On this week’s episode of Conversational Selling, we’re joined by special guest, Joe Pici. Joe is the CEO and Co-Founder of Pici & Pici Inc., providing sales teams with skill training, professional speaking training, executive coaching, keynote presentations, and live phone call workshops. He is also currently ranked as the number one sales trainer worldwide by Global Gurus.

“My wife and I were $350,000 in medical debt and we signed up in a part-time direct sales business with no background in sales, but, we could not find good sales training. And so, just by trial and error, we paid off our medical debt on cold calling and we started to develop some skills. Then they started throwing us up on stages around the world, trying to get us to motivate people, and we did that. And then around 2003, I remember walking off stage and I told my wife that there’s a big gap in the marketplace and that I wanted to really focus on skill-based training to help people really develop the skills to get in front of their target market. That’s how we got started,” says Joe.

We chat about how Joe got his start in sales, as well as:

  • Rapport mastery
  • Using sales scripts effectively
  • Priority management
  • His podcast series, Sales Edge
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:



Nancy Calabrese: Here we are again everybody, and welcome to Conversational Selling. It’s the podcast where sales leaders and business experts will join me and share what’s going on in sales and marketing today. And it all starts with the human conversation. I’m your host, Nancy Calabrese, and I’m so excited to welcome Joe Pici, CEO and co-founder of Pici & Pici Inc, providing sales teams with skill training, professional speaking training, executive coaching, keynote presentation.

Oh, and I can’t forget live phone call workshops, which I think is absolutely awesome. He’s ranked by Global Gurus as the number one sales trainer worldwide. And, you know, Joe, I just don’t know where to start. There’s so much you can offer my audience. So I really want to welcome you to the show.

Joe Pici: Well, thank you. It’s really an honor to be here.

Nancy: Yeah, I’m really excited. And, you know, in doing my research for this conversation, I read that you’re a meat and potatoes kind of guy, which I absolutely love. I mean, how did you get into this industry?

How Joe Got Into Sales

Joe: Well, I was a college football coach, my wife was a voice teacher. We were $350,000 in medical debt, losing everything we owned. And we signed up in a part-time direct sales business with no background in sales. We could not find good sales training, we found a lot of motivation, a lot of strategy. And so just by trial and error, trial and error, we paid off 350 thousand dollars in medical debt on cold calling.

And we started to develop some skills and they started throwing us up on stages around the world trying to get us to motivate people. And we did that. And then about 2000, and that was about 1992. I’m old. And then about 2003, we were speaking on a big stage. And I remember walking off and I said to my wife, you know, there’s a big gap in the marketplace. I want to really condense what we do. I want to really focus on skill-based training and help people really develop the skills to getting in front of your target market. That’s how we got started.

Nancy: Wow. Wow. Well, obviously you’re doing something right. I mean, what would you say is your uniqueness and how does it help your clients?

Joe: Well, I guess the number one uniqueness we have is we’re still selling. I think a lot of speakers, trainers and coaches, and they’re very gifted, I think there may be a point by which they stopped doing what they were doing and they start managing the process. And I sell all of our speaking, coaching and training. The other uniqueness is we don’t believe in roleplay. So we actually do live outbound telephone call training, booking appointments. So whether I go into a corporation or they come to a sales boot camp or I work with them privately, part of the training is going to be real-time picking up the phone, calling people with the idea to book appointments.

Nancy: Okay. I, again, I think it’s an excellent exercise and more people, I’m sure, should be doing more of that. Tell me more about rapport mastery.

Rapport Mastery

Joe: That’s our methodology. We do, we are very consultative in our approach. We like to build rapport, which takes time. Really in the world of sales, as you know, you’re an expert, there’s transactional sales, which is get to know as soon as possible and there’s consultative sales. And rapport mastery is about consultative sales. 82% of sales happens between the sixth and the 12th contact, 68% of the population processes slowly. So they’re not buying today. So we opt to build more rapport with skills. And that’s a process we develop.

Nancy: That’s, you know, you say everything that’s music to my ears. I think having a discovery discussion in a non-salesy way really earns the trust of the person on the other end. And over time, they do build that relationship. One of the stats that I found in, again, doing my research, is you have the ability to train people to get through the gatekeeper 98% of the time. And I said to you before, I think I’m pretty good. I’m not sure I’m getting 98% of the time. So what’s your secret sauce?

Joe: First of all, I think we have to understand that the gatekeeper is not a gatekeeper. They’re a decision-maker. I think the first mistake people make is to patronize or play some kind of silly game instead of really telling the people why you’re calling and what benefit is to their boss. And I’m not being elusive, but in building the script to get through a gatekeeper, when I’m working with a client, when we build our sales scripts for telephone calls, it’s a four to five-hour process.

And I see many times, people come in and they drop a script in front of their salespeople and they wonder why they don’t get the results. If the person making the call doesn’t know how we’re getting there, why we’re doing it the way we’re doing it and if we don’t get buy-in, they’re just going to read a script.

They’re not going to own it. And so, whether it’s the decision-maker, the gatekeeper, it really doesn’t matter. The whole process we use is scripting based on what’s in it for the person who answers the phone. In our sales boot camp, we only allow 20 people. In day two, it’s six hours of digging into your target market, understanding the benefits you provide and creating scripts that are going to give you better results.

Nancy: I’m a big believer in scripts. There are people that may be listening to this that don’t think scripts work. I think it’s safe to say that we know it does. So what’s your comment when you hear people say they don’t work? I won’t sound natural.

Own the Script

Joe: I was with a CEO of a big corporation about two weeks ago. He goes, Joe, my people don’t like scripts. And I said, well, the finest actors in the world are Italian. You got Stallone, you got Brando, you got Pacino, and they all use a script. I say, now, if professional actors use a script, why wouldn’t a professional salesperson? The difference is when they know the script, when they own the script, it doesn’t sound scripted.

Nancy: Correct. Correct. And if we take it from the read-through to internalization and really having it become your own, it’s funny you say that because anyone we hire internally, one of the first questions we ask is who’s your favorite actor or actress? And then when they let us know, well, guess what, you’re just getting a new script for a movie.

You’ve got to start memorizing it. And I think that makes it more real and reminds people that, Yeah, when you’re on the phone, you have to be an actor, right? And an actress, to get your message across, to be heard. You mentioned this earlier that you speak about mindset, strategy and skill mastery in outbound sales conversations. And that skill mastery is your specialty. Any particular reason why you chose that?

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. It was very intentional. The majority of training out there is great, but it takes a long time to bear fruit. And so the company or the individual begins to lose trust. We go right after the skills, and within the first two days I’m in a company, we’re booking real appointments, closing real business, it earns the trust of everyone in the room and everyone upstairs, which then allows me to work in their strategy. So does that make sense?

Nancy: So, give them the skills first, and then you build on the strategy. Correct?

Joe: When we do the training, we build out the complete sales process, but then we drill down into the skills. And so what happens is, while I’m in the room, they’re getting real quantifiable results. And I was on a podcast late last night and this guy had spent $100,000 in sales training and he still couldn’t pick up the phone to book an appointment.

And all I said to him was he said, Why is your training differently, would it be different? I said because you would be making the phone calls with me in the room and I’d be coaching you live. He said, I never heard of that. And I said, Well, that’s one of our uniquenesses. And if you master what I believe is the hardest part of sales, getting in front of the person with the checkbook at the right time for the right reason, then the rest is pretty simple.

Nancy: So is he your client now?

Joe: I was his guest on his podcast and he asked for a proposal.

Nancy: That’s sweet, right? I’m guessing you didn’t say no to that, right?

Joe: You know, it’s a, I don’t believe in selling from charisma and talent because you cannot duplicate that. So everything we do, number one, we only train what we do to grow our own business. Number two, everything we train is processes, communications and skills, which means you don’t have to be Attila the Hun to sell.

Nancy: They have to know the right questions to ask and when to ask them. I want to just pivot for a minute to introduce the audience to your podcast series. Talk more about that.

Joe: Well, it’s called The Sales Edge, SALES EDGE. It’s on all of the podcast hosts. And if you want to get to it really simply, just take out your phone and type in 55678 and put in the tagline Salesedge and send it. That’ll take you to a link, it’ll take you to a splash page. On that splash page, there’s some free downloadable books.

But to the bottom of that, you will also get links to our podcast on all the major podcast hosts. That’s 55678 the word Salesedge, make sure it’s one word. Some phones will break it up. It comes out every Tuesday, every Thursday, and it’s all about sales and marketing and business development, cuz I have never been gifted with the life coaching gene.

Nancy: So, you know, listen, you run a business, a very successful business, you sell you, teach, how do you find the time to do it all? And that’s always the salesperson’s lament, right? Where do I get the time?

Joe: Well, I have a process I developed called Priority Management. First of all, I love what I do. So I’m not a hobbyist, but I believe if you’re really good at managing your priorities and if you make sure the top priorities are getting done first, most salespeople spend time in busywork, but for me, not only do I generate the leads and I book the appointments and I do the meetings, I close the business after I go to proposal, I get the deposits, but then I go in and actually do the training. So it’s very important that I exercise very good priority management skills.

Nancy: I would say so, sure. And just listening to your story. I guess that’s the only way to manage, right? A variety of different responsibilities and pull it off successfully. What is something that’s true that nobody agrees with you on?

Joe: That’s a great question.

Nancy: Isn’t that a fun question?

To Many People Attempt to Negotiate With Non-Negotiables

Joe: It’s a great question. And I believe 95, this is a Joeism, which means it may not be right, but according to Joe, I think it’s right. I believe 95% of the people on the planet negotiate with the nonnegotiables. Every business has certain things that are called non-negotiables. And I believe a big portion of the people in the world, those are the very things they negotiate with. So I get pushback on that all time. That’s not true. That’s not true. Until we line up what their non-negotiables are and then they look at me and they start laughing because they realize they’ve negotiated with their non-negotiables.

Nancy: Can you give us an example?

Joe: Oh, sure. You know, Joe, I really don’t like to pick up the phone. You know, it’s, I’d really rather use email. Well, if you’re going to do outbound sales, you better love the phone. That’s a non-negotiable. A non-negotiable is you have to have X amount of sales meetings a month. Well, you know, I really got very busy with this and that. No, no, that’s a non-negotiable. There, you have to do X amount of meetings a month to generate X amount of dollars.

So what happens is most people first don’t locate the nonnegotiables. So they get into business or they get into sales and they really never established what does it take to be successful at this? So then they invest their money and they get in it and then they realize, oh, my goodness, you mean I have to do those things? And that’s where they begin to negotiate.

Nancy: Yeah, pretty interesting. So how can my audience find you?

Joe: Oh, it’s easy. They can have a complimentary cup of Joe. Just take out your phone and call 407-947-2590. Or you can go to my website, www.PICIANDPICI.com. I’m on LinkedIn, Joe, and then PICI, and you’ll recognize me right away. I’m on the knee, I’m all in black and I’m pointing at you. So, I think I make myself easily findable. I rather people just pick up the phone and say, Hey, I heard you on a podcast, I got a question, and I’ll talk shop with you.

Nancy: Well, hey, everybody out there, this is a guy to take advantage of right now. And I think you have a tagline, right? Which says something about unfair advantage.

Gain That Unfair Advantage

Joe: Yeah, we help our clients gain an unfair advantage over their competition. In a competitive market, even in lieu of how business is being done right now, if you don’t have that competitive edge, if you are not focused on how many sales meetings I’m doing a month, you’re losing ground because believe it or not, millionaires are made in the down economy.

Nancy: Well, we’re going to end it with one final question, people. Who’s ready to become a millionaire? Pick up the phone and call Joe. Joe, thanks so much. I really enjoyed speaking with you. And hopefully, we’ll do this again one time real soon.

Joe: I’m gonna have you on my show so get ready for that call.

Nancy: Oh baby, I better get prepped. All right, see you all soon, everyone.