Notes on Persuasion
When attempting to persuade—whether in a sales call or a social interaction—it is possible to hurt your cause by “coming on too strong.” That's what happens when the persuader (the seller) focuses too heavily on the product or idea and too little on the buyer and how the product or idea appears from the buyer's perspective.
The best way to focus on the buyer is to ask questions which get the buyer to talk. There are two reasons—one psychological and one purely informational—why it’s good to get the buyer talking.
Psychological Benefit. Your questions tell the buyer that you are concerned with his situation and his interests, and that you would like to know what he thinks and wants. If a buyer thinks you are concerned with his needs and that you have some sympathy or at least open-mindedness for his point of view, he will share more information with you. He will also lower his defenses and be more open to what you have to say.
Informational Benefit. With the buyer talking and you actively listening, you are almost certain to learn something that will help you present your argument or solution most effectively. You may learn what the buyer wants and why the buyer is or is not interested in what you are about to propose. You may learn the buyer’s decision criteria and what objections the buyer is likely to raise to your proposal. This information can be extremely important when you present your argument or proposal, for it allows you to appeal directly to the buyer’s specific needs, interests, and predispositions.
Other Parts in this Quick Guide to Consultative Sales Calls Series:
- Notes on Persuasion
- Questions Don’t Just Ask—They Can Also Tell!
- Opening the Call Q & A
- Probing for Needs Q & A
- Sellers on Features and Benefits Q & A
- How to Prevent Objections
- Answering Different Types of Objections
- How to Handle Objections
- The Psychology of Closing Q & A