3 Reasons why people say they hate sales people, but shouldn’t.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say that they hate sales people.  And my response is always the same.

“You hate people who help you solve problems you didn’t know you had, or maybe you did know that you had them, and you’ve had them forever, and the salesperson is trying to create some urgency for you to fix whatever the problem is?”

You hate people who are helping you solve your problems?

But Brian, they are pushy.

I can’t speak for everyone.  But a sales person is pushy because they know that their solution (product) will solve your problems. Period.

Look, the only reason you feel like they are being pushy is because you haven’t sold yourself. Or for some reason you have used similar products in the past and either didn’t use them as you were supposed to, or you didn’t use them at all.  Whose fault is that? Yep.  Yours.

I also believe that we currently have such a laid back society that anything that seems a little assertive, (hence the word assertive not aggressive) is looked at as being pushy.

The bottom line is most of the decisions in your life that could significantly alter or change your life, required a little push.  If you didn’t get the push you didn’t do it.  Matter of fact, I would say if you haven’t been pushed you most likely haven’t pursued the things that could change your life.

They are just trying to earn a commission.  

Life is a commission.  You are getting up right now and you are headed in to your job to earn a commission.  The only difference is that your commission may already be established fo you.  If you earn a salary.  The company you work for said they will pay you X amount of dollars every week, every two weeks, a month, or a year for the work you said you would do.  You earn your commission in advance in many cases.  There is no guarantee that you will actually do the work you said you would do.  Kind of dumb really, but that is what society is.

Or maybe you earn an hourly rate.  And that is okay.  But once again you earn your commission for every hour you work.  If you don’t work, you don’t earn the commission.

Sales people earn their commission when they have done their job properly.  I know a lot of people in management, salaried positions, as well as hourly people, that never even do their job at all.

They don’t listen. 

Look I train sales people for a living.  And I understand what you mean.  However, nobody listens in society.  Right now, you are trying to get your kid to do something and they aren’t listening to you.  It doesn’t mean you hate them or you aren’t going to work with them anymore.

If you are in management, you are going to lead some people today that aren’t listening to you right now, and they won’t be listening to you when you get to work either.  It doesn’t mean you are going to stop working with them.

Nope! What you are going to do is get what you can out of your children and your employees, and continue to guide them down the path to help them get what they want, because when you help them get what they want, they will help you get what you want.

And that is what good sales people are trying to do.  They are trying to help you get what you want.  And just like you have to be as a parent and as manager, you have to push people some times.  You have to remind them of the bigger picture.

Look, you don’t want a bunch of sales people working for free.  What would be the incentive to get you in the right solution if that was the case.  There wouldn’t be any reason for them to push you.

This week if you run across a sales person that you feel like is doing any of these things.  Roll with it and see if they help you solve your problems.  The chances are if you let them you will get what you want and they will get what they want.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

Transition Points: The undersold sale

Life is and should be a constant transition point for most people.  If you don’t have very many transition points, then I would highly encourage you to read further.  Also, as a sales person or a person who wants to influence others, understanding transition points of others can help you sell more and influence more.

So what is a transition point?

A transition point could really be described as any transition from one place in life to another, but there are a few very specific transition points that everyone will go through at some point in their life, especially if they live long enough.

  • Teen to Adult
  • High School to College
  • College grad to first employment (wage earner)
  • Single to Married
  • Non-parent to parent
  • Employed to Unemployed
  • Unemployed To Employed
  • Old job, old field to New Job, New Field
  • Old job, old field to Same Company, New Job
  • Spouse to Divorce
  • Family to Single
  • Promotion in a company
  • Change of Job to another company

Again, if you have lived long enough you can already see that you have been in one of the transition points already.

With a transition point each of us now have a new role or responsibility that has some certain identities that accompany it.  Some of these new identities are known to you and everyone else. And some of these new identities, may be a perception that you have that you must live up to.

When I was twenty-two I got married to my girlfriend at the time.  The marriage lasted about nine months.  But during that relationship and the marriage I had assumed many roles and identities that come along in a relationship and marriage.  Many of these identities are the ones that society is aware of and expects as well.

We had the new house, we had the dog, we had the two cars, we had the large yard, we had all of the yard equipment, and I had the pickup truck that made practical sense to me at the time.

After this lengthy five-year relationship that ended in divorce.  I had accumulated all of these assumed roles, responsibilities, and identity that I no longer wanted to be identified with.  I am at a transition point.

The very first thing I did, well after I took care of the major things.  Such as shelter, food, and clothing.

I moved on to the next big thing, which at 22, was “What the heck am I driving around in this old man pickup for!”

I can’t be seen on the dating scene with a pickup truck that married guys drive.  I was taking on a new identity.  And I didn’t want my identity to be associated with this truck.

At thirty-nine years old, it would be much more acceptable. But at twenty-two, it was in no way in my mind acceptable for me to be driving around in this pick up truck. I obviously bought a new vehicle pretty quickly after.

I was in a transition point.  And when people are at transition points in their life, they have new identities that they are attempting to live up to.  As a sales person, you can play to those new identities and help shape the one that a buyer wants.

Another example of this is a really good friend of mine.  Now since we are both in sales, we understand people pretty well.  We both understand that all consumers have needs and desires, but ultimately there is one reason why people buy.  And that is always the emotional reason they want something.

Like in my example, it was really image that was driving my purchasing decision, and not logic.  Especially since I bought a vehicle I couldn’t afford with money I didn’t really have at the time.

But back to my friend.  At age forty or so, they went through a transition point.  They took a new job as an executive in a company. This was really their first time being at that level in their career. With this new role there was a certain identity that comes with it. In their mind and in most people minds.  They felt like they needed to live in a different house.  An executive house.  An executive house has a lot of parameters, but to just name a few.

It must be in a very desirable location in the city they live.  Meaning it has to be some what exclusive and even hard to get and purchase.  The neighbors must be similar people as they are.  High income earners with very high-profile positions in the community and especially in their organization or they must own their own businesses.  The size of the house and the look and lure of the house all matter.

Although my friend had many reasons to buy a new house.  A growing family, a more desirable location based on their lifestyle, etc.  The real reason they purchased the home was because they felt like this new identity and role they were now in,  had certain expectations associated with it.  They spent more than they really wanted to at the time, but it didn’t matter to them.  And they ultimately sold that house and made a very nice return I am sure.

Again, as in my personal example, and in my friends example.  These transition points in our life forced us, and inspired us, to consider making different purchases than we were currently making at the time.  As practical buyers we both could have easily stayed in our current situations.  It made much more sense financially.  But I bought a new vehicle and my friend bought the house.

If you are hiring people for a new job, if you are trying to inspire people to stay motivated on the job, and if you are in sales or leadership.  Understanding these transition points can help you have the influence you want to have.  But you have to understand and know the situation better to actually appeal to the persons needs, desires and wants.

All of this is done through asking questions.  But most people don’t do a very good job at asking questions.  Leaders don’t spend the time with their employees enough to understand what it is they want and are seeking.

And as a sales trainer and a buyer of products for the last thirty years of my life, sales people definitely don’t do a good job at asking questions to understand the buyers desires and actually try to understand their situation.

When you understand where a person is at this point in their life you will be able to appeal to their motives and desires and sell them exactly what they want.

If you are interested in learning how to do this.  Shoot me an email at bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When sales people do this one thing it guarantees more closed deals.

In sales, and in my sales training workshops, I have always reminded people of this one simple fact of sales:  When a buyer seeks to buy something, they will make the purchase when the value of whatever the solution (thing, object, service, etc.) that they are buying, exceeds the cost.  Simply stated: When the perceived value of a product exceeds the cost, a buyer will make the purchase.

The challenge that sales people face is that they must help the buyer see that the value exceeds the cost.  Which means, that the buyer must be certain, and maybe not even fully certain, that the price of the product is justified in the pleasure or results they will get from the purchase.

Recently, I was in the market to buy a couch.  This couch purchase has been something that has been in the works for about a year now.  Which means, I told my wife that we would buy one, and she kept reminding me that I said that, but I kept putting it off.

Last weekend, we took the next steps to purchase the couch.  So, I actually found myself in the stores looking at couches and determining what we wanted.  My wife and I very rarely agree on things of this nature, but in this case, after three or four stores, we both laid our eyes on a couch that we both liked.

We went back and forth about it, and then we ultimately got the sales person over to discuss our options.  The couch we were looking to buy is not a regular couch.  We wanted a sectional.  A sectional comes in various shapes and we both liked one with a chaise at one end of it.  A chaise is a chair that is like a mini little lounge on one end of the couch.  I have never had one of these, and I was excited about getting this feature.

To get the couch the way we wanted cost $3,100 dollars out the door.  Personally, I have never paid more than four or five hundred dollars for a couch.  My wife had spent more than that in her past, but never as much as this couch cost.

For this purchase, we had already determined that we would spend $1,000 on a couch, but after looking at a few places and now understanding the market a little bit better, I learned that this dollar figure was way off.  To get a bigger sectional couch, with the features we liked and desired it would cost us at least double that.  And I knew this, but I always start low and once I find something I like, price goes out the door usually. As this couch purchase illustrates.

But now we found ourselves looking at a $3,100 dollar couch.  So after an hour or so, my wife and I decided that we were done couch shopping for the day, and that we really liked the $3,100 dollar couch, but we would look at a few more places before we made our purchase.

Fast forward to the next day.  My wife and I went into two more places and looked at other couches.  By now, we have been to about six to seven stores.  We decided to go back and look at the couch that we both liked the day before. The $3,100 dollar couch.

We spent another forty-five minutes or so looking at the couch.  My wife starts putting some pillows on the couch and was really trying to get a feel for the couch.  The sales person from the day before joined us once again.  And she wasn’t necessarily pressuring us, but was adding in some commentary to my wife and I’s conversation as necessary, hoping to push our decision forward.

Once again, we decided not to buy the couch and that we would look a few more places.  My wife really wanted to sleep on this buying decision again.

The next day we decided to go to the same store, but a different location. Lets be honest, I wasn’t expecting to see anything different in this store versus the other one that we have been going to the last two days, but I thought, why not give it a try. And guess what?  The couch that we had been looking at the previous two days, the $3,100 dollar coach was in there as well.  And we looked at it again.

We also walked around the show room and looked at other couches.  We found a few new ones that we liked as well. Now, I am not sure if we had looked at these exact same new couches at the other location.  The chances are we had, but one couch jumped out at us that we really liked, and by this time my wife wasn’t that interested in the $3,100 dollar couch anymore.

This new couch that we both liked was $2,000 or so dollars. And this Saturday that couch will be delivered to our home. We made the purchase in less than forty-five minutes or so.

I am in sales and have trained sales people for a very long time. Through any buying process I am constantly watching and listening to the sales person to see the techniques and processes they use to help me make a purchase.  I am also considering and thinking about the decision-making that I, or my wife, are using during this buying process.

So why was it that we couldn’t make the decision to purchase the $3,100 dollar couch for two days, but on the third day we bought the $2,000 dollar couch so quickly?

To me this was a classic example of something all sales people deal with.  As I mentioned before, my wife and I both had never purchased a couch for the amount of money that we were considering spending.  So this would have been a purchase that was against both of our buying patterns.  Since this was the case, there was a lot of uncertainty on whether the couch was worth it or not. Also, as I mentioned we looked at this couch three different times, so there was a lot of uncertainty on whether this couch would look the way my wife wanted it to.

Both times we looked at the couch at the first store, my wife couldn’t get an idea on what it would look like in our house.  No matter how many pillows she put on the couch or pictures she took, it was just really difficult to see how it would look at our place.

When we moved on to the other couch, and the one we ultimately purchased.  My wife was able to get a feel for what this couch would look like in our place. She was able to more clearly see how it would fit in the decor that she was looking to have in our home.

The lesson here for sales people is this.  In any sales situation, or a lot of sales situations, especially when someone is buying a product for the first time, or spending more on a product than they have before, your number one challenge will always be to figure how to eliminate the buyers uncertainty.

If it is a first time purchase for a buyer of this product.  They are usually uncertain if it will work for them.  Since they don’t know how it works, they are uncertain if it will work, and will they use it and get the benefits out of it. It doesn’t matter if it is a couch or a new software system for a business.

When it is spending more money than they usually pay for similar products, then it is the uncertainty of whether or not the additional money they are spending on this product is worth it.

In my case of the $3,100 dollar couch versus the $2,000 dollar couch. If the sales person could have provided us a guarantee that if the couch didn’t look the way we wanted it to.  Lets be honest here. The way my wife wanted it to look.   Then we could return the couch.  We would have even been willing to pay a fee of some kind if we returned the couch,  because the fear of uncertainty would have been eliminated. Unfortunately, no such option was available.  Once the couch was purchased and delivered it was yours.

The fear of uncertainty is real in all buying situations. A sales person must create ways to over come and eliminate that fear of uncertainty. In our case, a simple guarantee that we could return it, could have increased their sales by $1,100 dollars.

Why do you think car lots allow you to take the car home overnight and think about it?  How many more cars do you think they sell because of this one little easy thing to do?  A lot. Because those buyers get a feel for what that car feels and looks like when they are driving it.   They get to see it in their driveway.  And since it is a new car, or new to them, it feels and looks good and those emotions are usually confirmed by others in their life during those 24 hours that they have the car.

Eliminate the uncertainty and you will make more sales.  Use return guarantees, let them try the product out, or whatever else you can do to eliminate that fear of uncertainty and you will make more sales.

To your success and your future.

 

 

6 Things Sales People can Learn from Donald Trump

If you are a republican you might really like this post.  If you are a democrat the chances are you aren’t going to like this post or what is in it.  I want to challenge you regardless of which way you lean politically to read the post and learn something from it.  I am not writing this from a political perspective.  I am writing this from a how can I learn from what Donald Trump did and apply it to what I do perspective.

We all now know that Donald Trump won the presidential race.  He won it pretty easily. Causing massive disruption in the political arena.  He did it with out the support of most of the news media, he did it without the support of the establishment republicans, he did it really without the support of most of the career political people making up the news media, pundits, long time politicians, print news, etc.

So how did he do it with all of these people against him?  He did it his way.  He did it in a way that was unconventional and caused massive disruption to the political establishment.

Here are the six things Donald Trump applied to winning the 2016 presidential campaign that you can apply to your sales approach to win every day:

Social Media:  Donald got criticized all of the time about being angry and unfit to be president because of his rants on twitter.  I am not talking about his messages in his posts. I don’t even remember what half of them were.  Here is what I remember:  The news media talking about his posts.  They talked about it all of the time.  That is all they talked about.  By applying some of the following things that I outline below through his social media platform, he was able to get attention all of the time to the people who wanted to hear his message.

Lesson:  Embrace Social media to get your message out to your audience.  It is a great platform to target and pinpoint the people you want to reach.

Lead with an Opinion: Not everyone is going to like to what you have to say.  However, nobody likes a person that says nothing. Also, nobody likes it when you are a fence rider, meaning you wont take a stand either way.  You have to make a stand and have a strong opinion for people to notice you.

Lesson: Whatever it is you believe, state it, stand behind it, and when you get push back don’t back down. Your opinion is yours lead with it.

Make big claims: This is the one that drives people crazy more than anything.  When Donald would make big bold statements about what he was going to do.  Half the people said he could never make that happen.  And the other half of the people were excited that he said it.  That is just the reality of the world we live in today.

If I told you today, that you could spend eight hours with me working and you would earn $500 dollars.  Depending on your current financial situation you may or may not take me up on the offer.  However, if I said you could make $10,000 dollars for the same amount of time, the chances are you would listen.  And that is all Donald Trump was doing when he was making big claims, getting people to listen.

Lesson:  If you want to get the attention of people today, you have to give them a BIG reason to listen.

Get Attention:  The world is as noisy as it ever has been.  With the news media 24/7, Sports of some kind on 24/7, twitter, Facebook, advertising, current events, the holidays, etc., you name it, you have to do be bold and do something to get attention.  Attention is what we all need for our prospects to get to know us.

Lesson: Your biggest challenge in sales is nobody knows you or your product.  If you want to become known, get massive attention by applying some of the ways I outline here.

Talk to your prospects: We all know that America is divided pretty evenly when it comes to politics.  I am sure it probably has always been that way.  Especially in today’s world, where there is more transparency than ever before.  Between twitter, videos, print news, and anything else you can think of, there is always a record of what you have said.  The key today is to define your prospect with clear pinpoint accuracy and then create messages to speak to them.  Again, love him or hate him.  Donald knew what message his prospects wanted to hear.  He was able to create specific messaging to them.  Which fired them up and got them out to vote.  You have to fire your prospects up about your product and then get them to spend money on it.

Lesson: Figure out who you want to reach, and then create a message stating what they want to hear.

Embrace your haters:  As I said earlier.  We live in a country where it is pretty evenly split politically.  So the bottom line is if you are going to win, you have to get fifty percent of the people fired up and hope that the other side doesn’t fire theirs up as much. When you embrace your haters and take them head on as Donald did, it again creates more attention which is what we all want.

Lesson:  Your haters can fuel your desire.  Your haters provide you content to feed the people who love you. Use your haters to define your message to the other half of the people who want to hear your message.

The main thing is that we all our seeking attention in this 24/7 world.  In sales, it is the easiest it ever has been to get your message out.  In most cases it is free to do so.  However, because it is so easy and everyone is doing it, it is harder than ever to get people to hear your message. To go from obscurity to at least being known to people you have to do things unconventionally and be ready to handle the response.

To your success and your future.

 

 

Challenger Sale; Taking Control of the Customer Conversation; notes

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson have written a sales book that really challenges the status quo and gets you thinking differently about top performing sales reps.  The title of the book, The Challenger Sale; Taking Control of the Customer Conversation is a book that has a lot of research that support, the “Challenger” sales person is one that has the most success in selling.

The authors researched hundreds of frontline sales managers across ninety companies around the word, asking those managers to assess three sales reps from their teams–two average performers and one star performer–along forty-four different attributes.  The initial model was built on an analysis of sales reps representing every major industry, geography, and go to market model, it has now been increased to over 6,000 sales reps all over the world.  The sales reps included field reps, inside sales reps, and all gender and races.  The study wasn’t an examination of sales reps personality or personal strengths.

Here are some of the areas that were looked at:

Attitudes: desire to seek issue resolution, willingness to risk disapproval, accessibility goal motivation, extent of outcome focused, curiosity, discretionary effort.

Skills/behaviors: business acumen, customer needs assessment, communication, use of internal resources, negotiation, relationship management, solution selling, teamwork.

Activities: sales process adherence, evaluation of opportunities, preparation, lead generation, administration.

Knowledge: industry knowledge, product knowledge.

So of the forty-four attributes they defined five kinds of sales reps that made up the study. (% is number of sales reps that made up that category of the reps studied)

1.  The Hard worker (21%): Always willing to go the extra mile, doesn’t give up easily, self motivated, interested in feedback and development.

2.  The Challenger (27%): Always has a different view of the world, understands the customers business, loves to debate, pushes the customer.

3.  The Relationship builder (21%): Builds strong advocates in customer organization, generous in giving time to help others, gets along with everyone.

4.  The Lone Wolf (18%): Follows own instincts, self-assured, difficult to control

5. The Reactive Problem Solver (14%): Reliably responds to internal and external stakeholders, ensures that all problems are solved, detail oriented.

After compiling the data the authors asked the sales managers to tell them which of the individuals they submitted fell into the top 20% of their sales force as measured by performance against goal.  They then categorized all the reps in the sample by performance.  The Challenger Sales Rep made up 40% of all high performers studied in the research. 

Of the forty-four attributes:  Six of them showed up statistically significant in defining a Challenger Sales Rep:

  • Offers the customer unique perspectives
  • Has strong two-way communication skills
  • Knows the individual customers value drivers
  • Can identify economic drivers of the customers business
  • Is comfortable discussing money
  • Can pressure the customer.

Based on the unique six attributes the authors categorize them into three areas in which Challenger Sales Reps do very well.  This is a major emphasis in the book.

Teach:  With their unique perspective on the customers business and their ability to engage in robust two-way dialogue, Challengers are able to teach for differentiation during the sales interactions.

Tailor: Because Challengers possess as superior sense of a customers economic and value drivers, they are able to tailor for resonance, delivering the right message to the right person within the customers organization.

Take Control: Challengers are comfortable discussing money and can, when needed, press the customer a bit.  In this way, the Challenger takes control of the sale.

In the study only 7 percent of all-star performers fell in the Relationship builder profile, far fewer than any other. The authors go on to provide data on this and also mention that this is not an indication of the importance of building relationships.

Challenger Sales Reps (CS) versus Relationship Building Sales Reps (RB):

  • (CS) push customers out of their comfort zone, while the (RB) want to be accepted into it.
  • (RB) tends to adopt a service mentality, while (CS) will be more focused on customer value.
  • (CS) creates constructive tension in the sale, while (RB) tends to try to resolve or diffuse all tension, not create it.

In complex sales, Challengers absolutely dominate with more than 50% of all-star performers falling into this category.  The only group that came close was the Lone Wolves, and as all the managers stated, they are hard to find and even harder to control.  The (RB) fall off the map in the complex sales.

Rather you’re asking customers to change their behavior–to stop acting in one way and starting citing in another.  To make that happen, however, you have to get customers to think differently about how they operate.  You need to show them a new way to think about their business.

If you seek to a provide a more value based or solutions based oriented sales approach, then your ability to challenge the customers is absolutely vital for your success going forward.

From here the book goes onto tell you how to develop Challenger Sales Reps.  From here forward I have included my Highlighted notes.

  • The thing that really sets Challenger Sales Reps apart is their ability to teach customers something new and valuable about hot to compete in their market.
  • Challenger’s tae control over the conversation about money and instead of providing a 10 percent discount, they bring the conversation back to value.
  • Just like a teacher must push its students Challenger pushes their customers.
  • Challenger’s don’t believe that the customers know what they need, they realize that the customers needs are simply waiting to be unlocked, either willingly or begrudgingly, through the mastery of our interrogative approach.

How customers buy:

  • 19%: Company and brand impact
  • 19%: Product and Service delivery
  • 9%: Value to Price ratio
  • 53%: Sales Experience 
  • Only 9 percent of customer loyalty is attributable to a suppliers ability to outperform the competition on a price to value ratio.
  • If the customer is focused solely on the cheapest option, the chances are they will be focused on the cheapest option the next time they buy as well, so there will be no loyalty.

Power of Insight:

Fifty or so attributes were tested in a loyalty survey, seventeen of them fell into the sales experience category, each reflecting at least a marginally impact on customer loyalty. When the list was ranked by “impact” on the sale, they found seven attributes that was most important in the survey.

  • Rep offers unique and valuable perspectives on the market
  • Reps helps me navigate alternatives
  • Rep provides ongoing advice or consultation
  • Rep helps me avoid potential landmines
  • Rep educates me on new issues and outcomes
  • Supplier is easy to buy from
  • Supplier has widespread support across my organization.

Each of these attributes speak directly to an urgent need of the customer not to buy something, but to learn something.

  • The best companies don’t win through the quality of the products they deliver, but through the quality of the insights they deliver during the sales process.
  • The best reps don’t win the battle by providing customers information on what they know they already need, but teaching them a new way to thinking altogether.
  • If your reps primary goal going into a sales call is to discover the customers needs, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve begun to fight, because frankly, your customers don’t want to have that conversation

The book gets into sales process.  I highlight below a few of my notes.

  • A great warmer question:  We’ve worked with a number of companies similar to yours, and we’ve found that these three challenges come up again and again as by far the most troubling.  Is this what you’re seeing too, or would you add something to the list?
  • In its purest form, solution selling is customization in the moment. The reps primary job shifts from discovering needs to guiding the conversation.
  • Challenger sales reps aren’t focused on what they are selling, but on what the person they’re speaking to is trying to accomplish.
  • Challengers understand that the goal is to sell a deal, not just have a good meeting, they are focused on moving ahead.
  • If the Rep is not willing to convince the customer that the problem is urgent, then they wont be able to convince the customer its worth solving. 
  • Relationship Builders will do things that are not in their best interest or in their company’s best interests. For instance proactively offering a discount when the customer hasn’t even asked for one.

Sales Managers:

  • Coaching of sales reps is ongoing.  It’s not a one-off event.
  • Coaching is customized to each sales rep.
  • Coaching is behavioral, its nt just obtaining the skill and knowledge it’s about demonstrated application of that skill and knowledge.

Decades of research into human behavior has uncovered a number of human biases that commonly hinder open thinking.  The six most common are:

  • Practicality bias: Ideas that seem unrealistic and should be discarded
  • Confirmation bias: Unexplainable customer behaviors can be ignored
  • Exportablity bias: If it didn’t work here, it wont work anywhere.
  • Legacy bias: The way we’ve always done it must be best.
  • First conclusion bias: The first explanation offered is usually the best or only choice.
  • Personal bias: If I wouldn’t buy it, the customer wont either.

Close:

  • If your sales reps can’t say what differentiates you, why your customers should buy from you instead of your competitor, you cant teach them to value what makes you different.

Sales process:

  • Be memorable and not agreeable.
  • Build a pitch that leads to your solution, don’t lead with it.

This book ranks in my top 10 of last years books that I read.  It is a great read for sales managers as well as sales reps who are looking to get better.

Please share.

To your success and your future.

 

HOT BUTTON MARKETING; book summary

Hot Button Marketing “Push the Emotional Buttons that get People to Buy.”  This is the ninth book I have read this year on sales and marketing.  What I liked most about this book is that it really gave a lot of examples of how effective marketing works.  Also, as a trainer I have been training people on finding the dominant reason a person wants to purchase something, and this book really expands on this concept and fleshes out a lot of great information regarding this subject.

These are my notes from this book (which are my highlights) I attempt not to highlight the entire book, I sometimes do it seems like.

  • People don’t buy products and services.  They buy satisfactions of unmet needs.
  • People buy for the desire to look good for a boss, the desire for achievement, the desire for power and dominance.
  • People rarely buy products, they are buying fulfillment.
  • People buy for two reasons. 1. The rational Reason  2.  The real reason
  • Hit the heart and the head will follow. Rocky Marciano  This works in business to.
  • If you can’t sell your products in a single sentence, you really don’t have an effective selling proposition.
  • Consumers are usually not aware of their needs unless you show them a stimulus, that is: they aren’t aware of a need for a product unless you show them the product and how its going to affect their lives emotionally.
  • How does your product improve the consumers life emotionally?
  • You’re not marketing against consumers.  You’re helping them fulfill a need.
  • The frustrating part is that consumers don’t need or want anything until you hit the right sales note.
  • People didn’t know they wanted a machine that baked bread.  Why?  because the store-bought stuff was pretty good.  But then a bread maker was sold.  People latent need for self achievement (hot button) rose to the surface. The bread makers loved the need that people have to create something.
  • It’s not how a consumer see him or herself in reality.  Its how they see themselves as they aspire to be.
  • A CEO has two hot buttons.  A family and a need for approval from stockholders or a board.
  • Nice to have —-Want to have.  turn these in to must to haves.
  • Consumers use products to achieve the characteristics they envision for themselves.
  • In all countries wealth is a symbol of status. It doesn’t matter that wealth is measured in dollars, the number of cows you have, real-estate, car,.  This hot button depends on age, ethnicity and background.
  • Values systems may differ, but the hot buttons remain the same.
  • Needs are nonnegotiable.  You want them now. No ifs, ands, or buts.  Needs are who we are or what we aspire to be. They are fundamental and necessary to all human satisfaction.
  • Interests are roadmaps for our needs.
  • Starbucks is selling community and companionship and prestige.
  • People who are lower on the social ladder often prefer tangible goods rather than services that only have abstract benefits.  Their hot buttons are often about being smarter and getting the most that one can get for the money.
  • Hot button selling is all about selling to the consumers aspirations.  It’s about selling to the way consumers want to be, rather that the way they are.
  • As a hot button marketer, you are an enabler selling products and services that enable consumers to be what they aspire to be.
  • Hot button research seeks to thoroughly understand the unspoken motives and beliefs held by a customers and prospects in regard to a brand, product, or service.
  • Here is where we go wrong:  We think we know why customers want what they do.  Customers usually don’t know, so how can we.
  • Ninety percent of a sales pitch should be you asking questions.
  • Engage the five senses as much as you can in any sell.

#1:  Hot Button,  The desire for control:

  • Control is one of the strongest Hot buttons.  People want to make their life better. Loss of control is synonymous with a  fear of the unknown.
  • People want control over finances, health, safety and health over loved ones, our own acquisitions, our jobs, our self-respect and the respect of others.
  • The longer people wait of for something, the less control they have (or perceive they have) over it.
  • Control over ones destiny is what drives the at home business phenomenon.
  • How many times have you heard this:  Would you bu willing to cut out a pack of cigarettes or s ingle dinner out each week to be able to afford this home or car.  Reducing a financial picture to the lowest denominator is a great sales technique.  People want to feel like they can control their finances.  This makes it seem like they can.
  • Companies like control as well.  They prefer to stay with suppliers they can trust rather than shopping around.  They feel like they are in control.

#2 Hot Button,  I’m better than you:

  • It is a reflection of your consumers desire to belong or fit in.
  • The desire for higher status is universal across all people and cultures.
  • People are willing to pay dearly to enhance themselves in the eye of their peers.
  • Vodka is neutral and tasteless. Yet research sows that consumers–especially in lower-income areas will go for the name brand in spite of high price.
  • Cost is an essential part of the prestige factor.  The more expensive the better.
  • People wont admit that they buy a product on status appeal.  As with most hot buttons, consumers aren’t aware that they are buying products based on snob appeal.

#3 Hot button,  The excitement of discovery

  • Discovery is something learn or found–it includes both the new and unexpected.

#4  Hot button,  Revaluers

  • Revaluers are a segment of the market that is self motivated, self-directed, and self focused.
  • Don’t sell to them, Allow revaluers to make their own purchasing decisions.
  • Revaluers are a mixture of regret and anticipation.
  • Revaluing hot button is responsible for the rise in health and beauty care products.
  • Revaluers are more into self enjoyment rather than self achievement.
  • Theres a new kind of store in town.  A health food store.  Where you get to pay twice as much for the same products they can find in a super market.
  • Revaluers focus more on the experience of buying a product rather than the products.  Whole Foods is an experience.

#5 Hot button, Family Values:

  • The hottest of hot buttons
  • Disney World and the entire Disney brand sells family values
  • according to the book Why they Buy, by Robert Settle and Pamela Alreck, only one in twenty families fits the bill of a single marriage, two parent, two children household.
  • Family Values are the key to selling houses.
  • Children affect over 60 percent of the families market purchases. The trick is to find which 60 percent they do impact.
  • Kids look up to older kids.  To be like the big kids is an essential kid like desire.
  • Smoking cessation programs sometimes include kids at introductory meetings because research has shown that kids are the biggest motivators to get prints to stop smoking.

#6 Hot button,   The desire to Belong

  • People are social animals.  Emotional connections are critical.
  • We all long to be accepted.  This need to belong is all wrapped up in our sense of personal and physiological well-being and our sense of personal worth.
  • Athletes when they retire never talk about their accolades that they will miss.  It is always about the camaraderie in the locker room that they will miss.  Being with the others.
  • The strongest affinity associations is based on age.
  • People will belong to clubs or organizations to fill this need.  They will wear certain decals or logos for this reason.  To belong.

#7 Hot Button,  Fun is its own reward

  • We all have a desire to laugh and have fun, it is universal.
  • Newspapers offer comic strips because people have a desire to laugh and to be entertained.
  • People have a fear of boredom.  People want to be stimulated.
  • Most sales are made when the sales people take the clients out.  The feeling people get when they have fun is more important than the product.  People want to have fun.
  • More deal are done on the golf course than in the boardroom.

#8 Hot button,   Poverty of Time

  • Consumers have more time than ever before, but they tend to use all the time they have.
  • Geicos commercial give us 15 minutes and we can save you money was huge for them.  All you need is 15 minutes to save cash.  People will spend 15 minutes to save money.
  • Saving time is one of the biggest motivators for men and women ages 25-45.  Especially women of child-bearing years.
  • Humans are the only animals that will procrastinate.  A cat won’t look at a mouse and say I’ll annoy you later”  They do things as they come up.

#9 Hot button,  The need to get the best that can be got

  • This is not only luxury, it is as people move up their tastes change as well.
  • Coveting the goods of your neighbors used to be hot.  Now with reality television and marketing, people covet what the rich and famous have.
  • Harley Davidson motorcycles have a tendency to breakdown, but people still covet them.  Same as jaguars.
  • People get an emotional high out of buying the quintessential product.  Sometimes the product itself is not that great, they enjoy the buying of it though.
  • Self satisfaction is most important to this person since it fulfills a private dream and the reward is inner gratification.
  • The best that can be got is beyond money, beyond power, it is a feel good thing.

#10 Hot Button,  Self Achievement

  • Self achievement is a major goal for people.  Find out what the deepest desire for your product is.
  • Business psychologists know that as adults we seek praises from our bosses as much as we seek a good paycheck.
  • People always want to become better.
  • Feeling good is the heart of success.  It’s the ultimate in self achievement and success.
  • Feeling Good is the ultimate psychological need of any human being.
  • The strongest word in the human language is a personas name.  The second strongest is you.
  • Personal growth is important to everyone. You just have to find out what that is.

#11 Hot Button,  Sex, Love, And Romance

  • Ads focused on primal instincts works faster especially for men.
  • The desire to love and to be loved is a strong hot button
  • Sexual interest and romantic interest are two of the most basic emotions.
  • Sex can be explicit or implied.  Men want explicit and women want more subtle images.

#12 Hot button, The nurturing response

  • Make Mom and Dad the hero not the product
  • This hot button is about the need to give care, comfort, growth, and support to others.
  • Nurturing is an innate, instinctive emotional response in most of us.
  • Good will industries is a great example.  People want to feel like they are giving back to poor people.  However, Goodwill industries is a for profit company.  But they use the nurturing appeal well in their marketing.
  • Girl Scout cookies plays to this hot button.
  • Michelin tires and the baby sitting in a tire.  Why wouldn’t you buy a Michelin tire to protect your child.

#13 Hot button, Reinventing Oneself

  • Reinvention can happen at almost any age.
  • Most often people don’t change unless thy are uncomfortable.
  • Dissatisfaction with who people think they are, their role in life, or economic dissatisfaction forces people to take inventory of themselves. They want to fix it.

#14 Hot Button, Make me smarter

  • Half of knowledge is knowing where to find it.
  • Knowledge is an innate desire for humans.
  • People want to think they are smart
  • People want to know more than their peers, neighbors, and friends,
  • Knowledge brings a feeling of empowerment and enables consumers to make better buying decisions.

Does your product do one of these things for people?  How many of these does your product do for your customer? 

  • Entertain
  • To make better choices
  • To improve ones life
  • To keep ones mind occupied
  • To learn something new
  • To keep ones mind sharp
  • To improve mental efficiency
  • To hope
  • To build self-confidence
  • To find out something new
  • To discover alternate plans that can be followed when Plan A doesn’t work.

#15 Hot button,  Power, dominance, and influence

  • Personal Power and positional power
  • Wealth is equated with power.
  • In middle management you sell by whats in it for the middle manager (secondarily the company).  It could be a promotion, more money, or an in to more power. It’s up to the sales person to make the middle managers look good
  • Middle managers tend to buy things that increase their personal dominance and may help them look good to higher-ups.  Upper management usually wants products that are good for the company, because in their minds they are the company.

#16 Hot Button,  Wish Fulfillment

  • Find out what your prospects want and how to fit that into their dreams.  Help them get what attainable.
  • The advertising industry exploits wish-fulfillment by suggesting an association of their product with a specific desire (good health, attractiveness, or power)
  • Sell the results of the dream not the dream itself.

The most common wishes are for friends, happiness, health, marriage, money, success, self-improvement, and to help other people.  More men than women wanted sex and power.  More women wanted happiness, a better appearance, and greater health.

Some of the hot buttons, like status, nurturing, and dominance, are primal and are shared with our cousins in the animal world.  Some are distinctly human, such as control and self achievement.  Most of our physical needs are met, but not our psychological needs.  As humans our minds and emotions are the most difficult to discern.  Good sales people get past the facades and break down the psychological wants and needs.

If you are in sales or marketing I would encourage you to read this book.

Hot Button Marketing (Push the emotional buttons that get people to buy); author Barry Feig

 

It is a feeling

Value is a feeling not an actual number or calculation.  Since value is a feeling and not something that is actually tangible, can you create value or perceived value for something?  The answer to this is simple, YES.  YES you can.  It is done every single day in every single way.

Let me give you an easy example.  In the last year or so I have started playing golf.  Well, playing golf may be a lie, I go out to the golf course every couple of weeks and hit a tiny white ball around in an open field called a golf course.  So I attempt to play the game.

For about the first few months of playing golf I borrowed a set of golf clubs from a friend of mine. Since we were playing more and more, I decided it was time to purchase some golf clubs.  So I go into Golf Galaxy and I wanted to purchase a set of clubs that came with all of the needed clubs as well as a golf bag.  I had in my mind a price that I wanted to stay around.

It came down to really two sets of Golf Clubs. There was a set of Top Flite Golf Clubs and a set of Adams Clubs.  Both sets had the same number of clubs and the bags were similar.  The Adams set was about $200 dollars more than the Top Flite set.  Guess which set I purchased?  I purchased the Adams set of golf clubs.  You know why?  Because Tom Watson is one of the Pro-Golfers that endorses Adams products.  Adams is a product that I have actually seen on Sunday afternoons that the Pros actually use.  I don’t recall ever seeing Top Flite by any of the pros. I went over my budget to.

You know how much my golf game has changed since when I borrowed the golf clubs and I purchased my Adams set?  NOT MUCH!  You know why, because I don’t practice, I don’t take lessons.  I just play and that is when I am practicing so I don’t get any better.

Is the Adams set any better than the Top Flite set?  I guess some experts would argue that, but it doesn’t matter, I felt that the value was there so I purchased.

Value is a feeling, it is an emotion. It doesn’t matter what actually is, it only matters what you feel it is.  When you feel the value is there, you will make a decision and purchase.  So as a salesperson, your job is to create the feeling in your customer’s mind that the value is there. You do that by helping them discover why they need your product, when they are able to see that the value will be there. Just like me and my Adams Golf clubs, the sales person said that they were the most forgiving golf clubs, he couldn’t say that about the Top Flite.  I need a lot of forgiveness on the golf course, but it hasn’t helped much.

 

3 step process to resolve objections

In almost all sales classes I teach and every time I meet a new sales person, they always love to talk to me about additional training on how to resolve objections.  I guess it should technically be my one of my favorite subjects since so many people and companies buy sales training for this reason alone.

I like to keep things simple.  I am simple person and the more simple I can keep things the better off I am.

Here is a the process I teach.  The scenario: You just heard the objection, how do you respond:

1st:  Instead of instantly replying with your answer.  You respond to the individual letting them know that you heard them.  You would say something like:  “Bob, I understand pricing is a consideration for you in this purchase.”   This lets the buyer know you heard what they said and you acknowledge it being a concern.

2nd: Clarify:  “Bob, since the budget is a consideration, what are your parameters of your budget.”  This question allows you to seek clarity to what the budget concerns are. Maybe he has an exact budget number.  Maybe they have a fiscal year coming up, maybe it is the end of the month cycle. It could be all of these things.  So your job as the sales person is to seek clarity around this budget.

3rd:  Dive a little deeper:  So you have fleshed out the budget constraints.  You now need to seek out if there are any other things that could prevent the sale from moving forward.  So you would ask Bob.  “Bob, outside of the budget considerations, is there anything else that we should look at before moving forward?”  This is his opportunity to tell you if there are any other things he may be unsure of.

Once you take a prospect through these questions you should have an understanding of where they are.  In each of the above scenarios your job is to clarify and explain to them how your product will meet their needs they have.  But you first have to get all of the possible objections out on the table and that is what this process does.

The key in dealing with objections is first asking the right questions and understanding their needs before you ever get to the objections.  Are they really a buyer.  Think about it.  When you need something really bad, you go and buy it, right?  Have you ever purchased something you didn’t need?  Sure you have, we all have.  Why is that? Because after seeing it you wanted it.  Maybe the sales person was able to show you how you could benefit from buying the product.  Keep something in mind, we all love to buy things.

Remember all sales begin with relationships, and once you have a strong relationship established it creates the right environment for someone to want to buy your product.

Brian Willett

Your responsibility as a salesperson

Last night, I had one of those AHA moments.  If you don’t know what that is, it is when you say, wow I really didn’t understand or know that until just now.  The AHA moment for me when I was conducting my sales class.  I have had many AHA moments over the years, but this one was pretty profound.

Many times I have stated the quote:  “We as needy human beings love to buy, but we hate to be sold to.”  Most people would agree with that statement, myself included. But last night my AHA moment was when one of my class participants was telling me that they actually would refuse to give all of the information in a sales situation.  I couldn’t believe it.  They actually would attempt to give less information to a salesperson for some reason.

So I have been pondering that all night.  No wonder this person has a dislike towards sales people, because how can they effectively make a solid and informed purchase if they refuse to give all of the information necessary for a sales person to assist them in making the right decision for a particular purchase.

So whose fault is it?  Well, I have to blame the salesperson.  As a salesperson it is your job to make the buyer feel comfortable in making a purchase.  It is your job to create such a rapport that the buyer is willing to give you all of the information necessary so you can assist them in making the right purchase for them.  Then and only then, are you really effectively servicing your buyer and their needs.

I realize sales people have a certain stigma around what they do.  We must accept this, we have to own it and take responsibility for it and do whatever it takes to go the opposite way of that stigma.

As sales people we must:

  • Build rapport
  • Ask questions to understand the buyers needs
  • Educate the buyer on all of the options including ones you don’t offer. 
  • Provide solutions based on what they tell us. 
  • Make the buyer feel comfortable about telling us everything.
  • Dont rush a sale.  Let the sale take as long as it needs to. 

Are we going to sell them all?  Nope, but it is your responsibility as a sales person to create an environment where people will want to tell you everything and want to buy.

Brian Willett

6 ways to gain cooperation today

Build better rapport and relationships with your colleagues, sales prospects, subordinates, boss, and even your children today by doing the following.

  • Listen more than you talk.
  • When you do talk ask more questions.
  • Focus on what you can do for them instead of what they can do for you.
  • Take the “I” and “me” out of your language.
  • Show them what can be done instead of saying what can’t be done.
  • Show and tell them how it will benefit “them

Apply these principles today and share your results with us in the comments section.

Brian Willett