If you have followed me for a while, you know sales activities are not limited to conversations with potential customers, but a reality of our daily life, be it professional or private; whenever you want to convince someone of something, you “sell.”
So, what is the “secret recipe” to become more persuasive, to “sell” more?
In my workshops, I am always confronted with opposition and astonishment when I make it clear that we make all decisions one hundred percent emotionally (and then justify them rationally). Furthermore, the strongest motivation for decisions is the avoidance or reduction of “pain,” especially anticipated pain.
Ambition and pleasure always come second when making decisions. So does logic. Salespeople need to know this.
These facts, proven by countless studies, are currently receiving blatant and tragic confirmation from the novel coronavirus and the decisions associated with it. Even in Switzerland, shelves of pasta and rice are being bought up out of fear. Unbelievable!
You can use the mechanisms that become visible in this process in a positive way for your business and leadership at any time if you want to get people to act:
Here’s a very current topic and what it teaches us for our success: the coronavirus. It is the all-dominant media topic these days.
I don’t want to trivialize a single death due to the virus—even one was one too many. But some mechanisms make the virus a “media hit,” and these mechanisms are not caused by the real danger. Otherwise, the media would be full of reports every day of the year about deaths from the common flu (of which there are thousands to tens of thousands every year in Europe alone) or road deaths or hospital infections.
The mechanisms that make the coronavirus so prominent in the media are different from the facts (and we can all learn from this situation if we want to spread news quickly):
Here again is a business lesson from real life. If you apply the following, you can double your profits relatively simply (although the implementation is, of course, never quite as easy).
Over Christmas, I was with the family in Baden-Baden, which is famous for its thermal baths. One of these spas has an interesting offer: you go through 17 stations that build on each other to maximize the positive experience. The price of this experience is about twice as much as a comparable offer from another spa.
Now comes the exciting part. These 17 stations are nothing more than any other thermal bath has to offer: showers, hammam, pool, jacuzzi, etc.
So, what happened? The “17 steps” communicate a value that “two-hour thermal bath” simply does not suggest.
In some subjects, I find it remarkable that it always takes studies to prove an obvious fact (even if such studies sometimes reveal new nuances).
One such topic is the connection between the enthusiasm of the crew and enthusiastic customers.
(Attention: I deliberately do not use "satisfied" because that is not enough. If you don't even have satisfied people and satisfied customers, you won't survive with your business anyway).
A few days ago, the Harvard Business Review published the article "The Key to Happy Customers? Happy Employees", which confirms this thesis with a larger study.
It's no longer a secret. However, most salespeople and entire sales teams try to ignore this simple fact: Sales tomorrow will differ from yesterday, especially in B2B (Business-to-Business).
The reasons have been discussed a thousand times: Buyers are much better informed, take less time, have much more choice ("global sourcing"), etc. Yet many sellers still find it extremely difficult to adapt.
Instead, customer visits are carried out in the same way as in the past, hoping that the presentation of the products will motivate potential buyers to buy. It is still expected that the prospective customer will contact us because he has a "need." It is assumed that the prospective customer reads my emails and listens to my voice messages.
Here comes the brutal truth: Forget it! If you win a customer with these outdated methods, you have won the lottery. Congratulations! But you can't increase your revenue anymore.
"We finally have to improve the customer experience," rumbles the head of sales at the management meeting. "We simply can't do everything we can to sell our products at high prices and then have such shortcomings on delivery!" There was an embarrassed silence.
Only after some hesitation does the head of logistics notice timidly: "After all, we were able to reduce the delivery time by 10 percent last quarter".
Perhaps you are familiar with such discussions. The problem is that they miss the actual crucial point.
Change of scene: When I unpacked my new Apple Watch the other day, I once again noticed how much importance this company continues to place on customer experience, not abstractly, but quite specifically.
This means that a total of 20 steps may be necessary to unpack and start up the device (if you count everything). Each of these steps works right away, is emotionally charged and seamlessly moves on to the next step. After about 10 minutes, the Smartwatch is completely ready...
Sales is a fascinating subject: it is not only the oldest profession but also constantly evolving. It is about persuasiveness, self-confidence, psychology, value creation, knowledge of human nature and much more.
There is also hardly a topic, which is examined so variously by experts of all possible directions. You can read innumerable - often-good - books in this respect.
How different is the situation when I look into companies (especially small and medium-sized ones)? Often, people "sell" in the same way throughout their lives without questioning the methods, approaches, strategies and much more.
There is another way! How? Here are three ideas:
The other day I was looking for accommodation on Airbnb, and I briefly enquired with several providers. One answered my query within 3 minutes. Also, my further questions were answered in a few minutes quickly, but exhaustively. My action: I booked the accommodation.
I mention this again and again in my sales training: Speed is more important than many other factors. Why is that? Well, in addition to the significant gain in time, the speed of the sales process shows me, as a prospect, what I can expect later as a paying customer: provide quick answers to my questions.
One of the critical success systems (in contrast to anecdotal success) is the principle that people - including your customers - are always keen to get involved with you.
The big question is how do we attract others and keep them coming back (and buying)?
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