The philosophy of Why They Buy is my unbound collection of all the great salespeople I have known.
Use and share any part of it and don’t attribute it to me, it is common property. I have extracted only the maxims that I think are the most luring to put in the store windows.
A recap of where we have been:
- The best salespeople are selling a small bit of themselves. I wrote about my experience being top of the pack and the ‘salesperson’s annuity’, investing. Salesman Sell Something
- The perfect alignment is Right Person. Right Place. Right Time
- Cold calling is the shortest distance between two points. I extended this thought here: Cold Call or Starve. Choose Wisely
- The books that are about sales are in fact about selling books about selling books. I wrote this vent here: Why I Don’t Recommend Books About Sales
- When challenged to ‘sell me this pen’. Here’s how to do it: Passing the pen test
- The best salespeople synthesize all the other ‘bests’ and stitch a philosophy together. Here’s mine: The Philosophy of the Salesperson
- The best sales people make the sequence of prospect to client mechanical. Read this gem: Philosophy of the sales presentation and agenda
Begins the new: Why they buy. Or don’t
Roughly 80% of a sale has happened before the first meeting. They have:
- Philosophically bought in
- Taken the role of the change agent
- Taken ownership and will be the internal advocate within their company.
All that remains is the salesperson’s ability to fuck it up
I am going to skip the particulars, all the little complications, negotiations and all the stuff I have written about before.
Do you know why clients buy from you?
During your first meeting the prospect has decided what their relationship to you will be. They can be critical and create hurdles or they can be generous and forgiving. The difference is not a marketing brochure or clever widget and hopefully it’s not just a spreadsheet. Its nothing on the table, it’s all in the head. What’s going on in their mind and what’s going on in yours.
Both sides in an social or business encounter have distractions, minds wander. There is always the murmur of an inner dialogue, sometimes we time travel, we think about yesterday or tomorrow. The inner chatter is human, it’s not going to go away, our humanness will always be with us.
If we can control what we are experiencing in the current moment it will radiate to the other side of the river, the prospect. The mind is always forming an opinion of what we are doing and what others are doing. The natural state of the mind is to criticize and form an opinion. The mind will concoct an alternative reality. It will formulate the ‘optimal’.
Optimal is a very important concept. The prospect is measuring you against their structure of ‘optimal’. They are also measuring themselves by this same yardstick. Be optimal.
The first handshake and greeting, both sides are establishing their identities “I’m the kind of person who…” and how people should treat you. A good host wants to let you know they are a good host. It is the way they see a part of themselves and the way that they want you to see them. As an example, they offer water not because they think you are thirsty but because it is generous. You should accept not because you’re thirsty but because it is a recoginition of their identity… “you are the kind of person who offers me a water”.
When stepping away from their conference table tuck your chair in. Physical action is social cognition, “I’m the type of person who is thoughtful to others physical space and sense of order” and I want others to see that I am that person.
Appreciating social cognition is crucial. People put ourselves and others into categories, we think about other people and we think about what other people think about us. In their minds and in yours is an internal commentary, such as “Is this person competent?”.
One of the best ways to get a person engaged with you is thru a physical action. Back to the example of water. Saying ‘hello’ is passive, they are not engaged, it is said as ritual. But the water is physical, it requires an effort.
In a presentation it is imperative that you keep yourself and them physical engaged. The projector screen is a prop. Never, ever sit down to a projector. Point to it, touch the screen. Then when you do sit down for an extended Question and Answer make sure that they are physically engaged, now it’s their turn to move. Look for an opportunity to get them to stand up and walk to the screen, if they have a question about a field or a power point bullet, get them to stand up and touch it. It’s actually not a difficult thing to do, they will most likely be very responsive to it. If they are interested and have decided they have a connection to you, they want to demonstrate it, its like breaking bread. Also, people like physical movement, their job is deskbound and it makes them particularly are desperate for mind-body connect.
Always do a post action report with a manager, team leader or peer. It is important to break down all the immensity of a meeting, all the actions, the gestures, the presentation, their engagement and next steps. Even if the post action only takes 10 minutes. “I’m the type of person who wants to examine myself, work behavior, presentation and take wisdom from others”