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Sales is more than just showing your product to people and hoping they’ll accept it. It is built on connections and communicating well. Only then can you learn how to sell and create a life-changing impact with your product. Tasha Smith, the Founder of Emerge Sales Training, lives by this philosophy. In this episode, she brings us back to the fundamentals of sales in order to translate what we’re offering well, whether that is as salespeople selling products or as leaders sending their message. Tasha believes in training salespeople to sell effectively and ethically in a customer-first mentality. Join her in this conversation as she lets us in on more sales insights and tips and tricks to help people solve their problems.
Tasha Smith: Teaching The Fundamentals
I am with Tasha Smith. Tasha is in sunny California, which is exciting. Tasha is the CEO and Founder of Emerge Sales Training. We’ve already had a quick little discussion on the power of authenticity and language. I’m excited to have you on the show. We’re going to have some fun.
I am super excited to be here. I love what you’re doing in the industry.
Let’s get into the backstory. You cut your teeth in real sales. Cutco Knives is no joke. It’s not for the faint of heart. Youv’e got to get out there, hustle, and face your demons. The success you had there prepared you for what you do now, but tell us a little bit about that story. How did you get to the place you’re at now?
I started selling Cutco Knives when I was twenty years old in between my junior and senior years of college. I was pre-law. I was studying for my LSAT and doing the whole thing. My whole life I wanted to be someone who encouraged people to be the best version of themselves. I was in college, so I didn’t know what to do with my life except go to more college. I gave up on the idea of encouraging people. I thought maybe I’d be a therapist, but I was like, “There’s no way I could emotionally handle that.”
I ended up started selling knives. My roommate had sold the summer before. When I showed up and I saw the product, I was like, “I know this stuff. This is awesome.” You say, “You cut your teeth. You must have been skilled,” I wasn’t skilled at all. I was pre-law and my parents sent me to private school because I wasn’t friendly enough in elementary school. I was the kid that scowled. I was the one that was a classic, “Smile more.” I was watching people and having that thinking face that a lot of women have. That was my personality.
I love the product. Cutco has been in business since 1949 so they had their sales process dialed in and I had access to a great leader. I went through like the basic training. I read from the paper and sold stuff. I did not sell to my mom. I was 9 out of 10 my first weekend and my only no-sell was my mom. I wasn’t exceptional by any means, but I was able to say things, get my bearings and confidence, and do it well.
You’re probably gritty too.
I am a former athlete. I did play basketball in college and high school, but I was going to do what my coach told me to do to the best of my abilities, and I loved it. To cut a penny in front of someone’s kids and throw a lemon in midair and slice it was super fun. I just read the thing. A couple of weeks in, there was this guy and his name is Chris. He was 0 for 13. My manager said, “Tasha, will you take this person field training?” I said, “Sure.”
I had a no-sale, but I got five referrals. He watched all that happen and I was like, “There it is.” He then sold $3,300 in the next couple of days. He was your stereotypical Computer Science Major at Cal State Fullerton, eighteen years old, and super shy, but the next week, he went from cowering and not confident to speaking at a team meeting in front of 40 people and sharing his story about how field training changed his confidence.
That just filled your soul.
I tossed the LSAT buck. I was like, “This is it. I’m devoting my life to sales training.” The idea is when you know how to talk to people and how to sell effectively and ethically, you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to feed your family and how you’re going to make a living. The quality of your relationships is improved when you know how to sell. That’s what I set out to do.
It’s challenging now because so many people are leaning on systems and social media or hiding behind social. Some people are losing the art of conversation. Do you think that being interesting is more important than being interested? They’re not connecting with people on a personal level. You got to get them to understand the importance of it given the environment we’re in. How do you get them to even understand the importance of it?
We’ve been running our company for a few years doing sales, leadership, and how to talk to people stuff. We started coaching on social media a few years ago. I’m taking the social media strategies that I learned and moving them into our network marketing clients. 75% of network marketers are women. The biggest resistance they had to social media was they felt inauthentic. They were withdrawing from social media, at least the people I was talking to.
You have two types. The ones who were like, “I’ll be inauthentic and it’s fine,” and then most network marketers that I run into believe in the life-changing properties of their product. That is one of the main reasons they are with their company. They are like, “I am doing this because I believe this product needs to be in the hands of people. Also, I can make money doing it.” They don’t want to be inauthentic. They were being muted.
What we worked with them on is, “What would you say to a person in-person?” They’re like, “This is what I would say.” I said, “Why don’t we say that online?” What we’ve tried to do is help people to take what they would’ve said in person and translate it online as opposed to looking at virtual communication and in-person communication as two different beasts. It’s the idea of, “Don’t say something on social media that you wouldn’t say in person. “
Most people misunderstand that for being cruel. Would I ever come up to you at a party with a brochure in front of my face and say, “It’s nice to meet you,” or take a quote and show up, “It’s nice to meet you?” We start with how would we meet people. We would say with our faces, “It’s nice to meet you. I like your sweater.” You’d find something in common and start from there. We encourage people to do that.
Spark up the conversation from there. Make a friend first and then work on the business side. I always talk about the questions are a window to a person’s soul. If you can identify and find out what problems they’re having in the real life, then maybe you can offer a solution. The first thing you have to do is find out if there’s even some interest, common ground, or rapport that you can build.
Do you like to talk to them? Our best-case scenario is you meet them, they buy stuff, and become a committed builder, and they’re key to your organization. Do you even like to talk to them or are we trying to get the products in their hands? Our sales philosophy is to believe in the life-changing properties of your products. You have an ethical obligation to learn how to sell well because if you don’t know how to sell then your customer won’t get it. We want to start with communication skills.
The idea is that what if it works? What if you solve a problem and they become a loyal customer? We need to focus more on problems and goals that people have more than products. A lot of people are like, “I need to sell my products.” I was like, “First, we need to find problems.” What happens is that people mesh together in the customer journey. I’m sure you’ve seen this 1 million times. They’re trying to network, convert, and recruit all in the same conversation.
They’re putting a dollar sign on people’s heads and it makes it a very difficult conversation because the entire time they’re thinking in the back of their own minds, “How am I going to transition this to a sale?” instead of, “Let’s separate that and let’s see if we like each other first and if there’s some common ground.”
Selling on the fly isn’t effective. You go to the park with your company hat, company backpack, or the online version of this and someone’s at your company and you vomit all over them. What happens to their face? They’re blazed over and then they start talking faster. What we want to encourage people to do is realize there are different stages of the customer journey.
There’s the networking part. If you look it up in the dictionary, it’s building relationships on a social or professional level. There’s the invitation to the conversion process which is a Zoom call, one-on-one, or a robust video and they encounter the conversion experience, or whatever you want to call that. That’s when they decide to buy. They don’t do it at the networking part.
When you’re in a company you can also train, build that organization, and have relationships. There are advantages to both sides, but what got you into the training space and kept you there versus choosing some company to run with?
The way people feel about their products is the way I feel about sales training. If you think back to that story with Chris, his learning how to sell shifted everything. I did spend a stint in Corporate America and how I got into this was I was invited to a network marketing event by a friend. I had three podcasts up because I wanted to help entrepreneurs.
I was tinkering a little bit and I snarkily responded, “I’ll come to your thing if you listen to the podcast.” She texts me later and says, “I want to hire you.” I was like, “Okay.” I went to her presentation and she’s a former coder and introvert. She was making $50 a month for a few years straight and then she made $450 the next month. Her upline hired me and got twelve new customers that next month, which is more than the previous year.
I left my job at that point because I had $200 in clients. That person’s upline hired me. We trained their whole team. They went from 400 new customers to 800 new customers month to month. The way I feel about sales training is the way people feel about their financial services, their essential oils, or their supplements. It’s the same passion. My product is, “Here’s how to sell effectively and ethically in a customer-first mentality.”
When I first started, I got that, “You could be a whatever.” I said, “I could, but then I couldn’t help you because I’d be over here helping my team.” One of the companies that we have a lot of clients in is a $1 billion company now. The kit sold out three times the first fall we started coaching their leaders. I couldn’t have done that if I was on my own team. There are a lot of tremendous network marketing leaders whose skills are networking, recruiting, and launching. Those same people that are so gifted at networking, recruiting, and launching are not the same people who write the technical training.
The gifted networkers are the ones who are like, “This is what you’re going to do.” They are the ones who are gifted at networking, recruiting, and launching. There are people like me who are not good at any of those things and had to figure out how to write down all the words. We could awkwardly walk through it with our subpar people skills and still make a sale. That’s a better place for me to partner with the industry.
Talk to me about the ratio or the numbers game aspect. Over my career, I found that there were a lot of people who didn’t lack the ability to learn for their current level of skill or competency, but they lacked the will, the desire, the understanding, or maybe the effort to do the required or the requisite work which is, “How many people did you talk to? How many people are you following up with?” How do you incorporate some of that? Do you see it as a significant problem?
100%. You have to take action and make offers in order to do any business, whether it’s the cupcake company down the street or a network marketer. You have to have offers. Where people get discouraged is they understand it’s a numbers game, but they don’t know how to get to a polite, “No, thank you.” They’re burning the reputation. One of the complaint complaints that I’ll have is this idea, “Don’t worry about your reputation in the community. If they don’t support you, so what?” Most people spent their entire life building their reputation.
They do care to say that. I couldn’t agree more.
There’s this idea that I need to not care about my reputation in order to do the numbers game. I was at a network marketing event where someone stood up bravely to a six-figure panel and said, “How do I help my people to get over all the noes?” Someone on the panel from the top of the mountain said, “You have to understand that every no is $18 once you get to the top rank.”
The lady just sat down and sighed. I walked up to her and I was like, “You could get yeses.” She’s like, “What do you mean?” I said, “What don’t we communicate in a way that we got yeses?” It’s how we invite someone in a way where we know that we are being authentic, not tricking anyone, and if they decide to opt out, it’s not going to ruin our relationship.
It’s a perfectly respectable answer. In network marketing, people say, “You have to get out of your comfort zone,” and that is true. You probably do. We don’t want them to get so far out of their comfort zone that they quit. If you make it so difficult for both, nobody wants to be involved. Even if you recruit them, they think to themselves, “I don’t want to do to my friends what you did to me.”
That’s right. The answer is the wording. instead of, “Do you want to look at my product?” What we will say is something like this, “Usually, what I do is set up an appointment. We’ll go over your health goals, a little about the company, and the most popular kits. My part will take about half an hour. You don’t have to get anything. If you see something you like, I’ll help you order it. Is that something you’re open to?” Teaching adults that it is transparent, and gives trust, compassion, stability, and hope eliminates a lot of the objections like, “How long is it going to take? Are you going to make me buy?”
We ask for consent. In the whole philosophy of, “It’s not a no. It’s a not yet,” we’re eliminating consent and that doesn’t feel good to eliminate consent in any of your relationships. We say, “Is that something you’re open to?” They say, “That’s something I’m open to because why not? You told me exactly what we talk about and the number one part of the conversation is me and my goals. It’s only going to take a half hour. Why wouldn’t I be open to that?”
If they say, “No, I’m not open to that,” you can easily respond with, “No problem. If you change your mind, you know where to find me.” That ability to say that thing and handle the, “No, thank you,” gives people bravery and courage to do the invitations. One of the masterminds that we had was like, “I scheduled six appointments this week. I had four appointments this week. I hadn’t done anything in a couple of months and I scheduled three appointments this week.” It’s because they had a language to be able to be brave. They might be authentic but then they grab a script that doesn’t match.
To be able to be brave, you need to have words that match your authenticity.
It doesn’t match them.
They don’t understand the structure of how to make it match them. What we teach is an agenda, a timeframe, removing pressure, and consent. They’re like, “I can do that.”
It’s cognitive dissonance. When your values don’t match up to the language and now you’re being asked to do something that doesn’t mirror who you are, it’s very uncomfortable. You’re always going to fall out of it because it doesn’t match your personality.
That part of it will increase bravery but it also increases conversion. You’re going to get 2 or 3 yeses versus needing 100. I had someone text me and was like, “It’s a numbers game, 1 out of 100. I was like, “How would you even sustain that?” I’ll ask, “You have ten sales conversations, how many do you make sales to when we do our webinars and stuff for new people?” “I feel like 1, 0, or 2.”
I was like, “That stinks. What about 5, 6, and 7?” First, you’re going to be in the game longer but your confidence is going to be different. The person you’re speaking to is like, “This was comfortable and easy. I liked it. Maybe I could do it too.” As opposed to having 1 out of 10, you only have 1 person who’s into the product and 9 no sales.
You then can identify your ratio and make it a numbers game. Now you go, “If I need five more sales, I need to talk to X number of people,” but not the other way around where you decide a ratio and then you take a script you’re not comfortable with and then try to get through a numbers game.
Having someone explain the numbers is helpful. What’s hard about network marketing is people being attached to the outcome and sales, in general, even in corporate sales. “I have one appointment and it’s with Patrick. That person needs to buy.” I’m attached to the outcome. I caught someone and they’re like, “I have four appointments and my goal is all of them enroll.” I was like, “No, we can’t do that.” We then can’t say, “If you want to get something, great. If not, no big deal,” because we don’t mean it.
Another thing that’s really hard about network marketing is people being attached to the outcome of sales in general.
That’s when we start to become pushy, desperate, etc. It’s important to understand how the numbers play out because it’s our job to invite, it’s their job to decide, but we have to build value in the invitation. That’s the part people are missing. They get the, “It’s my job to invite. Their job to decide,” or they don’t completely. Also, their words are terrible. It’s like, “Patrick, do you want to do the business?” I’m like, “That sounds like either pooping or joining the mafia. What is the business?” versus, “I don’t want to make any assumptions, would you like to know how to earn income or free product with this company?”
Every aspect of enlightened manner and mindfulness is about detachment. It’s being in the moment and accepting what it is. People get so caught up and then when they do that, the need comes in and people sense it. There’s a level of desperation in the sales process.
That’s a great point. I love that you always bring it back to, “What energy is this going to bring me if I execute it?”
That’s why we started our own businesses. It’s to feel effective, impactful, and make a difference.
I can’t help but ask, you work with leaders and individual organizations, when it does come to the mindset piece, anything suggested reading or methodologies, what do you try to do on that front? Their philosophy can greatly impact their ability to execute some of your principles. How do you build that into the training?
I haven’t found anything that believes that sales are honorable except for the work that I’ve done. It’s usually very entrepreneur-centered. It’s not a sales mindset. Self-mindset is a lot of what I’ve run into. We have to look at what is sales and what it means. I did write a book a few years ago called Customer First. This is our philosophy. Our customer comes 1st, the team 2nd, and ego 3rd.
We want to build a sales process that is enjoyable for customers. If customers are happy, then our team makes sales and they’re happy, and then our ego is happy. Most mindset, sales training, or leadership coaching is flipped. It is what is going to make me feel better, how I do it for my team, and the customer is the last.
That is interesting. It’s very obvious in sales, but in network marketing, there’s so much built around lifestyle, freedom, me, what I’m going to get out of it, and how much money I’m going to make. In turn, when we go to the market, sometimes it’s about me versus, “Can I serve? Can I create value in this relationship?”
That is demotivating. A book other than mine is Drive by Daniel Pink. I read a ton of behavioral psychology because we’re in the people business. It’s the surprising truth of what motivates us, which is purpose, autonomy, and mastery. Purpose is, “Am I contributing to the world?” Autonomy is, “Am I free to do what I want, when I want to do it, with whom I want?” Mastery is, “Is this difficult enough and am I getting better?” This is why network marketing is so intriguing to so many people. Network marketing’s design inherently hits all of the core internal motivation drivers as long as we stay connected to them.
The surprising truth of what motivates us is purpose, autonomy, and mastery.
If a network marketing product is not life-changing in some way, it will cease to exist in the market. You can be assured that the product line that you are representing makes the world a better place in the target market that it addresses. People are very motivated by, “I sold a product that helps someone.” People are very motivated by flexibility. You can make as much as you want and work when you want. Where people miss it is each of us has a preference. Out of those three, which one is your core motivation driver, purpose, autonomy, or mastery?
Purpose first and probably autonomy. I need independence or freedom. Honestly, I love them all. I’m a student and I like to get better, but I have to say the purpose has to be first.
Everyone has all three of them, but they have one that edges out. You only focus on autonomy because the money doesn’t matter. It’s the freedom that money gives you. It’s choice that it gives you.
Does money even come into purpose, autonomy, or mastery?
Money is autonomy because I want to be free to do what I want to do. If I want to get on a plane to visit a friend who’s had a hard time, I can’t do that without money. It’s a conduit to freedom, the research says. If money were motivating, everybody would make it. If it doesn’t line up with purpose, autonomy, or mastery, then we have problems.
What we do with people is we make sure that they’re very clear that sales is noble. It’s not a win-lose. The definition of a sale is an exchange of a product or service for money. That’s it. We’re trying to help people solve problems. That is a noble and helpful thing to do. It also gives us some freedom in the way we do it, and it’s hard. You master one level and it kicks you up to the next level.
Sales is trying to help people solve problems. That is a noble, helpful thing to do.
We’re almost beating that concept to death, but if that becomes your center, you start asking yourself questions like, “Am I 100% in on this product? Do I believe with every fiber of my being that I can go?” versus, “If I come in for the money, I’ll leave for the money. I’ll jump around all the time.” If I’m in it to serve then I’ve got to believe with every fiber of my being that this is the right place for me and I need to get this story told.
You’ve been in the industry for a long time and when you had people who were like, “Patrick, I want to make a ton of money,” didn’t you notice they had shallow roots? Why did they disappear a few weeks later? It’s because they equated money. You’re like, “Call your mom.” They’re like, “I make money by calling my mom?”
When we would sell knives, we’d look at the sharpest person in the room, no pun intended, and make sure they cut the rope. Automatically what they would think is, “My mom needs this. My aunt needs this. My cousin needs this. Everybody needs this. All the moms need this,” because we were college students at that point. We need that trigger to happen internally for them to be a motivated direct seller.
That is interesting too though, but I think about the years in my career and it was never the product. In this particular case, it was a service. That wasn’t the thing in networking that moved me from a purpose perspective. It was the fact that I was in a business where you could lock arms with people and help them have a vehicle where I could help them expand their mindset and believe that something was possible.
Over time, I realized some people were so motivated by the product and I’m like, “That’s not me.” There was part of me that thought inside, “Am I being a hypocrite?” I finally came to realize, “This is a good product. I couldn’t sell if it wasn’t good, but that’s not where my passion is. My passion is that you can change your life.”
I was severely dyslexic and failed fourth grade twice. I got labeled a whole bunch. I then found a vehicle where other people’s perceptions of me didn’t affect my identity. I then built a business where I realized I can go as far as I want to go. That was the vehicle that I was going to help people find congruency, purpose, and value.
The reason I go product now is that it’s not 1990. We’re in a new age where making money with network marketing isn’t novel anymore. If you look back years ago, it was like, “Wait for a second, what?” Now, you walk out ten feet of your house and you’ll bump into network marketing a few times.
I love health and nutrition and I’m so passionate about it. The truth is, had I found something even then more aligned, it would’ve been even better potentially.
Everyone’s purpose can be different. I don’t think there’s one right purpose. It’s like, “Here I am. We’ve coached 9,000 network marketers.” I love direct sales and network marketing. The part of me that is like, “How do I make the world a better place?” isn’t through the products. It’s through the training to get to the products. Yours was, “There’s this opportunity and the sky’s the limit. Here’s the vehicle,” whereas other people are like, “I need to get this supplement in as many bodies as possible.”
It’s okay, but it’s helpful to understand that in a business like network marketing, internal motivation is critical. You can have your upline whipping you on challenges or rank advancements, and all of that, but without the internal motivation it doesn’t stick. That’s why I love Daniel Pink’s work. He also wrote To Sell Is Human, which is about redeeming sales. There are a lot of great authors in the behavioral psychology space that I don’t think people are looking at as the answer to the problems that we haven’t been able to solve yet.
Tasha, tell me who is an ideal customer for you and how they get in touch with you.
We focus on the fundamental sales, recruiting, wording, and processes. We have a couple of people that we help with that. We do some strengths-based business coaching as well. We have a little eight-week course that does well for a lot of people and professionals like teachers and nurses. People that are in a corporate environment come into network marketing and everyone’s like, “Figure it out.” They’re like, “Where’s my new hire training?” We do well with those professionals that want to be professional in their network marketing.
From an income level, it doesn’t matter for that introduction because people that are getting their bearings are able to learn the fundamentals. The leaders that have done well enough are able to translate what they do into some duplication. We do work primarily with health and wellness network marketers. The sales process we use works well and then they’re all speaking the same language. We do have a sub-Facebook group for Christian network marketers, which is pretty cool. Our programs will serve anyone.
How do they reach you? Do they go to Emerge Sales Training?
You can go to Emerge Sales Training. The easiest thing to do if you like this show is we have the book Customer First. You can get it on Amazon or go to CustomerFirstBook.com. If you get the Amazon book, in the back has all the contact info like our free Facebook groups, resources, stuff, and ways to contact us. We are happy to be helpful.
That is awesome. Thank you so much for spending some time with me.
Thank you so much, Patrick. I appreciate your questions.
- Emerge Sales Training
- Customer First
- To Sell Is Human
- Amazon – Customer First
- Facebook Group – Network Marketing Leadership With Christian Values With Tasha Smith
About Tasha Smith
Tasha Smith, Founder of Emerge Sales Training, is a business coach, speaker, and author. With over 19 years of experience in sales and leadership, she has dedicated her life to helping others. Her powerful vision is that every person who needs to be able to sell to provide for their family will have access to high quality training that brings them the results they have been praying for.
Over the past 4 years, she and her team have trained and coached over 8000 network
marketing clients to create thriving teams and businesses full of confidence, profit AND joy. One of Tasha’s clients describes it best when she said, “Tasha has a HUGE HEART and she and her team are pulling for students every step of the way”.
Tasha motivates and inspires individuals to take action. Her authentic, hilarious, and honest style make her a powerhouse of a speaker with a deep connection to her audience.
She is the author of Customer First: Create more Impact and Income With Your Network Marketing Business (Without Being High-Pressure or “Salesy”). She is here to help you create a successful business that you love, even if you have NO experience.
Tasha lives in Southern California and loves to eat tacos with her husband Charlie and
daughters Zoey and Haley.