Do you ever notice that moment when you’ve won over that Homeowner at the point of sale? But on the other hand, have you ever seen the look on their face when you just clearly lost them (hidden objections?)
There is truly a psychology to selling effectively, yet most salespeople don’t know exactly what they’re doing correctly. That’s making people more attracted to them versus incorrectly. That’s actually repelling prospects away from them. In this blog, I’m going to explain to you the psychology of selling and the 14 steps to selling that actually works.
Number one, drop the over excited high energy (car-salesy) enthusiasm. This is probably my biggest passion in this sales training space, which is getting salespeople to drop the fake enthusiasm, to drop the excitement when they’re in front of prospects. Your prospects don’t like it. They don’t enjoy it, they don’t feel good about it because it doesn’t seem real, right? If I go up to you, just forgetting a sales situation, but let’s just say I come up to you, uh, at a networking event, right?
And I come up and I introduce myself, and I say, hi, my name’s Chris. It’s nice to meet you, right? Simple introduction.
What if, on the other hand, I come up and say, Hey, John, wack you on your shoulder, how the hell are you? You’re like immediately. Like, what? That feels weird. Then when you add it into a selling situation, immediately your prospect is going to be repelled. It actually is caused by a psychological phenomenon called reactance, where when we’re clearly trying to push someone in one direction, they’re going to resist. They’re going to pull back. So we want to drop that enthusiasm and instead, just be real, be genuine.
Number two, they don’t want the pitch. Some very recent data showed that one of the biggest reasons that prospects and buyers don’t ultimately choose to do business with a salesperson is that they felt that the salesperson didn’t really understand their needs or their concerns.
Yet, what most salespeople are doing is when they first meet that prospect, they’re coming in with that pitch. They’re coming in with all the reasons why someone should do business with them in the first place when we don’t actually know if it’s a fit. We haven’t done that proper discovery to understand what’s really going on. So what your prospect really wants at the end of the day, is they want to be engaged in a conversation about what’s going on, what’s really important to them, and what those challenges actually look like to them. Then if based on that conversation, they still feel like it’s fit, now it’s presentation time, now it’s time to present what that solution looks like. Think of it almost as a doctor’s type of conversation and or diagnosis of a health issue. You go to the doctor and the doctor is not saying, Hey, we have this incredible new procedure, right?
Instead, they’re just saying, Hey, so tell me where are you feeling that pain? What’s going on? Help me understand, right? It’s a give-and-take two-way dialogue, and it’s not about the pitch.
Number three, pressure is a no-no. Now, growing up, we would always use the term, no, no, that’s a no-no. I still think about pressure in sales as the same. The same idea here is that we don’t want to be putting pressure on prospects because it’s a no-no. Because it is such a taboo. It is such a bad thing that it’s not just not helpful. It’s actually killing the sale. So what we want to do is remove all pressure from the selling situation, instead of trying to persuade the prospect to tell us yes, where we’re immediate as a result, putting all this pressure onto them. Instead, we want to take a step back.
“It’s like I said earlier, there’s this concept called reactance and psychology where in any situation when we’re trying to push someone to do something and they know we’re doing that, they’re immediately going to want to pull back.”
Think about trying to get your kids to do something, or your spouse or someone that, you know, trying to push them into something that they’re not really sold on yet. If they feel like you’re putting pressure, there’s a good likelihood that they’re actually going to pull back. Well, that’s the exact same thing as selling to a prospect. If we’re putting pressure on them, they’re actually gonna pull back. What I suggest is you take all that pressure off and instead just ask questions to determine whether there’s actually a fit.
Number four, it’s about them, not you.
There was a boss that I had who used to say, prospects listen to one radio station, and that one radio station is W I I F M. Now, do you know what W I I F M stands for? It’s what’s in it for me. That’s what prospects care about. They don’t care about you. They don’t care about your offering. They don’t care about your products or your services or how great your service is. What they care about is themselves. Is this conversation going to be worth my time? And B, is their solution going to actually help me solve a problem that I care about? If they can’t answer affirmatively to either or both of those questions, then you’re in trouble. We’ve got to make the conversation about them understanding their concerns, asking questions about their challenges, the things that they care about, and then when they see that it’s about them, now they’re going to be engaged in a conversation.
Because people like to talk about themselves. People like to talk about their concerns or their goals or whatever it is that they’re looking to accomplish by making it about them and not your offering. Now, we’re in a position where we’re much more effective.
Number five, get in their shoes. Some really powerful data has shown that top performers are much more effective at taking the perspectives of their buyers.
So when’s the last time you’ve really thought through?
What’s the experience?
What’s the buying experience that my buyer goes through when talking to me or when talking to my competitors?
Again, I’m not talking about what’s the value proposition or what’s the, you know, the, your product experience. I’m talking about the actual experience of buying from you. What’s it feel like? What’s good, and what’s not good? Get in their shoes.
Start to think more like your buyers.
What do they care about?
What are the challenges that they’re facing?
What are the reasons that they do business with you?
What are the reasons they do business with your competitors?
Understanding that, suddenly, we are now really getting into the mind of our buyer. So when we talk about the psychology of selling, it’s literally how can we start to think like our homeowners? How can we really understand what they care about? And then craft our conversations around what they care about.
Number six, we need to create value through our questions. When you watch those scenes in Sopranos, if you’ve ever watched the show The Sopranos, and you watch the conversation between Tony Soprano and his psychologist, it’s really interesting from a sales perspective as I watch it because she’s never, the psychologist is never saying the solution. Tony says he’s got a problem or is concerned about this.
Then the psychologist says, “well, so help me understand why you say that, or how does that make you feel?” Now, these aren’t necessarily the exact questions that we want to be using in sales, but what you see is that most salespeople, when a prospect comes to us and says, ah, I’ve got this problem, most salespeople say, well, you’re in the right place. We’ve got this awesome new suite of products that are gonna help you. Instead, take a step back and create value, not through what you’re saying, what you’re pitching, but instead create value through the questions you’re asking.
Help me understand why you say that. What would you say this challenge is costing you?
Or if you were able to solve this problem, what would it mean in additional revenue or additional profitability?
Create the value through the questions, not through the pitching of your ROI or the pitching of the value that your service offers.
Really do it through the questions, not through just the actual statements you’re making.
Number seven, NO, isn’t bad. Let me repeat that. No, isn’t bad. This is so important as a concept in sales is that most salespeople spend their entire lives trying to avoid rejection, trying to avoid the prospect ever saying no. Yet, when you think about it, there’s no reason to feel that way. No, isn’t a bad thing because the reality is that at least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit. Our data shows that at least 50% of the people that you initially come across are not going to be a great fit for whatever it is that you’re selling. So, with that said, we wanna get to know as quickly as possible that 50% aren’t a good fit. It ultimately turns out that it just isn’t a fit, try to identify that as early as possible and consider that a victory, that it wasn’t a fit.
Because top performers are spending the majority of their time in front of qualified prospects, in front of the prospects that want to do business with them. So the only way that that can be insured happens is to make sure that when you come across someone who’s not a fit is that you disqualify them and you move on. What this also does is it takes off all that pressure. It takes off all that pressure that the prospect is feeling to do business with you. Instead, you’re basically saying, look, I’m not sure if this is going to be a fit. Help me understand what’s going on. Now the prospect feels so much more comfortable from a psychology perspective, you’ve taken all that pressure off, and now they feel good about this interaction. And at the same time, you can too, because you know that if it’s not a fit, you move on.
If it is a fit, we’re going to explore exactly how it’s a fit.
Number eight, if you feel it, say it. One of my mentors used to always say this, and it’s just stuck with me as so true. And, quite frankly, even more, true in today’s selling environment where there’s just no time for wasting time with tire kickers or people that just aren’t a fit. If your prospect is talking in a way that’s making your gut say, you know what? There’s something not right here. Rather than just push through, just say it. Just get it out on the table, whatever it is that you’re feeling.
Maybe the timing’s not right, or they’re not interested, or, uh, they just seemed distracted in the meeting. Say it, say, George, I really appreciate you sitting with me today, but it seems like you’re pretty distracted right now. Is, is this maybe not a good time to be talking about this? Watch them suddenly say, oh, no, no, no, no, I’m sorry, I was distracted, but no, no, I do wanna have this conversation. Or if they seem like they’re just not interested in what you’re talking about, you say, George, I get the sense that this just doesn’t seem to be of a lot of interest to you. Is that fair to say? Now they may say, yeah, you know what? No, I’m not interested. Then you can say, okay, well, tell me why you say that, right? So you dig in there, but they may also say, come back and say, oh…this is, this is definitely something that I want to talk about.
It’s amazing how you get to the point so much quicker by saying what you’re feeling. If you feel it, say it.
Number nine, get deep into their challenges. There is something that I’ve been saying for years we need to think like a doctor. We need to stop thinking like a salesperson and start thinking like a doctor. This idea of getting deep into their challenges, I think addresses that exact concern, is that the typical salesperson, prospect comes to them, says, oh, you know, uh, we have this operational challenge. Do you think you can help us? And the typical salesperson says, absolutely, we can help you. We’d happily give you a suite of offerings, you know, whatever, you know, but they’re not going into the challenges. They just deal with them, they identify a surface-level challenge, and then they offer the solution versus the professional salesperson who thinks like a doctor.
So the prospect says, yeah, we’ve got these operational issues. Do you think you can help us? And the doctor says, well, tell me more about those challenges. Help me understand what’s going on. Dig deeply. Think of it as an iceberg, right? Most prospects are willing to discuss what’s at the very top of the iceberg with anyone. What we wanna do is go deeper and deeper and understand what’s really going on to get deep into those challenges, using, really using psychology, using an effective question to get into the core challenge that they’re facing.
Number 10, tie those challenges to value. Tie those challenges to value. So we’ve talked about going deeper to really understand what’s going on. Now what we want to do is tie those challenges to a specific value. What is it that if they could solve this challenge, what would it mean in value to them in upside revenue or profitability or savings?
Here’s an example. Your homeowner is talking about their inefficient windows, right? They’re saying, yeah, you know our energy cost is really high and we get nervous about hurricanes. Then you say something along the lines of, well, George, if you were able to solve these challenges that you’re facing, what would it mean to lower cost and keep your family safer?
So now what you’re doing is giving the prospect the opportunity to come back with a response, right? They might say, oh, yeah, well, I mean, geez, we really would like to stop hanging the storm shutters and bring our FPL down each month. Now you’ve tied the challenges to some kind of specific tangible value, and it’s their number, it’s their number.
And by the way, even if you’re on the consumer side, you’re selling to consumers, there’s still value in solving their challenges. So it doesn’t have to necessarily be a number, but what is the value of solving those challenges? Or what is that challenge really costing them right now?
Number 11, make it a two-way dialogue. Psychology shows us that when people are actually speaking, that’s when they’re most engaged. When they’re listening, they’re maybe engaged, but they’re less likely to be really engaged. So what you wanna do is, even when you’re presenting, you want it to be a back and forth. You want it to be a two-way conversation where there’s never a period where you’re just going on and on and on and on, and talking about your service or your product, or your offering, or the value that you create. You want to only be going on for a little bit and then re-engaging them back into the conversation.
If it is truly a two-way conversation, you are going to win a lot more of your sales because it means that they have to be engaged. If it’s a two-way dialogue, keep that back and forth. Anytime you present something, say something like, so now that I’ve shown you that, I wanna understand, does that make sense? Based on what we’re talking about, get them back into the conversation.
Number 12, “the budget” comes later. This is one of the most important things, is that we don’t wanna start our conversation by talking about our price or talking about money at the beginning of the conversation. We want that to come at the end of the discovery process. So what that would look like is, we’ve gone through the challenges, we’ve gone through what the upside value is, we’ve gone through really understanding the whole issue, and now it’s time to talk about their budget.
So you might ask a question like, you know, uh, George, typically a solution based on what I’m hearing, the challenges are typically a solution for what we’ve discussed could range anywhere from a twenty-five thousand to seventy-five thousand. Where on that spectrum could you see yourself fitting? So now what you’ve done is you’ve given a range of potential budgets, and by the way, it’s a pretty big range. A 25k and 75k, a huge range. Now we’re letting them come back and say, oh, I feel like I could, you know, potentially x to y. And if you’ve really built an effective connection throughout your process, you’re going to get that answer. You’re gonna get that insight. Make sure that it’s coming later in the process though after you’ve really built that connection after you’ve really built that value.
Number 13, feedback loops are vital in the consultation process. As we read earlier, we wanna make our presentation a two-way dialogue. The feedback loops are simply those little questions when we’re talking to people that are pulling them back into that conversation. Feedback loops are something that I use all the time with every single person in my life because it’s so effective. If you ever find yourself going on and on, or talking for more than, you know, let’s say 60 seconds, stop and just say, so before I go any further, does this make any sense? Or do you see what I’m saying?
Or does that work for you? Right? These little questions are pulling people back into the conversation. The data shows that these little questions are not only re-engaging people in the conversation, but it’s also creating little, little moments of buy-in little, basically, think of them as almost like a mini close in the conversation. And so you’re pulling them closer and closer and closer. So that way, by the end of the presentation, assuming they’ve been on the same page with you, and they’re, they like what you’re saying, the only question to close is, what would you like to do next?
There is no hard close because you’ve used these feedback loops all throughout the process, and now all you’re doing is just establishing what’s the next step?
Here is the fourteenth. How are you going to connect, convert and close? We can help you greatly over at the BluePagesPro with this. Not only do we help you build tools to attract prospects looking for your services but our partners can provide the tools to convert to close!
From a simple custom landing page to a virtual proposal… we have you covered. Stop on over and see what we are doing to help contractors just like you win more jobs.