How to Persuade Prospects to Buy
Selling is often dubbed “The Art of Persuasion.” When was the last time a salesperson talked you into buying something that you didn't want? When was the last time a salesperson hard-closed you into purchasing, before you felt ready to buy?
We've asked dozens of CEO's the same questions, and they all believe that they're immune to sales persuasion. Yet, they've told us that they expect their sales forces to persuade, convince, manipulate, and do whatever necessary to increase their market share. What's wrong with that picture?
Salespeople, from the VP of Sales on down, will try to live up to the CEO's expectations. Most salespeople believe that their job is to do whatever it takes to increase sales within the (sometimes ethereal) ethical standards of their company.
The CEO of a Fortune 100 company told me that he is certain that his salespeople must be better persuaders than his competitors' salespeople: “That's their only function.” His Marketing and Sales VPs are charged with providing the most convincing sales presentations, documentation and marketing materials in the industry. “It's all about them subtly imposing their will,” he said.
Is that strategy working? Two of his three biggest competitors have better growth rates than his company's. When I asked him to explain that fact, his response was, “Our people aren't executing well enough.”
What's the Problem?
The top 20 percent of most sales forces is out there every day bringing in up to 80% of a company's business. The typical CEO's belief is that the 80% that aren't selling much just have to work harder. That's simply not true. They need to work more effectively.
The Top 20% usually sell without using any persuasion or manipulation. The Top 20%, either instinctually or deliberately, have refined their selling styles in such a way that they deal honestly and cooperatively with their prospects and customers. They've largely eliminated persuasion, cajoling, and convincing from their selling repertoire, since they've discovered it doesn't work.
We studied hundreds of the top 1% of salespeople across dozens of industries: We found that most of the top salespeople had developed remarkably similar sales processes. We observed and documented the styles, nuances, and selling techniques that successfully bring prospects through the sales process all the way to Closing. Our discoveries evolved into High Probability Selling system.
“The Art of Persuasion” is neither an art nor an effective way to sell. When was the last time a salesperson talked you into buying something that you didn't want? It's unlikely that persuasion convinced you to buy before you were ready, and it's unlikely that it will work with your prospects, either. Don't “persuade” your prospects that they'd prefer to do business with the competition!
If you want to learn selling techniques that really work, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.