One of the biggest challenges I face when I am training sales professionals, is getting them to understand how important and how much effort is required to build a long term emotional relationship with other people.
In sales, it has been proven over many years that building the emotional relationship with a prospect are the most crucial element of achieving long term orders from that person or business. The majority of professional sales trainers and psychologists often discuss that all purchasing is made with: 80% Emotion and only 20% on logic or facts of that deal. Many of us know this very well- but how many of us find ourselves talking about features and benefits and not the challenge our customers have that we can resolve?
One of the key factors that drive the majority of salespeople is the desire for almost instantaneous results; they want to make contact with the prospect and leave with the order in hand. They are often under pressure from their sales managers or directors to get very quick results, which makes them focus more and more on the logic aspect of any deal, the bit that accounts for only 20% of the decision making process.
What stops people from doing what they have been taught to do, is both the pressure from management for instant results and the person’s failure to recognise the full impact that emotions will have on their behaviour and the ability to work out how to change these behaviours. This becomes even truer when the work situation becomes more stressed than normal, as in these cases the sales person will often go back to doing as much as possible to deliver results, forgetting to build relationships and finding their conversion rate drops.
As markets have become more competitive and customer requirements have become more complex, sales professionals have realised the increasing amount of decision makers within a business and the need to achieve ‘buy in’ from everyone involved in getting that cheque signed!
This increased complexity of the sales process has caused the emotional aspects to expand at an ever increasing rate often resulting in longer lead times. Which can cause fast paced sales professionals to feel frustrated, lost and out of control?
Learning how to build an effective emotional strategy to apply to a sales process will take time, patience and perseverance, none of these will happen overnight or without a great deal of understanding and application.
To build long term emotional relationships with the type of clients you love to work with- the sales professional must look at the bigger picture than what they currently look at when negotiating a deal. They must pick up on indicators in conversation around the customer’s pain points and ensure you have the cure they can’t refuse.
Many of the areas that are brought into the emotional decision making often do not appear to be directly related to the decision making process.
Some of the key areas that need to be thought of when looking at larger decisions are the following;
1. Customers past experience in this area. Past experiences can seriously affect the mindset, beliefs and fears a customer may have towards a product or service and it is vital that a sales professional asks about these so that they can address any associated problems that may arise. Uncovering these experiences is often not very easy and may take a number of different questioning techniques and time to truly find out.
2. What have they heard? Often comments they have heard from a reliable friend can have a great influence on the way they approach the purchasing decision. Again, not an obvious line of questioning but one that will need investigation.
3. Major concerns or fears within the decision making process. Another area that can have a serious impact on the mindset of the decision makers, but again a tough area to find out the facts.
4. What will this decision solve for the customer? Often the decision to purchase something could be to solve a problem in another area of the business. How the product or service is supplied could be more crucial that the product or service itself, so this needs to be found out.
As you will see, many of the above points are going to require a high level of questioning techniques, time, patience and above all great listening skills.
If you are a sales professional just looking for very quick results then building strong emotional relationships is going to take you time and effort.