reach out to me, LinkedIn, Instagram, or go on my website, tonymorrisinternational.com. And they can learn more about the different things that I’m involved with.
Bill McCormick 22:40
Fantastic. We will put links to all those different offers right in the show notes. So Tony, thank you so much for being with us. To all our listeners out there. Thanks for watching. Once again, remember so as you’re going about your day in the days to come and you’re out there selling don’t forget to make your sales social. Thanks, everyone. Bye-bye.
Bob Woods 23:01
Thanks for watching, and join us again for more special guest instructors bringing you marketing, sales, training, and social selling strategies that will set you apart. Hit the subscribe button below to get the latest episodes from the Making Sales social Podcast! Give this video a thumbs up and comment down below on what you want to hear from us next. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Visit our website socialsaleslink.com for more information.