September 21

Ray Leone on Solutions That Sell


Beginning in the field of computer science, Ray Leone was employed by The Atomic Energy Commission at Princeton University and later as program manager for Virginia Commonwealth University, RCA and UNISYS. Ray left that field to enter sales, becoming the top producer for two International corporations.

Ray combined his scientific background with practical field experience to develop his trademark selling program, the SALES FUNNELĀ®. Ray's system is taught on all five continents through licensees as well as Ray himself. Thousands of salesmasters around the world have been "FUNNELED". He has been cited by Target Training International with its President's Award for his contributions to human development.

Corporations that have retained Ray as a consultant have had amazing results. They include AT&T, EDS, Lucent Technologies, Comcast, Oracle, Wachovia, Cox Communications, Sprint, Clemson University, Canteen Vending, Scansource, Prudential, Bank Of America, Teledyne, Adecco, Duke Energy, Kemet, Rexam, and BioLab.

Kurt Kimball, Chairman, World Sales Council, Compass Group said "Our closing average has increased from 14.6% to 59.7% since we implemented Ray's system. Signing him to an exclusive contract in our industry is one of the best moves I've ever made." 

Ray is the author of the national best-selling, SUCCESS SECRETS OF THE SALES FUNNEL and is the host of the radio program "Winning the Game of Life". He is a 30 year member of The National Speakers Association and is past president of NSA/Carolinas.

As a businessman, Ray is President of The Leone Resource Group and SSS Publishing. He is a sought after international speaker and consultant to Fortune 500 companies as well as small business owners.

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on the No Limits Selling podcast where industry leaders share their tips, strategies, and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you. Do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed not only remove it but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you too much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes. Click on it to find out more. All right, let's get started.

Umar Hameed 0:41
Hello, everyone. Today I've got the pleasure of having Ray Leone here with me today. He is a giant in our industry. He's been in this game quite accidentally. Ray, welcome to the program.

Ray Leone 0:52
Thank you. Good to be aboard.

Umar Hameed 0:54
Excellent. So tell us how you got your start.

Ray Leone 0:57
An interesting background. I started in computer science, I worked for the Atomic Energy Commission at Princeton University. And then through then I taught scientists how to use Fortran and Algol. And that was kind of my path throughout my 20s. And my last job in IT was with RCA. And I just been promoted on a Monday to Virginia Commonwealth University to hit up the IT department down there. And the installation of the RCA equipment when RCA,

Umar Hameed 1:29

Ray Leone 1:30
Was on Monday. And on Friday, RCA announced they were going out of the computer business at 13,000. I was hit the street to my coworkers committed suicide. And and I was just engaged.

Umar Hameed 1:42

Ray Leone 1:42
I was getting engaged. And I said, Oh my goodness. And I made a dramatic change. Because I had had issues in previous years that different things we were when companies change directions as always at the mercy of what the other companies were doing or whatever else. So I decided to go into sales for job security. And every time I tell my audiences, that always gets a huge laugh, because I figure that's the least secure job in the world. No, it's not. If you're really great at selling. It's the most secure job in the world because everyone needs you.

Umar Hameed 2:14

Ray Leone 2:20
Lucky for me, I mean, luck does play a role in life. There's no question about it. The first job I get my sales manager had his law degree from Harvard. So here we got a Harvard graduate and law. And as an a scientific programmer, looking at the sales process totally differently than I believe anyone had ever looked at it before. And what we did is what I would.

Umar Hameed 2:46
That makes sense.

Ray Leone 2:47
Well, we flowchart at the process. So I wrote a flow chart just so I write it.

Umar Hameed 2:52

Ray Leone 2:53
And originally it was pretty doggone good. When I look back rudimentary. The first flow chart was warm up qualify present clothes, they were the four boxes. Well, now there's 15.

Umar Hameed 2:52

Ray Leone 3:06
And those 15 boxes have been scientifically tested to make sure they are in the exact proper order. And that I call the sales funnel. And I trademarked it before anybody ever heard the word sales funnel. Previously, it was before social media. So I own the trademark to the sales funnel. So half the people listening to this podcast, probably have violated by trademark is like Kleenex. I mean, if I fought it all the time, I'd be fighting it every day at court. So I also now have the trademark of Kleenex.I also have the trademark the whole brain cells. And so that's how I ended up here. But it's like that.

Umar Hameed 3:46
Oh, I like that.

Ray Leone 3:46
Well, that was the key is then I went from that was in the land, business and land business. The my client again, decided to shut down all site sales, but my area my my territory was the Pentagon. I was selling military officers Ryan in El Paso, Texas. So when they shut down outside sales, I'm on the street again. But it was different because now I had to sales skill. And I went and I got that it's a long story how I got into it, but ended up selling swimming pools and became the number one swimming pool salesman in the world in 1979.

Umar Hameed 4:25

Ray Leone 4:26
And everyone wanted to know how I did it. I go to conventions and give speeches on it. And I got standing ovations. I said this is really great. I'm helping 1000s and 1000s of people to where we are today. written a couple of books I got successor because of the sales funnels domain when I got a new one coming out called sales minutes for sales masters. I got another one that's in the works called sales funnel 2.0. And it's just,

Ray Leone 4:52

Ray Leone 4:53
Alright, I have licensees around the world that teach my system in different languages. So it's been a good ride. It's been a good ride.

Umar Hameed 5:01
Brilliant. So let's backtrack a little bit, let's backtrack to RCA deciding, I'm not sure what the decision was, I'm not even sure you know what it was. But at that point, I'm not sure if they thought this computer thing ain't gonna work out, or it's not gonna work out for us because it was smart. And they had engineers and scientists, so I do it themselves later on.

Ray Leone 5:20
I do know, while they did it,

Umar Hameed 5:21
Why did they do that?

Ray Leone 5:23
Well, and it was like an instantaneous decision. I mean, in the board meeting, they were having a board meeting. And the CEO found out that the computer division was booking letters of intent, as hard business. And he, and he went ballistic. At that very time, they hit invented some computer methodology that was going to like, collect data, it was totally separate from manufacturing computers. And it was going to be like it was a $500 million decision, do we invest in his new technology, and just get out of the computer manufacturing business. And that's what they did. But it was all because of that media, when the CEO found out that they were booking letters of intent, boom, sales shenanigans was written up, you can probably go back and look it up as written up in Businessweek, as how not to go out of business, they announced they were going out of business, then tried to sell the division, which is not too good of an idea. So that's how I know.

Umar Hameed 6:34
So, Ray you've been in the sales business for a while. What's changed, and what's remained the same, because humans are humans. So what part is remained the same? And what's changed?

Ray Leone 6:47
It's way more difficult, of course, to get to an economic buyer. They have been, you know, bombarded with information and data and requests. I mean, so I read somewhere last week, that people go through 30-feet of information, 30-feet, that's a lot of information. So that's a big difference. And the consumer is more educated than they were before. That's eight things that are different. But what's the same as when you're sitting down in front of the other human being? They still make a decision based on how it's going to impact their own personal career. That's, that's the real.

Umar Hameed 7:25
Yes. The humaneness is still there.

Ray Leone 7:29
Yep, it is. Yep, it is.

Umar Hameed 7:32
So you sit down with people, and let's say, you've got a 20 minute meeting or a half hour meeting, in the grand scheme of things not that long a period of time. But trust is a critical element of people wanting to do business with you. So how do you ensure you have trust with your prospect?

Ray Leone 7:51
That's a perfectly great question. Because just last year, Harvard did a study on that very fact. The first thing that people want to know, in their own mind, this is a question are asking themselves, can I trust this person? That's their first, second question are asking themselves, can I respect this person? They're the first two questions, six years study to come up with the ads and those two questions. That's what they're looking for. So you don't build trust by puking all over the client. Tell him about great you are and how wonderful what you've got. That's not how you build trust. So there, I have a very specific process that does that. That's like step one, in my 15 step process is building trust. Step two, in my process is building respect. Most people try to get respect first. And it destroys the trust. If I tell you how great I am.

Umar Hameed 8:51

Ray Leone 8:51
Go ahead.

Umar Hameed 8:52
So we're going to go back to that in a minute. So tell me what is the distinction between trust and respect, because you can't respect someone you don't trust? So what's the linkage between the two? And what's the distinction?

Ray Leone 9:03
You actually can do both. You can respect somebody you don't trust, you can respect their ability to do a job. In fact, I had a contractor working on one of my homes, I respected his ability to build a great home. I didn't trust them around the corner. So I would not let them do anything without a work order. But I knew he could do the work. So right. But now but certain personalities like my wife would never do business with anyone she couldn't trust. I'll do it as always I know I can control your mother parameter. So but let me share with the audience because I think this is really important 90% of sales training that I when I go into an organization is in how to present the solution, how to handle objections and how to close. I find,

Umar Hameed 9:57

Ray Leone 9:58
Almost ridiculous, because none of those things ever sold a doggone thing. The sale is made before any of that. So well, that's how I, this is a process that I developed. But when I go into an organization, they're all focusing on those. In fact, I, my biggest client originally hired me for a three hour program on how to use techniques of professional speakers to improve presentation skills. And they thought that was going to improve their closing. Listen, everybody, a presentation never sold anything, it loses deals, but it never wins them. Because audiences come into that meeting, that committee comes into that meeting with confirmation bias, or cognitive dissonance. And they already have made up their mind and they're looking for you to support their preconceived belief. That's what they're looking for. So it's all the stuff you do beforehand, that determines whether you win or lose. So my sales funnel has 15 steps. But there are three distinct phases, the research phase, education phase, and during fulfillment phase, or sales skill. Let me repeat this, all sales skill is in the research phase, prior to your presentation. So when I have 30 minutes,

Umar Hameed 11:18
So walk me through a real customer you had, and walk me through that 30 minutes of how you established it in the research that will make it more real for people watching and listening?

Ray Leone 11:28
Well, let's let me take it because everybody can relate to it. I'll take it back to the swimming pool business. This,

Umar Hameed 11:35

Ray Leone 11:35
I created one question that made me a millionaire. Without without, would you like to have one question? And know that that made you a millionaire. That's pretty good, isn't it?

Umar Hameed 11:46
Of course.

Ray Leone 11:47
So I'd walk into your home. And typically, if you're going to spend 20, to $100,000, on a swimming pool, you're calling typically three companies. And they're all legitimate companies. You know, they're all you know, the big three are still the big three. And but I come in as a salesperson, by the way, I didn't analyze this till a year or two later. So I was always doing it by accident, and then analyzing why it was so successful. So I come into your home, we sit down at the kitchen, we chat for a couple of minutes, and then we would walk out into the backyard, walking out to the backyard. I'm a salesperson coming back into the house, I'm now your consultant. What happened for those five minutes out in the backyard? was the key to my success. So here's my first question. So everybody Listen to this. I want you to picture buying a swimming pool, we're in your backyard. And I say to you, well, where have you decided to put your primary and secondary focal point? And what would be your answer to that question?

Umar Hameed 12:52
What's that?

Ray Leone 12:53
That's exactly what everybody said. Everybody said that. And I would say, Wait, if I go into a homeless call my Colombo routine, I got confused. I say, wait a minute, you're telling me that you've had people out here, and they haven't told you where they were going to put it? So one question, your confidence that you thought you knew everything you needed to know. And all you really wanted for me was how much I was going to charge you went out the window. So well, I absolutely. So then I explained to what it was. But I said the secondary issue you have to think about is where is the primary line of sight to the pool. So if I was talking to not a husband and a wife and a wife, and normally the you know, the homemaker, and I would say to her, where are you going to be most of the time looking at the pool, because when pools are in a 45 degree angle to the line of sight, they're more proportional, pleasing to the eye and says 95% of the time spent looking at it not in it. Let's design the pool with those criteria in mind. So now we walk back to the house. So I'm now the consultant. So that transition took place between those couple of minutes. Well, I do the exact same thing in the corporate world.

Umar Hameed 14:15
So is that.

Ray Leone 14:18

Umar Hameed 14:19
So trust got built there when you gave them an insight, app trust built on that insight. And then you went in as trusted advisor as opposed to sales guy?

Ray Leone 14:27
Yes. Well, then, let me tell you, you want to really build trust. Back in the 70s. There was no law about how to build a spa attached to a pool. And at the time, there were 53 and treatments in spas were 1.8 year old girl had her intestines sucked out by sitting over the main drink. Oh, it's in fact there's only a few years ago in Atlantic City, a girl drowned by getting a haircut and a main drain. Well to fix it now. There's a lot of prevents that from happening, where you have to put a double main drain in separated by three feet. Well, I did that in the 70s. And I would make a big point I says, Listen, it's a $50 fix. Why in the world would anybody not tell you that you should put a double main drain in to prevent that from happening? So listen to this. So I created the pain with the fear of Oh, my goodness, but then I buy aspirin. The greater the pain, the more they'll pay for the aspirin. Well, I've took that beta suit.

Umar Hameed 15:33
Make sense.

Ray Leone 15:33
Well, I started and B to C, sell it. Well, then when I converted the b2b was only a slight change, presenting to a committee all that, but it's still the same what I call deficit questions. Deficit questions are questions that create deficit and the comfort level of the client. At one point in my career, 50% of my income came from sitting in first class on an airplane. And that additional price of the first class ticket over coach, I attributed to marketing budget money, not to travel money, because that's where I've got the best.

Umar Hameed 15:54
Make sense.

Ray Leone 16:13
Yet, I'm sitting next to a CEO of a company with 1000 employees. And I said, What is your engagement index? And how's it trending? He says, we'll what now we're talking 20 years ago when that was a brand new word.

Umar Hameed 16:29

Ray Leone 16:30
And he said, Well, what is it just that just like that backyard like, well, what is it? That's the perfect answer you want when you ask a question like that? I said, Well, you know, McKenzie, and Gallup together came up with this process to determine whether your employees are engaged. And right now it says in America, only 29% of your employees are trying to help you 70% are actually trying to hurt you, and the other 54% are just showing up. So that means you have 1000 employees, 170 of them are trying to hurt you have you identified who they are. And a double spot for the flight attendant, freaked out. I got that business. It just I just kept many times I get business reps, I was sitting on a plane of 42 minutes, I sold $100,000 contract of 42 minutes from Atlanta to Jacksonville. Sitting next to guy, we got the chatting. He says you don't have to hire 10 people to get one good seller, as well. It's been my experience that it costs 100 grand, he says, So you're telling me it costs you a million dollars to get one? Is it worth 100 grand to get nine out of 10 by the time I got home, he has sent me an email and said send me a contract. 40 a bit of fun.

Umar Hameed 17:46
Oh, I love it.

Ray Leone 17:47
So people always say, Listen, I'll shut up in a minute cuz I get older.

Umar Hameed 17:53

Ray Leone 17:54
I love this stuff. I'm so excited about what I do. I really just love it. And I'm trying to get my old old age to share with as many people as I can, some of these techniques that I hope that they get as lucky as I've gotten in my life. So you know, multiple homes. I mean, it's just it's just been, it's just been an unbelievable ride. I mean, I grew up poor, I'm rich. And it all came from what I share. I share everything. I mean, I really share everything I can possibly share. So, asked me anything you want. Go ahead.

Umar Hameed 18:32
So how did you change the hiring process? So they got nine out of 10 candidates as opposed to one out of 10?

Ray Leone 18:37
Well, the problem always in hiring is personal bias. You tend to hire people they like, and people like people who are like themselves. So when people hire people that are in their own interests? Well, we've created a benchmark, we use three sciences for the benchmark, personality styles, motivators and values and acumen, skills and brainpower. And we create a benchmark based upon the criteria of the job, not what we believe the job should have.

Umar Hameed 19:12
Right. Make sense.

Ray Leone 19:13
We say if the job could talk, what does it say it what's. So most people are familiar with disk. And but the people really don't know how to use it. They don't understand it. But if you don't factor disk and every sales strategy, you're wrong three out of four times, you would not sell Donald Trump and Martian the same way. Right? I mean, I mean, you, you'd be all totally off base. But every company I go into does not alter their strategy or the people on the team, based upon the personality style, the person they're trying to influence. So that that's the very beginning part of it. Make sure you identify that person. So 1/3 of our hiring equation, and our benchmark is of course, the disc profile in the sales world, you know, the hunters and farmers, hunters have to go out for the kill, they want to get the quick sale. The farmers are the ones who work on existing accounts and try and grow the business. Well, the hunters are 80% of hunters come from the DI combination, the dominant extrovert. So that's what hunters are.

Umar Hameed 20:24

Ray Leone 20:24
Going for the kill. That's what they do. So if I'm 100 hire for a hunter, why would I hire somebody? That is this has the the pert,

Umar Hameed 20:35

Ray Leone 20:36
The personality of Jimmy Carter? Could you picture that Jimmy Carter, the nicest human being on the planet, but I don't believe he could sell his way out of a paper bag. He's a nice guy. But he's, it'd be a great farmer. He has a farmer, he'd be a great farmer. But he's not he doesn't have the personality. So why hire somebody that doesn't even have the right person, personality then at given one of the key things in selling is resiliency. I call it the R factor the rubber rear, once you lose a deal, how quickly can you bounce back up? Because that probably more than any other skill, we measure resiliency and our assessment, we know how resilient you will be. And then values. We want people that are motivated by money and recognition. So once we can do that, and we will not interview anybody that doesn't meet the benchmark. The other thing that makes us wonderful, is it EEOC compliant. And my bias can't go into it. Because I don't know whether you're black, white, old, young, fat skinny, I'm only looking at the assessment has. And in fact, we print out the exact questions. So the exact questions are asked of every applicant, not deviated because of what you what you look like. So it's just it's just almost ironclad. And the success of that benchmark that we create is unbelievable. And then so so that's, that's how I did it, then we can virtually guarantee that they're going to improve their lives.

Umar Hameed 22:14
Two last questions. So question one, all of what you've said in our conversation today, plus or minus has been common sense. But why so difficult for companies to do that? Why do they overcomplicate things they get stuck in their own way?

Ray Leone 22:29
Well, the problem that I run into so often is, you have sales on one side and operations were the people that are delivering on the other side,

Umar Hameed 22:40

Ray Leone 22:41
Aerations wants to get involved in a sales process, which is the death of any sales organization. I like one of my clients, actually sells doctors, and other they have 20,000 clinicians on their payroll, and they run emergency rooms, emergency departments for over 1000 hospitals. And when I first went to them, they would tell me, you need a doctor to go on a sales call. I said, No, you don't. I don't need him. In fact, they're going to hurt me. Because doctors and operations people, they're trained to take pain away. They're trained to tell the client, now they would fix their problem. The more you train them, the more you tell them how the less they need you. My process is 100% 100 degrees away, I'm make I hit Look, the average person wants the client to feel better when they leave the first time, not worse. I want them to feel worse. I want them to they be thinking oh my god, if we don't hire this guy, we're going to be in deep trouble. So I'm my whole focus is to create pain, pain, pain, pain, the pain of making a mistake, the pain of forcing to the wrong individual. You know, there's so many with the pain of maybe you if you pick the wrong person, you you Mr. Umar, who's the guy hiring me, if you make the wrong decision, you might lose your job. You make the right decision, you might get promoted. I have a guy I can't tell you the company but it he said he chose me over competitor, his two partners, one of the competitor. He sends me an email Ray, I put my career in your hands. Can he convince the lie of it? That was a few years ago, he was vice president though all three of these guys were vice president. He is now the CEO.

Umar Hameed 24:39

Ray Leone 24:39
He was CEO. Now here's something else, you.

Umar Hameed 24:44

Ray Leone 24:49
I have not made an outbound phone call in 25 years. I get I have all the business I can possibly handle with people calling me That's kind of cool.

Umar Hameed 25:01

Ray Leone 25:02
You buy never over promising with high integrity, always maintain confidentiality if somebody wants that. And that's when people call you. So whenever somebody leaves or goes to another company, the first thing that most of them do is call me. Ray, I'm over at XYZ company, I need you over here, boom. And that's how all my businesses come over the last 25 years.

Umar Hameed 25:30
Brilliant. So one last question, Ray, what is a mental trick that you do or a process trick that allows you to be more productive or more successful? In this day and age, they call it a mind hack. What's a mind hack you use to?

Ray Leone 25:43
Well, actually, I'm more than the NLP world. I call it a mental anchor. And it's something that's going to trigger an emotion in me.

Umar Hameed 25:51

Ray Leone 25:52
I want to be creative, or I'm driving to an appointment, I put on doowop or beach music, that puts me in a totally different frame of mind. I mean, I just love it. It just, it takes me back to my youth. And I think everybody has a favorite song. And we're annualised favorite song evokes an emotion and you and why wouldn't you want that feeling when you go into an appointment? Here's the main problem. People worry about what if I make a mistake? What if I do wrong? I'm always assuming that the client is going to buy from me. That's my visualization, not the other way around. Not Oh, my god, what am I going to do if I get a price objection? I never worry about that. So here's what else I've found. People tend to get the objection they fear the most. Because as they're approaching that objection, their anxiety rises. And they, they pour it into the person on the other side of the table. So if you're afraid of a price objection, I've had somebody say, they choke quoting the price to you. And you can tell them, you can watch them getting nervous as they're approaching telling you the price. I have the time I got to pull it out. We just tell me the damn price. I mean, it's amazing wants you to so the first sale has to be to yourself, you have to believe in what you're selling. That ice to Eskimos is crap. That is not true. You have to believe in what you're selling. So the first sale must be to yourself. Let me give you one last thing.

Umar Hameed 27:19

Ray Leone 27:20
Probably 15 steps.

Umar Hameed 27:21

Ray Leone 27:23
Jeffrey Gitomer wrote about me I actually wrote a lot of about me, but one was what I called my five questions to sale, even though there's is only five questions you have to answer to get to a sale, it might take 15 steps to get the answer those questions, but here they are. What is your pain? Or problem? So I want to get the definition, what's your what's your problem? What criteria are you going to use to choose? who solves the problem? Question number three, what is your definition of those criteria? Question number four, why are those those your criteria? Why are those particular criteria so important to you? And then the fifth question is, by the way, in the old 30 minutes that you talked about, if I can bring you a solution that meets all those criteria, well have earned your business. boom, done.

Umar Hameed 28:24
Already framed up ready to go. Ray, you are a master of your craft. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Ray Leone 28:30
Oh, I got a gift for you. If anybody wants,

Umar Hameed 28:33
Oh. Good!

Ray Leone 28:34
What my son just told me, that will offer half price to anybody that wants to get my sales phone or university if they go to salesfunnel.com and put a No Limit because we're going to create a special coupon for your group of No Limit.

Umar Hameed 28:52
Nice. Thank you for doing that.

Ray Leone 28:53
Okay, my friend,

Umar Hameed 28:54
Dear listeners and viewers, go sign up. Take care Ray.

Ray Leone 28:58
Thanks. Well, how we do co.

Umar Hameed 29:05
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling,com. I've got a free mind training course there that's going to teach you some insights from the world of neuro-linguistic programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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