By Bob Dodge
The more I learn about sales and the human brain - and the more I discuss this with sales professionals I know - the more convinced I become about the effectiveness of the simplest sales model I know. This model consists of three basic steps, although the first two are often overlooked..
STEP 1. Get past the gate keeper in the brain, the amygdala. The amygdala is often associated with fear as it controls our reaction to stimuli. If it senses that something (a sales pitch) is potentially threatening or dangerous, it tells you “don’t let this information cause a reaction.” Imagine a prospect’s thought process as he is listening to a pitch. At first the amygdala hinders the flow of information, deeming it unsafe., thus all the sales person’s efforts to have a conversation are met with resistance.
When the discussion or pitch includes a building trust and rapport, the amygdala essentially says to the brain that it is okay to converse with this person, and thus the brain is ready to process a discussion with the salesperson. So, trying to discuss needs, features, benefits and such before building that internal trust is most often a waste of time.
STEP 2. Help your prospect discover for themselves a reason to consider your offering. Help them hear themselves acknowledge that they have a need, problem or solution and understand the impact of solving this problem, eliminating this pain or reaching this goal. A solution without an identified problem and motive, is not a solution. Trying to share why your solution is so great before the prospect has expressed a need is also a waste of time.
I can’t tell you how many times people tell me their challenge is closing deals. When we probe how well they do the above two steps, we begin to discover that they usually never determined the WHY for their prospect (and often that is because the prospect’s amygdala is still saying, “Don’t allow this discussion to get past hello!”
STEP 3. Once the salesperson has established enough trust and rapport and has helped the prospect discover his or her needs and how they would benefit from a solution, they can then move to a discussion of how to solve their problem. By laying the foundation of trust and understanding in Steps 1 and 2, the discussion regarding solutions (AKA the pitch) now has a much deeper value - and the likeliness of closing the deal has increased exponentially.