Andy Gole, Creator, The Urgency Based Selling® System

Scaling Up Services - Andy Gole

Andy Gole, Creator, The Urgency Based Selling® System

For over 25 years, Andy has worked CEOs, owners and corporate leaders throughout the US, helping them achieve great sales performance, while accelerating their sales process. During his career, he thoroughly researched virtually all of the popular sales processes. All have their strengths, and their shortcomings. From years of testing and evaluation, he developed the Urgency Based Selling® system, a unique approach founded on philosophies which drive and accelerate human behavior. 

Andy has an MBA in marketing from NYU and taught small business management and selling skills for 8 years at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies.
He contributes original content regularly to and Training Industry, as well as other notable business publications.  He is also a frequent speaker on the topics of business development, sales management, and selling process.

YouTube Channel:

If you would like to find out more about Andy as a presenter, please visit:

For more information on their process, check out this 90 second video on how Urgency Based Selling is different:


[00:00:01] You're listening to Scaling Up Services where we speak with entrepreneurs authors business experts and thought leaders to give you the knowledge and insights you need to scale your service based business faster and easier. And now here is your host Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt.

[00:00:21] Welcome everyone. This is Scaling Up Services. I'm Bruce Eckfeldt. I'm your host and our guest today is Andy Gole, and Andy is the creator of the urgency based selling system. And I'm excited about this because selling is huge for service based companies. So I'm looking forward to getting into this topic and having this conversation. Andy welcome to the program. Thank you for inviting me. So I always like to start with guests giving a little bit about their background. So how did you get into what you're doing today. What were you doing previously professionally. And give us a little bit of the story.

[00:00:52] Sure. Sure. So I had my last job where I worked for somebody in 1984 and I was a pricing and planning I did pricing and planning for company and Container Company. And it turned out that they had a unique item that didn't fit in with the rest of the industrial mix like coffee cans paint cans. It was a decorative tin. So I had the assignment of selling marketing at the company was based in New Jersey when they when they moved to Atlanta they offered me a job but I didn't want to move to Atlanta. And I suggested that I go full time instead of doing pricing and planning and some selling I wanted to go full time as an independent sales agents and I set me up in a Sales Agency in nineteen eighty four and I started selling these containers these decorative tins on a commission business. And I did that for 10 years along the way. I developed a consumer product packaging in 10 which I sold to most retailers including ultimately a 55 truckload order to Wal-Mart the famous Wal-Mart order.

[00:01:59] You know that was that was insane. In 1993 I had hired a new accounting firm because my previous accounting firm a service business wasn't giving me enough new ideas so I hired a new accounting firm. They invited me in for a meeting to try to show me a proprietary spreadsheet they had developed in the years before the graphical interface when we still worked at the DOS prompt line.

[00:02:25] Yeah. And I was into a one hour presentation afterwards I asked the name partner in the firm is this how you guys normally sell. And he said Yeah I was pretty good wasn't it. And I said Gee I thought it needed work. So I went home I thought about it for a week or two and I called this guy back. His name was Bert and I said Bert you and your six partners and your CPA firm you need to hire me to teach you how to sell. And. And you folks probably know that you know CPA tend to be pretty conservative. But I was a I was a client of the firm. They kind of like some of my theories so they invited me in for a meeting. And this is how the meeting went. In short form. So Andy have you ever trained the CPA firm before. No. Do you have any testimonial letters to show success you've had in training any of your clients. No. Have you ever trained anybody at anytime anywhere. No. We have some curriculum you could show us to give us an idea of what you would teach us if you hired us. No. Then what the hell makes you think you can cough. You can train us. I said it's very simple. I listen to your presentation and it could be a lot better. So they didn't know what to do with me. They were interested in my ideas one day they brought me out on a sales call my instructions from the two named partners was to be silent to observe. And then after the meeting they would debrief.

[00:03:50] Maybe I can give them some specific ideas for the first hour of the sales meeting where they were trying to close a manufacturer on the accounting. About 30 million in sales this manufacturer for the first hour. I followed my instruction and then after it I couldn't take it anymore. So I raised my hand. The CPA is melted. The owner of the firm said What are you. What's your how can I help you be for now.

[00:04:15] Exactly. I ask two questions and I closed the sale. And about a month later they hired me and that's how I got into this business for the six months I worked with the CPA firm. The closing ratio went from about 25 percent to 80 percent.

[00:04:30] So what was the change. How did you change what they sold. How they sold it.

[00:04:34] Well I had been developing this method which I now call urgency based selling and I taught them elements of what I taught them how to ask better questions I taught them how to ask for commitment. Let's think about this. I started a business by asking two questions. That's how I started this business. That's great. So that's a that's that's a pretty interesting sidebar to this story.

[00:05:00] Well I like it. It's just what I call the sales jujitsu. It's where you someone comes in thinking they're going to sell you and you end up selling them 100 percent. And it happens more often than you think. That's great. So let's talk a little bit about urgency based selling because you know clearly you know you've been in this field for a while. You've been selling lots of different things decorative tends to CPA service which is why this focus on urgency like what is it about urgency when you talk about urgency what do you mean and why is it end up being so effective for you.

[00:05:30] It came. Thank you. It came from a fundamental distinction that I noticed early on between two words interest and urgency interest and urgency. So interest is the province of marketing so when somebody says they're interested that could be like a lead right. Urgency is the province of selling urgency means I have a compelling need to act now. So rule of thumb you will never close interest like in zero out of 100 cases never You will never close interest. So one of two things have to happen. Either the prospect has urgency in other words a compelling need to act now or and this is where salesperson often makes his or her bones. You have to. You have to grow interest into urgency. You have to take somebody who says I'm interested. Tell me more and you have to help develop that into urgency so we can only close urgency. We can never close interest and that's really the basis or the fundamental idea.

[00:06:27] It's interesting I think it's a really powerful kind of distinction because I think you know salespeople or people in sales situations I mean even if you're not officially a salesperson if you're in a selling situation as a business owner as an executive it can often be this false sense of security to get this kind of feeling or feedback from a prospect from a lead that they're interested in it. You know I've run into this a lot like oh yeah they were really interested. OK. But are they going to sign the deal. I think that I haven't quite thought of it that way but I think that's it.

[00:07:00] I think it's about are they in a situation where they they are going to suffer some kind of consequence pain fear of missing out if they don't take action. And if we can't find that yeah I think the probabilities are extremely low. I mean you know unless you're talking about a trivial purchase of some sorts where they're fine just making out maybe they'll need it later.

[00:07:20] So. So how I guess how do you how do you know like when you when you're speaking with a prospect you're speaking with a lead. How how do you really dig in to this issue of or are they just interested or is there really urgency behind behind their situation. Like how do you know.

[00:07:36] Well that's a great question. That's the qualifying question. When you ask that question of a salesperson he or she will usually say I know it's chemistry or I know it by the way they ask questions but the problem with that is that you can fall prey to the buyer's scam the buyer scam is where the buyer just needs a price either to show his or her boss that they've been shopping well or to beat up the incumbent.

[00:08:03] And if a buyer running the scam is only scamming you they're not going to say Would you mind. Bruce Bruce would you mind spending 10 hours working on a proposal so I can take your proposal to beat the living hell out of the incumbent. That's not going to motivate you. Yeah well they run the scam and this is how the scam goes. They bruise. I know you've been trying to get my business for the last 10 years and it must have been frustrating but Joe's my guy. Joe always takes care of me. But you know in the last six months Sutton seems to have gone wrong. No he doesn't return his phone calls in a timely way. There are unexplained charges on the invoices and the service and quality isn't what it used to be. I just think something's gone in that relationship and Bruce. I've heard great things about you in the marketplace but I encourage you to come in and and quote me and prepare a proposal. And that sounds good to you. Bruce doesn't it. The second the second script sounds a lot better than you're never going to get a stack of business. Yeah exactly. So you come in you do the work and then I take your proposal on might beat the living hell out of Joe and that's the buyers. Yeah but when you ask this question about interest and urgency it has deep implications for resource allocation for our emotions how motivated we are.

[00:09:14] And the answer that we recommend is the p k approach the payment and kind approach. The basic idea here is that if you don't have one core close which means you walk in and you could walk out with a purchase order. It's a process. Most of us have a process and the question is is that process moving forward as measured by the behaviors done by the prospect. So what are some examples. Well if you're going to give them credit they might fill out a credit application. If you're not dealing with the owner of the business and he or she is so excited about what you have to say they might introduce you to the owner. They might take you on a plan tour that's relevant checking references is huge. If they check your references that's usually a very strong tell these different behaviors or manifestations that the prospect is engaged that they're not a spectator but it's a participant spore and the stronger the API came the more likely it is that you're going to close and the rule of thumb is you always ask for the strongest API K to which you've earned the right. And so the reason why you need a powerful presentation why you need to wow the prospect and prove your case is so you can earn the right to a strong peak and expect a prospect reasonably to do it.

[00:10:29] I'd like to say to all listeners is watch the API case the payments in kind and it's serious because I think just having worked with a lot of organizations on kind of sales strategy sales process and kind of the sales funnel design or the typically the sales journey what does that journey look like.

[00:10:46] But look for these points where there's some kind of investment of time or money on the client's behalf and into the process which sounds like kind of this idea. They've they're spending some kind of time or energy or money on this relationship and I think you I think the test. It sounds like this at the buyer's game or that kind of the buyer fallacy scenario that you presented. I think I like the idea that the way you check to see whether or not you're in that situation is you look for some kind of commensurate investment on the client.

[00:11:17] And if they're not if they're really not willing able or they don't make a reasonable investment into the process then it's kind of a tell that you're you're probably in one of these areas because they're just not they're not putting time and money into it.

[00:11:30] Great. And if I could add one thing this is a point where selling intersects the game.

[00:11:37] Texas Hold'em Oh explain more and it was an intersection between selling and Texas Hold'em in the card game. Texas Hold'em. If there's some of your listeners not familiar the climactic moment of the game is when you go all in and you push all your chips in the pockets of Okay game right now. And there's a place to do that in selling. So there's an intersection point between the peak K and totally committed. So a quick story. There was a time about 15 years ago where I really needed to close a sale it took me a year to get the first meeting in the first meeting company did about 50 million in sales they had about five divisions I was cross examined by the division heads and the entrepreneur who owned them. They were on one side on the companies they were on one side of the table I was on the other side in Table 3 Our cross cross-examination invited back. The next day presented by the president of the division where I would work if I was hired and number three hour cross-examination that night I get an email from the owner entrepreneur who owned all the businesses saying Hey Andy we really liked what you had to say would you give us a proposal you know for the division where you would work and my belly told me that this was a price shopper and if I said a buck he would say 50 cents and I felt that he had to get to know me better than he just liked me belly to belly. So I said I'd be glad to propose to you but can I ask you first to check my references tech three or four references and I gave him 10 references.

[00:13:00] I get an email back in a few minutes and after I get your proposal. If I'm still interested I'll check. I'll be glad to check your references. Now what would your listeners do if they were playing that hand. You have a mortgage to pay. You have a car payment. You need it badly and all you're saying is would you just give me a price. Right. So I wrote back to him as the owner. I said Listen I got it. You don't have a sense of urgency for what I'm selling. Here's why it's so important to check my references. You need to know am I creative. Do I play nicely in the sandbox. What's my work ethic. You can't find that out from interviewing me twice for three hours from the proposal. At some point in the future you have a sense of urgency but what do you offer. My references and I'll give you a proposal. Now I want you to know I've done this maybe three dozen times in my life. I die every time I do it. I just see my life but my because my emotions are screaming at me What are you crazy. Do what they say but my brain is telling me if I do what they say I lose. So I yield to the brain. And as you can imagine in this case within 15 minutes he was checking my references. How did I go. Because people called me and said Hey Joe just gave you a clean bill of health. Yeah. So like Sally having P.I. KS is how do you use them.

[00:14:18] Yeah it's interesting what I use are you something it's a little similar. And actually I call it the test fold. So it's a similar kind of poker analogy where when something goes a little cold when a prospect goes a little cold and anyone who's listening to this I guess who's been a prospect. Let's see we do this where if things get a little cold I'll send them an email or I'll leave them a message of saying hey you know just checking in.

[00:14:41] I get the sense that maybe now's not not the time to do this totally fine with me. I'm happy to you know put this on a shelf or pick it back up later. Just give me a date you know just get back to me so I can update my records. Right. So it's kind of this test fold right I'm saying like I'm fine if we're gonna fold this hand you know.

[00:14:57] Totally cool. No pressure. In the end it is and it's that same kind of you know I've got to swallow hard for his impediment but it's not what I want to do but But what it does is it's that test of saying Hey look are they really serious. And either either I get the message back that says oh no no no I was on vacation last week you know let's call it let's set up a call tomorrow or they'll pick up the phone and call me right then or I will get the email says Yeah. You know what. We just realized that time and aren't we circle back in three months. And both of those are great answers because I'm really not interested. You know I should be focusing on all things like you know calling another prospect. You know I should write some more content like I like I shouldn't be investing my time and energy if they're not really ready.

[00:15:35] It's a great point. And you know there are three key takeaways that I would just summarize from the discussion. Number one P.I. case will tell you the difference between interest and urgency. Number two you have to earn the right with a powerful presentation. If you're not wowing the prospect don't expect to earn the right. That's a key phrase earned the right to the peak. Yeah. And number three if you're facing a real buyer you should expect them to push you and shove you. And so you have to be ready to go all in and be totally committed. Yeah those are the three or four key ideas.

[00:16:10] Yeah let's go back and talk a little bit about the earn the right cause I'm on. I'm not sure we we really dug into that quite enough.

[00:16:15] So you see you mentioned the idea of a powerful presentation. Like what.

[00:16:19] I guess in essence what is what earns the right and what are some of the things you do in the sales conversation and the sales process that earns the right to ask for their commitment or ask for action on their side. Give us some examples.

[00:16:31] Sure. Well I do sales training and recently I just closed a car dealership where there were 30 people who needed to be trained and it was a one called close which is pretty infrequent in my business. And it was in the diagnosis when I was asking questions and saying gee I really don't know your business but I've had a hundred clients over the last twenty five years the average increase in sales was 10 to 20 percent. And here are some of the challenges that I frequently here and I started going through them and you could just see that either from you know visual tells or whores or I hit on all the cylinders because the problems tend to be universal. And after I had done this for about a half hour or 45 minutes the prospect really opened up. And before you knew what we were we were designing the first step of the program. So the first thing you could do is just a fantastic diagnosis to show that you are authentic and credible and you know the space.

[00:17:31] Yeah I think I think that's I mean we always talk about being the doctor you know going in with this kind of well you know where does it hurt and how long has it been hurting and he's you know does it change with the weather.

[00:17:42] You just start asking them. He's kind of curiosity diagnosis questions to help them. And sometimes they haven't even thought about these things like Oh yeah. I hadn't thought about it always happens in the beginning of the year. I wonder why that is.

[00:17:53] And I would just add that thought at the same time I don't ask them if they have the problem I talk about problems other people have oh my I might Segway to them and say gee is that ever an issue here.

[00:18:04] Yeah. So I think I I think I do that too. I use the phrase a lot of you know while other CEOs that I work with often have this problem are often find this is a challenge. Is this something that you find a talent.

[00:18:14] Exactly. Now before that I admitted something excuse me but the research we do before we come in is really important. Yeah the research we do. So there's a whole bunch of things you can do.

[00:18:27] And I'll just I'll just mention one or two in case they might be of interest to your audience is a there is a utility that costs nineteen dollars a month called Crystal nose C.R. why. SAGAL K.A. W.S. dot com and what it does is it's an algorithm that scrapes all the writings on somebody on an on the Internet Facebook Linked In and does a disk style analysis.

[00:18:52] And so you can have a pretty decent insight into a person's personality before you have a first call. So that's a good thing to do. Another good thing to do particularly if you're selling to smaller or mid-sized companies that aren't covered by the national press.

[00:19:10] Everybody I recommend should be doing library research you go into the into your local library the public library you go once you go to the reference librarian and you get set up usually with your library code is your user name and then you get put in a password and then from any computer connected to the Internet you can get into your libraries database and within 15 minutes you can usually get a very powerful research presentation together including using a special database called America's news America's news as a compendium of I think 400 regional newspapers. So

[00:19:47] If you're dealing with a smaller company that wouldn't be covered in the New York Times Wall Street Journal Washington Post USA Today America's news may cover them like I live in Chatham so could be the Chatham Gazette. You could get great articles and the other thing to get this really me.

[00:20:05] If you're dealing with a bigger company if you if you have a library like mine what you can get are SWOT analysis from market lie market line is a company that will sell these things for about a hundred and seventy five dollars.

[00:20:17] And many of us won't spend that. But if you can get a SWOT analysis on a bigger company that's covered for free. You should get it done as a matter of fact I would argue it's a hanging offence if you don't do this. Claim Clay I know. So getting back to the question how do you have a powerful presentation by dropping a few tidbits to show that you've done your research. Yeah let me give you a third one because these are all freebies these are things you can do immediately. The Wayback Machine is really neat the way back is really deep. So what's the wayback machine does is it it's captured the whole web sites. Yeah going back in many cases 20 years. And so what you do is you use the Wayback Machine. You look up how the way how the Web site looked 20 years ago how it looks today you print them out and you could do this as part of your marketing. You could do this when you could just when you come in you say wow look at how your Web site looked 20 years ago. Look you web site looks now you really care about your image. I have to think you care as much about the quality of your product how fast you deliver you're selling your labor it is that you sell the Wayback Machine is a fantastic way to start a sales call to try to solicit a meeting just to get a meeting but you have research fantastic diagnostic questions and then there's the vision.

[00:21:37] Remember our discussion being here. How do you wow somebody. Yeah right. So. So the vision you know you talked about the pain. I like to think that the pain is a small piece and the bigger piece can be the vision of what's possible. And I use the metaphor of the Fall Summit a fall summit. I actually have an illustration of a successful person standing on a summit but it's if you know your calculus. It's a local maximum versus a global maximum. Yeah. And then I say to the prospect look a lot of my clients are doing really well or they couldn't even speak to me. I wouldn't come in. You know I couldn't afford my fees and they think they're doing really well. But the problem is they're looking down instead of looking up and they're on a fall summit and the reason why I'm calling you. It's just to explore. Could you be on a full summit or a false peak. Yeah I have a little animation that goes with that when I do a presentation. Now how do you bring somebody from a failed summit to a global Maxim or true summit. And the answer is type 3 knowledge type 3 knowledge or type 1 is what you know maybe two is what you know you don't know and type three is what you don't realize you don't know.

[00:22:43] And so folks who are effective sellers are usually very powerful in bringing in type 3 knowledge. Now you can use both of these ideas the false peak and type 3 knowledge as a pattern interrupter when you're trying to get an appointment you get a prospect on the phone you dialed one hundred times you finally get him on the phone they picked up the phone by accident they thought it was their wife or husband and head and they say well what do you want and why are you calling you say gee Bruce I'm calling here today to see you know if you're on a false peak as many of our clients are and whether I'll type 3 knowledge I'll be able to help you. Now you Bruce have two possible responses at that point. One is to hang up on me but the other is to ask a question like What's this false peak or what's it like for you knowledge. And now you're in a conversation. So depending on where you are in your process having pattern interrupted is ready that are powerful can be very helpful. So if you present the vision of what's possible now you need what we call a wow tool box a tool box that stockpile of incredible proving material testimonials written testimonials video testimonials oh another important thing that goes into your well to box a risk mid against risk bit against means what do I do to reduce the perceived risk the prospect that the prospect doesn't want to change his or her position for a number of reasons including perceived risk. I would say that in almost 100 percent of the people who invite me into work with them they have no real strong program to deal with risk aversion no risk mitigation. Yeah.

[00:24:15] I think the exciting part about this is I it's kind of this concept of you have to keep a sales conversation focused on where the ire is at. And and that you know you can't be talking about risk mitigation if they're not thinking about risk mitigation. Yeah like if they're still at the trial I even bother listening to this person or not you know like you need to stay. You need to get past that level before you go on to the next level. And I think a lot of a lot of challenges that I've seen or were kind of failures in sales process and sales sales conversations or particular prospects have been that either it's been rushed is that they try to move too quickly and the buyer is not ready to do it that's the next stage or they're just at the wrong stage they've you know they haven't they haven't laid out their conversation strategy in a kind of logical sequential way in which the buyer is going to go through it. And so it sounds like a lot of this is like in the beginning you have to have the pattern disrupter to kind of get their attention. Then you have to kind of prove that you're you're worth listening to and you have to deal with your objections. You know it's like you're really kind of staging this about well how is the prospects mind or prospects thinking going to advance and how do I keep pace with that and then move through that process.

[00:25:26] In fact I have developed as a part of my proprietary deliverable what I call a standard sales call which is an 18 step process to take a price of. Once you know you're starting to disrupt their pattern of thought. How do you take them through a whole thought and decision process.

[00:25:42] Yeah yeah. And I think that's that's the key. I mean I think there is generally some human psychology similarities between some of this ends up being some kind of industry specific you know based on the kind of machinations of a particular industry or you know how business works you know some of this is going to be individual I love the crystal nose I we didn't talk about it I'm a big fan of that. I've tracked them for years and that that whole idea of luck that people are wired in different ways.

[00:26:11] And you know if you're approaching someone as a strong D and they happen to be you know and I guess parlance you pursue your words that you're going to be in a world of pain a hundred percent.

[00:26:25] So this idea of really kind of not only diagnosing the problem but kind of diagnosing the person that you're dealing with and understand what kind of drives and motivates them and their staff and how do I match that you know from a conversation point of view is really important.

[00:26:38] So we're gonna hit time here in a little bit. You know we could probably do two or three more sets of a lot of these.

[00:26:43] I would say you know you've got a lot of great content so I'm going to encourage folks to check out your your your Ls and you've got videos. So I will just I'll I'll mention the holiday of cream autumns. You do some really good stuff on that I would suggest people check that out. You know just kind of thinking through before you go into a call like what could go wrong and how do I prepare and how do I develop a strategy around those things.

[00:27:05] Great just great great ideas and great strategies on these things so if people want to find out more about you about urgency based selling and I know if you've got a book coming out tell us about the book and then give us some of that you were and stuff.

[00:27:19] Thank you sir. Thank you for that opportunity. The book is called Innovate now scale up with 16 breakthrough selling techniques and it's an attempt to give the reader two things fish they can eat today.

[00:27:36] In other words immediate techniques they can use like the K technique that I described is in there but also a different thought processes you mentioned the pre mortem. That's a way to generate your own ideas or to put it metaphorically. It's a way to fish yourself. And I also include in there an induction worksheet that I pulled out of Francis Bacon's new organ arm which was written in 20. So I have a brainstorming technique that I use and that's in the book a go through the whole thrust of the book is is how can you innovate now what are techniques you can use. It's kind of written like the one minute manager where the chapters are very short like five six pages. But it's usually a high level concept like the. So that's what the book is and it's supposed to the publisher promises me it'll be out in May. We'll see if that happens we will see the easiest way to look. I have a YouTube channel for urgency based selling and the website is And so I'd love to hear from people. My my email addresses So those are ways to connect and to learn more so thank you for this opportunity.

[00:28:46] Yeah you're welcome. I'll make sure that all of those links are on the show notes here so people can click through and get those and he doesn't. Been a pleasure. Like I said we could probably we could do this for a couple of hours. So I will set up another one at some point we can dig into some of these topics. There's a lot of fun. I learned a lot.

[00:29:00] Well thank you so much for the opportunity. I'm very grateful to you. And thanks to your audience

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