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The Story Engine Podcast: Where we teach you how to make marketing easier, more powerful and fun through storytelling. Each week we learn from top entrepreneurs, influencers and world-changers on how to share your story through content, copywriting, speaking and how to make your story your most powerful marketing tool.

Aug 22, 2018



On this episode, we're going to be interviewing Amira Alvarez. Amira is an income acceleration specialist who helps women not only with sales but with overcoming the internal barriers keeping them from their financial breakthrough, becoming unstoppable, and living their dream lives. We're going to learn a lot about what it feels like to be hitting a glass ceiling in your own life, what to do about it, and of course, she gives a lot of very, very concrete and powerful details about how to start a perfect sales conversation in this episode. I'm really excited to share it with you, so let's dive right in.

Key Takeaways

[02:39] How to break through your glass ceilings [03:30] Why most people self-sabotage in sales. [7:16] How to Break your mindset or addiction to accomplishment and achievement without losing your drive. [11:39] Master sales by overcoming the fear of rejection [14:53] Notice when you retreat. [17:36] How to prepare for a sales call [22:09] The preliminary questions you need to ask in advance so that you know your clients needs upfront [26:28] How to start the sales conversation [27:18] What to do at the end of the sales conversation [28:45] The first question to ask [31:01] The why behind what people purchase  

Amira Alvarez Information

Amira Alvarez Quantum Leap Coaching Website Amira’s Blog The Namaste of Sales: Sales And Mindset Mastery Training Contact Amira: LinkedIn Facebook Twitter  

Transcript of Podcast

Kyle:   Hi there, Kyle Gray here, and welcome to another episode of the Story Engine podcast. Let's dive right in. Kyle:                             Hi Amira, thank you so much for joining us today on the Story Engine podcast, how are you doing? Amira:                   I am great. It's great to be here, Kyle, thanks for inviting me. Kyle:                             Thanks so much. One of the reasons I wanted to have you on here is because you help people improve their sales, you help them kind of forge different perspectives on how they can sell, what it really means, for just kind of on a deeper level, what sales means to somebody. And you can create some powerful results for people, so I wanted to know, first of all, how you found your way to share these lessons with people? Amira:                   Sure. There's a lot of different places to start in answering that. So the more immediate thing was as a business coach, I recognized that women who were smart, who were driven, who were focused, who were ambitious, they were hitting a glass ceiling with their income. And weren't taking it to the next level. And the ... if you want to make a quantum leap with your income if you really want to break through your income glass ceiling because you're underpaid and not ... you're always overwhelmed, and you're struggling because you're not making enough money, you have to learn how to do sales. Because money comes from source, spirit, the universe, whatever you want to call that energy that is, the non-form, into form, into your bank account through people through a sale. Amira:                   And it always comes through people, it's not from people, it's through people, and there's always a sale. And so if you don't know how to do sales, you will always hit your income glass ceiling. And then, even if you learn how to do sales if you don't have the right inner game make up if you don't have the right mindset, if you're not managing how you're approaching sales, you will sabotage yourself at every turn. And I saw this happen over and over again. So I really ... it's one of the things I focus on with my clients, is how to do sales effectively and in a really positive way for everyone involved, so that you are lifted up, and your potential client is lifted up in that sales conversation. Amira:                   And when you learn how to do sales this way, not only are you of so much more service in the world but your income increases as well. So that, from a business perspective, is why I started really focusing on sales. It's something that really moves the needle for people in their business and is absolutely essential to learn, and dial in, and feel really good about. Kyle:                 Yeah. Amira:                   Because if you don't feel good about sales, you're always going to have wonky energy in that sales conversation, and you are never going to feel confident knowing that you are supported financially in this world. You're always going to wonder where your money's coming from. But if you know how to do sales, and you know how to say sales in a way that really resonates for both you and your clients, you will never be in that fear of not knowing where you're next chunk of change is coming from. Kyle:                             I think that's a really powerful just shift of making sales feel good, and that's what really stood out to me when I first met you. And one of the questions I have, before we dive into kind of the nuts and bolts of sales, is I would love to, if you have some like ... what does it feel like to be hitting the glass ceiling? What are some symptoms of that? I can think of some examples like just overworking yourself or feeling exhausted, or maybe how you feel at work. I would love to because I think there's a lot of people out there who are working really hard, but they feel like they're okay, but they're experiencing these symptoms and maybe they just haven't quite put the dots together yet. Amira:                   For sure. I mean, some of what you've mentioned is absolutely essential to recognize and is really key. Like it's the way to burn out for sure. Are you always running around frazzled? Are you always exhausted at the end of the day? Do you never feel like you're ahead of the game? Are you always chasing your tail, that kind of thing, is absolutely a real key sign? Amira:                   For me, it went back to when I worked corporate before I had this ... before I entered into the entrepreneurial journey, I loved what I did. And I was super, super motivated, and I worked really hard. And I was an overachiever, and I was moving up the corporate ladder, and I was getting all these accolades, and I was just addicted to the next "Atta boy", the next "Good job". And I kept working harder and harder to get that accomplishment hit. And ultimately, I worked myself so hard that I got physical pain. And so I think that is a real key thing for people. Are you physically ... you know, I lost feeling in my fingertips, had head and neck pain, and back pain, and this shows up in different ways for different people, some people have chronic headaches or stomach issues, things like that. So physical response is a really big deal. Amira:                   And one of the things that I work with clients on, in terms of mindset, is breaking that addiction to accomplishment and achievement without losing your drive. So you don't want to ... a big fear for a lot of really ambitious women, or really driven women, is that they're going to lose their motivation if they don't keep up this pace. And in fact, that's not the case. You can have your cake and eat it too in that way. You can really step into more for yourself, and more for your life by learning how to be motivated by something that's not ... that's healthy, that's not just like an accomplishment addiction. Kyle:                             And it sounds like a lot of these things are almost more internally based, aligned with yourself, it's not something that will come from outside, whether that is a bigger sale, or a promotion, or something that somebody else would have to give to you, it's something you need to cultivate in yourself before you put yourself out there in the world. Amira:                   Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, that's not to say that you can't celebrate your wins in the outer game, in the outer world, that's exciting and worth celebrating as well. But one of the things that I teach people from a mindset perspective, is that we are run, meaning the actions that we take are being driven by our subconscious programming. This is how we ... think about driving a car, you don't have to think about driving a car anymore. You did when you first started, but now it's just autopilot. That is the same way you walk through the world and do most of the things in life, is through this programming. And that programming for us got mapped very, very young, when we were very, very young in our lives, under seven. Amira:                   And if that programming said in order to get love, safety, and belonging, in order to feel secure, in order to not die, like to stay in security, and be connected to our parents, our security when we're young came from our parents. If we didn't have our parents or a surrogate parent, we would have died. We wouldn't have been able to take care of ourselves. So if we don't get love, safety, and belonging through that connection with our parents, then we think we're going to die. And so if we got programmed early on to get love through accomplishment, or that's what we made it mean, at least, as a little one, then that's what we're going to take with us as adults. And that's what's driving us. [bctt tweet="If you are programmed early on to get love through accomplishment, then that is what you are going to take with you as an adult. -Amira Alvarez " username="kylethegray"] Amira:                   And that is a very painful experience because then you can never stop, okay? Kyle:                             Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. And I think that's really powerful. Do you have, maybe, one example or one story of how you've worked with somebody, and how you started to shift this belief? I know that kind of being able to reprogram your mind, like what you were talking about, is kind of a ... it can be ... well, I'm not sure, is it a slow process, is it a fast process? And how does somebody do that, how do you do that with the people you work with, and how could somebody listening do that on their own, if possible? Amira:                   Yeah, so great question. It's fast and slow, meaning big shifts can happen very quickly, and they often do. And, it's a lifelong process, right? I'm still unpacking the layers. And my mentor is still unpacking his layers. And it goes on and on, and on because if you're not growing, you're dying. So we want to continue to grow. And this is all about your own personal growth and development. [bctt tweet="If you’re not growing, you’re dying. -Amira Alvarez" username="kylethegray"] Amira:                   Now, some of this programming can really shift quite quickly if you know how to do it, and you do it a deep and powerful way. I think in regards to ... you know, you opened this conversation talking about the work that I do around sales, and I think one place ... well, I know, one place that's really important for people to recognize if they're having sales issues, that they're afraid of rejection. Oftentimes that's a huge, big thing. They won't ask for the sale, they won't ask a prospect to get on a call, because they're worried about what other people think of them. And they're worried that they're going to be rejected. And that goes straight back to the programming, about feeling like, "If I stand in my power," right, "If I say what I need to say, the love is going to be cut off from my parents and I'm going to lose safety." Okay? Amira:                   And so we ... that's an example of how the programming gets played out in the sales cycle. And so in my sales training, I really go deep with people around that so that they can be released from it, and stand up in their truth in service to their clients in that sales conversation. Amira:                   Us to their clients in that sales conversation. Kyle:                             I'm really interested in hearing also what would somebody, if they're in that situation, and maybe there's, some of these needs are rising, they're probably not going to immediately think, "Oh, my inner child is misaligned with who I am right now." It'll probably feel more something like, "Oh, I'd love to send out this proposal, but maybe I'll go out with friends tonight instead." And then you end up kind of forgetting about it. What are some of the ways that people, how do people trick themselves in this way? Amira:                   How do they sabotage themselves? That's such a great question. So on the sales call, what it will feel like is feeling icky, "I can't say that" "I'm uncomfortable," I fill this space talking really quickly. Not letting the person you're talking to really have the space to come to a decision on their own. So as a sense of trying to build that connection through ongoing conversation instead of being present with the appropriate questions to ask and waiting and listening for the answer. It can look like not offering the sale, or I've had so many clients in the moment offer something at a lower price point than what they were planning to offer, or what their standard service is. They just, in the moment, they cut their prices because that's what they think the other person can afford. It's a total "I don't want to be rejected" moment, and then not following up is another way that sometimes, people need time. Amira:                   You need to send the proposal, you need to do things. But like you said, you blow it off. That's a big one. Most of my clients don't actually blow that off, to be honest. Amira:                   So the big thing there is just to notice when you retreat. There is a whole, making sales is not complicated. It's very straightforward, and we make it extraordinarily complicated because of this fear of rejection. And we retreat. And so the mindset aspect of it is getting through your block so that you don't retreat, but you can stay in the conversation, in your power with respect, with integrity, with authenticity, with presence and in service, but without retreating, without making yourself small. [bctt tweet="Stay in the conversation, in your power with respect, integrity, and authenticity, with presence and in service, but without retreating or making yourself small. -Amira Alvarez " username="kylethegray"] Kyle:                             That's fascinating, and one of the things that I really liked that you were saying, which brings me to my next question is always knowing the right questions to ask. You said one of the things is you'll just get lost in conversation, or you'll randomly drop your price right away, and I think that is definitely part of feeling, are retreating. But another part could be they don't know what question to ask or what to advance. And so I'd love to talk to you because I also think that the opening part of a sales conversation is one of the most difficult, especially if somebody is afraid for the close at what comes up the end. They may enter a conversation a little nervous. And so you have a process called the Namaste of Sales, which not only helps walks people through a full sales conversation, but you also have a nice chunk list for people to prepare for a situation like this to put themselves in the right mindset. And I think entering the sales conversation with the right energy could make all of the difference in the world for what happens at the end. Amira:                   Yeah, absolutely. This is super, super important and it's one of the things that I teach in the sales process. And so some of these things are outer game, just really basic foundational things that when we are in our programming, we fog out about. So it's really great to have this checklist in front of you because then you're like, "Oh yeah, I need that." There've been so many times when, I created this out of necessity because there were so many times where I thought I had everything planned, and I didn't have certain things dialed in in front of me, and it screwed up my flow. And so now there's a checklist. So here are the things. You want to be a clear, grounded, confident person who's really ready to focus on their potential clients. Amira:                   So I just want to say that that's what this checklist helps you do. So first, are you prepared with your offer, your pricing, and a way to take payment and next steps. So oftentimes, you're going to ask for the sale on the conversation. So can you take payment right then and there, or if that is not your process and flow, do have the process and flow clearly outlined and it's prepared? So a lot of times, people don't know, they don't have clarity on what's in their offer or their pricing, and it's not right in front of them, and they flub that part of their sales conversation, even though they may have said it 10 times, they get nervous and something happens. Kyle:                             One question to follow that one up. When you say ready to take the payment, do you mean they are ready? So right on the call, they can send over the payment, or is it okay for somebody to send an invoice, maybe right after the call, or do you want to have the payment open and closed before the phone call is done? Amira:                   Optimally, you want to get payment on the phone conversation. So this depends on, it depends on a number of things. It depends on what you're selling. If you're working with corporate sales, for instance, they have a whole invoicing process. So that's a different flow that needs to go to their accounting department, but you could send a contract over on the phone and walk someone through the contract, and at least take them through that next step right there. But for most service-oriented entrepreneurs, I shouldn't say most. Oftentimes, you can get payment or a deposit at least over the phone. So you want to have the means, a credit card system to take a deposit or full payment over the phone. Kyle:                             Cool. Next checklist. Amira:                   Yeah, no, absolutely. Yup. But you have to understand your business model. Kyle:                             Oh yeah. Amira:                   The next thing is have you turned off distractions? Do you have Facebook up on your computer? Do not have Facebook up on your computer. Is your phone turned off? Is it in the other room? If you're doing this, if you're doing the call of resume, is your phone in the other room? If you're doing it on the phone, have you closed off your computer? You don't want kids running in, or the dog barking. Put yourself in a room, close the door. be really on purpose so that you can focus there. Have you researched your potential client or customer so you don't have to do 20 hours of research, but it's probably a good idea to find out a little bit about this person, and there's a number of different ways to do that, but do your best. Come prepared. Know that person, not because you want to prejudge them or put them in a box, but so that you have a better understanding of where they're coming from. Kyle:                             Are there some examples of doing research? I think one could be checking out their website, maybe another if they have any mutual connections that might be able to give you some insights into their mindset. Do you have any other examples? Amira:                   Both of those are good, and definitely, you can do that. You can just do a simple Google search, see what comes up, you can look them up on social media, whether that's Linkedin or Facebook or Instagram, just to get a sense of who they are. If it's a larger business, you can definitely do the research on the website, ask people who may have worked with them already, what their process is like. Oftentimes people have stuff in their email footer that's always interesting. Just a little bit of research. And again, if you don't have research on someone, that's fine. You can still have a great sales conversation, but if you take five or 10 minutes to understand who they are, all the better. Some people also have, if you're going to have a conversation with me, for instance, I ask people to answer a few questions in advance. So then I understand a little bit more about where they're coming from and what their needs are when I get on a call with them. So that's really a service to someone. You're doing this to understand what their needs are. [bctt tweet="Ask a few questions of your potential customer in advance of your meeting to understand more about their needs. -Amira Alvarez " username="kylethegray"] Kyle:                             That's powerful. Your next one, I want to just ask a leading question into it. Do you have a means of tracking time, and I'm really interested in this one because I've been learning recently about giving talks from the stage, and there's certain, you need to understand at least from this part how long your opening is, how long your central content is, and I think that a sales conversation can kind of follow a similar pattern, at least, of how, how it should be progressing over a certain amount of time. Amira:                   Yeah, so this checklist item here, do you have a means of tracking time, is less about pacing the conversation, but honoring someone's time and boundaries, and your own for that matter. Oftentimes when I start with people in teaching themselves, I find out that they're having an hour and a half, two-hour sales conversations and they just go on and on and on and they were giving away. It's not an effective solution. They're either giving a conversation, they're either giving away a ton of coaching or information, if it's not coaching, service-based information to their potential client as a means of trying to prove themselves. Again, fear of rejection there. Or they're not asking the right question in the sales conversation, so it's not going anywhere. There's no flow that works, so it just goes on and on and on and on and on, or they're nervous and they're just filling the air with lots of conversation, like lots of talking. So the means of tracking the time is really to keep you on track. Amira:                   Like is this a half an hour call? Is this an hour call? Is this a 45-minute call? What do you have allotted? And it's important at the beginning of a conversation to say, "We have a half an hour for this call," or "We have 45 minutes for this call and I want to be cognizant of that time." Do you have a hard stop at the end? And because that will give you a sense of whether you need to finish that, the conversation- Amira:                   ... you need to have finished the conversation up a little bit earlier so it leaves time for Q & A, or if you have a little bit of buffer time yourself. You don't want to get lost, okay? Kyle:                             Yeah, okay. So that makes a lot of sense, and that's powerful. I can see how just being clear on that can be essential for driving a conversation to the place where you wanted to be on time. Amira:                   When we started the preparation conversation, I said there were tactical strategic things, which is sort of what we've talked about primarily right now. Kyle:                             Oh yeah. Amira:                   And then there's the being in your energy part, and I think that's really important. We don't have to go into that, in terms of the how-tos, but just a note that we do really want to ground in to be super, super present with yourself so you can be super present with your potential client. That's an honoring of the other person. [bctt tweet="You want to be super present with yourself so you can be super present with your potential client. -Amira Alvarez " username="kylethegray"] Kyle:                             Yeah. Okay, that does make a lot of sense. So yeah, give those couple quick examples of how you center yourself. Amira:                   Well, I think everyone has a different process with this. In a pinch, I think a couple of deep present-inducing breaths is a quick and powerful way of getting grounded and centered that's very uncomplicated. So I would just ... That's an easy one. I would give you that. Kyle:                             Okay, yeah. And then, so tell me from here. We're centered, we've done our research, and we're focused. What does it look like to be opening up a conversation with this sales prospect? Amira:                   I go straight into the sales conversation flow. There's a short and sweet hello, you frame the conversation, you know what I said earlier that this is the amount of time we have, I've got a series of questions for you. And then it's nice to make a promise that you will keep, so that time aspect of it, like, "I promise I'll keep this conversation to 45 minutes." Or "I promise that by the end of this conversation, you'll be clear on what you want or what's essential for you to get to the next level in your business." Something like that. Amira:                   And then you can, at this point, get an agreement to make an offer at the end. You don't have to, but one way that looks like would be, "And, at the end of the conversation, if we both feel like it's the right fit, I'm going to make an offer to you about how we can work together. Does that sound good?" Something like that. Okay? And you get, "Does that seem fair? Does that sound good? Are you on board with that?" Some sort of agreement. Yeah. [bctt tweet="The sales call flow starts with a hello, a few poignant thought out questions, discussion and closing with an agreement question. -Amira Alvarez " username="kylethegray"] Kyle:                             I think that's powerful, and that probably helps ease the transition later on if somebody does have a fear of making their offer, by kind of mentioning that they have it in the beginning. I think it would be easier for them to actually make it towards the end. Amira:                   Yeah, and this is an integrity piece. We're on this conversation to discuss working together. Let's not beat around the bush. Kyle:                             Mm-hmm (affirmative). Amira:                   You know, I don't always ... I will be truthful and transparent with you, Kyle, I don't always say that at a beginning of a conversation, because it's obvious why we're having this conversation and I don't need to clarify that, and I've done this so many times that I have no problem with making an offer at the end. But it does work really nicely for people who are just getting started and feel a little awkward about that. Kyle:                             Yeah, I think that's powerful. Okay, and from here we move into the first question, correct? Amira:                   Yes. So, the first thing that I ask people is, "What do you want? Tell me a little bit about your business." For me, it looks something like, "Tell me a little bit about your business, where you want to go, what you're looking to achieve, and what do you want?" Some version of that, okay? And that works for anyone in any business. You have to modify that question, but you know, if you're a real estate agent it looks like, "So, tell me a little bit about what you want to do here with selling your house. How soon do you want to get this done? What are you looking to do? Paint me a picture of your ideal situation." And they will tell you. Kyle:                             I'd like to know, are you listening for both kind of external and tangible things, maybe in the case of the real estate agent, "We want to sell our house for this much." But there's probably also not or kind of intangible or secondary things like, "We don't want to have a stressful experience" or "We want to feel better about our security in the market" or "We want to move to a house that fits our lifestyle a little bit better so we can feel more at home." How do you ... Are there ways that you kind of guide those questions and conversations from there? Is it more important to look for ... I'm sure it maybe varies from customer to customer, the more tangible ideas, or maybe the more intangible ones? Amira:                   Absolutely. Some people will tell you just surface level, "I want to get to X, Y, and Z by ABC date." And that's a perfectly legitimate goal. Then I would ask, "What's important about having that?" Because you want to get at the desire underneath the goal, the really important thing that they want. And you might have to ask that two or three times because if someone isn't really connected to what they really want, what they're hoping to experience in this world, achieve, do, be, have we won't be able to sell as well. You need to know why this is so important to them because people purchase because they want something, not because they need something. That's something that it's too much for this conversation, but that is a really important distinction that most people don't get. Most people think that people buy things because they need something, but that's just not true. Amira:                   Think about the smoker. The smoker knows that they need to quit, okay? But they don't want to quit so they don't quit. You have to get at someone's want, what they want, their desire because if they don't want something they won't buy it. Kyle:                             What does it feel like when you can really feel like they're tapping into that desire, rather than, there's probably ... You probably hear a couple of different things. Maybe they list off three different things, but one of them is really the thing that resonates with you. Are there certain details? Does the way their voice change or how much they talk about something? What are some clues that you're really keying into what they honestly, honestly want. Amira:                   Sometimes they'll pause before they answer like they've actually given it more depth in thinking like I just did. Kyle:                             Yeah. Amira:                   To model that. Sometimes you will hear their voice change. They might slow down the pace with which they're speaking. You can feel their energy shift when someone drops into what they really want and isn't just giving you sort of surface level desire. Yeah, for sure. [bctt tweet="Signs that your client is engaged in the conversation: They pause, giving it more thought. Their voice will change or become slower in pace. -Amira Alvarez " username="kylethegray"] Kyle:                             I think that's powerful. And so, I want to give you an opportunity. We're coming close to the end of the interview. I'd love to if you have any further tips on kind of easing into the next part of the sales conversation, the next steps, and then, of course, there's so much more to learn. We've just barely touched the iceberg on all of these amazing both internal and external sales strategies, so where can we go to learn a little bit more from you, as well? Amira:                   Okay, great. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to tell people about what I do. The next place that they're going to want to do is, I do a live training, and it's called Sales and Mindset Mastery to Make Your Annual Income Your Monthly Income, because when you master sales, you can rapidly increase your income, and I've seen it over and over and over again with my clients. So I do this live training, and it's fantastic. You can sign up for it, and I'll give you that link, Kyle, and you can put it in whatever online medium this interview is going on, and people can find it there. Kyle:                             Yeah. Amira:                   I do that fairly regularly for the next little while, and then I'll probably stop. So that's what they should do next if they're interested in Sales and Mindset Mastery. Kyle:                             Perfect. Amira, thank you so much for coming on. It's been just a pleasure exploring this world of sales with you. There are so many little details, and I just love your holistic approach to this. So I'm really grateful for you, I'm really grateful for you sharing this time with us today, and I hope to talk to you again soon. Amira:                   Okay. Thank you, Kyle. I appreciate the opportunity, and it's been great chatting with you. Take care. Kyle:                             Bye-bye.