We have all heard the expression that people make decisions based on emotion, then spend time rationalizing the decision. This interplay between our primal instinct and our later developed intellect, impacts sales success in other key ways. Our beliefs on a primal level have greater influence than we often realize, and despite our intellect and education, our beliefs will either limit us, or empower us beyond what many give them credit for.
Take telephone prospecting, yes cold calling, certainly a real and often emotional thing for all involved. There are as many opinions out there about cold calling as there are minutes in a day. Yet whether it works, or not, has less to do with technique and the times we live in. It instead comes down to your beliefs and the actions those beliefs lead to, or more typically, actions they prevent. And just like actions having consequences, in sales, especially lack of action, has greater consequences.
This leads to the question of which beliefs are interfering with your sales success, and can be recalibrated to change your beliefs, thoughts and actions.
One of my core beliefs, supported by real world experience, and empirical data, is that my customers benefit in very specific ways when they follow my programs. They regularly achieve objectives they set out to accomplish, and realize direct impact on their business. I am conduit to best practices, and as a result, can help prospects even before they commit to my programs. This allows me to pick up the phone, and call someone I have not met, but have the confidence that I can help.
Now if you don’t have that core belief, the belief that you can help your clients, you are going to have difficulty prospecting, which equals difficulty selling. Even though I am a professional interrupter, realizing that I am disrupting the prospects day, I both know and believe that the ultimate positive impact I will have on their sales team, will greatly outweigh the interruption.
What’s interesting is why people lack the belief that they can help their prospects. Some tell me they sell a commodity, and as a result it is all down to price. I get it, it is not easy, but you and I both know that there are people out there prospecting in your hen house and winning the business without dropping their price or pants. What they have going for them is their focus on the outcomes they deliver, not how they deliver them. This allows you to concentrate the message, avoid talking about yourself, and quickly have the prospect focus on the issue not the product. The prospectors we turn out never talk about products, who their company is, or any of that intellectually rooted messaging, it is all about outcomes.
Start by going back and having straight conversations with your clients, ask them why they continue to deal with you, and then listen, and not selectively. What you’ll find is that even if it is a commodity, door nails, is that price is not in the top three reasons, usually not in the top five. Seems to me, those three things that keep them with you, but are not price, should be the things you lead a cold call with, even before talking about your company. Frankly dear, no one cares that you are the Mid-West account rep for a Fortune 500 company, well maybe your mother, but no prospect, go to the outcomes.
It will take a few interviews with clients, and with people where you lost, or they did not take a decision. But over time you will not only understand what you should focus on in prospecting calls, but as you get traction, you will confirm your ability to help people and change your beliefs to a healthier and more rewarding set of beliefs.