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The One That Got Away: Understanding the Psychology of the Sale

Now, more than ever, we have to maximize our sales costs and efforts by doing everything we can to land the sales opportunities we get. Believe it or not, most sales people today are insufficiently trained to do so. It’s not enough to merely know your market, your product and services, and a few sales techniques. Before I will call a salesperson “highly trained”, they have to be able to read the personality style of the potential customer within the first minute of meeting them. Yes,this is possible! Learning how to read and react to the psychology of the sale is the most important training a sales person can have to be highly effective in any economic climate.

Tip #1: How is it possible to read a potential customer’s style within the first minute? For example, when shaking hands, a highly dominant or directing person may turn your hand so that it is under theirs. While this isn’t definitive, it is a possible indicator. Now you’ll know to use words, phrases and examples that speak to their personality rather than offend it.

Research and experience has shown time and time again that even in tough economic times buying decisions are not made based on the best company with the best product or price. The buying decision is actually a complex social, physiological and psychological process—and more often than not, the buyer is unaware of which of these elements really drove the result. A highly trained salesperson knows how to read the customer and use words, phrases, stories and examples that don’t fire up the sympathetic nervous system and create fear or discomfort in the buyer’s neurology. This is what makes the buyer’s head move up and down rather than right to left. Further, they learn to intuitively know when to talk about the sales process, the benefits or features of what they’re selling, or even a completely unrelated topic in just the right mix and at the right moment in order to create a sense of rapport with the buyer.

Tip #2: Creating a sense of rapport with the buyer does not necessarily mean being friendly or likeable. Some buyers don’t want you to be friendly; they prefer a rapport that honors their sense of importance or business-like manner. Read the signs from the buyer to build the rapport that they are most comfortable with, don’t force them into your sales style.

If the CEO or the VP of Sales does not understand the complexities of the psychological aspects of the sale, including creating rapport by reading directive versus deferential personalities, then you can bet the sales team doesn’t either.  You can also bet that company is losing money by either discounting– in order to close the deal (which is often the result of a poorly trained salesperson)– or by losing the sale completely.

It’s hard enough to get the sales call opportunity these days, so it is imperative to make every sales opportunity count. This can be achieved by training the sales team on the critical psychological and communicational elements of the interaction and by replacing low performers sooner. Investing in the creation of a highly trained sales team is one of the best investments a business can make for the greatest impact to the bottom line right now.  In the next few days, watch for more tips about the psychology of the sale, as well as ideas for how to turn customer service opportunities into sales opportunities. I will also share my ideas to eliminate the expense and pain of cold-calling and shift to a warm-calling plan that yields more sales opportunities with the same investment. Stay tuned…

Are you leaving money on the table? Contact us to discuss today.

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