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Avoiding Insanity in Sales

What do you do? Avoiding Insanity in Sales

  • What do you do when features and benefits don’t win you the business?
  • What do you do when the customer doesn’t choose the best most logical solution?
  • What do you do when you’ve lost the business and your sales post mortem reveals that you were short on information on the customer’s needs? “How did you miss that!”
  • How do you start a conversation with a prospect that says he’s loyal to his current supplier?
  • How do you reveal the real story behind the customer’s decisions?
  • How do you choose the best sales strategy when you don’t have all the information you need?

It’s Insane

For the last 15 years I have been working with organisations that have tried unsuccessfully, to find answers to these questions and more.  Recently, the research I was working on for a particular client, showed me that I was undeniably insane.  You know the definition of insanity.  “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”  That was me. 

Focus: You see, I kept on thinking that if we could merely focus on developing sales skills we could create sales success.  The highly-motivated and skilled salesperson was the magic formula for sales success.  The motivation comes from within, or from the sales manager.  The skills can be developed.  True?

The revelation came from a number of TED talks.  And, if you’re not familiar with TED Talks, you’re missing out.  The talks led me to the field of Behavioural Economics and through this to the discipline of Psychology.

Behavioural Economics – BE – considers peoples’ behaviour under different tested scenarios. Psychology deals with lessons we can learn from Pavlov’s dogs and rats in mazes.  BE works out, through scientific experiments, why salespeople cheat (only a little) when the system’s poor, and customers have no qualms about taking advantage of poor salespeople (cheat a lot) with out-and-out ‘porkies’, because “everyone else does it!”

Flexible Curriculum – “Behavioural Sales; a one day introduction”

Now, you’re probably thinking, how can we really use this type of philosophy in Sales.  Easy.  Our one-day training program – Behavioural Sales – a one day introduction – flows as follows:

Who am I?  We use a number of models that help your salespeople understand their own preferred behaviour style, the way they work – particularly manage their time and prioritise, the way they process information – whether it’s top down or detail up, and how they prefer to relate to others.

Those people.  This session helps us improve our ability to read other people; building on what has been learnt during the ‘Who am I?’ session.  Critical today in Sales is our ability to get beyond a debate with the customer.  “Our product is the best value.”  “No it’s not….”  The goal of this session is to place yourself into a discussion on what’s really behind the prospect’s fear to move from an existing provider, to go to his management with a higher priced (better value) solution, to try a new product or process.

In this session, the skill of questioning is practised.  Moving from Open, Probing and Closed questions, to targeted questions – our four quadrant GLAD technique, through to what I have called ‘Deep Questioning”.  Deep Questioning sounds complex.  It’s not.  It sounds as if it comes from the psychologist’s couch.  It does.  But, you’d be surprised how easily it’s applied.

The final session on Behavioural Economics, takes us into our biases, myths and preconceptions that stop us succeeding.  It explores cognitive, emotional and social biases that affect us daily.  And we don’t even realise it!

To give you the BE picture and how these affect selling:

  • Have you considered the impact of a high list price, or the word ‘free’ in a proposal?
  • Do you know how important recent events and experiences affect a decision?
  • Why part of the decision-making process does ‘providing options and alternatives’ play?
  • Why are we influenced by brand, when people don’t trust companies with whom they do business?
  • What’s the purpose of referrals and testimonials and when should you bring these into a sale?
  • Why is a low initial price – with potential pain later – so attractive?

If you’re interested in avoiding insanity, give Ron Pollak a call  02 9099 0543.