Continuing our mission to demystify sales, particularly for non-sales professionals with a sales role, here are the promised golden rules. They are simple and their impact is guaranteed.
Trigger Positive Emotions
Top performing sales people excel at Grace: using empathy, optimism and sensitivity to the potential customer’s self-esteem in order to resonate ie trigger a positive emotional state in the prospect: relaxed, respected, comfortable, engaged.
This is so vital I call it the One Step Sales Process: only ever trigger positive emotions.
The impact is massive. Studies have shown that Grace delivers 123% and 660% higher sales in conquest and account sales respectively.
As international sales guru Zig Ziglar used to say “Sales is nothing more and nothing less than the transfer of emotion. If I can make you feel the way I feel about my product, you will buy my product”.
This is no magic trick to get people to buy without thinking (which would be wrong – those days are past) but it does give you the best possible chance of your prospect listening to your business case and judging your argument on its merits.
So focus on them:
- listen carefully to what they tell you about their needs and desires, it will give you most of the solution to closing the sales
- sell them what they want, not what you need to sell
- sell them what they want, not what you think they should want
- only sell them what you know they really need over what they think they need if they ask for your advice – so you may have to get them to do that
- watch their emotions: if they’re bored speed up (or vice versa if they’re looking rushed), indulge them if they want to talk people over tech (& vice versa), respond to their preference for either detailed or summarised information.
Preparation Preparation Preparation
This will be blindingly obvious to many readers, but you’d be surprised how many sales professionals I can flummox with simple questions like ‘what do you do’, ‘ what’s special about your offering’ and ‘why is your competition cheaper / faster / better supported’.
The most successful sales professionals are really well prepared. They:
- have a clear objective for each encounter
- know their own offering inside out
- are so on top of sales process and technique they don’t have to think about it
- research every prospect’s organisation and the business context it operates within
- have predicted every question they’re ever likely to be asked, prepared a response, and got it down flawlessly.
Humans can only focus on one thing at a time. If you’re trying to remember benefits or answers you will be neurologically incapable of also watching how the encounter is going, checking your Grace, formulating creative solutions to issues as they surface, or shifting the way you’re managing things to optimise your chances.
The solution to ensuring we maintain Grace under pressure, and automatically bring the right informative responses to mind in the heat of the moment, is to embed these ways of thinking and behaving in our unconscious mind as our default ways of being. We do this by…
The right behaviours are not something you can turn on when you need them and not bother about the rest of the time. Trying to do that is one of the main causes of people reverting to wrong behaviours under pressure.
We all know the smiling cynic in sales who knows how to pretend positivity and always has a glib explanation of why they never quite deliver. You may be able to call to mind an occasion when a colleague has blown a sale or a negotiation by losing Grace, perhaps only momentarily, thereby triggering a negative emotion in the prospect: irritation, boredom, patronised, confusion… Recovering the sale after that is a tall order.
And do you know anyone who hasn’t been able to come up with information under pressure that leaps into their mind on the way home – when it’s too late?
The solution we need here is a deep learning process that resets our default responses and actions to be the desired ones, so the right way to be is maintained under pressure. Beyond practise and study time, this is achieved through persistently correct conditioning. Conditioning accelerates improvement and permanently embeds the desired thinking and behaviour patterns.
We have three objectives for our conditioning efforts to deliver:
- deep resilient positivity – to underpin our Grace and so we spend more time in the positive, high performance states
- the appropriate behaviours described above
- underpinning and accelerating our Preparation.
And two conditioning solutions accordingly:
- controlling the input to the mind of all information relevant to our
- positivity: positive in positive out
- Grace factors (empathy resonance optimism self-esteem): Grace in Grace out.
- embedding the desired preparation behaviours and results as defaults using cognitive restructuring techniques like Self-talk scripts that are a lot more straight forward than that sounds!
If you are interested in learning more about how to implement these ideas in your sales and sales leadership teams please get in touch.