- What does it all mean?
Psychological Selling is the ability to use your intuitive recognition skills to know your surroundings, identify your targets traits, and close the deal to your best advantage. This is not just from the point of view of the salesperson, but can be a strategy used by any other party to the deal. For instance if you are the buyer, why not use the same skills at reading the salesperson to turn the situation to your advantage. If done right, and by following the guides outlined in this book you will up the odds of succeeding in the world of negotiating a deal. You may already be using some of these tactics, and if so we hope you learn at least something new that you can take advantage of.
- How does this even apply to me?
No matter where you are in the workplace, each day you find yourself in a selling situation. The encounters you have involve interactions with others that require you to read their intentions, understand their motivation in asking for you to do something, or looking to sell or buy something from them. This may be an interview for a promotion or a new position, or simply a sales call where you are presenting a solution to the client. Either way, understanding human nature and reading the person across from you will give you an edge. The applications for this are numerous.
- Why should you care?
In every situation where you interact with people in the business world there are factors at play that will determine the outcome of the negotiation or task at hand. As a salesperson, understanding the cues, spotting the body language and facial expressions, and knowing how to use them to your advantage will make the difference between winning and losing the deal. If you don’t know how to do this, you should care and we will explain why in the upcoming chapters.
- I’ve heard it all before!
I am sure you have! Every sales manager has their own view on how you should represent the company and what methods you need to apply to close the deal. Similarly if you are the buyer, how do you know that the solution being presented is the best for your business and that you are not just falling for the best presentation you have seen today. Watching, looking and really listening, are the ways to understand if the person is being honest, if they truly understand your business, and if they are in this for the long haul or just trying to meet their quarterly numbers. Picking up on these cues are the best way to get the best deal for the salesperson and the buyer. All of the sales training guides in the world don’t matter if you don’t understand human nature. Remember you are dealing with a human being not a corporation, which in my humble opinion, (despite the suggestion of the Supreme Court), corporations are not people, but rather they are made up of people just like you.
The Power of Silence
- Strategy of dead air
How many times have you left a meeting thinking that was the best sales call in weeks? You believe you heard all the requirements, you checked on the competitors, and you are assured that the deal is in the bag. You were eloquent in your presentation, you asked the right questions, and you got all the answers you and your team need to fulfill the client’s needs. Only to find out later that they were selecting another vendor, the budget was not approved, the boss of the person you were dealing with had second thoughts, or so many other possible reasons. By not speaking you can force the other party to truly show their intentions. When there is “dead air” the client will attempt to fill it in order to cover their true motivation for the meeting or may be forced to explain inadvertently that all is not well, and the deal is far from done. On a sales call, as on a date, constant conversation is not always a solution. If you sit back and watch the other party you can learn more than if you are awaiting a reaction to what you just said.
- Focus all your attention on the client
When in a meeting the quickest way to lose the interest of another party is to explain how wonderful you are, how great your kids are, and the fact that your company provides the best solution to the client’s needs, bar none. I don’t suggest you downplay the solution you are offering, but a certain level of humility surrounding that solution will go a long way. Self-deprecation in business as in life is a way to win over people. Pay close attention to the client, and always be showing an interest in their job and their family life whenever you can get them to open up to you. Make notes that you can refer back to. It goes a long way when you remember their kid’s name or their dog’s breed. It shows you were really listening. The little details will go a long way, and the larger details might just take care of themselves.
- The less you say the lesser the possibility of seeming foolish
This might seem counter-intuitive, but believe me I have talked myself in and out of deals, as have many people I know. You need to be succinct in your choice of words, and make sure like a trial lawyer, that you never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. If you have done your research properly this will not be an issue. You can do all the research you need by speaking with the underlings and team around the decision maker. If you see a pause in the conversation, don’t feel that you have to keep talking just to keep the meeting on track. These are the times when, if you are unprepared, that you will do the most damage. Irrelevant and sometimes detrimental conversations occur when you are trying to fill those awkward silences. Think about your worst date, and there is your example.
- Choose your words carefully. They can never be taken back
An obvious, but overlooked part of any negotiation you might be involved in. When you make a statement that is either untrue or based on knowledge you do not have, you will lose immediate credibility. Never lie in front of a client if you want any chance at being perceived as a partner in the process. Everything you say and do, can be verified online in a matter of minutes thanks to our friends at Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Almost every person you interact with can have their life story defined via social media in an instant. Never promise what you cannot deliver, or again you are finished in the eyes of the other party.
- Can backfire if not used properly
Silence or “dead air” can have a negative effect if you have not planned for that moment. You need to appear confident in the silence, or you may end up looking like you have nothing worthwhile to add to the meeting, especially if the party has granted you 30 minutes to impress them with what you are offering. Bear in mind that executives have a limited amount of time, and sometimes a limited attention span. Not their fault, but the demands of most work environments are so taxing that at any given moment, a person may have 10 or more tasks needing completion on any given day. So plan for that moment and avoid this happening.
- The ability to gather information
Information is the key to success. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses relative to any given negotiation makes for a better outcome for you and the client. Anyone who fails to do reconnaissance on the other party can have no excuse. As mentioned in previous segments, a person’s life is an open book online as is the business details of the client you are meeting with. 10K filings are a great indicator of the health and direction of a company. Annual reports and press releases can give you an insight into the philosophy and style of an organization. Using LinkedIn to understand the client’s history and what positions they have previously held can be a good indicator of what you will be dealing with. How quickly they have risen to their position will tell you if they are a driven individual or someone that is more thoughtful and takes longer to arrive at a decision or destination. Who is part of their social and business network is also a good indicator. Who you know that can help with providing a reference to that person, and can vouch for your work and your integrity. All of these things take time and effort, but you can reflect on that while having a celebratory dinner if you win, or if you don’t do the research that conciliatory drink while contemplating your next job. The other key is a repetitive one here. Listen to the client. They can tell you so much in their own words if you know how to interpret the cues and inflections in their voice and their facial expressions and body language.
- Using Details to Your Advantage
When you learn how to pick up on cues and details offered by the client, or the other party to the negotiation you can gather a treasure trove of information about their needs, what it will take to close the deal, how difficult the account will be to deal with, and most importantly can you meet their requirements. Paying close attention to detail is one of the most important parts of any negotiation.
- Personal Information
You can learn a lot about a person from the way they dress, their office contents, and the pictures they display on their desk. You can also see all about them online. Learn in advance what they have been doing, but be careful not to appear like a stalker. People forget that their entire lives are on view online, and when presented with that, can often react negatively. Like they want their lives out there, just not for your eyes. So be careful when revealing what research you have done for fear that they would rather you not know about what they do outside of work. Shared interests can be useful, but don’t pretend to be an avid rock climber if you are afraid of heights, and are just using their Facebook profile to create a fake connection between you. They will figure it out very quickly. Find out what they like to eat and drink and especially their morning beverage. This will be very useful later on.