10 Common Mistakes Old School Persuaders Make that Top Sales Professionals Don’t – Part 2 of 3

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10 Common Mistakes Old School Persuaders Make that Top Sales Professionals Don’t – Part 2 of 3

Part 2 of Common Mistakes Old School Persuaders Make.

  1. I am an outgoing people person, so I am a natural persuader.

There are the stereotypical persuaders who are friendly, outgoing, and sometimes loud. Research reveals, however, that some of the best persuaders are actually introverts. How can you persuade if you are always talking? Great persuaders will listen more than they talk. Great persuaders use listening and questioning to get prospects/customers to persuade themselves. Which approach do you think will have better long-term results; if you persuade them, or help them persuade themselves? It’s much better if they feel like they made the decision themselves without any outside pressure.

Fortune 500 companies commonly require listening training, even though many employees think it’s a waste of time. The truth is, poor listening skills account for the majority of people’s communication problems. Dale Carnegie asserted many years ago that listening is one of the most crucial human relations skills that could possibly be developed. Listening is how we find out people’s preferences, desires, wants, and needs. Of all the skills one could master, listening is probably the one that will pay you back the most. It is how we learn to customize our message to our prospects. Good listening is not just looking at someone and nodding your head in agreement. You have to make sure the other person knows that you understand. The more the other person feels understood and cared about, the greater your ability to persuade and influence.

Of all the tools in your persuasion toolbox, questioning is probably the one most often used by master persuaders. Questions create immediate involvement; they guide the conversation, clarify concerns and objections, reveal beliefs, attitudes, and values, help you find out what your prospect needs, and show your sincerity. Questioning is a very diverse and useful tool.

We are taught to answer a question when it is posed to us. We automatically think of a response when asked a question; even if we don’t verbalize the answer, we think about it in our head. Most people want to be cooperative; we don’t want to be considered rude by ignoring when a question is asked of us. In this way, a question stimulates our thinking response. Make sure you are careful in how you pose your questions. The structure of your questions dictates how your listener will answer them. A good rule of thumb is to start with the easiest questions first. You want to draw your audience into the conversation and help them feel relaxed and comfortable. People are encouraged by answers they know are right. Begin the conversation by starting with a general topic instead of a specific subject. You need to get the wheels in your prospect’s mind rolling before you ask them to answer the more specific questions.

The best questions draw a person into the conversation and out of being unreceptive. It is to your advantage to ask questions that will get your prospects to open up. For example, consider the following:

  • What do you think about…?
  • Have you ever thought about…?
  • How do you feel about…?
  • When did you start…?
  • Where did you find…?
  1. Focusing on price rather than building value

Many persuaders tend to focus on price rather than building value. When you are finished with your presentation your prospect should think, that’s it? That’s inexpensive! What a great value! Even if they can’t afford it, they can see the value of what you are offering. Discussing price creates fear in many persuaders. It’s often where the sale begins to sink. Three things happen. Prospects know it is a great way to get rid of you, they can postpone making a decision, and it is a knee-jerk reaction. You have not built the value of your product or service. We often feel like lost sales come down to price. It is not the price issue! It’s that they don’t see the value. Think about it. If price was always the issue, we would all be driving yugos, drinking kool-aid, staying at Motel Six, and shopping at thrift stores.

If you do hear the price objection too frequently, try asking, “Compared to what?” They will usually give you a blank stare because there is nothing to compare it to. It is your job to help them compare your product or service to a Rolls Royce, not a used economy car. It’s all about human perception. The human mind has to find a benchmark of comparison to make judgments, especially when we are talking about unfamiliar situations. People make comparisons based on knowledge and past experience. By showing your prospects contrast, you are creating comparisons for them. The mind can’t process everything at once, so it develops shortcuts to help make decisions. Instead of making a completely internal judgment, we look for boundaries, patterns, and polar opposites. We want to know the difference between our options, so we naturally contrast the two items. We mentally place things in our mind from best to worst, first to last, or highest to lowest. Do you want your prospects to compare your product or service to the second-hand thrift store or a shop on Rodeo Drive? You get to decide where you want them to start their benchmark.

When using this technique, keep in mind the powerful differences between positive and negative information. Psychologists have asserted for years that people automatically and subconsciously have extremely high expectations for the good over the bad. Because of this consistent tendency, negative information, when it comes, always seems to be given considerable weight because it is such a jarring contrast to what was expected. For example, have you ever had a salesperson get you all excited about some incredible product you were about to purchase? You’re totally thrilled with all the things this product is going to do for you, and then BAM! The salesperson hits you with the ghastly price. Suddenly the hefty price tag – just one negative detail – outweighs all of the twenty other terrific features. Negative information has taken precedence over all the positive information. In fact, now this one negative detail totally consumes your thoughts. You drive home only able to think about how the precious item is going to cost you an arm and a leg.

  1. I’m OK

This is a common thread we find at The Persuasion Institute. The psychological characteristics make all the difference in the world. You can’t read a book, go to a seminar, and then fix everything in one day. It is a process that will happen over time. I have never met a high producer that does not work at it on a daily basis. Many persuaders make the mistake of adopting attitudes like, “I’m Ok, I don’t have a problem with that, I don’t need to work on that”, etc. If you ever find yourself saying those kinds of things, you are worse off than you thought. Recognize that the only way to build your future is to build you.

Your psyche is the mental aspect of the game. It’s a critical skill for all successful salespeople, but it works equally well in all fields. You will not be able to achieve your goals until you believe you can achieve your goals. All the best techniques and tools will not help you until you first believe in yourself. Unfortunately, most of the people we know tend to bring us down. When you tell them about your dreams and the things you want to accomplish in life, they can be very discouraging. Do you know people like that? When you have the right psyche, you know where you’re going and what you want to accomplish, and anything that people say is not going to matter. The right psyche involves knowing what you want and having a plan to get it. When your psyche is in its proper place, you will always follow your heart.

Why are some people super-successful, while others dwell in mediocrity? Ask almost anyone out there, and they want more out of life. They want to be better, to accomplish those buried and forgotten goals. So why do so many of us fall short of achieving our dreams? We all want success. We all want to be happy. We all want to be self-disciplined and to have everyone’s respect. We want great achievement, to accomplish great feats, to be the best at what we do. And we want it all now. We know many of the things we should be doing to be happier, more physically fit, and more financially secure. We know we should set our goals, manage our time, spend more time with the family, exercise, eat right, work hard, sleep more, and have a positive mental attitude. So why aren’t we doing these things? The desire is there, right? Why does it sometimes seem impossible? The good news is if you really want success, you can have it. Success is an open book test.

Sometimes we find ourselves surrounded by people who seem to work the same amount we do, or even less, and they still get better results. Drives you crazy, doesn’t it? The key thing to realize is that working harder is not necessarily the same thing as working smarter. How do you work smarter? You need to have the right tools. Consider any professional who uses tools for a living. Having the right tool makes the job easier. Suppose you had to cut down a tree, but you had to do it with a hammer. Eventually the job would get done. But what if you had an axe, or a saw? The same job would get done better and faster – two factors we would all appreciate more of in whatever our jobs may be. Sometimes when using a new tool for the first time we need some special training. Then we need practice, and finally, repeated practice will lead to seasoned experience. Acquiring the Exponential Factor can be compared to training and exercising to get your body in tip-top shape when you haven’t had an exercise routine in years, or ever in your life. There may be some pain and discomfort in the beginning stages, but keep at it and it starts to feel good. You are being stretched and pulled out of your comfort zone, but in the end, it’s definitely worth it.

Life is a fantastic game. We can either spend our time training and winning or spend our time in the bleachers of life waiting, watching and wishing we were on the field doing the things we really know we can do and want to do. You are in charge of your life. How you live is your decision. You can make excuses and rationalize all day why you are not on the field, but until you decide you want to be in the game to enjoy the victories and suffer the bruises and defeats, you will not be happy or reach the success you know you deserve or are capable of achieving.

We will continue this list of the 10 common mistakes in part 3 in our next article.


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