Sales training companies all say they’re different, but they’re all doing the same thing—They’re teaching you and your people to act like salespeople. Do you think that’s who your clients really want to put their trust in?
Our prospects see more salespeople than we see prospects, and “selling” is a very familiar behavior pattern to our prospects and customers. They feel it adds little value to them, it offers no competitive differentiation, and they know just how to deal with the salespeople who behave that way. In fact, the whole buyer world has an Anti-Sales Defense System that manages and controls the sales process. They assume everything salespeople say and do is self-interested and biased; they stall them with made-up excuses; they ask for references for more proof; they push them off by asking for more information; or they just say, “call me back in 6 months”, knowing that most salespeople won’t. Any of this prospect behavior sound familiar? (Learn more details about the prospects’ Anti-Sales Defense System in the article, Your Prospects’ Anti-Sales Defense System.)
To avoid this behavior from your prospect, you first have to understand what’s really causing it. The Anti-Sales Defense System is triggered by a specific behavior pattern that’s composed of three primary behaviors:
* Asking Questions to gather information to understand your prospect’s circumstances;
* Presenting Features and Benefits to ensure they understand the value your offerings;
* Overcoming Objections to clarify your message and remove any misconceptions they may have about your offerings.
This behavior seems perfectly reasonable to all salespeople, because it’s based on the natural human behavior pattern used for persuasion. That’s why all sales training is also based on this behavior, and that’s precisely what the problem is. It makes all business development people look the same, and it systematically triggers all the prospect behaviors salespeople hate. (Learn more in the article Three Common Sales Behaviors that Create Distrust.)
Salespeople all know that the obvious “selling” behavior doesn’t get a good response from their prospects, so they try to disguise it with what they call “soft selling” or “consultative selling.” Unfortunately, soft selling just leads to soft results, because it’s still “selling”, but just really weak selling. Any for of selling behavior, weak or strong, is still “selling”, and it is exactly what triggers the Anti-Sales Defense System on the buyer’s side of the table.
The problem is that sales and business development professionals don’t know how to be seen as trusted advisors when they first meet a prospect. They only know how to develop trust over time, but that’s only after they get the business. You get far more business when you can completely avoid triggering the Anti-Sales Defense System and be seen as a trusted advisor in the first meeting. You become highly differentiated against your competitors, and, more importantly, the immediate boost in credibility and trust allows you to directly influence the prospect’s decision to choose you.
This is where the real sales opportunity lies. The sales elite, the top 1% of performers who are producing at 5-10 times their industry’s average, intuitively understand how trust and influence is really created, and they become the person the decision makers have always wished walked through their door. The sales elite have figured out how to replace their “selling” behaviors with specific trusted advisor behaviors that immediately create the trust and influence with their prospects that sales professionals only wish they could. In fact, the sales elite can create levels of trust and influence in a single meeting that most salespeople will take months and years to create, if they ever do. You can learn more details in the article, Vendor to Trusted Advisor in Your First Meeting.
There are dozens of powerful psychological dynamics taking place in all your client and prospect meetings, whether you’re aware of them or not. If you aren’t making them work for you, they’re probably working against you. Are you ready to begin operating at another level?
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