Don’t Live Your Sales Life in the 1990’s

Some sales trainers are still stuck in the 90’s. They still hear Arnold saying “I’ll be back” and basically terminate their prospects. They still hear Forrest Gump state that “life is like a box of chocolates” and keep talking and talking and talking, until they have talked themselves out of the sale. And, they still believe that Kevin was left home alone and that they can brow beat their customers into buying. They also believe that the job of the salesperson is to persuade and convince a customer to see things they same way so they use your product or service. How 1990’s can you get?

Let’s take a look at the definition of the word persuade: to prevail on (a person) to do something, as by advising or urging: by appealing to reason and understanding: convince.

Now let’s take a look at how we know people make decisions. We know through neuroscience that people make decisions using emotion first, and then justify those decisions logically. In other words, if you are trying to urge, advise and appeal to your prospects reason without first making an emotional connection with them, which is the foundation of gaining their trust, you can advise and urge all day and simply feel like you just played Jim Carrey’s role in Dumb and Dumber and your briefcase will be devoid of any cash.

You want to start with increasing your ability to influence. Let’s take a look at the definition of influence.

Influence: the capacity or power to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc. of others: the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, and opinions etc., of another or others.

Do you see how influence is a stronger way to sell than by persuading or convincing? With convincing and persuading you put yourself, and your prospect, in a “win-lose” scenario. With influence, you are a compelling force for change that will benefit your prospect. And, this fits in with my definition of sales which is to “influence a person (or group of people) to make a difficult decision that will benefit them.”

Creating rapport and gaining trust is the first step in any buy cycle. You do this through honest and authentic interest in your prospect and how your product and service fits their needs. You should know their industry. You should know some of their pain points. You don’t follow your “five-step sales process,” you follow their buying process. You simply facility the way they purchase. In fact, a great question to ask any buyer is “how do you (and your leadership team, when dealing with committees) make a decision on buying (your product or service).