Influencers from Around the World – Real World Persuasion in Selling

To start the New Year our Influencers from Around the World guest post comes to us by way of Ireland from my good friend Sean Patrick. Sean owns a sales training company, Sales Training Evaluation. He  came to the States in October 2010 to spend a week with me and attended the Principles of Persuasion workshop I hosted. You can connect with Sean on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brian, CMCT® 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Real World Selling
As a reader of Brian Ahearn’s blog, you’ve come to expect to read mostly about Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion. This post is slightly different, as I’ll be talking about some fanciful tactical elements that can make up a potent mix and get more people to say “Yes” more often.
You’ve probably read it somewhere that people buy from people and people trust people that appear similar to themselves. The next time you are solving a personal crisis with a friend or about to go and pitch to a new customer, how about understanding those people first? Do your research and find out as much about that person as possible. Learn out about their past, their likes, dislikes, as well as their personal and professional milestones. You can actually find a lot of this information just by using a strong Boolean search in Google, by reading press releases and other material such as presentations and white papers, and more importantly by “listening” to that person on social media. This gives you an advantage because you’ll understand what motivates that person.
We all have fears, whether it’s fear of putting on weight, missing deadlines, death, inflation, debt, the unknown, and growing old. From a young age, we’ve been coached into making prejudices about our decisions by making cross-references between our past and current experiences. Fear, uncertainty and doubt make us think irrationally and can be powerful enough to drive us into making decisions that are negative as well as positive. If we make negative decisions such as taking up smoking, there is usually a positive intention behind the original decision, and that positive intention could be to help us get some relief from stress. This is what’s known as secondary gain.
If we go back to our fears just for a moment, think about the decisions to buy life insurance and invest in pension funds. We buy expensive gym memberships because of a fear of putting on weight; we buy home security products because we fear for the integrity of our home and possessions. Our first lesson here is to think about the underlying motivators that cause us to make decisions because a lot of our decision-making isn’t logically grounded but rather, can be very irrational.
One way of looking at this is to view your decisions in two groups: away from and towards. For example, we move away from our fears and we move towards things we love. But think about why we either fear or love. This is a huge motivator and can wreak havoc on unsuspecting customers and cause great profit from vendors.
How do you perceive value and ask yourself what does value mean to you? When you’re selling or trying to get a friend or associate to buy into your idea, think in terms of what value you can offer to help sweeten the deal. Value comes in two different types: personal value and business value. Let’s take a look at personal value first. Think about all those times when you volunteered information nuggets gratis (or free). What happened? More than likely, the recipient profited in some way. This is called personal value and most of the time, you give this away too cheaply. As a law abiding and decent citizen, your mother brought you up to share things with other people. This is a lovely gesture but charitable acts such as sharing in the business world will leave you feeling punished and dejected. Never share your candy too soon.
Business value is slightly different. You show this type of value by demonstrating your capability in a way that is unique to you. This differentiates you and lessens the likelihood of being commoditized by a buying officer. You can offer business value by selling a $10 lunch for $ 7.99 but is that going to be enough? Certainly not for everyone. Real business value is doing something utterly different that allows you to create your own rules and profit from them because no one else can offer the same product or service as you. For example, Apple rode out financial turbulence by moving away (think of motivators here) from debt and making profit by creating remarkable products that weren’t available anywhere else. Or were they? Similar products were available but Apple went a step further, they created unique enhancements to increase the user experience, which increased its products’ value exponentially.
Finally, think of our motivators again back at the beginning of this post. This time let’s turn those inside out. This is called expectation. When we buy expensive gym memberships we expect to receive help in getting fit and losing weight. When we buy life insurance we expect to insulate ourselves against our loved ones being left high and dry financially. You get the picture.
This is yet another way of thinking about benefits, those by-products we experience positively via our purchases. We want results and solutions to our problems and that’s exactly what we expect when make those purchases. Whenever you’re embarking on a persuasion process with someone, think about how the other person can benefit from your idea and tell him or her exactly what he or she can expect. If you find this tough to do, ask that person a series of questions to find out what they want, then match what you can deliver that gives them a solution and then tell them precisely what they can expect.
2 replies
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