One of the Most Important Sales Techniques is not a Technique
Intent Trumps Technique
The intent behind sales techniques determines their effectiveness.
Sales techniques used without an ethical underpinning will be seen as tricks or manipulation.
No buyer wants to feel manipulated, so it’s important that the intent behind sales techniques is that they serve the buyer’s and the seller’s best interests.
In the Software Sales Bootcamp, we introduce sales techniques, then we ask each participant why that tactic is mutually beneficial.
As a result of considering that question, a participant said,
“I just had a light bulb! I was taught to do that same sales technique in another sales training program years ago. I have done it ever since. And it works. But sometimes I feel it does more harm than good. Now it’s clear why. Before I did it as a tactic, without thinking about why it is in both parties’ best interest. Now I’m certain when I do it, it will never be a problem again.”
Intent and Closing Sales
Most sales training, even today, includes some form of “closing.”
Since the intention behind an action determines its effect, we must recognize that most forms of closing sales violate the Law of Paradoxical Intent.
That law is:
If you are desperate to make something happen, and you attempt to control people and events, you will repel the people who you are trying to persuade and prevent the outcomes you desire.
Modern Sales Techniques and Closing Sales
In 2018, large organizations have buying processes and safeguards in place to ensure today’s buyers are immune to being closed.
As a result, modern selling methodologies dispense with closing, in favor of co-building a Mutual Action Plan with the buyer.
Buyers Love A Mutual Action Plan, If It Is Properly Done
I have been privileged to work with the Salesforce sales team and here’s an email one of their salespeople shared with me recently when she first used a MAP.
I am very impressed with your systematic approach to sales, how you listen, only address what matters to the prospect, convey in a clear manner the expectations, money and the clear next steps. I am not young, so I have seen a lot, and it’s rare to meet someone who knows how to do what you do and use the approach you are using. Where did you learn this?
MAP’s and Intent
Kristy was successful because of her intent.
A MAP driven by the intent to ensure clarity of communication is applauded by a buyer. A MAP driven by the desire to hold the buyer accountable – or enforcement – will be rejected by the buyer.
Kristy got this compliment because she used a sales technique (MAP) with the right intent (to ensure clear communication). Her intent is to achieve clarification and not enforcement. Buyers love to be understood. They do not like to be controlled.
To master sales techniques, you have to embrace the philosophy behind the techniques.
The Guiding Principles of The Software Selling System
- Honesty is the best policy
- Seek and achieve mutual advantage, every step of the way
- Diagnose, then prescribe