If you’re in sales, you’ve likely heard about how consumers tend to approach purchase decisions emotionally, rather than in a logical way. You may even have experienced it yourself — you may have put in the research for a purchase decision for your business, and come to the conclusion that everything checked out in favor of one product, but still felt like another product that didn’t have the logical advantages of the first choice was still where your heart was. You may even have made such emotional purchase decisions with your own money, simply because you felt emotionally compelled to do so.
It’s important to understand that emotional compulsion is what the best minds in sales design the sales approach to deliver. Your prospects need to feel emotionally compelled to choose your product over the competition. Creating an emotional response among your customer base, however, isn’t just about trying to make an emotional appeal. It requires a thorough understanding of behavioral science, about how people make decisions. Your sales approach needs to appeal to the psychological habits people have.
Let the prospect do most of the talking
Sales professionals are often taught that hooking a prospect is all about the gift of the gab — you need to keep talking until the prospect is persuaded to buy. You especially talk about all the logical ways in which your product is the superior choice, and why they have to buy. Behavioral science, however, teaches the complete opposite. Not only does it offer the idea that people make purchase decisions emotionally, but it also says that people dislike being told what to do.
It’s important for sales professionals to avoid the temptation to jump to talking about the solution to a customer’s problems too early in the sales process. You don’t want to talk about why a prospect should buy what you’re selling.
Instead, since buying is emotional, the modern sales technique adopts the idea that sales professionals should only do the talking about 10 percent of the time that they spend with their prospects. That time should be spent skillfully asking prospects questions directed at drawing out their emotions. Behavioral scientists call them neuro-emotional persuasion questions or NEP questions. Once you ask the right questions, the prospect uses most of the time that they have with you talking about what they are looking for. When they finally decide to buy, they are convinced that it’s their decision, and not yours.
Become a problem prospector
Sales professionals need to see themselves not as product pushers, but as people whose job it is to learn what problems their prospects have in their lives. When your prospects see you as a person who aims to identify and solve the problems they have, they begin to trust you. Your prospects want to be heard and understood, not told what they are supposed to want.
Problem awareness questions, as these NEP questions are described, are designed to probe prospects to find out if they have areas in their lives or their business that you could solve with your products. Often, you need to ask your prospects what would happen if they didn’t solve their problem. Once they become focused on the need to solve their problem, you offer solution awareness questions to help them identify different solutions, among which your product is a prominent possibility.
Become a trusted advisor, not a persistent salesman
It can help to think back to the sales conversations that you’ve had in the past when you were sold to. When you go to a car dealership, for instance, you tend to need to fend off the salesperson most of the time, because they tend to be completely confident that they know what you want, even before they talk to you. You could think, instead, about what it would be like if the salesperson at the dealership helped you work out, both emotionally and critically, what your problems with your current car were, and how those could be solved in different ways by the different vehicles available at the dealership.
Sales professionals need to see themselves not as people who stuff products down the throats of reluctant consumers, but as trusted advisors who are able to identify and solve problems for the customer. When you help them solve their problems, you begin to appeal to their emotional side. That’s what helps you make the sale in a way that benefits the customer.