Here’s one thing a lot of salespeople do wrong: they don’t stop to imagine what they would do if they were in their potential customer’s shoes. In other words, they get started on their presentation or pitch and stay focused on themselves the entire time. They may think that the conversation is about the prospect since they’re talking to the prospect about the benefits they’ll receive from purchasing, but they’re actually orienting the conversation in themselves. Meanwhile, the customer couldn’t care less.
We’re now in what Jeremy Miner, the CEO of 7th Level Communications, calls the “post-trust era,” which means your prospects are more skeptical and cautious about salespeople than ever. “They expect you to be pushy and manipulative and will search for ways to get off the phone call. This is a major disconnect for many salespeople, who have spent hours perfecting their presentation and simply want to share the benefits of what their product or service does,” Miner further explained.
Miner noted that 97% of salespeople are taught to sell in this least effective way, by presenting, telling, teaching, and pushing them into something they want them to do. However, this is actually the LEAST persuasive mode of selling. It actually works against human behavior. “This never made any sense to me – why would salespeople be set up to fail in this way? Using sales techniques that work against human behavior is no longer effective with today’s info aged buyers. ” Miner and I discussed what salespeople should do instead.
Putting Yourself In A Customer’s Shoes
“Rather, the New Model of Selling, which I teach, is all about the prospective customer. They are the center of the sales conversation. To do this well, you must put yourself in the customer’s shoes. How do they view the world? What are their problems, and what is the root of their problems, and how is that impacting them?” Miner posed.
These answers aren’t yours to guess – in fact, you’ll ask questions rooted in exactly this through Miner’s method of questioning called the Neuro-Emotional Persuasive Questions, which works with human behavior rather than against it. But, your desire to be put in your customer’s shoes and understand them is critical to the effectiveness of NEPQ and getting your prospect to persuade themselves. Otherwise, you’re likely to ask what Miner calls ‘surface-level’ questions just because that’s what you’ve been taught. NEPQ and the new, effective model of selling means you seek to know your customer’s problem and what they are looking for in so much detail that you are essentially standing in their shoes, methodically.
The first step is to drop the tendency to be assumptive. Even if you’re on a sales call because the prospect expressed interest or even booked the call with you, the last thing you should do is assume that the sale is a done deal and move right into pitching your solution. Rather, this call should be a discovery process – to determine if you can even help them in the first place. It’s akin to dating. Just because someone expressed interest in getting to know you for a first date doesn’t mean they’re ready to get married right out of the gate! You first have to see if you offer each other what you need — in the case of the sale, this would be a ‘qualified’ lead (they actually have a problem that your product or service can solve) and a product that solves a problem.
Miner says that making assumptions is a surefire way to prove to the prospect that you don’t understand what it’s like to be in their shoes. Jumping the gun to say things like, “Great! Let’s schedule our first coaching session now,” or, “Looks like Wednesday at noon works for our team to come to your office and install that device,” is a short ride to losing consumer trust and the sale entirely. Let them lead.
Consider What You’d Prefer
Now, salespeople who understand the new model of selling – and how to get prospects to persuade themselves through NEPQ questions – have a more complex understanding of what works in sales. But, it’s also helpful to imagine what type of sales conversation you’d like to have if you were truly in your prospect’s shoes. What would you want to be asked? What problem would this product solve for you?
This requires a great deal of emotional intelligence — a quality that salespeople in the new model of selling have mastered. This is the art of picking up on what the prospect needs and guiding them emotionally through the sale. We’ve learned that logic actually hardly makes a factor in a person’s decision to buy — it’s all emotion. 100 percent emotion! This means we must know how to emotionally empathize with a prospect so we can help them to persuade themselves, and act as more of a trusted advisor than a salesperson.
Learning to put yourself in a customer’s shoes may take some time, but it’s worth it for every time you get on the phone with a new prospect. Remember, you are selling something that could potentially help them. How can you make sure it DOES help them? Put yourself in the shoes of the customer to know for sure.
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