Leadership is Influence. It’s a powerful tool that impacts the subconscious brain. Hence, people do not realize why they respond the way they respond. Influencers use influence to trigger the desired behavior. For instance, you respect and follow people in uniforms, such as Lawyers, Doctors, and Policemen, even when they may be wrong. For this blog post, I am using the sales context to show how you can use influence your customer’s decision and beat your competition.
1. How to influence a prospect who requests you to meet him 10 days later? : Your first step after the call should be to log on to LinkedIn and send him an invite. Now, since you will be meeting him in 10 days period prepare and begin engaging him on his intent data. Share meaningful industry content (your blog posts or curated content) with your prospect. Now, when you meet him, he will have high recall and you have created an advantage over your competition in your prospects mind. Remember “Engagement creates visibility and visibility creates opportunity“
- Company and brand impact – 19%
- Product and service delivery – 19%
- Value to Price Ratio – 9%
- Sales experience – 53%
Focus on creating an exceptional Sales experience by asking, listening and teaching your prospect.
3. What precedes discussions determines the outcome: Would you ask your boss for a raise when he has just finished a heated argument? Of course not. You will wait for an opportune time when he is happy or has scored wins. We use the same principle with our customer – Selling is the transfer of enthusiasm to your customers. Hence, begin your discussion with a positively upbeat note.
4. Customer meet: Get your customer out of his office. Else, try breaking the meet into multiple small meets. Begin the meeting in the office and extend an invite for a coffee at Starbucks followed by a meal if possible. This may or may be difficult during the first meet but with regular practice, you can achieve this milestone. Your principal strategy is to break your meet into two segments. When you break the meeting into more than one location site; in the customer’s mind, every site appears to be a new meet, thus, giving you a head start over your competitors and improve your success rate.
5. Like: People do business with people they Like. There are a number of tactics to create a LIKE factor.
- First Like: Research your prospect and find out something you have in common with your prospect. Bring up that commonality in the beginning of the discussion. It could be a common University, school, friends, qualifications, event attended, and hobby, article liked/shared or something as insignificant as the alphabets common in your names.
- Second Like: Everyone knows the 80/20 principle – Pareto law. Listen 80% and speak 20%. “People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” So let others talk about themselves before you sell to them.
- Third Like: Ask for advice. When you ask for advice you make him a partner. Ask for advice on proposals – “Would it be ok if we include training in the proposal?” “What do you advise that we include or remove?”
- Fourth Like: Ask for small favors: There’s a psychological phenomenon commonly known as the “Ben Franklin Effect” that explains why people wind up liking you more when they do you a favor. Benjamin Franklin had a hater — someone he considered a “gentleman of fortune and education” who would probably become influential in government. In order to recruit the hater to his side, Franklin decided to ask the man if he could borrow one of the books from his library. The man was flattered and lent it; Franklin returned it one week later with a thank you note. Hence, ask small favours of your customer. Maybe ask to borrow his book, pen to write with, hitch a ride to the Starbucks or advice on school for your kids.
- Fifth Like: You can use two tactics to create the like factor such as paraphrasing language or mimicking prospect body language. The most effective tactic is “paraphrasing” your customer dialogues. When he says “I have a problem” your response should be “so you have a problem.” “I just found out that most professionals follow (your Product/Service) when they have a problem.” “Would it be ok if I arrange a demonstration of (Your Product/Service)?”
Finally, an important piece of advice “The most likable person wins the race.” So, work towards being the most likable person.
6. Language: The first few words of your sales pitch can make or break your sale. What comes to your mind when someone says “May I help you?” or “Is it the right time to speak to you?” It smells of a sell and people don’t want to be sold to. Naturally, the prospect stops listening. Hence, use powerful phrases to open your customer’s mind such as (For more information Check out YouTube of “ Magic Words – Tom “Big Al” Schreiter Presentation”
- I am curious …
- I just found out …
- Would it be ok ..
- Most people ( Customer would prefer to be part of most people)
- There is an old saying – anything that follows is considered true
- Everybody knows or everybody thinks (so customer must know or think so)
7. Education: It’s important to educate yourself on the triggers that impact selling. And the best sources are books. If you are not fond of reading you can listen to Audio books or watch YouTube videos on book titles. I highly recommend the following five books on Influence & Persuasion, Creating sticky content and Networking.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
- Small is Big by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini
- Made to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
- Your network is your Networth by Porter Gale
Learn the Art of Inlfuence and re-write your customers decision-making software