Welcome to the post-trust era, where prospects are naturally suspicious of salespeople. The old model of selling says that you must be domineering and push your agenda onto prospects to get them to buy, by dialing right into a sales pitch and assuming the sale. The ABC’s of closing. Sound familiar? However, this mode of communication is outdated and ineffective.
Jeremy Miner, the CEO of 7th Level Communications, now teaches students the new model of selling, which he created himself from years of trial and error and researching human psychology. He says that there are three forms of communication that salespeople use to persuade, that are different from how salespeople have been taught to communicate historically. The third form works as a ‘golden rules’ when approaching conversations with any prospect, by placing the emphasis on their needs and engaging rather than pitching. You’ll find that these three forms of communication are far more effective than the old mode of selling — but the third is the preferred and most effective. Here are the three.
1. Engage, don’t tell.
“Believe it or not, we are actually the least persuasive when we tell people to do things,” Miner told me. Imagine that you’re walking around a downtown village and exploring while on vacation, and someone comes up to you and starts pitching their solution and says, “You should really go on this sailboat tour. It’s a must-experience on this coast, I know you will love it.” Will you feel compelled to purchase? No, because we don’t like being told to do something. In fact, you may be annoyed that you were approached on the side of the road just for someone to cram a sales pitch down your throat…unless you happened to be looking for a sailboat tour. This is where the idea of the “pushy salesperson” has become an archetype. In the old model of selling, salespeople would aggressively try to dominate and posture a prospect into purchasing, by telling them about the product and why they need it.
Think about it this way: If you were trying to get someone interested in dating you, and all you did was talk about all the great things about what you have to offer them – only focusing on you and your agenda of getting them to do what you wanted them to do – what do you think would happen?
“That’s why the first form of communication that is necessary is to engage. This does not mean giving a sales pitch or a presentation. This means engaging in conversation and making the conversation about them instead,” says Miner.
2. We are more persuasive when we interact with each other and discover from each other.
A step above telling — but still not quite as effective — is learning and discovering from each other by asking questions.
“This is known as Consultative selling, and it came out in the late 1980’s with books like SPIN Selling, where they taught salespeople how to ask logical questions about the needs of the client, like, “what are 2 or 3 problems your company is facing now?” These questions orient the conversation in the needs of the prospect and let them guide the talking. However, some salespeople go through these questions like a robot without really listening,” warned Miner.
Typically, salespeople move through their standard list of questions like a robot, not really listening or building trust. Even if they ask the “right questions”, it may feel to the prospect like a scripted is disingenuous and it’s a forced conversation. That’s not what we’re after.
That’s why Miner says that dialogue is the third form of communication: and the best form of communication in sales conversations. “To guide the dialogue, I created what I call Neuro-Emotional Persuasion Questions, or NEPQ. These questions are crafted to help the prospect persuade themselves that they need what you’re selling through their answers. These are done in a step by step guide intended to have the prospect talking for 80 percent of the conversation. This way, the dialogue is oriented in the prospect’s problems and lets them convince themselves by first defining or ‘diagnosing’ a problem that they might not have even known they had, or known how bad the problem could be if they don’t do anything about it,” said Miner.
This form of communication also helps to engage the prospect emotionally by leading them to talk about their problems, potential solutions, and how those solutions could unlock new possibilities for their lives and their business. It brings them to an emotional attachment to the solution that you’re selling, without telling them to do anything.
Again, the most effective of these three forms of communication is dialogue, because it’s oriented in this prospect emotion. Ensuring that you’re engaging in dialogue – that magic third form – can spell the difference between a lost sale and a gained sale, because of the effectiveness of the new model of selling.
Learn more about the three forms of communication and the New model of selling at 7thlevelhq.com.