By Larry Kendall, founding partner of The Group, Inc, author of “Ninja Selling: Subtle Skills. Big Results.“
Whether you are selling a product, a service, or an idea to your boss, friend or investor, you will be more successful when you get people moving toward you. If they feel you are selling them, they will emotionally move away from you. You can tell they are moving away or distancing from you when you get a feeling in your body that you are pursuing. If you are pursuing, they are distancing and you are caught in what psychologists call the pursuer-distancer dance. This dance occurs not only in sales but also in dating, investor dynamics, and relationships.
Want to be successful in sales? In dating? As an entrepreneur? Stop selling and start attracting! Make yourself valuable and you will attract. One of the fundamental economic laws is that people and money flow to value. So, stop selling and start creating value.
You see, the days of traditional Depression-era selling techniques are over. Perhaps you were taught combative selling: always be closing (ABC); you have to have ten “nos” to get your first yes; grind them down, they buy or they die. Customers hate this. And they no longer have to put up with it. What’s changed?
The Internet Has Changed Selling in Two Profound Ways.
1. In the old days, the salesperson used superior product and market knowledge as a lever to manipulate or outwit the customer, who was at a distinct disadvantage. Today, however, most customers have done a great deal of research on-line, even before they enter the showroom, sales center, or open house. In some cases, they know more about the market and the product than the salesperson. An entrepreneur who launches into a pitch or engages in puffery is a turnoff to the investor. Customers want someone they can trust to help them make a good decision. Do your customers get the vibe that you are there to help them or to sell them?
2. Since the advent of the Internet, pushy salespeople can be roasted by customers on social media. A salesperson’s reputation can be made or broken by just one customer. On the positive side, when you do a great job for customers, and they feel you are their trusted advisor, they will tell their friends on social media. Today, the story your customers tell about you is more important than the story you tell about yourself.
Stop Selling! Start Attracting!
Your first step is to get people moving toward you — to attract them rather than pursue them.
There are two critical aspects to this:
- People tend to move toward someone they know, like, and trust—someone they feel comfortable with. The first step is to position yourself as their likable, trusted advisor, not as a salesperson.
- People move toward value. If you have something they value, something they want, they will be attracted to you. Your mission is to create value. What do people value? People will pay money for two things: To solve a problem (pain relief) and to feel good (pleasure).
How do you discover their pain and pleasure? Ask them! What a concept! Rather than making a sales pitch (and causing them to distance), start asking the right questions to discover their pain and pleasure. Let them do the talking while you listen carefully for how you can solve their pain and pleasure. Here are two of my favorite pain and pleasure questions for a person in business.
Pain Question: “So, what is your biggest challenge in your business right now?”
Pleasure Question: “If you could wave a magic wand and have your business just the way you want it, what would that look like?”
Solve their biggest challenge and help they achieve their dreams and you have created value for them. Stop selling and start solving. They will beat a path to your door.
Larry Kendall is one of the founding partners of The Group, Inc., a real estate company with two hundred sales associates and six offices in Northern Colorado. He is the creator of Ninja Selling, a sales training system with over fifty thousand graduates in the US, Canada, and Spain. Kendall can be found on Twitter and Facebook. His new book,”Ninja Selling: Subtle Skills. Big Results.“, is available on Amazon as well other fine booksellers.