You’ve heard many sayings when it comes to selling, such as customers buy emotionally and then back up their decision with logic. Or, how about, “you sell the left brain and you close the right brain”. The left side of the brain sees the features and the right side sees the benefits, which is the reason it’s said that features tell and benefits sell. Selling to the left side of the brain requires information and results. But, you need to influence the right side of the brain to motivate them to take action. In other words the left brain thinks and the right brain acts. You may wonder whether you should really consider how the brain operates when you are selling – I say absolutely YES! Let’s consider some key reasons for this.
#1 Emotional Intelligence
Selling REQUIRES emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman defines emotional intelligence as “the abilities to recognize and regulate the emotions in ourselves and others”. If you do not connect emotionally with your prospects and clients, they won’t feel the need to do business with you. People value their relationships, including those with their sales professionals. When they receive value, they enjoy rewarding you with a purchase order, because they believe you earned it! However, as we all know, people are different. They have different values, communicate differently, make decisions differently and have varying needs. Your job is to discover what is most important to them so that you can connect with them on that level.
#2 Personality Style
Building a solid professional relationship requires trust. To do that you will have to uncover their needs, which is infinitely easier when you understand their personality style. One of the most powerful questions to ask is “when it comes to investing in a solution like ours, what is most important to you?” Their answer will reveal their values which are directly related to their personality style. For example, Green personality styles are the more analytical and engineering types who value efficiency and competence. Golds are more leader types such CEO, CFO and financial types who value security and control. Oranges are big picture and look for the immediate benefits and value winning and competition, while Blues value integrity and relationships.
Use stories and analogies to engage the right side of the brain. Stories are memorable and others can put themselves into the story, helping them visualize the situation from their perspective. Customers buy when four criteria are satisfied: needs, cost, solution and risk. ONLY when they are comfortable in each of these areas will they take action. When they hear a relevant success story they can relate to, they begin to see what your solution can do for them.
From a personality perspective, each personality will prioritize and analyze needs, cost, solution and risk differently. Right brain people are Orange and Blue in our model and they favor more of the intangibles and are more subjective. Left brain people are our Green and Gold and are more objective and look for the tangibles. Don’t forget that people also buy based on what the solution will do for them personally, which is why building a relationship is vital. Business solutions might lower cost, increase revenue or improve productivity. Personal motivations might be getting a promotion, recognition or peace of mind. Left brain (Green and Gold) customers favor business benefits of your solution and right brain (Blue and Orange) folks favor the personal aspects.
The bottom line is this: know why your customer buys. Just understanding who they are will help you shift the attention away from your goals to theirs, which always nets better results!
You need to:
1. Connect with your customers emotionally = emotional intelligence
2. Understand their needs and their personality style
3. Engage them with stories and case studies that will engage their right brain
The result will be Superior Sales Results!
Stu Shlackman has spent over 25 years in sales management, sales and sales training with world class companies like Digital Equipment Corporation, Cap Gemini and EDS. His focus is on “the application” of the skills and techniques he shares. He is the author of Don’t Just Stand There, Sell Something and Four People You Should Know.
Stu is active teaching business classes at Dallas Christian College and has developed an online sales management class at University of Texas, Dallas. He is a member of the Richardson Chamber Board of Directors and active on boards with Leadership Richardson, Prevent Blindness Dallas and the National Speaker Association of North Texas. Schlackman holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Kennedy Western University.