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04 January 2015

Ditch Sales Technique and be more “human” – focus on Biology and Psychology to grow business.

With several Sales Kick Off meetings on the books for this first quarter, we have a lot of “Selling” talk going on in our office as we develop content, slides and breakout sessions. The one thing we’re NOT talking about in our Sales Kick Off meetings: Sales Techniques.

Technique is a particular way you accomplish a task. Technique is about your style, your methods or your particular panache you use in your execution.

But if you follow any of our philosophy on Selling and Customer Influence, you’ll remember, it’s not about YOU, it’s about your buyer, your customer or client – the sometimes irrational and unpredictable Human being.Ditch Technique - be more human

I’ve been to a dozen or more Sales Training courses that preach to teach Sales Professionals about cold call tactics, objection techniques or closing techniques . . . the thought process here being that your technique can manipulate or maneuver the customer into your desired outcome. As if you apply X and get Y outcome. Moves and counter moves. Yes, some of this works – but not because you can guarantee behavior, some of these “techniques” are based in psychology and make sense. However, humans are not machines – we can be very unpredictable. {For humor’s sake, and to prove my point, here’s a ridiculous list of “Closing Techniques”, such as the “Hurry Close – go fast to stop them thinking too much” or the “Compliment Close – where you flatter them into submission.” Ugh. Seriously demeaning and dehumanizing.}

For years, sales training has focused on getting clients on the hook and then squeezing them into the decision to buy. Sound familiar? This is why people have a negative view of Sales People. Doors slam and people run from the sales guy because we’ve all had experiences with little integrity or consideration for what we as a customer want from a buying experience. People don’t want to be “sold” – they want to “buy”.

Helping people make “buying” decisions is different than trying to sell them your product or service. It’s a shift – in practice and theory and definitely in results.

If you’re wondering how to be more effective in helping people “buy you” – invest in understanding WHY and HOW people make decisions and work back wards from there to develop your communication and offerings.

Our sales training references a lot of biology – understanding how humans make decisions from their primitive brains {Limbic}, not from our modern, {Neocortex}, analytical brain. We don’t process language, rational or reason in the Limbic brain – it’s about feelings, sensing and subconscious. That’s why we actually make the decision about the car or house we want and then work to rationalize the decision {or, “sell” it to ourselves}. All the facts and figures you can present in favor of your product are nearly irrelevant if a customer doesn’t have a good “gut” feeling about buying from you.

And then there’s the psychology of how we process “risk” and view resources. The old “overcoming objections techniques” aren’t just about objections to your product they’re about a customer processing their risk and exposure by making a decision. Avoiding “loss” weighs more heavily in decision making processes than leveraging “gains” – just ask my 8 year old daughter if she’d like to try out this new, unknown toy vs. using her allowance to buy the 8,000th Littlest Pet Shop set. Hint: Littlest Pet Shop always wins. Identifying and evaluating perceived risks can help you build promotional and selling messages and position yourself to lower risk from the start.

Of course, factoring in subconscious influence and perceived risk goes WAY beyond sales professionals and business owners. EVERYONE sells. Everyone has an agenda, whether it’s to get your boss on board with your idea, to get your partner to take a tropical vacation with you or to get your 3 year old to eat Brussels Sprouts. You’re selling something and all the “technique” in the world doesn’t compensate for being human and understanding the biology and psychology of how and why we make decisions.

How are you going to be more “human” to influence decisions?

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!

-sks