This video post is about the most important skill in sales - mastery of the customer conversation.
To assist me with the video, I have two minds – a sales person, that we'll call ‘you’ (or me) and a prospective customer we will call ‘them’.
You’re talking with the customer because you have a bright shining idea that you are pretty sure the customer will value (Green Square).
You just need to tell the customer about how great the idea is and surely they will buy?
Unfortunately telling the customer doesn't work. All your words bounce off. All your selling statements, elevator pitches, value statements. They just bounce off.
Some bounce off here on the “I do not trust you” force field and some bounce off this thick skull – but they all bounce off because Telling(or pitching) does not work
Your pitching doesn't penetrate because the customer does not trust you and because their mind is full - full of this red stuff.
That full mind has no concept space for your idea – you see - no green square.
It would help, if we could remove the barrier and get an idea of what is going on inside your customer’s mind.
We can remove the barrier by showing that we care and that we are credible. A fantastic way to do that is to tell a short story about who we are and why we do what we do. That removes the barrier and puts our story in the customer’s mind... (there is always room for stories).
Then we might prompt the customer may tell their story – which is great! (and that story goes in our mind).
We use questions to see into their mind and uncover their aspirations, challenges and plans.
We also use questions to get the customer thinking about the issues that we think we can solve. But notice, there is still no green square in there. Questions can illuminate and they can draw attention but they do not teach or persuade.
To place the green square in the customer's mind, we could tell a story about how we helped a similar customer and encourage them to imagine themselves in that situation. We could also ask the customer if it is ok for us to teach them about green squares. To teach, we need to start with a point of reference that they already understand. Such as these red squares.
If we are really clever, we may think of an analogy, simile or metaphor which can make our green square magically appear attached to existing concept in the customer’s mind. We call this persuasion.
When we persuade in this way – with stories, teaching and metaphors, a wonderful thing happens when, later our customer meets a colleague – and transmits your green square to the colleagues mind!
Because you taught them how.
I hope you enjoyed these sales conversation mind games and I would love to read your comments.
In Part 2, I'll talk about advanced mind games and a different way to be. That is when you approach the conversation with no sales agenda - no green square.
Sales Management Specialist and Director at Growth in Focus, Mike has managed sales teams in the United Kingdom, Russia, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia in IT Software, Telecommunications, Oil and Gas, Mining, Facilities Services and Industrial Products sectors.