Among the many systems for categorizing people, there is one that is especially relevant to salespeople: the war between power-centered vs. heart-centered approaches. You may recognize power-centered as the high pressure, hard sell that used to be associated with car salesmen, vacuum cleaner salespeople, and encyclopedia salespeople. Frank Robertson was originally trained in the hard sell school but never felt comfortable there.
When he discovered relationship selling, called soft sell selling by Judith and Jim, he started to feel at home and to understand why the traditional approach was so frustrating to him. The philosophical difference is sometimes extreme. Frank wanted to help customers get what they felt they needed and wanted. His experience in consulting taught him that what a customer wants is not necessarily what he needs. However, you generally must deliver what he wants and thinks he needs before he is willing to listen to what your experience shows you he really needs.
A true heart-centered salesperson will also warn you if what you want you don’t need. However, if it is part of what you really need, she will sell it with the caution that your solution is lacking and won’t deliver the results you expect because it is incomplete. Remember, though, that generally, people need to take things in steps so be prepared to guide them through the steps as they are ready.
The battle between heart-centered and power-centered salespeople lies in the attitude. Most people in both categories actually want to help customers buy. However, for the power-centered people, the game is to win. You will find that they must control the sale; they will manipulate their prospects’ emotions, especially fear. As a prospect of a power-centered salesperson, you may feel that the sales person views you as a wallet holding his money and he wants it.
Frank learned that it was possible to successfully take the opposite approach, i.e. to help the customers get what they want and perceive they need thereby helping them buy. After all, heart-centered sales will serve first. When the prospect sees that it is right, he will buy.
Human Nature May Still Need Some Help
Keep in mind though that even heart-centered salespeople must be aware of human nature. We will put off a decision as long as we can. So you may need to use techniques, like scarcity marketing. However, make sure when you use one of these techniques, you do so with integrity. Relationship selling builds on your prospect coming to know, like and trust you. Using a false scarcity will destroy that trust and probably lose that prospect.
Examples of false scarcity approach:
To use scarcity with integrity, have a legitimate reason for a short window of opportunity
Frank used a scarcity technique with a client when he needed an extra day of paid coaching. He had previously made the client aware of an area of consulting that would help him out as it wasn’t covered in the current job program. When Frank found that he needed extra time to finish the job program which he was already there for, he knew he could work over the weekend. However, he could get the client to cover his expenses that weekend, if he agreed to the 10 hours’ extension. The client won by having the extra consulting job without having to pay travel expenses to bring Frank or another consultant back later.
So, Frank presented this short job extension to the client that Friday. He then waiting patiently while his client weighed the pros and cons. (Frank also chanted a sacred word to himself to stay detached and allow the client his space to decide without pressure.) The client agreed with the extra value and signed for the extra hours.
In the war between power-centered and heart-centered approaches, you decide which side of the battle you want to be on. Heart-centered people will choose to serve first. They will show their prospects the benefits of moving ahead now, but once they ask the closing question, they will be quiet and allow their prospects to decide.
Open your heart in selling,
John R. Aberle
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I have a strong love for small businesses, especially brick and mortar companies. After an 18-year career in sales and marketing, I started my own service company, which I grew in both sales and profits for the first five years. In my sixth year, the bottom dropped out of the printer market such that it made more sense to sell my assets and return to Southern California. There I went to work for an international small business consulting company. I spent over three years on the road with them helping small businesses to become more profitable and better managed. I then started my own company specializing in sales and marketing consulting, coaching and training. My emphasis is on heart-centered, relationship selling that empowers prospects to make their own choices.
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