The first job I interviewed for after college was in sales with a wholesale distributor of hardware and garden supplies. Of course I had no any experience or training in sales, and the president of the company wouldn’t hire me for that reason. So I asked him how I was supposed to get any experience if no one would hire me without experience. Here’s what he told me: “If you want to make a career of selling, get into the life insurance business. They’ll train you to sell the right way, and if you can sell that stuff, you can sell anything.”
So I got into the life insurance business, and made a career out of it for more than 15 years. Why did I get out of it? My major in college was psychology, and almost from the beginning of my selling career I was intrigued by the psychology of the purchase decision. I wanted to understand why some people say “yes” and others say “no” to the same proposition, even though they are equally qualified to buy. And although what I came to learn certainly helped me to sell better and sell more, it also led me out of the business (even though I still get renewal checks every month) and into marketing communications, where I’ve been ever since.
Over the years I’ve read and studied everything I could find on the psychology of the purchase decision, and I’ve learned so much that I wish I had known when I was selling life insurance. Communication experts have discovered many different and valuable techniques for engaging, informing, and compelling qualified sales prospects to render a buying decision – rhetorical, semantic, cognitive, psychological and linguistic techniques that can improve persuasive communication by as much as 400%.
Some of these expert authorities and the books they’ve written include:
Dr. Kevin Hogan, author of “The Science of Influence”
Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of “The Psychology of Persuasion”
Shelle Charvet, author of “Words That Change Minds”
Dr. Duane Lakin, author of “The Unfair Advantage” of Neural Linguistics
Ron Stubbs, author of “Eight Barriers to Communication”
Tony Buzan & Richard Israel, authors of “Brain Sell”
Rebecca Piirto, author of “The Marketing Power of Psychographics”
James Robertson, author of “Selling the Mind’s Eye”
Marvin Sadovsky, author of “Selling the Way Your Customer Buys”
Ron Willingham, author of “The New Psychology of Selling & Persuading People”
Over the years, I’ve learned that you’re losing potential sales or prospective clients because many of the ones who are qualified to buy (meaning they have both the need and the ability to pay) and should be saying “yes” to meeting with you, are currently saying “no.” And despite what you might think, they say “no” for one or all of three reasons: 1) they don’t really listen to you; 2) they don’t really understand what you’re proposing; or 3) they don’t really trust your objectivity and credibility. Because they say “no” before they “know” … before they know why they’re saying “no.”
Don’t you believe that the products and services you provide are beneficial to people? And if people really understood what you and your products can do for them, that they would buy? Of course you do. Then why don’t they always buy, or at least give you an opportunity to present yourself and your products or services. Because they say “no” before they even know what they’re saying “no” to. Because they don’t want to be “sold” – they don’t want to be persuaded or pressured into a decision. So they’re not really open-minded, which means they’re not really listening to you.
Oh sure, they might pretend to be listening, they might nod their heads, but they aren’t really hearing you; they’re not really processing the information. That’s because their brains process as little as 10% of what they hear, and as little as 20% of what they read, which means they’re not actually comprehending what you tell them.
And often they don’t respond because they don’t trust or believe someone with a profit motive; because they’re cynical and defensive; or because they don’t want to be “sold,” persuaded, convinced or manipulated into a decision. Also, they often presume to know or think they understand more than they actually do, which is why even well qualified prospects won’t always listen to your proposition, or agree to meet with you. It’s why they say “no” when they should be saying “yes.”
I could write an entire article on each one of the following examples of specific techniques I’ve learned, and many others as well. Here’s a brief description of some of the major discoveries; many of which you will already be familiar with and may in fact be using. Combined together, they can literally sell FOR you.