What I’m about to tell you could completely change your life…
This is — perhaps — the most powerful persuasion secret. The secret to selling more — without selling hard. The secret to being the kind of person that people want to do things for, instead of just get rid of (as many salespeople are).
And the good news is, it’s not even some new skill you need to learn. It’s not a new technique you need to master.
You don’t need to memorize dozens of tactical sales closes to make this work.
You just need to understand one thing.
A principle. A principle of effective selling and persuasion that’s so powerful, the entire discipline of selling hinges on it.
If don’t get this principle, you’re going to get the door slammed in your face — metaphorically and literally — so many times, you’ll just start shutting the door on yourself, to save your prospect the effort.
But once you get it, the doors will swing open and you’ll consistently be let into rooms with better and better prospects, better and better opportunities. Not all will pan out — that’s the nature of sales and persuasion. But those that do will represent greater and greater (and greater) opportunities to get everything you want in life, and then some…
First: the novice posture that absolutely kills sales (especially today)…
Sales is inherently an “eat what you kill” field. Even non-commission salespeople are expected to perform, or else they’ll be out the door.
If you can’t make sales, you don’t eat. There’s a middle management job that comes with a better title, more responsibility, and a lower pay ceiling waiting for you somewhere. But no sales means you won’t make it in sales. (Nor entrepreneurship, because having your own biz means you’re the #1 salesperson, whether you like it or not.)
Which creates pressure.
Enormous, tremendous pressure.
You reach out to a prospect. You get a “no.” You feel the pressure. You reach out to another. Another “no.” More pressure.
Call after call, hour after hour, every “no” you get piles on the pressure to perform.
And pressure to perform leads to performance dysfunction. (Yes, I noted the multiple layers of meaning, but we won’t go there…)
Here’s the thing: your prospect feels this.
They feel the pressure in your voice, your stance, your words, your posture and positioning. They feel that you need it more than they do.
And the more that comes through, the more resistance they will put up. Which only leads to more and more “no” answers, as you need that “yes” even more.
The world’s best high-pressure sales people will turn the tables with this pressure, and use it to get the sale. But in the end, their customer leaves feeling a little dirty and a little guilty, and with more than a tinge of buyer’s remorse.
The problem? If you’re attached to the “yes,” your prospects will sense that — and not want to give it to you.
So what’s the alternative?
What pros know: The selling secret learned from The Buddha…
I know it may seem sacrilegious to quote The Buddha when it comes to modern commerce, but what’s true for life is true for sales, and what’s true for sales is true for life. (This is part of why my Psychology education has helped so much in my rapid rise to the top of the direct response business world.)
Probably THE core teaching of The Buddha is The Four Noble Truths. Paraphrased, these are:
- All existence is suffering.
- Suffering comes from attachment to having reality be a certain way.
- They only way to end suffering is to not be attached.
- The discipline to end attachment is found in The Noble Eightfold Path.
Now, I’m not telling you that you have to become a Buddhist to get good at selling. But a lot of the world’s best salespeople and marketers have had more than a passing understanding of these teachings.
At the very least, let me reflect on them in the context of what we’ve been talking about today.
- Selling is suffering. Persuasion is suffering. The entire idea of having to put yourself out there, ask for someone to take action, and be reliant on them making a decision causes suffering before, during, and after.
- The reason you suffer is because you’re attached to the “yes.” By being attached to the outcome before you try to make the sale, you will experience extreme suffering. You will feel a moment of transient happiness if the outcome comes back in your favor. But because you have to go back out there and sell again, the return to suffering will be almost instantaneous.
- The only way to sell without suffering is to not be attached to a specific outcome. If you don’t make it about the yes or no, but rather about enjoying the process of selling (and using sales and persuasion as a tool to help others get what THEY truly want), you will not experience suffering as part of selling. The good news is, this “enlightened” posture is extremely attractive, and will usually lead to more sales, not less.
- The same disciplines Buddha taught to end attachment throughout life are also valuable in reducing attachment in selling. Starting simply with the fact that you’ve just read this and are aware of this truth.
More context to make this even more powerful…
Let’s start with this question: is it more important to get what you want today, or throughout the rest of your life?
This is more specific, more focused, and more relevant than you might think.
If you use high-pressure sales techniques to push people into doing what you want today — giving you that “yes” when they might not be 100% comfortable — you get the transaction, but you can lose the relationship.
That means you get the money, the commission, the royalties today, but in the long run, you’re always chasing after new customers and never end up with long-term, meaningful, and highly-profitable relationships.
Imagine this. Let’s say you create what you believe is the perfect solution to a prospect’s problem. And that prospect could potentially spend thousands upon thousands of dollars with you over their lifetime. As long as you maintain that relationship.
Now let’s say today’s solution is small — a fraction of their potential value to you as a customer or client. If you sold them hard today, you could probably get a check for a few hundred or a few thousand out of them. But they’d be left with such ill feelings, they’d avoid you in the future.
Now, you know what I’ve told you above. So you decide you’re not going to be attached to the outcome. Instead, you’re going to try to figure out what that prospect wants and values. How you can help them. What their experience of the problem or challenge is. And how your solution might be a fit.
And you are going to do your best to be really helpful. Including getting very specific about how you believe your solution is uniquely superior to everything else in the market, for their specific problem and situation. But in the end, you’re going to put the legitimate choice back in their lap.
“I’ve done my best to understand your problem here. I think we have a solution. Not only that, I believe our solution is the best, for the many reasons we’ve discussed. But ultimately, I can’t make the decision for you. Nor do I want to. The last thing I’d want is for you to feel pressured into making a decision for my benefit today, only to regret it a week or a month or a year from now. If you don’t say yes today, I will go find someone who does believe it’s the best solution for them. And I will wish you the very best. Or, if you do want to move forward with me, I’d be happy to help.”
Maybe that’s not a perfect script, but that’s the perfect posture.
No matter how the prospect responds to that, they’re going to feel good about the decision they made. They’re going to feel good about you. And even if they say “no” today, there’s a high likelihood they’re going to come back at some point in the future and do business with you.
And of course you can continue to give them value in the meantime, without expectation or attachment to any reciprocation.
This is how you sell for the relationship. This is how you build a lifetime of profits from a client, instead of just getting a transaction today.
Your #1 role as a salesperson, taking this non-attachment posture…
Your role in selling, should you choose to accept it, is to be the best advocate and educator for and of your prospect, in your field or industry.
This is in line with Jay Abraham’s Strategy of Preeminence.
Turn yourself into the best possible solution. Create a “category of one” for yourself such that when you’re speaking with your perfect prospect, choosing you is clearly their best option.
Then, understand every other option they have available to them. Understand what it is, including its pros and cons. Understand why some buyers — who are not your perfect customer — would choose another option. (e.g. — You’re premium priced, and so bargain hunters are best served elsewhere.) Understand how to present your solution against every other option in a way that makes yours the only valid solution for your core audience.
Then, as relevant, share this information with your prospects, leads, and customers.
Teach them how to make the best decision for them. And then let them decide, without pressure or obligation to choose you.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,