Ryan Stewman is the best-selling author of several books including Elevator to the Top. He’s also the founder of Hardcore Closer, a company that teaches sales skills to people who are ready and willing to tear up their list of excuses and close more sales.
Ryan started working at eight years old, mowing lawns for a carwash chain that his stepfather owned. As he got older, he transitioned to washing cars and vacuuming them out.
He hated washing cars. So at 13, Ryan convinced his stepfather to let him sell car washes to people instead of actually washing the cars.
Over the next seven years, Ryan became an expert at pitching through massive repetition. Some Saturdays, the carwash would wash as many as 1,500 cars. That’s 1,500 customers that he was pitching in one day!
The experience taught him to keep things short and simple.
Ryan took a job selling mortgages when a customer at the carwash noticed his sales skills. Within a year of taking that job, he was a mortgage sales manager with his own branch office.
Ryan transitioned out of mortgage sales in 2010 after the economy’s real estate sector collapsed. Drawing on all his experience, he began selling his services as a social media manager. Just setting up this business gave him a new wealth of experience to draw from, because back in 2010, you had to convince somebody they needed a social media manager.
How to Overcome Your Fear of Selling
If you’re scared to sell things, your problem is you’re not confident in what you’re selling. You don’t need self-confidence to be a good salesperson—you just need to be confident in the product you’re selling. You need to be confident that your product will help your customer solve their problem. Confidence in your product removes the fear from selling.
If you have a product you know will help your audience, why wouldn’t you want to sell it and make their lives better?
Selling and Breaking through Customer Resistance
Most people live a life of bad decisions. So when they make a bad decision, they feel comfortable with it because that’s what they’re familiar with.
When you give somebody the opportunity to make a good decision, it doesn’t feel right to them because it’s not what they’re used to.
Also, in general, human beings have a lot of baggage. We have a lot of excuses and negative beliefs surrounding what we believe we deserve. So when you give somebody the opportunity to make their life better, more often than not, you’re going to get resistance. They’re scared to make a change from what they know and they’re held back by ingrained beliefs about what they’re worth or what they need.
The way to break through that resistance is to keep asking your customer questions that will help them understand the proper way to look at the situation.
Questions that Help You Sell More
- “What are you going to do if this doesn’t happen?”
- “What are you going to do if you wake up tomorrow and this same problem still exists?”
- “Who are you going to get to help you with this problem?”
- “How is this affecting your life?”
- “How’s that working for you?”
- “Why did you decide to reach out to me?”
When you ask these questions and they answer, you get a real picture of what’s going on in the life of your customer. This will help you understand what kind of solutions they’re looking for, and what kind of solutions will be best for them.
When people feel like you understand what they’re experiencing, they are far more likely to buy your solution to their problem. Using questions allows your customer to open up to you. It also builds a bond of trust and friendship with your customer. Everybody loves when somebody listens to them, especially when they’re talking about their problems.
How to Build Your Personal Brand
Matthew Motil has been working with Ryan for the last nine months. Two months ago, he published his book, Man on Fire: Confessions of a Perpetual Burnout, about how to use low-cost rental property to retire early from your career.
Matthew is a real estate agent who isn’t particularly passionate about real estate. He has a PhD and he went to Ryan to learn how to build a brand that he could be excited about.
The first thing Ryan told him to do was to emphasize his PhD. After that, they came up with the concept for helping people achieve financial independence through rental income.
Next, Ryan and his team helped Matthew’s book become an Amazon bestseller. Last month, because of the service Matthew offers on the back end, he had his first six-figure month.
The book functions as a business card for Matthew. It establishes him as an expert in his industry and provides a way for him to build an email list of potential customers.
Once people figure out that they want to buy low-cost rental real estate to create additional income streams, Matthew is able to help them find real estate in their area that meets the criteria he has laid out in his book.
The number one thing you can do as a nonfiction author to build a successful online business is to write a book that points people in the direction of your higher ticket offers. As in Matthew’s case, the book establishes you as an expert. It helps people to get to know, like, and trust you. The book also helps you build an email list of potential customers.
Two Things You Must Do to Build Your Brand
- Write a book with good content that establishes you as an expert in your marketplace.
- Make sure that in that book, there are ways for your audience to connect with you and pay you more money.
Following up with the audience that finds your book is the most important thing you can do to ensure your personal and financial success.
The Power of Sales Funnels
The secret to Ryan’s success is constantly prospecting through his books, then driving his prospects to the next level, where they get more access to him.
The first step in Ryan’s process is very low-cost for the prospect. They get a free book. All they have to do is pay the shipping. By reading that book, Ryan’s customers are made aware of more expensive products that will help them accomplish their sales goals.
Ryan has two higher-ticket training opportunities for his prospects in that sales funnel: a $47 option and the $297 mastermind program.
Understanding the Sales Cycle
One thing you need to understand if you want to build a brand is the idea of the sales cycle.
If you have good material, a certain percentage of your customers will convert to higher ticket offers. Every customer has a different conversion point. Your job as a salesperson is to continually follow up until the customer either unsubscribes from your list or buys a higher ticket item.
Remember, your products and services are designed to help your customers solve their problems. You’re in this world to make it a better place. If your products solve your customers’ problems, you have every reason in the world to be persistent in selling them.
The Key to Success in Life: Consistency
The key to Ryan’s marketing success is consistency.
- He posts on his blog five times a week.
- He posts on YouTube twice a week.
- He posts on Facebook consistently.
Consistency is the key to success in anything that you try to do. If you’re more consistent than your competitors and you’re consistent for longer, you will eventually succeed where they fail or give up.
Another reason consistency is so important is that people have a short attention span in the internet age. With people constantly checking the internet for content, if you’re not consistent in providing value to your community, your customers will search elsewhere for what they need.
The Universal Sales Equation
There’s a myth that selling online is somehow different than selling offline. That’s not true. No matter where they’re shopping, people buy from salespeople that they know, like, and trust. The simple sales equation is this:
Interest + Desire + Bonding + Trust = Familiarity
Approach your prospect like they are someone you want to become friends with or date. Show them that you’re interested in their problems. Show them that you have things in common.
If you show them that you have had the same problems they are now having, and/or you have the solutions to those problems, they will be much more likely to buy from you.
They will want to buy from you because they identify with you as someone who understands where they’re coming from.
Knowing the Kind of Customer that You Want to Work With
Ryan is a very direct and painfully honest person at times. He tells the truth in a very blunt fashion. He doesn’t have time to deal with the people who can’t handle his personality.
He only wants to deal with people who can handle him, because in his experience, those are the only people who are willing to do what it takes to be successful.
It’s important to know who you are and what you expect from your customers. It’s also important to know what kind of people you want to surround yourself with.
It’s better if you’re authentic, and you should only go after the customers who are worth your time. Time is a finite resource and it’s better to only work with people who are compatible with you and your message.
Stop trying to please everyone. It won’t work anyway.
5 Steps to Success in Online Business
- Be who you are.
- Solve a problem in your own life, and then sell the solution to others who have the same problem.
- Be consistent in your marketing efforts.
- Provide your customers multiple opportunities to give you money.
- Don’t try to please everyone. Surround yourself only with the type of people that you want to work with.
Links and Resources Mentioned in the Interview
https://elevatortothetop.com/book-offer — join Ryan’s email list and get a paperback version of his Amazon best-selling book just for the cost of shipping.
http://hardcorecloser.com/ — Ryan’s business website and another opportunity to get in/study his sales funnel
Elevator to the Top — Ryan’s book on sales and your entry point into his sales funnel.
Man on Fire: Lessons From a Perpetual Burnout on Creating Alignment for Success — a book by one of Ryan’s students on how to retire using low-cost rental property