What You Need to Know
- You don't have to be a big talker to close a lot of sales.
- Practice strategic mimicry to close more sales.
- Think like Bob the Builder.
Author Daniel Pink’s bestseller “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others” offers lots of valuable observations that can enable us to optimize our success in sales. Advisors should focus on these five:
1. Extroverts don’t necessarily make the best salespeople.
There’s a widespread notion that chatty extroverts stand out from the pack as top salespeople. In fact, there’s no research that supports this assertion.
Pink cites a study of 300 sales reps at a software company. They were measured on an introversion-extroversion continuum.
Unsurprisingly, extroverted salespeople sold more than their introverted counterparts. But a third group outperformed everyone — the ambiverts, who scored right in the middle of the scale.
Pink says that extroverts often talk too much and listen too little to really understand their customers’ needs. Introverts can be too shy to form relationships or to close sales.
Ambiverts know how to find that right balance. They are the most adept at understanding their customers’ viewpoints and moving them to action.
So if you’re not a salesperson with the biggest “gift of gab,” take heart. Most people tend to be ambiverts. And if you’re an ambivert, you’re well positioned to succeed as an advisor.
2. Practice strategic mimicry to close more sales.
The ability to persuade others depends on our talent to convey that we can understand the world from the point of view of clients and prospects. We need to listen well enough to get inside their head.
Successful negotiators know this and often subtlety mimic the mannerisms of their opponents. If they lean forward in their chair or put their hand on their chin, then the negotiators wait 10 seconds or so and do the same.
We are wired by evolution to experience this synching behavior as a sign that someone is trustworthy. One study found that wait staff who repeat orders back to customers receive 70% more in tips than those who don’t.
3. Embrace the power of interrogative self-talk.
Sometimes before an important sales presentation or client meeting, we psyche ourselves up with affirmations like “I can do this!” or “I’ve got this!” But is there a better way?
Pink reveals that there are several studies showing the superiority of asking yourself a question before a challenging task, rather than saying something like “I can do this.” Surprisingly, if we ask ourselves, “Can I do this?” beforehand, we are likely to achieve superior results.
Remember the “Bob the Builder” animated show? I loved watching it with my kids for many years. Prior to beginning a difficult project, Bob would always ask himself, “Can we build it?” His enthusiastic reply: “Yes we can!”
One research project found that a self-questioning group solved nearly 50% more puzzles than the self-affirming group. Researchers believe that there are two explanations.