The Small Miscues in Persuasion Can Often Be The Biggest Factor In Lack of Sales Success


    “The tongue can paint what the eye can’t see.”

    -Chinese Proverb

    You know your product or service, including its features, benefits, and the value proposition of your organization. You’ve worked through your target vertical to find leads, and asked the right qualifying questions. You listened and understood what the prospective client values, and your solution appears to be a match.

    You even went in to craft a personalized sales proposal, perhaps even developing some storytelling and innate passion. Yet, you’re still not getting to ‘YES’.

    It’s not because you’re not doing the right things, but its because of what you may not be delivering from the inside-out. The ability to recognize, hone, and execute upon some core facets of persuasion.

    Here’s 5 tips on persuasion that I’d like to share with you. Take them, work them into your sales development and strategy – then watch the results begin to shift.

    1) Recognize that humans are emotional creatures. Despite the title and experience, most humans are more inclined to act emotionally than ‘logically’. Emotions coming into, and carried by your sales prospect, can ruin their ability to recognize best fit, value, and even think clearly.

    The emotional mind of the individual you will be engaging is shaped by their beliefs, attitudes, and reactions. Emotions steer people into what seems safe, comfortable, and pleasurable – and away from discomfort or pain. And this is extremely important when you get to the next tip.

    2) Do your background on the individual you will be engaging with. Sure, you’ve done your homework on the target organization, the market its in, your competitors, their products, and how you can help them solve their challenges deemed most important.

    However, we’re dealing with people and emotions. This means that you need to form a bond, and make sure that you come off as likable to that individual. Not phony or manipulative, but as someone who has taken the time to learn about and know THEM.

    Did you go on all of their social media accounts? What posts did they like or dislike? Who else are they connected with? Do you know these people? What non-profits or social organizations do they support? Any recent news items from Google involving their name? Past videos on YouTube? Posts they made? Articles they wrote? Do you have mutual connections they have engaged with?

    Depending on the complexity of your product, service, and sale, you may be dealing with a decision maker or one or two rungs below. In all cases, having research on the individual is going to go a long way.

    It’s more than their birthday, how many kids they have, where they live, or where they attended college. That’s beginner. You want to see how and where they have engaged, and perhaps their reactions, comments, and passions.

    That’s emotion. And bonding on commonalities makes you similar and likable. It gives you an opportunity to pay meaningful, honest compliments…and to find ways to cooperate – even outside of the sale you’re seeking.

    3) Have THEM paint the pretty picture you need to see. One of the smartest pieces of advice I’ve found. Essentially you are having the prospect give you the keys to the door they’d like to see YOU unlock for them.

    Here’s what you say:

    “Obviously, I’d love to have your organization as a client. So when you think down the line about choosing us and our product/service, how will you know a year from now that you’ve made the right choice?”

    In their answer, look for their expectations and best-case scenarios. Because if you match this through your crafted sales proposal, you are going to be well on your way to helping with connecting to what’s most important and meeting their most valuable expectations.

    4. Add THEIR name into your conversation. This implies a connection and brings them much closer into gaining compliance. However, it should be best used at the beginning and end of the conversation, and extremely sparingly in-between. Too much use of a first name means coming off as canned.

    5. Empathize & Deliver. A big part of utilizing the emotional component of decision-making is empathizing. But you’ve got to make sure that your mind and belief is in the space of being true to empathy – and then attaching certainty to a solution on those feelings.

    This is where apart from training on content delivered and sales process, you already train yourself in truly putting yourself in your customer’s mindset and feeling. Because eyes, facial expression, voice tone, and body language often tell others the truth – far beyond well-practiced wording.

    Empathy is not simply about agreeing with their feelings, nodding your head when they speak, or telling them “I understand”. Instead, seek to engage in conversation leading into greater certainty, based on their concerns.

    Let me show you a great example:

    Prospect: “We’ve hired marketing firms in the past. They talk a good game, we get into a contract, and then the results were not what they promised. So we’re really not looking to do this again.”

    Company: “I really know where you’re coming from Robert. Spending money and especially when you’re locked into a long-term contract can feel like paying to be in a prison. I would absolutely feel the same way you do right now.

    That’s why we use the latest marketing science, measurement tools, and most recent trends, to agree on up-front expectations for results that are specific to your market and spend.

    Then you pay for our services as you go – for the first six months. All the while, we have monthly meetings on what’s working, not working, and working exceedingly well.

    Once we prove ourselves, which we do with 88% of our clients, we give you an option (and only an option) to contract with us. If you do, we extend a 17% reduction from what you had been paying – OR you could still go month-to-month at the same rate you had been paying.

    It’s entirely up to you.

    In fact, if you speak to our mutual friend Scott Anderson at XYZ, they were in the exact same situation as you before hiring us. Now they’re up 24% in revenue and 15% on profit year-on-year. I just spoke to Scott yesterday, and he told me that you could call him and ask him all about it.

    And just let me know if you ever need other references Robert, because we have great relationships with companies who have trusted us, and continue to trust us for years. And there’s something else I need to make really clear with you…

    [PAUSE if on phone. Look directly in client eyes if face-to-face, and if applicable/appropriate give a light touch on the arm]

    We’re not the cheapest – but we have third party surveys showing that our company consistently provides the best ROI for clients. That’s comparing us not only with our competitors but with results from internal marketing departments of our clients.

    We hire the smartest and most cutting edge talent. Those with top degrees, who’ve won industry awards, and who we typically pay 22% more than our competitors. And we don’t subcontract out – but invest in an employed team.

    It costs us more – but it gives us a big advantage in giving clients consistently better results. Because we’d rather build consistency and good reputation on results, than trying to low-ball and lock into poor-performing contracts.”

    The key here is not only being empathetic…but in providing for the client’s most pressing need. NOT to hire a marketing service, but in first securing certainty and protection in making that decision. This is when empathetic action and persuasion most easily translate into getting to a more consistent YES in your sales process.