I’ve always had the opinion that sales psychology is something that can help you in all areas of life – business, relationships, parenting, etc. When I started sales training, I had the same mindset most beginners have – it’s all about closing that deal! I was a shark, and I was almost ruthless in my selling. I was doing well, but it didn’t feel right in my heart, in my core, so I switched to a more conscious, understanding method.
Everyone has their own style of selling. What works for me, might not work for you. I’m a tall, loud guy, so the aggressive tactics work well for me, as I already have a pretty commanding authority from my physical presence. But what I’ve learned is that selling is not about being loud or authoritative, it’s about asking questions and understanding the other person’s problems. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason…
Here are 6 steps that I always incorporate when closing a deal. You can use these powerful techniques to be a sneaky persuasive shark, or you can use them in a way that really builds a good relationship, the choice is yours.
1. Identify a problem or a situation.
First things first. There is something your prospect no longer wants to experience, a problem. Things like ineffective marketing, high costs, unsatisfied employees – anything that’s not going right, that your product or service will solve. Have them describe it and talk about it, paint a good picture of it (no, not literally).
2. Help them realize how painful it will be to continue with this problem.
This is the “hurt them” part of the old advertising adage “hurt them, then heal them.” It’s a very powerful step in the process, because you have to trigger the pain button before you talk about solutions. I can’t tell you how many sales guys/biz devs go straight to the “solution” at step 2, but how can you solve something that doesn’t cause pain? They have to realize how painful it will be to continue having this problem, how it will impact their business.
3. Let the prospect identify a preferred outcome.
Here is where most sales go wrong, because the one doing the selling tells the prospect what they want. No, no, let them tell you what they want to happen. How? It’s as easy as asking a powerful question like: “What would be a perfect outcome for you?” or “What would you prefer happen?”
4. Help the prospect identify the consequences of this outcome.
This is a very important step in the process. Ask a question like: “What would this new outcome mean for you and your company?” When they answer they are forming a new thought direction that will lead them to your product or service. Make them realize what a positive impact these consequences will have by asking questions.
5. Don’t ever tell them that they are wrong!
Again, I see this all the time. Guys telling the prospects that they are wrong. Don’t tell people they are wrong, this even goes outside a sales pitch. How do you feel if people tell you that you are wrong? A vast majority of people gets defensive, some get offended, and some get angry. It also triggers buyer’s remorse, and we don’t want that. IF you really think they are wrong, ask them questions, ask why they think this is the right option, ask them to look at it from different angles, ask “how about this…” or “what do you think would happen if we did this…” They have to tell you the positive things about the solutions, not you.
6. Have them sign the contract.
Get to work! When I do sales training, there is always a group of people that are afraid of actually closing the deal. There is nothing to be afraid of if you know that your product or service will deliver! Get inspired, you have a new friend and a new business client – start making them happier/more money/more efficient or whatever it is that you do. This is where the fun begins!
TL;DR There are 6 steps to closing a deal, and while they pretty much follow the old adage “hurt them, then heal them,” they can be used both in a mild or in an aggressive manner.