Tania Cazin of Stalwart Sales Training and Consulting: How To Be Great At Sales Without Seeming Salesy

Authority Magazine
Authority Magazine
Published in
11 min readOct 21, 2020

The close is the logical conclusion to an effective sales presentation. We don’t “push” to the close, we “lead” to the close. You asked for five things. We need twelve. My system is twelve steps because each step is crucial to getting to the close — and keeping clients as long term, loyal customers. The close is not a separate part of the sales process. It is the natural conclusion to an effective, orderly sales presentation. This sounds simple — because it is. There is no need to be “pushy.” The better the process of our presentation, the easier, and more natural the close.

As a part of my series about how to be great at closing sales without seeming pushy, obnoxious, or salesy, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tania Cazin, creator of the 12-Step Stalwart Selling System™ and owner of Stalwart Sales Training & Consulting. Selling since 1989, she has a commission only and a one-call-close selling background. Tania has over two decades of training by top sales trainers, psychologists, philosophers, and personal development coaches. With her 12-Step Stalwart Selling System™, she built her sales career to a 90% closing ratio and now teaches those in technology, advertising, financial, medical, retail and other vertical markets to do the same. For more information, visit: StalwartSales.com

Thank you for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this career path?

My first official sale was when I was just seven years old. I overheard my parents talking about getting rid of their old lawnmower, so I knocked on the neighbor’s door and sold it for fifty bucks. That same year, I got a commission-only, door-to door newspaper route. Sales is all I’ve ever known. It is my life’s work. I’ve always loved people and sales — turning a “no” into “yes”. I’m sure I was selling something to the doctor as I was coming out of the womb. Throughout my childhood, I sold anything and everything I could get my hands on, like my school snacks and candy Mom bought in bulk at Price Club. I rewarded classmates for bringing me customers. I broke fundraising records in elementary school selling gift wrapping paper and peanuts. My professional sales career began when I was seventeen. I have enjoyed the coolest award-winning, commission-only, one-call-close sales career selling a variety of products and services to local, national and international accounts, and MLB stadiums. I even contracted with the All-American Soap Box Derby. Over time, my closing ratio grew to a consistent 90%, accomplished through my 12-Step Stalwart Selling System™ which I created in 1999. Companies and startups noticed what I was doing, and asked me how I was able to sell so much in such little time. They asked if I could help them organize and increase their sales by teaching them my system. I said, “Yes!” That was the beginning of my company, Stalwart Sales Training and Consulting, and the rest is history.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Thank you for asking! My YouTube show, Stalwart Selling TV, is currently in the works. I help sales professionals sell more in less time by answering their toughest sales questions. Reps send in their questions, by video, for a chance to be featured on the show. When they are selected, we feature their video and answer their questions with tips and techniques from my proven 12-Step Stalwart Selling System™. This system has helped clients increase their revenue by 700+% in a short amount of time. This show will be a great refresher for some and an opportunity for others to learn new skills that will put more money in their pocket by selling more in less time. You can find more details at stalwartsales.com/submissions

Okay. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. As you know, nearly any business a person will enter, will involve some form of sales. At the same time, most people have never received any formal education about how to be effective at selling. Why do you think our education system teaches nearly every other arcane subject, but sales, one of the most useful and versatile topics, is totally ignored?

Teaching and doing are completely different things. We feel a different kind of emotion when doing. Telling someone how to make a cold call, is different than them actually picking up the phone and doing it. Talking about closing a sale is different than closing a sale. Learning about bungee jumping is different than actually making the leap into the void with a big rubber band tied around our ankles. Being told how to ask someone on a date feels very different than actually asking someone out. We get a higher success rate when we are taught by someone who’s succeeded at it professionally. I am where I am today because I learned from successful salespeople — people who have knocked on doors, sold and succeeded.

This discussion, entitled, “How To Be Great At Sales Without Seeming Salesy”, is making an assumption that seeming salesy or pushy is something to be avoided. Do you agree with this assumption? Whether yes, or no, can you articulate why you feel the way you do?

“Salesy” is selling with the commission as your primary motivation rather than being driven by the desire to help your prospects find solutions to their problems. Being salesy or high-pressure does not work in the long term. The term “pushy” has a negative connotation to sales professionals just as it does to those outside of the industry. I prefer “persistent.” We may get five to seven “no’s” before we get a “yes” — so persistence is key. It is a beneficial trait to have in selling. If we believe in our product, and we’re confident that our offering will benefit our clients, then let’s be persistent — for their sake. I wish some salespeople who tried to sell to me in the past had been more persistent about products and services which I could be enjoying today. It is important to be tactfully persistent if we have something others genuinely need. Integrity combined with a genuine interest in discovering what others need and helping them get it, along with a well executed presentation, allows our persistence to be well received.

The seven stages of a sales cycle are usually broken down to versions of Prospecting, Preparation, Approach, Presentation, Handling objections, Closing, and Follow-up. Which stage do you feel that you are best at? What is your unique approach, your “secret sauce” to that particular skill? Can you explain or give a story?

If we want to build a long-term sales career, we must be good at all of the steps in the sales process. With over three decades in a commission-only sales career with a 90% closing ratio, I’m skilled at each one. My selling system is twelve steps — not seven. Step one is no more important than step five. Step three is just as important as step eight. No step is more important than any other; they all work together, in a specific order. We glamorize closing because it’s payday, but closing is no more important than the other steps of the sales process. You can’t have a home run without touching all the bases. The reason why many salespeople don’t close as well as they should, and why they leave a lot of money on the table, is because they haven’t mastered all the steps. Being really good at prospecting or presenting alone will not result in a high closing ratio. We must touch all twelve steps of my system in order to increase our odds of closing successfully and consistently, without leaving money on the table. These twelve steps — executed in a specific way, in a specific order — are my secret sauce to successful selling. There is a psychology behind my system. It works. It’s proven. It is why my clients close more sales in less time.

-Lead generation, or prospecting, is one of the basic steps of the sales cycle. Obviously every industry will be different, but can you share some of the fundamental strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

I’m a big fan of LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I also get referrals from clients and others who know my work. This is more cost effective than many of the paid lead services and marketing options available. The telephone is my favorite qualifying tool. I cold call, confirm who the decision makers are, then qualify them. I teach my students to do the same. Direct phone contact is the simplest and quickest way to qualify and set up appointments. Some say it’s outdated. That’s because they never learned how to do it correctly. In step two of my system — the prospecting step — we brainstorm contact ideas, share methodologies, list names of prospecting companies, identify lead lists and marketing options — and train people to use the telephone effectively.

In my experience, I think the final stages of Handling Objections, Closing, and Follow-up, are the most difficult parts for many people. Why do you think ‘Handling Objections’ is so hard for people? What would you recommend for one to do, to be better at ‘Handling Objections’?

People tend to avoid confrontations — and handling objections feels like an argument to some. But it’s not; and should not be viewed as such. Salespeople tend to “handle objections” when what they should be doing is listening to overcome. Your prospects may say one thing but mean another. “I can’t afford it” may really mean, “How can I fit this into my budget?” We are not here to get into a battle with our prospects. We must remember that we are in the business of helping them find, and act on, solutions to their problems. This is empathy. Empathy is not to be confused with sympathy. Sympathy is getting involved in their problem. Empathy is being part of their solution. Objections are selling opportunities. It is our prospects way of showing interest. They tell us where we are in the sales process. It is the prospects way of asking us for more information so they can make a better, more informed decision. Embrace objections. Be empathetic. Listen for what your prospects mean by what they say. Get back to selling. Close the sale.

‘Closing’ is of course the proverbial Holy Grail. Can you suggest 5 things one can do to successfully close a sale without being perceived as pushy? If you can, please share a story or example, ideally from your experience, for each.

The close is the logical conclusion to an effective sales presentation. We don’t “push” to the close, we “lead” to the close. You asked for five things. We need twelve. My system is twelve steps because each step is crucial to getting to the close — and keeping clients as long term, loyal customers. The close is not a separate part of the sales process. It is the natural conclusion to an effective, orderly sales presentation. This sounds simple — because it is. There is no need to be “pushy.” The better the process of our presentation, the easier, and more natural the close.

Finally, what are your thoughts about ‘Follow up’? Many businesses get leads who might be interested but things never seem to close. What are some good tips for a business leader to successfully follow up and bring things to a conclusion, without appearing overly pushy or overeager?

Prevent the need to follow-up by closing the sale on the first appointment. You’d be surprised how few industries actually require more than one appointment to close. There is an art to the one-call-close and, contrary to popular belief, if executed correctly, it can be done. Playing the follow-up game is no fun — and it takes us away from paying customers. If you must go into a second appointment, don’t leave the first appointment without scheduling the second one. It is like dating. If at the end of the evening your date says, “I had so much fun, have a great night,” the chances of hearing from them again are slim. But if they say, “I had so much fun, what are you doing Friday night?” You’re in and you don’t need to follow-up. Customers want to be nice; they don’t want to hurt our feelings. They say they’ll call us back, and don’t. Have you ever played phone tag? It can be a frustrating game of cat and mouse, can’t it! The more time we spend chasing customers, the more time we spend away from people who are ready to buy. If we’ve successfully qualified our prospects, shared all the benefits as to how we can help them solve their problems, presented our offering in a clear, enthusiastic manner, and have successfully overcome their objections, why wouldn’t they want to buy from us today? What is there to think about?!

As you know there are so many modes of communication today. For example, In-person, phone calls, video calls, emails, and text messages. In your opinion, which of these communication methods should be avoided when attempting to close a sale or follow up? Which are the best ones? Can you explain or give a story?

If you had something very important to tell your family or your significant other, would you communicate by phone, email, or text? You would likely communicate verbally, not in writing, wouldn’t you? If it’s important to you, I mean really important, pick up the phone and call. If after a couple attempts you don’t connect, then sure, send an email; but when you send out something in writing (text, email, etc.) you don’t know where, or if, it lands — or how it is received. Others can ghost a text or email, but it’s pretty hard for them to ghost someone who is talking with them in real time, isn’t it? It is axiomatic. Emails and texts — even formal letters — do not carry tone or intent as well as verbal communication. A conversation in real time allows for the salesperson to discover real issues and real solutions. If we want to increase our chances of a successful sale, verbal, real time communication is best.

Ok, we are nearly done. Here is our final “meaty” question. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Proceed with enthusiastic expectation. Live with the belief that things will go your way. And if they don’t, trust it will still be for the best. So often, nerves take over, negatively affecting the amateur’s attitude and approach. “Oh, I don’t know if they’ll buy from a newbie like me.” “I’m not sure I can do this.” Even experienced professionals sometimes hesitate, “Why would they choose me over my competition?” Assume a positive outcome. Believe they want to work with you. Believe they will buy from you. Move into all challenges of life with the enthusiastic expectation of the master salesperson. Let’s expect a great outcome for ourselves. Let’s expect success. Let’s live with enthusiastic expectation.

How can our readers follow you online?

Are you a sales professional looking to sell more in less time — even during difficult times? Visit me at StalwartSales.com. If you would like to be featured on Stalwart Selling TV, click on the Media tab on the site or click the link below for details. You can also follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @TaniaCazin.

Stalwart Selling TV Submissions: StalwartSales.com/submissions/

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/taniacazin

Instagram: instagram.com/taniacazin/

Facebook: facebook.com/TaniaCazin/community/.

Twitter: twitter.com/taniacazin

Thank you for the interview. We wish you only continued success!

Thank you for having me!



Authority Magazine
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