Even if you could sell ice to an Eskimo why would you even want to?
Consumers and buyers are savvier about sales than they ever have been before, and many come to the negotiation table pre-primed and with their defenses at the ready. Sadly, some have a real and perhaps justified fear of being ‘taken for a ride’ or sold something they really don’t need or want – ice for example.
These days you need more than the traditional sales techniques to overcome the pressure of competition, tight margins and conflicting financial priorities of your potential customers.
Simon Hazeldine, author of the book Neuro-Sell: How Neuroscience can power your sales success expands on this quote from Dr. Evian Gordon; “Everything you do in life is based on your brains determination to minimise danger or maximize reward. Minimize danger, maximize reward is the organizing principle of the brain.”
This drive can be simplified as ‘stay away’ from anything that causes pain or problems, and is the stronger of the two as it traditionally improves your chances of survival or as ‘towards reward’ being something that brings pleasure, makes you look or feel good and increases satisfaction or success.
Everyone wants to feel heard and their needs recognised, and this is particularly important in any sales communication. Your questions should have the aim of uncovering their issue or need and assessing the solution you can offer. You goal is to clearly highlight for the customer how you can assist them towards reward or away from pain, and allow them to self-assess the personal as well as financial cost they are experiencing by not making the decision to ‘buy’.
Your sales ‘pitch’ and any promotional material also need to clearly articulate the powerful messages that will engage the brain to make a decision moving them closer to reward and towards your product or service.
Simon Hazeldine teaches that there are five stages in the sales process, which he refers to as ‘neuro-negotiating’, and 4 main types of buyer, each requiring a different approach to best identify their needs, build a sales relationship and ultimately close the sale.
He says, “Take a close look at your sales proposals and presentations. Do they incorporate and harness these powerful motivating forces? Do you clearly show your customer’s brain how it can “stay away” from pain and move “towards reward”?
Sales should never be about convincing the customer to buy something they don’t need; it should be focused on helping them decide what it is they do, getting them closer to their goals, reducing any loss or pain and increasing their rewards.
If your team is still working with the old fashioned approach where one style of selling suits all, you are probably missing out on many sales opportunities. Change the way you approach sales and train your team to tap into the brains of their customers and take the consultative approach. When you work with the brain (reward) and not against it (pain) the sales process will be much easier.
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Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organizations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.
She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.
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