This is certainly an interesting question. The answer is both. The problem is all too often the salesperson’s approach and is presented from a completely logical perspective. Upon first review it seems to make sense to present logical reasons why a prospect should buy your product or service. If what a salesperson is offering to the potential customer is a better option than what they are currently using, many salespeople think that all a prospect needs to hear are the features and benefits in order for a prospect to buy the product they are offering. If only it were that simple. Sadly, this approach often ends as a no-sale or it lengthens the time before a decision is made. Sales is a process and it is the job of the salesperson to guide a prospect through the emotional steps so the prospect can make a logical decision that is good for them.
The mind acts emotionally and then it responds cognitively. The initial reaction is synthesized through the limbic system, or more commonly known as the emotional brain. Most salespeople approach the prospect from a logical perspective at the onset, while the prospect is in the emotional state of not trusting. Trust is an emotion and it must be achieved before there is a sale. People buy from people they know, like and trust. If the time is not taken to bridge the gap from the emotional to the logical brain, there will be no sale.
Studies have shown that the first word that comes to mind when asked to describe a salesperson is overwhelmingly pushy. No one wants to be sold anything, but people do love to buy. If your approach is initially from the logical perspective, and you do not take the time to build rapport and trust before transitioning to the thinking brain there will be no sale.
I will never forget one of my biggest disappointments in sales. It was a lesson that I learned a lot from, and a turning point in my career. I had all the analytics to show a prospect that they were losing money by doing business with my biggest competitor. To me, the facts were compelling, and I was confident that my company would be awarded the business. I started my presentation and made what I thought was a convincing case for earning their business. When he rejected my offer I was stunned, and of course thought the executive should lose his job for not making a good business decision. I kept that opinion until I did more research on the science of sales. I realized I never built the trust. More than likely the prospect stayed in the emotional state of distrust. Had I guided him through the process with better tools, the outcome may have been different. I did learn from this experience, and there is a happy ending. I continued to call on the prospect, and we built a rapport and eventually entered into an agreement to do business.
Instead of approaching the sale logically from the beginning, it is important to understand that the prospect is in the emotional state, and to approach it from that perspective. This really is where the bridge is starting to be built, so that the salesperson transitions the prospect to the thinking brain. How is that accomplished?
The salesperson must give the illusion that the prospect is in control. One of the easiest ways is to get early nos. When the prospect says no they feel as if they are in control. At this point the salesperson can begin to gain trust by asking questions about what is needed or important to the prospect.
Once the question is asked, it is imperative for the salesperson to listen to what is being said, without trying to figure out a way to overcome their objections. If a salesperson listens to the prospect, the prospect will tell the salesperson how to earn the business. To be effective, a salesperson must learn to repeat what the prospect said, in order to fully understand the prospect's needs. By backtracking, one of three things will take place, and all are positive for the process: • The prospect will hear what you say, and may decide that their previously stated issues are no longer a concern • They prospect will be honored that you listened to them and understood • It gives the salesperson time to respond
When the prospect feels understood, rapport and trust will begin to develop. They will feel that the salesperson cares about coming up with a solution to their problem, and if everything is intact, the sales process has much better odds of happening if they think the problem is solved and they see the value in the offering. This happens when the salesperson guides the prospect to the logical part of the mind. The time this process takes will vary depending on the product or service.
If you are struggling in sales, or contemplating a career in sales, we can help. Lavinia Capital Partners have highly successful and experienced sales professionals and trainers who are experts in the field and we offer in-person classes as well as online training courses in sales.