The Psychology Of Selling

Joe Love

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Eighty percent of the success of top salespeople is due to their winning attitude. Only 20 percent is aptitude. Successful people are sure of themselves. They know how to handle rejection. They know how to push a prospect towards a commitment in a firm but friendly way. They have a consistently positive and enthusiastic outlook on life.

Salespeople who have 100 percent more sales than other salespeople are not 100 percent better than those who have a lower percentage of sales . What they have is a winning edge that puts them over the top, allowing them to make a sale when others would have failed. Since sales performance is 80 percent mental attitude, this winning edge is psychological. And developing a psychological edge is the key to turning around poor sales performance.

To gain the psychological edge of top salespeople, you must change the way you think of yourself and the world around you. This is called your self-concept. It’s based on a series of idea, fears, doubts, opinions, and values acquired throughout your life. It affects everything you do, think, or feel.

Your self-concept is made up of three parts: self-image (how you see yourself), self-ideal (how you would like to be), and self-esteem (how much you like yourself). You improve your self-concept by first improving your self-image. If you want to be one of the top salespeople in your company or industry then, you have to see yourself as they see themselves. You have to act like them, talk like them, and even dress like them.

Everything that happens to you happens for a reason. This is the law of cause and effect, and it is the principle mental law of selling. This law states that all events occur because something caused them to occur. If something happens, there is a reason. Sales success is an effect. If you want that effect to happen, you must create the causes. Don’t count on a miracle or on luck or on being in the right place at the right time. You have to make success happen.

Once you have bolstered your self-image it is time to begin prospecting. Prospecting is a very demanding part of selling and before you begin to do this you have to define clearly what you sell. Customers aren’t interested in buying products or services. They’re looking for ways to solve problems or improve performance. You have to know clearly and precisely what solutions or improvements your product or service offers.

You have to know who your customers are, why they buy, and where they are located. Look at your past customers. You need to know what they all have in common, if they are male or female, and what their position in the company is. You also need to know what are the intangible benefits from your product or service that cause them to buy. You need to know the geographical location of your prospects. What part of city, country, or foreign country they are located.

It is also important before you begin to prospect to know when your customers buy, why don’t they buy, and who your competitors are. For example, customers may be more inclined to buy at the beginning of a fiscal year. You have to know when to make your appearance. If you’re loosing customers, find out why. Maybe there’s a problem you or your company can fix.

Fear is a constant presence in selling. Salespeople must overcome the fear of rejection. Remember, customers also have a fear: the fear of failure. Customers are afraid of making a mistake, of being stuck with the wrong item, or of paying too much and finding it at a lower price elsewhere. They are afraid of being criticized for making a wrong decision, or of being left hanging by your company if the product or service doesn’t work.

Buying is risky. If you want to convince customers to buy, you must convince them that the risk is low. The best way to establish a relationship with customers is by building trust. If customers trust you, they will consider the purchase less risky.

To build a long-term relationship you must establish trust and to do this your first impression is critical. A quick glance at your appearance, attitude, and personality will lead the prospect to a quick conclusion about your credibility. If people in the same situation as the prospect are already buying, you and your product gain credibility. Always keep testimonials and lists of satisfied customers with you.

There is no faster way to build trust than by listening intently to what the other person has to say. On the other hand, there is no faster way to undermine trust and irritate a prospect than by talking too much and listening too little. Good listeners show that they are genuinely concerned about the needs of their customers and can be trusted Good salespeople don’t dominate the talking; they dominate the listening.

Once you’ve built a trusting rapport with a prospect, your next job is to show how your product or service solves their problems. Don’t count on customers to volunteer their problems to you. First, customers don’t like to highlight their weaknesses. Second, customers aren’t likely to be aware of the possibilities that your product or service offers. They don’t realize which of their problems you can solve.

To uncover customer problems, you have to ask questions. There are two types of questions that will help you uncover problems: situation questions and meaning questions. Situation questions concern the customer’s current situation in the area of your product or service. For example, what product or service is the customer using now? Is the customer satisfied?

The first wave of questioning is obvious. But the key is not to accept the surface answers. For example, if the prospect says, “We’re satisfied with our current supplier, " you answer, “Your current supplier is an excellent organization. But we have a different approach that is getting better results. Let me show you. "

Meaning questions are used to pinpoint exactly how a problem affects the customer. For example, you could ask questions such as, “What does the problem mean to you? How much does it cost you? What indirect costs are affected?" Meaning questions help you uncover the full consequences of a problem. In your sales presentation, you can then emphasize the full consequence of buying your product.

People do things for one reason: to be better off after the action. If people don’t think an action will improve their situation somehow, they won’t act. If they think they’ll be improving their situation by doing something (like buying your product or service), then they’ll do it.

Your job as a salesperson is to convince buyers that they will be better off after they have bought your product or service. For example, you show a prospect how buying your service will cost them $10,000 up front, but save them $20,000 in the long run.

All buying is emotional because people are emotional in everything they say or do. They will consider the rational reason for buying, how their situation will improve after the purchase. But the final purchase decision will be strongly influenced by emotional reasons.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “hot button. " The hot button is the most highly emotional reason for purchasing. It’s usually related to the respect and esteem of other people. Well-targeted hypothetical questions can uncover the hot button. The customer’s answers are also hypothetical, but they can give you the key benefit you have to address to make the sale.

For example, the next time you’re looking for a prospect’s hot button you could ask one of these questions, “If you were ever to buy this product, what would you want it to do for you? “What would you absolutely have to be convinced of for you to purchase this product or service?" “If this product or service were free, would you take it?"

Although this all sounds very simple, most poor or novice salespeople stray away for the fundamental selling principle of showing improvement. They make a fatal mistake by explaining to the customer what the product is. They show off the features and the gadgets. They talk about how the product was developed, or how it compares to other products on the market.

They forget that customers aren’t interested in what products are, they want to know what the products will do for them. For example, people don’t buy insurance; they buy security. They don’t buy computers; they buy increased efficiency. They don’t buy cars; they buy transportation.

Look at your product or service. What does it do for the customer? That’s what you should concentrate on in your sales presentation. When you do this, you will move rapidly to the top of one of the highest paid professions in the world.

Copyright© 2006 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many of America’s largest corporations, on the subjects of leadership, self-esteem, goals, achievement, and success psychology.

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