Charisma vs Passion in Selling

Charisma is about charming people.  It is a way of influencing how someone feels about you.  It may be natural, or it may be a technique for getting approval.

Passion (in this context) is how we feel about something we do.  Feeling passion and expressing passion are two very different things.  The first is real, and the second may be an act.  If we are not careful, our expression of passion may be interpreted as an attempt to influence how a prospect feels about what we are selling.

Influencing how a prospect feels is one way to sell.  However, influencing a prospect is not compatible with High Probability Selling.

We teach our students to maintain an objective, neutral, and businesslike manner when selling.  We put our passion and our energy into finding people who want what we are selling and into determining how likely the outcome will turn out the way we want it to.


Upcoming HPS Workshops:
Getting Personal (17 Jan 2017, $245);  Chapter 12 Explained (26 Jan 2017, $45);  Prospecting (21 Feb 2017, $1050)

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Charisma vs Passion in Selling

How Can I Convince You That Convincing Doesn’t Work?

This is a question that I heard Jacques Werth ask many times, “How can I convince you that convincing doesn’t work?”

In a selling situation, Jacques knew that attempting to convince someone was not a good use of a salesperson’s time.  However, he was usually in a marketing situation when he asked that question, and he passionately wanted salespeople to become more successful.

Now that Jacques is retired, it’s my turn to ask, “How can I convince you that convincing doesn’t work?”

Here are some answers to think about:

  1. I could try to convince you by giving you logical arguments and reasons why you can’t convince someone.
    • Pros:  I’m very comfortable with creating and presenting logical arguments, and I’m good at it.  It works just often enough for me to keep trying.
    • Cons:  It hasn’t worked as well as I think it should.  Too many people resist being argued into a new belief.
  2. I could give you evidence of how other people have become more successful when they stopped trying to convince people.
    • Pros:  Some people can be influenced by evidence.  In this case, the evidence is available and doing this seems logical.
    • Cons:  Many people don’t trust evidence, because it is too often twisted and used to manipulate people’s beliefs.
  3. I could give up the idea of trying to convince you, and focus instead on finding someone who already believes that convincing doesn’t work.
    • Pros:  This is less stressful than trying to change someone’s mind, and can be a lot more effective (when done right).
    • Cons:  Working with people who already believe is tricky.  It is too easy to fall back to old habits, and turn them off by saying something persuasive.  Also, sometimes you don’t have the option of choosing who you are going to work with, and can’t just go find someone else.
  4. I could list some options for you to consider, providing my understanding of the pros and cons for each option, and without trying to steer you in any direction.  I could then ask you what you want to do.
    • Pros:  More people follow my advice when I present it objectively and don’t tell them what to do.
    • Cons:  Presenting advice this way is a lot more work.  It is frustrating to know that it would be so much quicker and easier if I just told you what to think.

What do you think?

How Can I Convince You That Convincing Doesn’t Work?

Don’t Try to Sell High Probability Selling to Your Boss

by Jacques Werth

Our office manager rang me and said “John Richardson is on line 5.  He took our workshops several months ago and he has a problem.  Can you talk to him now?”

I said, “Sure” and picked up the call.

“What’s the problem, John?”

He said, “Since I did your courses I’ve increased my average monthly sales volume by over forty-percent and it’s still climbing.  So, when I was talking to my sales manger last week I told him that he should have all the salespeople take your workshops.  He told me to describe how High Probability Selling works, so I did.  He listened, took notes, and said he would think about it.”

I said, “I can guess what happened next.”

John said, “He called me today and said that what I’ve been doing can’t possibly work and he wants me to stop immediately.  He insisted that I to go back to using the company’s standard sales process.”

I said, “We always tell salespeople who participate in our workshops that they should never try to convince anyone to use High Probability Selling, and especially not their boss.  Trying to convince people creates resistance.”

He said, “I thought he would love the idea of everyone increasing their sales the way I have.”

I said, “First, it’s not true that all the salespeople will increase their sales – some can’t or won’t.

“More importantly, most sales managers have a big personal investment in having everyone do whatever they believe in.  It’s very hard for them to change, especially if they don’t discover it themselves.  That’s why we ask everyone not to tell their mangers what they’re doing, but wait until they are asked.  Then, you should just say “It’s too complicated for me to explain, but I’ll give you the book if you want to read it.”

He said, “I was so excited about the results I’ve been getting, I forgot all about that.”

 

Don’t Try to Sell High Probability Selling to Your Boss

We Are All Salespeople At Birth

by Jacques Werth

As new born infants, our survival depends on how well we can manipulate adults, usually our parents, in order to get what we need to thrive.  We are instinctively programmed to keep trying all kinds of tactics to get nourishment, comfort, and safety.  Fortunately, our parents and most other adults are programmed to respond well to this.  We then continue to learn manipulation and persuasion techniques as our lives go on.

By the time we are in our teens, we have been inundated with hundreds of different marketing, advertising, and sales tactics.  In response to those tactics, we learn how to resist the techniques that others use on us to try to make us do what they want.  This is the origin of sales resistance.

Sales experts are constantly developing new methods intended to negate our sales resistance.  However, no matter how subtle or persuasive their methods may be, most people have learned to intuitively sense it when they are being pushed or preyed upon.

Nevertheless, we have to buy stuff that we need and want.  Given a choice, we prefer to buy from a person whom we trust.  We also want to be trusted by others.  It’s not easy to become the kind of salesperson that people feel like trusting.  There is so much unlearning to do.  However, when we succeed at that we are far happier with our lives.

We Are All Salespeople At Birth

Totally Truthful Salespeople

by Jacques Werth

I have been in sales, sales management, and sales training since 1955.  From the beginning, I observed how top sales producers actually sell, intent on becoming one of them.  In 1961, I started to manage a sales force.

The first thing I noticed in my new job was that our salespeople all had an underlying sense of insecurity about selling and being believed.

Lou bragged about how his magic words and wise appearance closed his last sale, even though his sales were infrequent.

Steve kept revising his sales pitch, sure that all he needed was the right words to convince his prospects to buy.

Art was good looking, charming, and had a great sense of humor.  His lynchpin was rapport.

Bill knew far more about the services we sold than anyone, and he was sure that his expertise would close the sales.

They all constantly tried to come up with the best way to convince prospects of the benefits of our services.  However, most of them were barely making a living.

That was my first shot at managing salespeople and I didn’t know how to get through to any of them.  Then, one day, Wilbur joined our sales force.  He was quiet, self-assured, and a very good listener.  He reminded me of some of the top sales producers I had observed before I got into management.  In his first month with our company he became the top sales producer and his sales production kept improving.

When the other salespeople asked Wilbur how he did it, he said, “I just tell my prospects the truth about everything, the good and the bad.”  However, the other salespeople continued to sell the way they always did.

At that point, Wilbur’s sales accounted for almost 40% of our total sales volume and I was determined to find another Wilbur.  So, I began recruiting and interviewing salespeople, but I didn’t hire anyone until Stan showed up.

Stan didn’t seem to be like Wilbur in any obvious way.  He was friendly, energetic, and gregarious.  However, like Wilbur, he was a stickler for telling the whole truth.  After several months, Stan’s production was getting close to Wilbur’s and the less successful salespeople wanted to know how he did it.

Stan may have had a better understanding of why his sales process worked so well.  He told the other salespeople that he always told his prospects about the benefits and the detriments of our services, including everything that could go wrong.  He also explained how we guaranteed our services, but if service was required, it would not be a pleasant experience until everything was fixed.  However, the poor performing salespeople did not believe Stan either.

By the following year our company’s sales volume had almost doubled, most of the original salespeople were gone, and I was still recruiting salespeople like Stan and Wilbur.  That is how our company became one of the largest in the industry.

The lesson in this story is that you can make a lot more sales by telling the whole truth, and not just the parts that you think will help you persuade your prospects to buy.

Totally Truthful Salespeople

5 Toxic Behaviors that Kill Sales

by Jacques Werth

1. Assume the Sale.  Treat everyone who might buy from you as if they will.  Persuade and convince them.

People who are that easy to convince are probably unwilling or unable to buy.  Many more people will resent you making assumptions about what is theirs to decide.
2. Get Out There and Sell.  You can’t sell ’em if you don’t meet ’em.
You will waste a lot of time that way, yours and theirs.  That will probably be the last time you get to meet them.
3. Act Like a Consultant.  Present yourself as an expert and trusted advisor about what they need.
Most prospects know better than to believe that a salesperson can be an objective advisor.  Salespeople who pretend to be consultants are trusted even less.
4. Find Problems and Solve Them.  Uncover the prospect’s needs and persuade them that you have the solutions.
Most prospects have more problems than they can ever get handled.  If it’s not a top priority for them when you call, they will not buy.
5. Overcome Objections and Close the Sale.  Convince prospects that their objections are wrong, or are actually benefits.
Objections are usually caused by the salesperson’s lack of authentic disclosure or by the prospect’s lack of a commitment to buy.

 

5 Toxic Behaviors that Kill Sales

We Need Your Help with a Marketing Question About a Call to Action

We need your help.  What would a Call to Action from High Probability Selling (HPS) look like and feel like?  We want to hear your thoughts, and even more importantly, we want to know how you feel.

Marketing experts tell us that every “pitch” should contain a clear Call to Action, something that we want the reader or listener to do.  But they live in a persuasive world, where marketing and selling is all about pushing or nudging or influencing people into buying something.  High Probability Selling is not in that world at all.

We don’t pitch.  Instead of trying to get someone to buy, HPS is about finding someone who wants to buy what we are selling, and then communicating with that person in a way that is completely consistent with this purpose.  So, what would a Call to Action look like in order to be compatible with High Probability Selling?

It can’t be pushy.  We’ve tried that.  Our website used to say “Get Started Now!” in big bold type on the home page.  It just didn’t feel right, and one of our readers pointed this out to us recently on Twitter.  So we changed it to something else.  We thought about it, and made a guess about what might work.

Our thinking went like this.  In the world of persuasion, a Call to Action is a push in a direction chosen by the seller.  In the world of HighProb, it’s replaced by a map, so that the potential buyer can make an informed decision.  People want to know what direction to go, but they don’t want to be pushed.  What we have now starts with “What’s next?  We offer the following suggestions”.  This is followed by our best guesses about what a reader might want.

High Probability Prospecting contains a good example of a High Probability version of a Call to Action.  Another Twitter friend pointed out that we are asking someone to make a decision (a type of action) when we are prospecting and we ask, “Is that something you want?”  When we do this, we make no attempt to steer the prospect toward a particular answer.  It’s a Call to Action without a direction.

We need to be creative.  High Probability Selling contradicts conventional wisdom about marketing and selling.  We want creative people to tell us what they think and feel.

 

We thank our readers, especially Linda Sgoluppi and Russ Thoman (@Linda_Sgoluppi and @RussThoman on Twitter), for calling us into action and for helping us clarify our thoughts on this.

We Need Your Help with a Marketing Question About a Call to Action