Did you know there is a science to selling? Proven ways to increase your results, backed by science.
To find out more I caught up with leading sales trainer and researcher, David Hoffeld. David pioneered his sales approach by drawing on neuroscience, social psychology, and behavioural economics.
David is adamant that we must begin to look at selling through the lens of science because there is a gap between the latest scientific research and modern selling practices. According to David, the way we sell often conflicts with how people form buying decisions. In other words, the way we sell is often the very thing that turns customers away.
The problem, according to David, is that the way most salespeople are taught to sell is grounded in selling, not buying.
Here are three insights from my interview with David.
Sell the Way People Buy
Sales people typically focus on selling and closing techniques. David suggests we focus on the buyer instead. We need to align how we sell with the way people buy. As he explains:
The closer your way of selling is aligned with how the brain makes a buying decision, the more effective you’ll be. The further away your way of selling is from how the brain makes a buying decision, the less effective you’ll be.”
Small Commitments are the Building Blocks of Buying Decisions
According to David, research shows that for our brain to say “yes” to a product or service, it must make certain commitments throughout the sale. Whether we say “yes” or “no” at the end of the sale is influenced by a series of small incremental commitments that guide our brains on a natural progression of consent and naturally advance the sale.
So, what are these commitments?
The Steps that our Brain must go through to form a Buying Decision
David’s search to uncover how customers decide to either buy or not buy, turned into an intensive six-year research project. He identified that when someone decides to buy, this decision is the result of a series of small commitments he has turned into the Six Whys.
The Six Whys are specific questions that David developed and they represent the mental steps all potential customers go through when making a purchasing decision.
If one of these Six Whys is not committed to, the buying decision breaks down and the sale will never happen. It is our job to guide potential customers safely through these SIx Whys.
For instance, the first of the Six Whys is: Why change? Why should someone break the status quo? Why should they do something versus nothing? If we don’t give compelling reasons to make a change, they won’t. People have a natural aversion to change. They’ll always default to procrastination mode and wait. According to David, most of us have lost more sales to nothing than to someone.
Another of the Six Whys, is what David calls the Silent Sales Assassin because we never see it coming. It is: Why your industry solution? Often we think of our competitors as those who are just like us, other providers who do what we do. That’s not the case. The competitor is anything or anyone that can steal your client’s business away from you. If your client knows they need to make a change they will be considering every option. Why can’t they do it in-house? Why can’t they read a book? Perhaps they could outsource overseas. Why do they have to engage a provider like you?
Another question that we must answer to move the client along the buying process, is Why spend the money? Buyers have access to limited funds. As David points out, “any time you ask buyers to purchase your product or service you are also asking them not to do/buy something else.” For example, your client may only have enough money in the budget to either buy your enablement software or new machinery. Now you’re competing against machinery! You must put forth a good business case for why they should spend the money on your software.
Even if you do not officially work in a sales role, understanding the fundamentals of successful selling is critical. Ultimately, we are all in the business of selling. Whether we want to advance our ideas, get a promotion or job, pitch to a client or convince others to do what we want, we can all benefit from a proven, research-based approach to selling.