Want to smash your sales targets? Why selling is all about emotion, not logic.Feb 05, 2024
Harnessing the power of your thoughts
What is it that sets the great sales individuals apart from the average ones? What really makes the difference between those peak performers who can consistently exceed their targets, and the average salespeople who either limp to the finish line, or who believe there is a glass ceiling in place, preventing their progress? The answer is that high performers, in any industry or walk of life for that matter, think differently from most other people.
Selling is one of the oldest professions and when you think about it, even if you don’t work in sales, every day, in some form or another, you are ‘selling’ something. It might be that you want to holiday in a certain part of the world but you know your partner possibly might not be so keen; so, how do you manage to persuade them? How can you tap into what will help them to see the benefit of that particular holiday destination? Perhaps it’s about persuading your children that getting to school on time is advantageous– are you not ‘selling’ them the idea of getting ready according to your timeline? Maybe at work, there is a new project you and your team have been asked to undertake; it’s big and it’s going to be challenging, so how do you tap into what will motivate them to want to be engaged and excited as they work towards the goal?
This is about understanding the role emotion plays in decision-making.
The bridge we build
What high performers understand is the vital link between their thinking and emotional skills, and their sales effectiveness; they understand glass ceilings only exist when self-imposed. In order to break through that glass ceiling, to move past any objections, or barriers, is to understand that traditional selling skills and product knowledge do not play the most important role.
People don't buy for logical reasons- logic is the bridge we build from where we are to where we want to be. We construct our own logic from our own perceptions, values and emotional needs and it gives the salesperson an undeniable edge if they understand that; because of the way the brain is wired, everyone, without exception, makes buying decisions for emotional reasons. It's therefore important for the salesperson to use that knowledge to give the appropriate emotional information that will persuade the prospect to buy their product or service; it's understanding what their emotional drivers are.
This doesn't mean to say that data, specifications, delivery times, warranties etc are not important to a prospect, but if we bought for logical reasons, we would all be buying the same product or service to suit the same need but we don't. The right-half of the brain monitors the logical side and stays quiet until it doesn’t feel comfortable with the logic being employed and then emotional highjack takes place and emotions take over.
A few years ago, my husband and I were looking into buying a new kitchen. We’d shopped around and narrowed it down to two retailers based on quality, price and reviews/recommendations. A salesperson came to our house from one of the companies, to measure up and get a feel of the room and discuss our requirements. This retailer was a fairly large operation, with a local store so we could easily go back to them if there were any problems. By the time the salesperson left, I could tell you about how much he loved cooking, what his favourite dish was to cook, what his wife’s favourite dish was for him to cook, how many people at once he had cooked for, how long he’d worked at the company, where he’d worked previously to that, why his company's kitchens were the best, where they sourced their materials from, how they compared to other companies, why other companies were worse than them etc etc etc. The icing on the cake was when he even gave me a cookbook telling me it’s one of his favourites and that I’ll love using it. What he didn’t bother to find out was that I don’t like cooking, that my husband enjoys and does all the cooking; my main focus was a kitchen based around eating as a family, as well as a sociable room for entertaining. I don’t think he could have walked away and told you anything about us at all to be honest.
Cut to a small local two-person business, who when we visited, very quickly clocked what each of our interests were and in non-patronising way, directed questions regarding the ergonomics of the kitchen to my husband, and asked me if I would prefer an island, a breakfast bar or a table to be a feature in the room. It was a conversation, not a pitch. Their kitchen came in a bit more expensive and the delivery time would be longer, but I was impressed with how they got to know us and connected to what was important to each of us- our values. I'll leave it to you to guess which company we bought from...
When we relate this to not just the sales process, but our everyday interactions with those around us, if you appeal to a person’s emotions i.e. their values, you are much more likely to get them onside than if you explain the logic behind your choice.
Taking control of your brain
Selling – persuading people to buy, should be a natural and relaxed process– we sell more when we feel good and are being ourselves. You may well have experienced the situation where a salesperson suddenly switches into ‘selling mode’ and it’s a real turn-off. When a salesperson is with a prospect, they should be much the same person as they are when with their family, friends and colleagues- hopefully being themselves, at ease. Selling can be as natural as getting dressed i.e. you don’t think about it on a conscious level. Peak performers have always sold this way. They know product knowledge, building desire, objection handling and closing techniques should all coalesce into one seamless, subconscious whole. It’s about the salesperson gaining mastery over their own mind to maximise their sales potential; this, combined with gaining an understanding of what motivates their potential customer, and then selling naturally.
Most people's brains run their lives- very few people run their brains. By understanding how our mind works, we can harness its potential to make it work for us. In these challenging economic times, it's vital for salespeople to not only demonstrate they know how to do their job to be successful in their role, but to also be able to demonstrate they can think about the way they think about their job. When salespeople are more consciously aware of the nature of their thoughts and know that they can manage their thoughts and emotions, it puts them in a much stronger position and the selling becomes subconscious; they are able to continuously improve their thinking skills to persuade prospects to buy more of their products and services.
It’s about creating a definite shift in thinking and the impact this has on performance, which can lead to huge potential for growth and development. Thinking more consciously brings benefits far beyond just helping to hit and exceed sales targets- it helps individuals to review their own personal goals and objectives and it’s an opportunity to take a quantum leap forward in deciding what they want for the life ahead and exactly how to get there.
It doesn't matter what level of skill or experience an individual or team has in sales, because what they think about isn’t nearly as important as the way they think about what they think about- this approach is what works at all levels for those who are serious about increasing results and creating sustainable change. It’s also how we strengthen relationships in our personal life- by understanding the mental map of others- what their values are and thus what motivates them. It’s how we persuade those around us to help us get what we want, by first helping them get what they want. It’s all selling at the end of the day- whether it be a tangible product, an idea or a concept.
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Do you want to hone your thinking skills to be a more effective salesperson?
Perhaps strengthening relationships is something you’d like to focus on in 2024– both personally and professionally.
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