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Authenticity in network marketing is key to building real relationships, and coming from a genuine place of wanting to help someone, as opposed to wanting to sell something. Dive in with us as Michael Oliver talks about the sales process from a psychological viewpoint, including skillset vs. mindset, helping instead of selling, authenticity and the art of detachment in network marketing. He also gives a high level overview of his five principles of natural selling that may have you thinking differently about your discovery process…

One of the key things is to set your message to come from a genuine place of wanting to help, as opposed to from that place of wanting to sell something.

Well, welcome everyone. Patrick Shaw here with Michael Oliver from Natural Selling and Michael, it is great to be with you. Thanks for joining us on Beyond The Network Marketing Dream, today.

My pleasure. Thank you for inviting me, Patrick.

As always, we got to have a little bit of chat beforehand and I found out a lot already, so I’m excited about diving in and maybe the best place Michael, you coach in a lot of different industries, the natural selling process today, but you actually know quite a bit about the network marketing industry. Why don’t you share a little bit of your background just to open up here?

Yeah. Sure. In fact, I started out in the network marketing industry from the point of view of training and coaching. In fact, I have a best selling book called “How To Sell Network Marketing Without Fear, Anxiety or Losing Your Friends!” And there is an exclamation mark at the end of that as well. So, yeah, I wrote that sort of a couple of years after I was into it when network marketing discovered me. When I when I turn around and said, no, I don’t think so, but somebody convinced me that I should go and do some training, and I realized that that something that I was giving was probably really needed, so I enthusiastically embraced network marketing, and started training and coaching people.

And you said in some circles that the book was a bit controversial because, I think you saw some of the bad approaches that were taking place in the network marketing industry. Can you drill down on that just a little bit?

Yeah, sure. Well, let’s start off by saying I’m very contrary. I questioned everything. I questioned absolutely everything. I question needless stuff that I do and the stuff that I think. It’s an adjustment all the time. So I’m quite a critical thinker from that point of view and what I saw was that there are more people being turned away from network marketing by people who are coaching them in such a way that was sort of almost like adversarial or didn’t…. it didn’t touch where they were coming from. They weren’t asking the right types of questions. And so, and the constant thing was about the 80-20 rule, you know, that eighty percent people will, twenty percent won’t. And so my argument was, well, in sales, especially in network marketing, is that the 80-20 rule, what if you looked at it like this, is that eighty percent of people won’t, but what if it is that they could, but they won’t do it. They won’t do what the other twenty percent do. And the other twenty percent is actually less than that, it’s about five percent even if that. Of people who have a driver type personality. In other words, they will plow through. They set their mind on something, and they would do it. Doesn’t matter what they do, how they do it, what they say, how they say it. They will continue, they’ll pick up the phone and then make dozens of phone calls every day. They’ll go and talk with people every day. And so the whole sales industry, not only just network marketing, was really focused on that type of personality And so consequently, when you look at the other three types of personalities, is that most of the people within that type find it unacceptable to go out and talk with people in the same way. And so I worked out how they could approach people comfortably and effectively and engage people and be able to enroll more people in a less amount of time with no friction, no anxiety, no tension, obviously there’s a bit of tension when you first start out. There’s a little bit there, but basically eliminate that. And that’s the whole focus of natural selling is to be able to communicate quickly with people and without any friction, without any tension.

And how much of that is philosophical versus the how to, like the words itself and do you teach it more from one perspective, or the other, or meeting in the middle between the philosophy and the words, if you follow me?

Yeah, I do, I do follow you, and in fact, that’s a really important part of it. Because, you know, people talk about skillset, a lot of people would say to me, “Tell me how to do this” or “Explain to me how to do this”. And so I said right, I can do that… that’s a skill set. The most important thing though is your mindset. Is that you gotta have the thinking in place to understand it, because I can teach you so-called “techniques”, but that’s all they’ll be. There’ll be techniques and you’ll “technique” people. And from my point of view, my world, I don’t like technique-ing people. I don’t like manipulating people, for example. And so the mindset is very important. And the mindset word, that was so overused – in so far as it’s interpreted in a lot of different ways. Such as getting out of the box and so on, the rules. And I used to teach this, you know it’s that, a long time ago, the rules of life were written on the outside of the box. And if you’re on the inside you can’t see them, and it’s the people on the outside who are happy and having a lot of fun – know the rules on the outside. Well, you know, in recent years I’ve been rethinking that saying, well, wait a second, what if there’s no box? What if you can just eliminate that box completely and start… obviously, you’re thinking, but stop thinking. Stop thinking about all the stuff that’s preventing you. And so the mindset is really based on principles, so five different principles, five natural selling principles. And it is a philosophy, but it’s the philosophers who win every time. We tend to forget about that. If you understand the philosophy, the skills, how to do it is really easy because you just layer everything on top of the philosophy. But the first thing also is to understand, and I wrote a book about this called “How to Sell the Way People Buy!”, which you can get online. Which is about the three main causes of resistance. In fact, it’s called that title is three main causes of objections and rejection. And if you’re doing any one of those three things, you’re gonna create resistance. And so the key is to stop doing those, stop doing what you’re being told to do, start rethinking, and start working from a different set of parameters and those parameters of five principles, five natural selling principles, and they work. They’re not techniques, they’re straightforward principles, universal principles.

Now a more complicated, difficult question maybe. But you take those five principles, which we can touch on, but you take those five principles and now we live in this digital world, right? And it’s created a bit of a quandary for the network marketing world because network marketers are about relationships, person to person, and the digital world, internet marketers are trying to hide behind all the digital tools. The network marketer has to have digital tools, but they can’t hide behind them. They still have to rely on the relationship. So my question within that context is, can you tell me how those five principles are being applied or any differently because of the digital world we live in, if that makes sense?

So are you talking about establishing initial connection in that digital world?

Yes. So, like in our platform, we have a mobile first strategy and I might reach out to somebody and we try to do, I think some of the things you’re going to talk about instead of trying to pitch them or send them a video about a company or product, it’s just listening, it’s doing discovery we call it. It would be, hey, I’d love to get your feedback. If I sent you a one-minute survey, I’m doing a little market research, would you check it out for me on whatever industry, real estate, skincare, whatever. Well, that gives me a chance to start having a conversation, do some discovery, and see who I’m talking to, and I’m just wondering if like if you’re dealing much in the digital world or you’re applying those five philosophies to once they meet face-to-face, or you trying to apply some of them? I guess that’s my question.

Yeah. The digital world makes it a little bit more of a challenge than when you’re talking with someone, even talking with a stranger. I mean, talking with a stranger is probably more easy… it’s easier than supplying in a digital world. In a digital world though, I think you have to… well there’s various ways of doing it. I think the questionnaire process is an interesting one. At some station or other though, you’ve got to get into conversation, whether you are in conversation, whether you do it digitally or whether you do it verbally. One of the best ways is to switch it, if possible, is to a verbal conversation. Because that’s, that’s where the… kind of the rubber meets the road, as it were. But at first you’ve got to attract their attention. And the attention is, to my mind, it can be many-fold, because there are things that people want, there are things that people need. And fundamentally we’re looking for… not so much material things, such as money, you know, but what money will do for us, you know, what freedom will do for us. What sort of time, having time would do first. I think that the opening digital sort of strategy, if it can be phrased in such a way that it registers with somebody in an emotional way.

So, Michael, let me, let me give them… because it’s hard for you to know about our technology, but let me give you an example that I think you’ll immediately relate to. And what would you tell the person to do. I used to love LinkedIn because it was this great community of like-minded people and they’d reach out. And now, as you know, it’s all this automation. So somebody sends me a message in LinkedIn and it says, “Hey, Patrick, I love what you guys are doing at RapidFunnel in the SaaS space… it’s really interesting how you’re approaching your customers, and we have similar customers… And they give this whole generic thing and you can tell, you know nothing about me, you know nothing about my customer, and you’re sending a bulk email, and this is what people are doing. They’re trying to connect, but they’re doing it in such a bulk fashion that it’s obviously inauthentic. What do you tell that person?

I usually don’t tell that person anything… well, from my point of view where I get those emails two or three every day, people who want to sell me their service, their products, you know, how they can outreach me much more powerfully and so on and so forth. And most of them are very crude, because all they do is, they tell me about what they can do for me. But they don’t ask me. They don’t ask me if I’m looking for that. You know, I mean, a very simple thing is that – if you’re looking for, whatever it is, in laying it out, you know to make your life easier, we might be able to help you. Here’s a little bit about what we can do, iff this is of interest to you, please get back to me. If someone does that, I reply I will say – if it’s interesting – I’ll talk with them. If it’s not interesting, I’d say thank you very much for your asking me, it’s not something that I need at this moment. And just leave it there. And they’ll reply, the ones that come straight in, full force telling me what they do, I don’t, I just put them into junk mail. And if it keeps on coming in, then I block it. Because they’re not honoring me as a person. What they’re coming from is from this whole consumer attitude. For example, I’ll give you an idea with regards about honoring me as a person. I refuse to call anyone a “prospect”, everyone I train, I train away from using the word prospect. And when we start off they say, “Well, why?” and I said, well, let me ask you this, how do you feel if I called you a prospect? And they get it at that point, I said, how do you feel being called a consumer? I said we’re not consumers, we’re not prospects, we’re people. You know, Nietzsche, German philosopher once said, when you brand me you negate me, I’m very careful not to negate people, sorry, very careful not to brand people. And so it’s really about where are they coming from. If they’re not coming from where I’m coming from or at least at least giving you an attempt… I don’t need them to understand me fully in it, because they don’t know who I am. But at least attempt, then I don’t respond. So one of the key things is really, how do you set that message that comes from a genuine place of wanting to help as opposed to that place of wanting to sell something.

That’s beautiful. That is awesome. Maybe it’s worth just having you touch on, what are the five principles of natural selling.

Yeah. Sure. That’d be fine.

I know that’s hard and short, but you know, you can get an idea and have more context for the rest of the conversation.

Yeah. That’s… no, that’s fine. The first principle is about detachment, and it comes from the law of detachment. If you’re familiar with Deepak Chopra’s work, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”… seven laws there. And in fact, I’m a certified trainer with Chopra. In the seven spiritual laws of success in the workplace. I took a course many years ago, when I discovered his book actually matched with what I’d written in my book, what I was training. Actually, I hadn’t written the book, and I was just training it at the time. And it’s really about detachment, law of detachment, of letting go. And the biggest thing you can do letting go as a network marketer and a salesperson is letting go of all your needs. I mean, I’m talking about every single need that you can think of just to detach, it’s a wonderful freeing experience once one understands that. And so some specific guide examples are letting go of your need to tell, letting go of your need to explain, letting go of your need to educate, letting your need to go… , letting go your need to present, letting go your need to be right… letting go of all those needs, starts putting you into a very neutral position, because your needs are an energy and it’s very hard to hide that when you’re talking with someone. So if you have a need to sell or need to get someone in your organization, or even if you feel that they’re the right person, I used to hear that a lot, “This person would be great if they would just understand what was going on.” And my response then was, well, is it about them understanding, or is it about you understanding them? You know, it value — Right. — Understanding where they’re coming from. So that’s the first principle, letting go.

I can’t help but think of the value of that for the average parent too. Right? As parents, we tend to want to educate, show that we’re right, explain, you know, it’s interesting. Okay, so number two…

Okay, number two. Number two, number two is this and it really stems from a question. So I’m gonna ask you this question and I’m gonna ask you to say the very, very first thing that comes to your mind. Okay? Don’t even think about it, first thing that comes to mind. And I’ll explain why in a moment. What’s the purpose of a business? Any business in the world. What’s the purpose?

To create value.

Create value. That’s a really great, great answer. A lot of people will say about making money or making a profit or something like that. And in fact, the purpose of a business in my world is not about any of that at all. It’s about helping people solve their problems. So the first principle is that natural selling is helping people solve their problems or to get what they want, need, or desire. And it’s a massive mind shift, it’s where the mindset comes in, massive massive mindset shift because it turns the whole aspect of selling on its head because the objective is not to get the sale, the objective is to discover if there is a sales we made or, to be more precise, to discover if in fact that there is something that this person can buy to make a difference in their life.

And it works so hand in hand with attachment because the minute you start doing that, it allows you to detach because you’re not hung to a result that you can’t control.

Precisely that is that precisely wraps it up as a really good way of summing it up, yeah. So, so when anyone says about making money or whatever, okay, that’s their objective. And say yin yang things of balance, insofar as you have to achieve your objective, I mean you’re here in this life to do things, achieve objectives. At the same time it’s about, how do you go about it? And if you’re forcing your objectives through, then force very rarely works. It will work, but very rarely works. However, if you exchange that whole mindset into thinking, well, the business is not about me, the business is about other people, and I can prove that to you by saying that if your business, if what you have to sell, whether it’s a product or a service, doesn’t help someone solve a problem of some sort, then is there any reason for them to do business with you? Is there any reason to buy from you? And the answer is, no. So who’s the business really all about? The business is about them and it’s about finding out what it is they want and why they want it and so on and so forth. So that’s a really important aspect of the mind shift. The first two principles are basically about massive mind shift and that’s why I talk about mind shift.

Okay. Number three.

Number three then is well, how do you go about doing this? How do you go about finding out what people want? That’s a question for you as well, Patrick.

So is that the how-to phase? Is that the psychology and technique?

Yeah, this is the, well, this is the philosophy, this is the principle.

It’s questions, I suppose. So much.

It’s about the questions, yeah, but here’s the questions. Here’s the key, it’s asking, very precisely, asking the right types of questions at the right time. And the underlining word is types. And in my world, in the discovery stage, there are seven different types of questions. And it’s a matter of understanding those different types of questions that will allow you to help a person reach inside themselves to work out what it is they want and why they want it. You see, if you know how to ask the right questions at the right time, what happens is that a person will answer you and it has to be questions which are not intimidating, they’re not interrogating, they’re conversational, that’s why it’s called natural selling conversational dialogue. Because dialogue comes from Socrates. Socrates was the first person who mastered the art of dialogue, and dialogue has to do with letting go. Dialogue has to do with allowing people to find out things for themselves. Dialogue is but not about telling people, not about educating people, it’s allowing… it’s about asking questions, and allowing them to tell themselves and educate themselves. So that, the rationale behind this, is this; when you ask someone a question and they answer you, who else apart from you hears them speak?

They hear themselves speak.

Precisely, they hear themselves. As they hear themselves, who else is feeling what it’s like to be in their present situation, or answering that question?

They are.

They do. So if you’re feeling it, who is the person that’s persuading themselves that perhaps they might need to look at what their present situation is all about.

They are.

They are. You see, if I was to ask you a series of questions like this, and they’re really simple, it’s saying sort of, “Who knows what they want?”

I do.

Okay. So let’s say, who knows what you want?

You do.

Who knows why you want it?

I do.

Who knows what you’ve done about getting it?

I do.

Who knows whether it’s worked or not?

I do.

Who knows how you feel where you are right now?

I do.

Who knows the possible consequences of you not doing it?

I probably do. I mean, you may know some of the consequences better than I do, but I know some of them.

Some of them. Yeah. Who knows whether you’re inclined to do it or not?

I do.

Yeah. Who knows whether it’s important to you or not?

Yeah, I do.

You have all the answers. Not all of them necessarily because if you have problems, then you haven’t asked certain questions which you might not have been aware of, and it’s our job to help people to go through that process. It’s a very, very simple process. Not complicated at all.

I cannot help but think about Carol Dweck’s work on delayed gratification with children. The children that can’t delay gratification, they have to eat, they’d rather have one piece of candy right now than three pieces in ten minutes. Because — and then they link it to success and I can’t help but link it to that like it’s the salesperson that’s so anxious and quick to get to a result, they don’t have the patience to just ask the questions, take the Socratic method, be patient enough to allow people to discover the answer for themselves. It’s almost like it’s an immaturity that leads us to like, “Do you wanna buy now?”

Yeah. And that’s why of the three reasons why you get objections and rejection, is that the standard way of talking with people is to make a quick presentation. And one of them is, one of them for example, in network marketing, if you were to look at that, is just say, you know, I just found an amazing company, or I found something that’s really made a big difference in my life, or whatever. It’s all about me. And let’s have coffee or let’s go and talk, or whatever it is. And it’s got nothing to do with us, it’s to do with the other person.

You know, it’s amazing to me, like, I know better than this, I know exactly what you’re saying and I do reflect on my own some of my own presentations recently like enterprise level and I get into that same expediency, you feel like it’s quicker just to explain it than it is to let them discover it for themselves, which is knowledge is not necessarily power because I know I know this, and I still get caught in the trap recently.

Yeah, we all do. I mean, even in this interview, I’m doing quite a lot of explaining. If we had more time, I’d be turning what I know more into questions, which is why every now and then, I try to flip it into that, because it’s more powerful. Questions involve people, questions literally involve people, as opposed to presenting and telling does not. But sometimes it’s expedient, sometimes you have to. So that was what we’d do.

You do. Yeah. And I guess, Michael, let me ask one question and we’ll go to number four, but if you know the customer needs it, wants it, and they’re going to get it. Now, I don’t know if I’m asking this because I’m looking for an excuse to cheat sometimes and just explain it… But if you know you have the right target audience and this comes back to some degree of target market fit and all they need to do is see it and you are trying to spend a half hour instead of an hour, because questions take time, is that a justification in doing it this way or does it…

Well, I don’t think there’s necessarily right or wrong to it, except it’s not something I would necessarily do. So, for example, if I knew that, you know, there was a right fit here and there was a leaning towards this. I would still probably, not always, because I mean there’s nothing really definitive about this, I’d probably still go into questioning mode. Now, the interesting thing about it, you said about asking questions instead of spending an hour, spend half an hour, is that you, asking questions can be very, very fast. You know, there’s a misconception that asking questions can take a long time, but in fact it cannot, it does not… it can do, if you want to go quite deeply into it, it takes no longer than trying to present something to someone and then trying to persuade them to go through it, you know, such as you know, using closing techniques, which only upsets people, and then trying to respond to any questions or concerns they have as objections to be overcome. All they’re doing is asking a question or expressing a concern, and by treating it as an objection to outcome, all you’re doing is pushing back on them and telling them they’re wrong. All this stuff, you know, creates resistance. And so the whole point is that questions are very, very powerful. And so I lean towards questions most of the time. Now, one of the fundamental things to do with regards to presenting or knowledge is one of the key things is to turn your knowledge into questions whenever you can. So, for example, I could have said to you just then, “So Patrick, would you like to know one of the key things about slowing down on presenting, and almost eliminating presenting as much as you can? See, I’ve asked you that question, and you would have gone, “Well yeah, why not”, because it’s of interest to you, because we’re on the same tune here. And so, well, one of the things you can do is to use your knowledge to ask questions instead of selling. In other words, turn what you know into asking questions. So I can set it up as a question, then I can give you the answer if you’re open to it. If you’re not open to it, then I’m fine. I’m detached from it. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll let it go.

I’m totally with you. That’s such a good… because it doesn’t take any longer and you’re actually making sure that they’re engaged the whole time.

Well, you are because by doing that two-step approach, asking the question, getting permission, in other words, now they’re inviting you give them the answer, and then you give the answer embeds it into the subconscious because it has meaning. See, if I tell you something, you can doubt me. If you tell yourself you’ll believe it.

It’s really fascinating. We have a feature in our platform that solves this problem in network marketing of every leader gets to the end of a call with a bunch of guests on a Zoom and says, get back to the person that invited you. And these are the worst words in network marketing, and our platform solves it, but instead of me telling them, it would be so easy to say, “Hey, when you get to the end of a presentation, what words do you use?” and then they say it, and sometimes they do that, but then I could follow-up by saying, “And what happens to the person watching that presentation?” I almost said prospect, Michael… What happens to the person watching the presentation, what do they do when they go away? And it’ll let them tell me exactly what they do and all the problems associated with it, and it doesn’t take that much longer, and it keeps them engaged. I can’t help but think about how to apply… this is really good. Okay, let’s talk about step number four.

Okay, step number four has to do with listening. And it’s the most important skill that you can master. I mean, it’s on par with asking questions, you also gotta listen and you have to actively listen. So the question is, do you think most people listen?


No, they don’t. What are most people doing? Well, when someone… let’s say they ask a question, let’s say a network marketer or a salesperson asks a question, and the first words…

They hear it, and then they prepare their response.

Yeah. In other words, they’re busy working out what they want to say next. And that’s what most people do. They’re busy working out what they want to say next. And they miss the essence of what the other person is saying. And so, and what the other person is saying isn’t always what they’re meaning, and so you’re missing everything. So there’s the fourth principle in a nutshell, that’s listening to what is being meant, as well as what is being said. “Meant” is emotional, subjective. “Said” is logical. So if I was to say to you, so for example, if you were to ask someone, “What would make a difference in your life, if anything” they said, “A new car”. Okay, that’s something that’s being said. And I say so what’s a new car important to you about? Why is a new car important to you? Well, I’m really frustrated with the fact that I can’t get on, that transit is always late, it’s never on time whether I’m going to work or going home, and I’m usually late and you know I’m really really concerned about the fact that if I turn up late anymore my boss is gonna fire me. That’s the meaning behind getting the car. Right. It’s got nothing to do with the car. I mean, it has to do with the car. But it’s the meaning behind the car, and I kinda made all that up a little bit there, but essentially…

No, that’s great. And now I can drill down from there and start to find out, since I know it’s not about the image, you immediately told me, it’s not about the fanciest car, or the most expensive car probably, it’s about a solution that’s outside of the car completely.

Because I’m concerned that I’m gonna lose my job and underlying the fact that there are things like if I lose my job, I’m the breadwinner in the house you know, I’ve got two kids and so on, and there’s a lot of underlying factors which are there, which if you ask will be revealed, but the whole point is the motivation is not about getting the new car. Somebody else, it could be entirely different. And that’s you see, and that’s why presenting or telling someone what you think they should know very rarely works. Because you’re guessing. Absolutely guessing.

You know, I love it and I remember Brian Tracy saying once, something to the effect of, and I’ve never forgotten the concept, is just being able to say, “Hey, can you tell me more?” Or, how do you mean that? It’s amazing how people always… I was almost uncomfortable the first times I said it because I’m like, they’re gonna be like, “What do you mean? I just told you”, and they don’t, they go, oh, I’ll tell you more, here’s how I mean it, and they’ll break it down for you just by asking. And one other thing that I love about what you’re doing is this is a training from a network marketing perspective that… it’s not above people’s understanding like it’s really relatively simple and it applies to their whole life, not just sales but relationships or raising kids or… right?

Everything. Everything. It’s all about listening to what is being meant as well as what is being said.

It’s awesome. Okay, number five.

This is where we go though, active, active listening, open listening. Because everything that’s being said is all there, in that sentence, and most people miss it. Sit in a coffee shop and listen to two people talking with each other, and you’ll find that there’s two conversations going on. I write about this in my first book, “How to Sell Network Marketing”, about two ladies talking with each other about their hairdresser. And one says, yes, he listens… no… she says, “He’s very expensive, isn’t he?” And the other one says, “Yes, but he listens so divinely”.

Alright. I just love that. I’m at a club here, and I go to the gym and I had bought a package with this trainer and I changed my mind, because I was still going to gym before I had engaged in the package. And I listened to him, for the third morning in the row, talk about his drive, his food, his apartment, his… and I couldn’t get over the sense that like, I don’t wanna pay you to be your therapist. I don’t… it was amazing to me, and I know it’s a rudimentary thing, relative to what you’re teaching, but even “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. I just wanted to drop the book off to them and be like, “Hey, you’re in the sales business actually”.

Yeah. Yeah. It’s absolutely true. I mean listening is very sort of critical component on this, because if you listen carefully, a person can feed you a lot of information they can give you anything from one to five items in one sentence, and that allows you to pick one or all those five items to expand upon. See, asking questions isn’t just a matter of learning the types of questions, it’s also your questions are coming from the information that a person gives you. If you care to listen, if you want to listen.

So is active listening… one of the biggest challenges I see is that people, they ask the first question, and because they’re not active listening, they don’t… or even if they’re active listening, they’re not ready to ask the next question. Does that… that takes some practice, doesn’t it? Even if you’re trying to actively listen, but if you’re not used to knowing the next best question to ask, because it’s not… you can’t give them seven questions to ask, as you know, if you’re really good at this, the next question changes based on how they answered your first question. Do you address that at all and how to coach them through that?

Yeah, in fact, there is a structure that I worked out many years ago. And it’s about how to how to find how to find a person’s buying blueprint and help them find their buying blueprint with five to seven questions.

Is that something they can learn in your program? If somebody were interested, they could learn what that structure is?

Absolutely. And what it does, it allows, here’s what it does, it allows a person to reveal to you… it’s like laying out… it’s like getting a menu of their buying blueprint and it’s their unique menu as it were. And what it reveals is their logical… their personal, logical, and their emotional and subjective reasons why they want something. If in fact they do want something, let’s say they reveal… So the first question you ask is to find out if there’s something missing. I mean, that’s really the key. The difference… a problem is really a difference between what someone has and what they want. If they have what they want, they don’t have a problem. If they don’t have what they want, they have a problem, and people will tell you that very rapidly in one question. They’ll tell you what that problem is. It’s just the way that you phrase it. And so there’s a sequence of questions that you can ask, which will allow them to reveal very quickly their logical, their personal, logical and their emotional and subjective buying blueprint. And then some more questions to ask to solidify that. Once you’ve got that in place, then the conversation is especially in network marketing… in network marketing actually, this process is so easy and it’s far easier than in mainline marketing and normal corporate marketing.

And easier to teach. Frankly.

It’s easier to teach, yeah, because, you know, that’s what I call natural selling conversational dialogue. Because what you’re doing is you’re using a Socratic approach to help a person reveal what it is they want, why they want it, and all the feelings associated with it. Which immediately establishes a relationship. One of the other things about network marketing, for example, is there’s always this mantra about “get the relationship first”, get an established relationship, which to me is really upsetting because it’s manipulative.

I agree.

Yeah. If your objective is to establish relationship, so you can get to the point to sell them something… okay, then it’s all about you. As opposed to, if you take this approach, from the moment you ask that first question, is that you’ve now already establishing the relationship. By the time you finished, that relationship has got some firm foundation.

And it’s a natural, honest relationship. It’s not built on some pretenses of misleading or… So now, your curiosity has got me, but I can’t help but think there’s gotta be some transition. And so what is step five? Is there? I’m curious.

I think your curiosity might be leading you down the wrong path.

I know. I know. I kind of feel it does through you, but there does have to… so I don’t wanna lead. But it does feel like there must be some transition to, hey, you know… because you do, because people do, See, I don’t know… I’m willing to throw myself out there, Michael, but a lot of people are afraid to ask for an order. If they’ve done everything correctly, they will go, “Oh, thank you.” and leave. Now, I guess we could put the onerous on the person to say, no, no, I’d like to buy. But it seems like there should be something… but you’re the expert, so tell me what number five is.

Okay. I’ve got to remember a couple of things that they say. Number five is very simple. It’s probably not what you think it is. Number five is simply feeding back what you think you heard. That’s really… it’s really about when you wrap the whole thing around in one nice, tidy package and you put a bow around the five principles. It’s really about, it’s about qualification. It’s about talking with someone to find out if there’s something missing that you might be able to help them provide. Okay? And if there is, then helping them qualify… helping you qualify them. See qualification to me is another thing about natural selling. Qualifying to me is this, qualifying is about you qualifying them to make sure that it’s worth having the conversation and or taking the conversation further. It’s about you helping them qualify you, by understanding your intention, or understanding your authenticity, understanding your honesty, your empathy, that type of thing. And it’s also, ironically, helping them qualify themselves.

So, you know I attended… no disrespect to Mr. Hopkins, but you know, the seven objections to closing the sale? And I think your basic argument is, if you do these steps properly, you don’t even have to worry about that because they’re going to literally almost asks for the order, just say, “Hey, well this makes sense”.

You’re on the right track there because, in the discovery stage, okay, there are seven different, sorry, excuse me, five different stages in a natural selling conversation dialogue. And the first stage is connecting, second is discovery, third is transitioning, transitioning into presenting, and supporting, and the last one is committing. So based on what we’re saying, of those five stages, which do you think is the most important stage where basically, the person is buying into the idea that they should be exploring this or buying it or so on and so forth?

So, the five that you just mentioned, they align with each of the detachments, help people solve a problem, questions. Is that correct?

Now, which of those five stages though do you think is the most important?

Say the five again. 

Connecting, discovering, transitioning into presenting, presenting as the fourth, and committing.

Well, I would say it’s discovery.

Yes, absolutely one hundred percent, you’re right. And in the discovery space, there are seven different types of questions. Now, literally in network marketing, you really don’t need to use all of them. They’re there for guidance, understanding the types of questions to ask. Some are illogical, some are emotional types of questions, feeling type of questions, so you’ve got… there’s a word for it and I can’t remember what it is, but anyway there’s two different types of questions. One is feeling type of questions. And so that’s really sort of where a person buys into the idea that they really wanna lean in and wanna listen to some more. So discovery stage is really important. So, what’s happening there is this, is that, when you come to present, okay, and presenting is near the end. Presenting is near the end.

And that’s the active listening phase, right, presenting?

Well, the active listening phase is the act of being able to feedback what you think you heard. In other words, you’re going to feedback what they told you. Your presentation is based around the facts of what they told you. So instead of presenting what you think they should hear, and guessing at what they should hear, is that, if you ask them, they’ll tell you everything that you need to know as to what to tell them. And you’ll pull out the relevant features of your product or service and you’ll be able to explain them as specific advantages and specific benefits. You see, the feature of anything is the same, so for example, if I show you this pencil, this pencil is a feature in itself, it’s a pencil, it’s a feature. Within this pencil, there are lots of different types of features, lots of them, and each one of them would have a different meaning to different people. And when I talk about meaning, it’d be, it would have a different advantage and a different… what’s the word I’m looking for?


It’s benefit… benefit. Benefit is a feeling. It’s how a person feels about something. Benefits are not understood by most people. They talk about benefits, so they talk about benefits as advantages. A lot of times they talk about benefits as features, you know, which is incorrect, but that’s another story. So what you’re doing there and you’re presenting is literally… all you’re doing is merely feeding back – this is a key thing. You’re feeding back to them what you had already previously agreed upon. And so, the committing stage is just a natural progression into taking action on what was previously agreed upon. You already agreed upon it. Or if you didn’t agree upon it, then you don’t present. You don’t even transition. You just bow out gracefully. Someone might be absolutely in need of what it is that you’ve got, but if there is no desire on their part to make a change, then, is there any point in presenting? The answer is no, you detach from it.

I love it. And it’s so good. I’m just thinking about it in context of so many leaders in networking and it’s an easy, it’s really a relatively easy… I mean, we’ve covered a lot of ground, went longer than I usually do, but we’ve covered a lot of ground, but just in this talk, I can see how easy it would be to convey to an organization. And it doesn’t take a lot for them to… you know, it’s not the seven objections to closing a sale, which I can no longer remember and there were specific words to every single objection versus… they were so scripted, versus the mindset piece which is overused, but can I understand generally that there’s a philosophy here and if you’ll just follow those five principles? That’s pretty cool. That’s awesome, Michael. Michael, if people have more interest and they want to reach out to you, I can pull up your page here too for natural selling… I know you had a background in the solar industry as well and we service many companies in that space, but they can find you at naturalselling.com. Where else might they reach out to you and find your information, Michael?

Well they could… if you want the book, “How to Sell the Way People Buy”… Well, actually just go to naturalselling.com because everything is there. I do have another website called, it’s naturalselling.com/book and that is more geared towards the network marketing book, and also a CD series which is called “12 Ways to Start Effective Conversations”. So for the network marketers, just go to naturalselling.com/book and that that should take you to that page. But you know, all roads lead to Rome anyway but that main page, naturalselling.com, it would take you to where you can you can roam around in… ah, there you go.

Yeah. And we’ll put it in the show notes as well, so people have access to it. They can reach out to you and purchase the book there. That’s fantastic.

And so the other book to really read which goes into more specific details and gives the neuroscience behind it… You know, I always joke that neuroscience finally caught up with me because I was doing this stuff twenty-five years ago and people were coming up to me and giving all sorts of reasons why it was working, because of “neuroscience-ing” the client… but everything I was doing was anecdotal. But now neuroscience has actually proven that this approach and what I’m doing is a hundred percent ratified. And so the book called “How to Sell the Way People Buy”, which you just go to the website and you’ll get led to it, is really a very good foundational book to read. And I’m not saying that because I think it’s a good book, but I do. It does give you the backgrounds and mindset. And after that, you know, you could make a decision as what to do. You can either contact with me directly, I have an online course, which I wouldn’t recommend necessary to network marketers, because I think it’s a little bit more detailed than they need, but I would recommend it to anyone outside of network marketing.

Michael, I have really enjoyed the conversation, and I might be the one that benefits the most from the talk today. It reminded me of all kinds of things that I need to get back to applying more diligently and so I appreciate it a great deal. Thanks so much for spending the time with us today.

You know, the pleasure is mine. It’s fun doing this kind of thing. You know, in fact, the hairs in the back of my neck right now are prickling up a little bit. So you know it, you know what with what I’m saying, it’s authentic, but yeah, I love doing this. So anytime if I can help you any way, just let me know. I’m more than happy to talk with you.

Thanks so much. Cheers everybody.

Thank you, Patrick. Bye bye.

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About Michael Oliver

Michael Oliver is an internationally recognized sales trainer, best selling author, speaker and consultant with 40+ years in professional sales, and 24 years training, coaching and mentoring clients in the sales arena, Michael is dedicated to teaching distributors and salespeople how to be more effective, increase revenue and establish long-term client relationships using a neuroscientifically supported, non-adversarial approach to selling the way people buy called the Natural Selling Conversational Dialogue. 

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