Under the Influence:
Five Key Behaviors
For Sales Breakthroughs
can move people to action better with persuasion than with power.
Think of those people in your life who have drawn you in and made an
impression on you. Maybe they’ve convinced you to take action
without seeming pushy or panicky, merely stressing the necessity and
benefit of what they wanted you to do. Or maybe they won you over
through their empathy, seeming to truly understand your point of view.
or unconsciously, those who have a powerful effect on us use a set of
key influencing behaviors. And you can have the same effect on clients
when you learn to tap into effective selling influence.
is more motivation than manipulation.
In this inclusive form of communication, you get others to do
something or give something while maintaining or improving the
relationship and creating a sense of shared commitment with your
you develop and use your influence, you create a situation where
everyone wins. Try these five influence behaviors in your sales work,
and watch your sales skyrocket while you enhance the quality of your
relationships with your customers.
Behavior #1: Know
what you want - then ask for it!:
No one likes to feel as if they’re dealing with someone who has
ulterior motives. Everyone loves a straight dealer, so be honest and
direct about what you are trying to achieve. But in order to state
what you want clearly, you have to first know
what you want from your customer. What is the purpose of your meeting?
What are you hoping to achieve? Are you trying to develop a
relationship with your customer, for example, in order to warm him or
her up for your next meeting? Or do you want to make an immediate sale?
you know exactly what you want, you can better state your position and
get your point across to your customers. When your customers know
exactly what you want, they will feel your influence, experiencing a
sense of clarity and purpose. They will appreciate your direct
approach, even if you don’t make the sale at that time.
#2: Create Win/Win suggestions:
You can influence your customers to help you obtain what you want by
providing them with specific, concrete ideas that will ultimately
benefit you both. To make this happen, preparation is essential, so
you must know your
customers. For example, if you want to make a sale to a young couple
who your questions or research has revealed to have a moderate income,
show them how they may benefit in the long run from paying in monthly
installments rather than paying in full up front. When you know your
customers’ needs, you can adjust your approach accordingly. Then
ask, "Are you open to some ideas that may help your
situation?" or propose "Here's a suggestion that could help
both of us.”
Behavior #3: Build
trust by clarifying what you hear:
a sales situation, show your customers that you have listened to what
they had to say by clarifying any issues they bring up. For example,
when a customer tells you, “I’m interested in the product or
service you’re offering, but I am not able to do it financially
right now,” make sure that you have clearly understood. Paraphrase
and summarize key points. Pause to ask if you’ve understood
correctly. When you demonstrate that you have heard and understood the
customer’s position, you will find that you create a shared
commitment between you. Your customer will feel as if you share common
ground, rather than feeling defensive and sold-to.
#4: Ask big, open-ended questions:
Draw your customer out by asking a mix of open-ended questions and
focused questions, then actively listening to the answers. Questions
will help you to establish rapport with the customer, and lead to
openness, understanding, and commitment, so don’t rush this
behavior. Taking time now to listen to the customers’ concerns will
enable you to go faster later.
close-ended questions – those that require only a “Yes” or
“No” answer – and focus instead on open-ended questions that start
with “What,” “How,” and “Where.” These will help
you to gather information and find out what your customer is thinking.
By seeking a broad answer, you let your
customer choose the conversation’s direction: “What would be an
ideal outcome for you?” or “How have you approached these issues
in your business in the past?”
questions help you to drill down and get disinterested customers to
focus on alternatives. When you’ve been actively listening, you
should be able to focus in on specific
incidents, concerns, or objections the customer has raised. For
example, ask, “Can you tell me a little bit more about (that
relevant issue you brought up earlier)?” or “Could you tell me
more about (your last experience that yielded disappointing
#5: Give something…get something!:
Your customers want to see clearly why they should give you their
business, so motivate them with sound reasoning that relates your
solution to those concerns you know they may have. Make it easier or
more attractive for your customers to do what you ask by telling them
what you will be happy to do for them
if they accept your solution. For example,
try offering something sought-after that costs you nothing but
delivers a powerful benefit to them: "If you can give me
answer today, I'll set up an immediate appointment with our IT group
and that will put you first in line.”
that you are willing to modify your initial proposal to better suit
their needs. This will help you further promote agreement and
commitment. Ask, “How can I make this decision easier for you?” or “What would
make this offer more attractive for you?” You are inducing the customer to buy, giving them an incentive that makes
your product or service more interesting.
don’t want to offer a discount; in all likelihood, a lower price is
probably not a primary need anyway, and you obviously don’t want to
take a discount off your commission. Show added value and make your
offer more attractive in some way, maybe by changing the payment
schedule, or by proving success with interviews of references. Give
them something immediately, and you increase your chances of getting
what you want.
their needs and achieve your goals:
The ability to influence is a skill anyone can acquire, and it
correlates directly to your success in the sales profession. Using
influence skills will help you to meet clients’ needs and
improve sales. When you follow these five behaviors, you will see
breakthrough results in your commissions as you build more meaningful
relationships with your customers.
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