One of the ways we can differentiate on how we sell instead of what we sell is to engage our prospects emotionally in the causes of and solutions to their problems.
Traditionally sales is an arm’s length transaction boiling down to “I need a thing, you sell that thing, I buy that thing.” Very intellectual. Very undifferentiated. Very commoditized.
This is especially true in technical industries where sellers often believe they have send proposals into the gaping black hole of procurement while keeping their fingers crossed that they are awarded the business (after some serious negotiations) to be successful.
As Sandler said, “people by emotionally and justify their decisions intellectually.” Even highly intellectual prospects like engineers or accountants have emotions and products that are considered a commodity like insurance, which wouldn’t seem to have emotion attached, has emotion at the root of a potential sale.
Typically discomfort in talking about emotions come from unmodern mindsets like “emotions don’t belong in sales” or “it’s not okay to ask about our prospect’s feelings.” Both of those and their synonyms are nonsense.
To get comfortable talking about emotions with a prospect we must first examine our head trash about emotions, which comes through in our behavior. If we don’t recall, or better yet observe, any questions or statements related to emotions (e.g. “sounds frustrating”) in our last several interactions with prospects then we have a mindset block that will prevent us from speaking about emotions.
While we are working through our head trash we can trap ourselves into talking about emotions by writing down questions about emotions on our pre-call plan. We can also share with our prospect something like, “I made need to ask you how you feel about the problems we discuss. Might sound strange, but it’s important. Would you help me not forget that?”
When we do ask about our prospect’s feelings they might not know how they feel because they might have similar head trash or they’ve never been asked by another salesperson. Instead of getting uncomfortable and talking over our question, if we start counting backwards in our head from 15 our prospect will usually respond before we get to 10. Letting an uncomfortable silence stretch keeps us in control of the sales conversation and gives our prospect a chance to engage emotionally.
By not engaging with our prospect emotionally we unintentionally commoditizing ourselves, which shoves us back in the crowd who is “quoting and hoping” instead of standing out to our prospect as a potential trusted advisor.
Until next time… go sell something.