Sales training courses would have you believe that there are “eight steps” to selling something. You’ll hear sales gurus talking about the need to establish rapport, to ask questions, to reflect back the answers and then how to deal with objections. And we fall for it. It sounds so plausible and they can show that their techniques work.
But just because a technique works, does not mean it is the best thing to do. After all, I have a technique for getting a golf ball in the hole, but it is not going to help me win The Masters this week…! Picking the ball up and dropping it in the hole works every time; I can prove it. Apparently, though, that’s not right…!
Equally, “dealing with objections” or “establishing rapport” can be shown to work in terms of achieving sales, but there may be a different approach we need to consider to get our customers to buy things.
Thanks to relatively recent developments in brain scanning techniques it is now possible to study the neural activity of people in a wider range of circumstances. A new study by researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute is one such example. They got people to listen to music they had never before heard and measured their brain activity at the same time. The scientists then used the brain scans to predict which pieces of music individuals would buy. And they got it right.
The researchers focused on a part of the brain known as the “nucleus accumbens” which is a central feature in what you might call our “pleasure centre”. When it fires up, it leads to hormonal changes that make us feel we like something. The researchers found that when this small part of the brain was active on brain scans, people then decided to buy the music they were listening to.
The study merely adds to a wide array of literature which confirms, time after time, that our decisions to buy something are linked directly to personal pleasure. If our brain does not kick in with pleasure hormones, then we don’t buy.
In other words, all the “logic” of sales training and sales gurus is for nothing if the potential buyer does not have an emotional, visceral feeling of pleasure. Your customers buy things because the products or services you are trying to sell them make them feel good.
Focusing on “closing the sale” or “handling objections” is frankly a waste of time. Focusing on triggering the nucleus accumbens by making potential customers so happy is what you need to do.
Remember, your customers are always mentally tuned into one radio station “WII-FM” – “What’s In It For Me?”
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+