The Science of Selling. Cliff Notes

Cliff notes on the Science of Selling are a great way to get a quick understanding of the book before you read it or if you’re simply looking to refresh yourself on what you previously read. The Science of Selling is a must read for any B2B salesperson.

The Science of Selling: Meeting Strategy

  • Ask people how they are feeling at beginning of call
    • “How are you feeling today?”
  • Go first if presentations competitive presentations are back to back
  • If time between competitors presentation is long, say a week, you should go last
  • When presenting your products or services, always give buyers a few options. Doing so will make it easier for their brands to arrival at a decision
  • Presenting an obviously bad option helps buyer to select the good one

The Science of Selling: Influencing

  • Peripheral Route of influence
    • Show buyers you like them and they’ll like you
      • a straightforward way to show buyers that you genuinely like them is to identify something about them that you sincerely appreciate. This could be anything from attire, business acumen, work performance, ideas, or character qualities
    • one study found that when salespeople described their products as “the most popular” or “selling faster than we can bring them in”, potential costumer’s desire for the products and their assessments of their value surged
      • another way to apply social proof is to tell buyers about your customer success stories.
        • helps especially when it’s from one own’s peer group, so sit you show buyers how others similar to them have purchased your product or service and experienced positive results, they are much more likely to buy it as well
        • to activate social proof, you can reference your past customers by using phrases such as “so many people…” “most businesses in your situation” or by offering customers’ names or organizations
  • The Central Route of Influence 
    • The goal of every sales process should be to guide buyers to commit to the salesperson’s message (the central route) while using heuristics (peripheral route) to effectively convey that message.

The Science of Selling: The Six Whys

  • The Six Whys
    • 1)Why Change?
      • The best way to answer and gain commitment to Why Change? is to help buyers fully understand problems that make change a necessity.
      • Find Problems
        • this can be as simple as saying something like – “many of our clients originally came to us because they were dealing with two particular issues…” You can then disclose the issues and ask questions that will allow you and potential buyers to discover if they are struggling with these same issues
        • To identify buyers’ problems, challenge the status quo with insights that compel your buyers to think about how they can improve themselves or their business
      • Understand Problems
        • understand why it is happening and who and what is being affected
        • dont do product feature dumps. understand what is relevant and show that which is relevant
      • Make problems hurt
        • Ask buyers questions that guide them into disclosing the detrimental outcomes their problems are generating
      • Cultivating your buyers’ understanding off the cause and scope of their problems is what will guide them in committing to making a change and advancing deeper into the sale
      • 3 Steps for answering “why change?”
        • 1. Find problems by conveying challenging insights and asking leading questions
        • 2. Identify the cause and scope of the problems  
        • 3. Ask deeper questions that help buyers feel the painful outcomes of allowing those problems to continue 
    • 2)Why Now?
      • Reactance is our intrinsic desire to push back or resist when we perceive that our ability freely choose is being restricted by another person
      • One business would use an incentive to compel prospective customers to move forward now rather than delay. But after introducing this motivator and explaining its benefit to buyers, they would say, “You can just let me know if you want to use it” This inducement worked because it gave them a valid reason to move forward with the sale without making them feel that the salesperson was pressuring them to do so.
    • 3) Why Your Industry Solution?
      • 1. Demonstrate how you provide superior results in comparison to those outside your industry
        • What special knowledge and skills you have that clearly reveal that you offer a better solution than those beyond your industry? What results do those who purchase your product or service experience, why can’t those outside your industry match them?
      • 2. Convey the problems that may occur if buyers choose a solution outside of your industry –
      • What are some of the positive results your company, product, or service delivers that those outside of your industry cannot match? What are some of the problems that potential customers have experienced when they have chosen a solution outside your industry? 
        • Once you have evidence based answers to the above questions, contemplate where you can incorporate these insights into your sales process
        • A competitor is anyone or anything competing for a buyer’s business
    • 4) Why You and Your Company?
      • 1) Demonstrate Expertise
        • Expertise is the Primary Component of Trust
          • share meaningful insights
        • Share companies history of success/showcase it
          • “Our company has been providing solutions just like this for more than forty years”
        • Develop a credibility statement – Make sure it clearly and convincingly communicates how you or your company is an expert in a re that will provide meaningful value to your potential customers
      • 2) Communicate Confidence
        • If you’re confident, people trust you
    • 5) Why Your Product Or Service?
      • 1) Cost leadership – similar product or service at a lower cost to the buyer
        • cost leadership can work but is short lived
      • 2) Differentiation 
        • How your product or service is better than competitors.
        • Distinct value – It’s unique value that a buyer desires and will receive from your company, product or service. It is what they will determine whether they view your competitive advantage as unimpressive or captivating.
      • Rule #1 – DISTINCT VALUE
        • The distinct value the company, product, or service provides must connect to what’s important to the buyer
        • May be different to each potential buyer
      • Rule #2 Distinct Value Must Be Unique 
        • Distinct value is something a competitor can’t replicate
        • This value is scarce, if competitors can’t offer it, your buyers will want it
      • Applying Distinct Value
        • Need to understand clients situation, then when you identify the fit, disclose it
        • 3 steps for applying distinct value
          • 1)Understand what matters to your buyers
          • 2)Identify something about your company, product, or service that competitors can’t match
          • 3) Convey steps 1 and 2 to buyers and ask for their buy in to the value you have presented.
    • 6) Why Spend the Money?
      • 1. Desire for Gain – positive outcome buyers will receive after they purchase a product or service
        • improving productivity, generating revenue, or reducing waste
        • personal gains – job security, increase in compensation, peace of mind
      • 2. Fear of Loss – losses are more motivating than gains, people don’t want to lose
        • When you evoke fear of loss, you must always reveal how buyers can escape that fear through benefits they will receive from your company, product or service 
        • Help them understand what they’ll lose if they don’t move forward with your product.
        • “If you were to move forward and invest in this technology now, what do you think the primary advantages would be? or “If you were to wait to invest in this equipment, how could that negatively affect your production capabilities?”
          • Then build on it stating… “That being the case, wouldn’t you agree that it would make more sense to invest in this equipment now of the reasons you mentioned?”

The Science of Selling: Other Sales Tips and Tricks

  • If Buyers are in an upbeat/happy mood, greater chance at a sale
    • Utilize emotional cognition – people catch other people’s emotions, so be happy and upbeat, project positivity 
      • Use Productive Voice Inflections – sound upbeat and positive, convey passion, it makes you sound more interesting and engaging
    • Verbally Convey Strong Beliefs – when you express positive feelings about some aspect of the sale, your buyers’ feelings toward what you have shared intensifies. One of the simplest most persuasive ways to do this is to verbally disclose a strong belief you have about your company, product, or service. This should be expressed through emotional statements the are also meaningful to your buyers.
      • The reason I believe so strongly in our service contract is because it gives our customers the peace of mind that their equipment will be in working order. If there is ever an issue, it will be fixed promptly, so that your business is not disrupted.
      • I am so confident that our company will exceed your expectations because over the 8 years I have been here, I have seen our dedication to customer service which is why we have a 98% approval rating from customers.
      • These use the word BECAUSE in them – people are more likely to act if you use the word because
    • Leverage the Hawthorne Effect
    • You can leverage it by calling attention to their emotions.
      • Examples
        • John, you seem distracted today. Is everything okay?
        • Sally is something wrong? You seem upset.
        • Bob, is now still a good time to discuss this? You seem like you have something else on your mind
        • Bringing this to their attention will give you their full attention.
        • Need a concerned tone when using this.
    • Discuss Topics That Naturally Trigger Positive Emotions
      • Chit chat at beginning of call leads to more favorable outcome, helps to build rapport, and when focused on topics that are attached to upbeat emotions, the positive impact of the dialogue is further amplified because it improves the potential customer’s emotional state
      • Do pre-call research to hit on good topics that can be upbeat on prospect
    • Change Nonverbal Behavior
      • if someone at meeting is leaning back and crossing arms, ask them to lean forward and take a look at a chart or whatever
      • smile more

The Science OF Selling: Asking Powerful Questions 

  • Asking people about future decisions significantly influences those decisions
    • Asking people if they’ll purchase a car within 6 months increased the purchase rates by 35% 
  • Asking in depth questions allows you to tailor your sales presentation 
  • Asking insightful questions reveal your mindful of your prospective clients’ needs and this will inspire them to have confidence in you
  • QUESTIONS DIRECT THE MIND
    • “what color is your house” – now you’re thinking about the color of your house
    • brain can only think about one idea at a time, so when you’re asking buyers questions, you are focusing their minds on ONLY your questions.
  • HANDLING PRODUCT OR SERVICE QUESTIONS EARLY IN THE SALE
    • Don’t let buyers bombard you with questions because you wont know enough about what you offer that applies to them/their situation. change the convo by deploying a question.
      • answer succinctly in one or two questions, then pose a question that will refocus his attention back to where you were in the sales process.
  • CONTINUING INITAL CONVERSATIONS WITH BUYERS
    • Use thought redirect if they try to shut down the convo
      • example
      • Salesperson: Do you currently have a social media strategy?
      • Buyer: I’m sorry, we are not interested in any social media help right now. We are already working with a firm that we are very happy with.
      • Salesperson: I understand, it sounds like you are happy with where you are at. How do your current social media efforts support your SEO And content marketing? (salesperson deployed a softening statement, followed by a questions that redirected the buyer’s attention)
      • Buyer: Um… I’m not sure. I don’t think they do. How does your firm handle integrating social media with other online efforts?
  • thought provoking questions will cause customers to trust you because they’ll view you as competent
  • questions should be thought of as investments you make in the success of the sale
  • THE SCIENCE OF ASKING QUESTIONS
    •  The brain imparts information in layers and questions should reflect his
    • FIRST LEVEL QUESTIONS
      • preliminary questions that open up a topic revealing thoughts, facts, behaviors, and situations – used to gain a basic understanding of a subject – used in the beginning 
        • When will you migrate to the new software?
        • What percentage of market share do you currently have?
        • where the requirements you have established for this project?
        • what is your budget for this project?
        • How many other providers are you considering?
        • what is your time frame for completing this project?
        • when your organization consider an investment like this, who is involved in the decision process
    • SECOND LEVEL QUESTIONS
      • second level questions guide buyers in assessing and explaining first level responses. these help buyers think through a thought, fact, behavior or situation.
        • customers enjoy answering these questions
      • these questions are linked with heightened levels of sales performance because they guide you in obtaining awareness of the perspectives and believes that are shaping buyer’s behaviors.
        • why did the board decide to go in that direction?
        • would you ever consider investing in a product that did not include this feature?
        • may I ask why you chose that vendor?
        • is aggregating your data in this manner what you would like to do moving forward?
        • that like it is very important to you, may I ask why?
        • if you could change one thing about the training your end users receive, what would it be?
        • based on what we have discussed, doe sit make sense so many companies are choosing to use our consultants?
        • why is it important to solve this concern right away?
        • do you believe that this issue is causing the pack of production you described?
    • THIRD LEVEL QUESTIONS
      • third level questions excavate the final layer of information by guiding potential customers into thinking through and verbally disclosing their dominant buying motives.
        • dominant buying motives are the emotional reasons why potential customers would purchase your product or services.
          • the desire for gain
          • the fear of loss
        • if we could reduce your costs as we have discussed, how would that positively affect your company’s profitability?
        • if the problem, you have described is not resolved, how will it impact your organization’s sales?
        • this seems like a very important issue to you personally. May I ask what it would mean for you and those on your team if this issue is not resolved?
        • if your end users were thoroughly trained and were using this platform effectively, how could that increase company productivity?
        • Level 1
          • Thoughts, facts, behaviors, situations,
        • Level 2
          • Assessments, explanations
        • Level 1
          • fear of loss, desire for gain
  • Why People Buy
    • Try to see things from your customers point of view
    • Every buyer is different
    • LISTENING
      • The key to effective listening is not to listen more, but to know what you should be listening for
  • Primary Buying Motivator #1 Buyer’s Problems
    • 1. Identify the issues by providing insights and asking leading first level questions that guide potential customers to reveal them
    • 2. Pose second level questions that will enable you and your prospective clients to understand the cause and scope of those problems
    • 3. Deploy second and this level questions that help buyers become aware of the damage those issues are causing and the consequences of allowing them to fester instead of using your product or service to solve them
  • Primary Buying Motivator #2 Dominant Buying Motives
    • desire for gain, fear of loss
      • How to find them, ask questions like
        • If this issue is resolved and your division’s production rates improve as we have discussed, how would that positively impact you and your team?
        • If you decide to move forward with us, what would be the advantage?
        • If nothing is done to correct this issue and the loss to the company is as you have described, what would that mean for you and the other employees?
  • Primary Buying Motivator #3 Buying Requirements
    • Component #1 Identify the decision process
      • Understand buying process, who are the decision makers
      • Influencers – they don’t make the decision but influence it, may sway DM
      • Even if it may not be offered, always ask to meet with decision makers
        • How is a decision like this one made in your organization?
        • After you gather all the information, what happens next?
        • What are the steps your organization will go through as you evaluate potential suppliers?
    • Component #2 Establish The Decision Criteria
      • Understand what criteria they will use to make a decision
      • 1. Determine product or service parameters
        • what are the specific parameters that your product or service must full for it to be a viable solution for buyers?
          • When evaluations (state product/service) how will you know if any option is right for you?
          • For any product to solve the problems we’ve discussed, what specifically would you want it to accomplish? 
      • 2. Identify A Time Frame
        • When service/product needs to be implemented
      • 3. Face Finances
        • Understand whether potential customers are financially able to purchase your product or services
    • Confirm the decision criteria
      • You can verify buyers’ decision criteria through an information confirmation statement, a declaration that substantiates the essential insights that buyers share with you.
      • These powerful statements enhance the perception of trust and rapport. Do this.
        • After buyers have identified their decision criteria you say, “just so I understand, for anything to be a possible solution for you, you said you wanted it to…” and then repeat back the core criteria that they agreed was important to them. All you have to ask, “is this correct” buyers will respond with a yes or a no and will correct any misunderstanding.

Check out our cliff notes on: Sales Management Simplified and Fanatical Prospecting if you want to learn more.

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