Spend most of your time asking questions
of your prospects, and you will have the opportunity to find out if
there is a solution or vision that they want to buy.
When I say solutions or visions, here's
what I mean. People buy solutions to problems or deep felt pains that
they have or fear happening. People also buy visions that represent
the means of attaining their desires.
Of the two, most people will have a stronger
motivation to solve or avoid a problem than they will to do something
to attain a desire. Don't believe me? Just look at how many people
claim to dislike or even hate their jobs. Anyone *can* get a new job
or start a new career. Most people never do though. Why? Because the
fear of going into the unknown or losing their secure paycheck is
more painful than enduring whatever pain or frustration they might
have in the job they claim to hate or dislike.
Let's say that If you wanted to sell
someone on changing careers. You would need to first deal with whatever
they feared in the process of changing careers. Only after successfully
addressing this you could ever complete this sale and motivate them
with the exciting possibilities that the new career offered.
A business might have a need for a particular
product or service that offer. You look at this business, and you
just know that they need it. It would make real difference to the
way they do business, how they treat their customers, how much revenue
they take in, or how efficient they are.
None of this matters.
Nope. That is your perception. The only
thing that really matters is whether or not the people who run this
business perceive that something needs to be changed. Businesses buy
something when they recognize that a change needs to occur to fix
or avoid a problem, or to realize a vision for the future.
Now, some prospects are walking pain
statements. They'll hand you their problem right up on a silver platter
and ask you if you can solve it. These tend to be the easy sales.
We love these.
Unfortunately for us, there aren't enough
sales like this in most industries to make our sales goals off of.
Not all people or businesses perceive that they need to change. Not
all buyers are aware of the problems, pitfalls, or opportunities that
are out there. This is especially true when you sell an innovative
or new product, and people are not even aware that what you offer
So herein lies the challenge and the
opportunity for us as salespeople (and the reason why businesses have
salespeople instead of a stack of order forms in their corporate lobbies).
We are paid a lot of money to find the prospects that are unaware
of the problems and possibilities, and to show them the consequences
that await them.
People are motivated by consequences.
This is one of most important things you can learn in persuasion.
Consequences are what people fear or want most. This is the root motivation
for what people do, or don't do - what they buy or don't buy.
Earlier I said that by asking questions
of your prospects you will have the opportunity to find out if there
is a solution or vision that they want to buy. I used the word opportunity
specifically, because just asking questions is not enough.
You must ask the right questions at the
right time. Use questions impotently, and not only will you not learn
what motivates your prospect, you'll likely hear "I want to think
about it, call in me in a couple of weeks". This in most cases is
just the same as losing the sale.