For starters, persuasion is an important word to define, especially for any salesperson. Why? Well, many people closely associate it with manipulation. They think that persuasion means to make people act against their will. This is incorrect.
‘Persuasion’ means to cause someone to do or believe something. Another definition states ‘persuasion’ means to empower someone to do or believe something.
Persuasion isn’t bad. It’s what’s driving the persuasion that must be examined. If your intentions are good then you need not worry, persuasion is a natural part of leadership.
You yourself have been persuading people everyday of your life, as we all do. As children, we persuade our brother or sister to give us their toy. We persuade our friends to go here or there for lunch. And we persuade our parents to buy us this or that for our birthday.
Persuasion is a part of life. In fact, persuasion is a wonderful skill to master.
So what does it mean to be a ‘persuasive salesperson?’ It means to sell with the power to cause someone to act or believe. Sounds good doesn’t it? If you want to harness the power of persuasion in sales and selling, simply start here.
If persuasion were a house, the foundation would be poured with belief. You must believe in what you sell if you want persuasive selling power. But unfortunately, belief is not a garment you put on. Belief speaks of a deep personal agreement.
So How do I Believe? Choose To Sell Only What You Believe In: If you do not believe in your product or service than you have chosen a slow death for yourself.
Don’t be deceived; trying to sell a product (or service) you don’t believe in will only lead to slimy sales tactics. You can’t use persuasion sales skills on others about a product if you can’t persuade yourself first.
So if you are faced with a sales job where you do not believe in the product, then what?
Believe In The Engine: Let’s say you are selling a car. You hate the look of it, it’s overpriced, and you have a friend who owns one but sincerely regrets his purchase. But on the other hand, it has the most well built engine of all the models on the floor. BINGO! Believe in the engine! Learn all you can about it. After all, the engine is the heart of the car. Everybody wants a healthy heart don’t they?
Be Objective & Optimistic With The ‘Bad News’: To be ‘objective’ means to not be influenced by personal feelings or emotions. And to be ‘optimistic’ means to be expecting the best.
So when it comes to selling the look and price of the vehicle be objective and optimistic like this:
- This car has a unique/different look and for some people its not appealing and for others its a great look.
- The price maybe on the high side however you need to decide for yourself whether the exceptional engine and the other features that appeal to you, provide value.
Ask the prospect what they think.
- This car has a unique/different look and for some people its not appealing and for others its a great look. What do you think, do you like the design and look of this car?
- The price maybe on the high side however you need to decide for yourself whether the exceptional engine and the other features that appeal to you, provide value. What do you think?
To harness your persuasive selling power you must search to find something to believe in, as well as help the prospect find what they believe in. These two factors are the essence of persuasion.
If you are trying to sell with the power to persuade or cause others to act or believe then you must be aware of those to whom you are selling.
Psychologists tell us that we are born into one of four primary temperament styles:
- Aggressive (Worker)
- Expressive (Talker)
- Passive (Watcher)
- Analytical (Thinker)
Each of these four styles may require a unique communication strategy. If you wish to influence customers, you must be able to quickly and accurately recognize these distinct behavioral styles and adapt accordingly.
For Example: If you decide to engage in conversation for the entirety of your sales pitch, it may go over really well with your expressive audience prospect. He or she likes to talk and engage in discussion. But perhaps your passive audience member would have appreciated something that he or she could have seen or felt rather than heard.
Conversely, the analytical audience member may have appreciated an open discussion regarding the sale. Getting into the detail. He or she likes to understand the finer points. And finally, the aggressive audience member is wishing the pitch were over. They decide quickly and once decided they want to ‘get down’ and get the deal done.
So What Do I Do?
Be Observant: Look at your customer during your pitch. Connect with their eyes. Look for gestures that speak messages. If your prospect is rolling his eyes, not paying attention or interrupting you that’s a sign that you are not speaking to their needs or style. It’s time for you to ask a question and see what your customer is thinking.
Ask Questions: You’re not a physic. And being discerning will only take you so far. Remember your customers are diverse. Here are a few great questions to ask throughout a sales pitch:
- Is there anything I can clarify at this point?
- Does anybody have a question?
- Would anyone care to share how he or she is feeling/thinking at this point?
Asking to clarify is an ‘emotionally intelligent’ move. Why? Because, when you suggest clarity, it implies that one’s misunderstanding of a concept is simply part of the information exchange process rather than a negative emotion created by the sales pitch.
Know Your Customer: As much as it is in your power to do so, know your customers beforehand if you can. For example, it is common practice to request a list of people who will be attending a meeting if you are making a sales presentation.
Do your homework: Look at their biographies online. Be mindful of their role. If they are all engineers, you will be dealing with some analytical people…thinkers. Now tailor your presentation accordingly.
Understanding styles and the types of questions to ask are two of the most important persuasive principles. However there are many others. Take time to learn more about the art of persuasion.
To learn more about styles visit www.integroperformancegroup.com. To learning more about selling questions explore the SPIN selling techniques.
Persuasion is a tool in every sales person’s tool kit. Don’t be afraid to use it. It takes some practice, but the great leaders and sales professionals know the art of persuasion, study it and even master it. Now it’s your turn.