Recently I was asked to speak at a luncheon for Women In Networking on the topic of sales. I had grown tired of the common, “X tips to sell more Y,” themed titles. Instead, I wanted to present something different; something that maybe wasn’t as sexy but more rooted in critical thinking.
That’s when it hit me. The basic problem with most sales training topics is that they skim the surface.
Topics like, “These 3 mistakes costs you 50% of your sales,” are the frosting on the cake. We absorb all kinds of frosting hoping we’ll understand what the whole cake tastes like.
I decided, for this presentation in October 2016, to go for the cake, the foundation, the depth. I decided to present to an audience of 45 or so business women on the use of persuasion in sales.
The topic of persuasion is massive, so I decided to lead the group through an interactive session that promised participants the following:
- Exploration of 10 universal objections
- Application to a specific case in your business to use a persuasive technique
- Practicing the 5-point persuasion technique based on their specific case
I defined and modeled this 5-point technique before participants tried it themselves — with on-the-spot coaching from me, of course!
5-Point Technique for Persuasion in Sales
When you put the 5-points of this technique together, you will end up with a statement, an email, a voice mail, or a letter. If you’re interested in training your team to sharpen their persuasion skills, give me a call and let’s set something up.
#1 Complement – Express gratitude and/or acknowledge gifts
Did your prospect get in touch with you because they’ll be going on a long trip and are exploring kennel services? Thank them for acknowledging the needs of one of their family members — their pet. Their gift to you is completing the need recognition part of the sales process. Did you get that coffee meeting you’ve been angling for? Express gratitude up front for the time your prospect put aside for you.
Did you get that coffee meeting you’ve been angling for? Express gratitude up front for the time your prospect put aside for you. I promise you it is the rare prospect who is used to being thanked for the time and talent they put aside for sales contacts.
#2 Challenge – Turn conventional thinking on its head
Here’s your chance to get your prospect thinking. Shatter a myth, challenge an existing mindset, and you’ll get your prospect’s attention. I do this in my training and book called, Fearless Follow-Up: How to Turn Conversations Into Clients, by stating that the best follow-up happens when you have your plan in place before you ever enter the networking event.
#3 Reframe – Connect your challenge to their vision
It’s not enough to shake up their thinking. At this third point in the technique, it’s your job to reframe the new information and connect it to their vision for success. Show your prospect that the assumption shaking statement you made is not so far from their reality after all.
#4 Re-Plan – Map out next steps
Take your prospect through the logical next steps to make their vision a reality. A clear plan at this stage establishes security and an explicit way forward. This is the step that you and your prospect complete in collaboration.
#5 Conclude – Illustrate a solution that’s concrete and vivid
It’s time to come full-circle. Conclude your statement with vivid details about how your solution is not only attainable but fits into the vision and mission of the prospect’s organization.
The 5-Point Technique in Action
In this example, I’ll use a statement based on my Fearless Follow-Up training.
We all have the best intention when we come home from a networking event with a stack of cards. Often, we jump back into the flurry of activity that waits for us and follow-up takes a back seat. (Complement – acknowledge how hard this skill is to develop)
I’d like to share the “a-ha” moment with you from my practice and research about follow-up. You have to have your plan in place before you even leave for your networking event. If you wait until it’s done, it’s already too late. (Challenge – follow-up doesn’t follow networking)
In this training, we’ll take familiar skills in strategic planning and apply them to networking follow-up. (Re-frame – these skills aren’t new to you, we’re using them in a different context.)
We’ll create a follow-up vision, identify the only three people you need to meet, and apply a process to segment your leads so you can follow-up quickly and appropriately. (Re-Plan – lay out the structure of the training course)
When we’re done, you’ll have a customized plan that you can use to Turn Conversations Into Clients. (Conclude – finish with the core promise of the training. An effective plan from which they can succeed.)
We all have those prospects — those moments when a sales tip won’t do. At those times it’s imperative to know what the whole cake tastes like. The cake in sales, my dear readers, is persuasion.
I challenge you to try out this 5-Point Technique in your sales process and share your learning with us in the comments.
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