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Forget Selling – Instant Influence for Powerful Persuasion
by Edie Raether, CSP

(Excerpts from Forget Selling by Edie Raether)

Throw away all your old sales books and marked up manuals and the face the facts. Most smooth and slick sales strategies no longer work in today’ savvy marketplace. If you always do what you’ve always done, you will only get what you’ve always gotten and that simply may not be enough – unless you like skinny kids! Selling is no longer about pitching products or selling services, but rather it is buying a piece of the customer’s mind. The three strongest motivators of the buying public is as follows in this order:
  • Fear
  • Greed
  • Exclusivity
By practicing the 12 principles of powerful persuasion for instant influence you will sharpen your competitive edge in today’s crowded marketplace. While your 30 second commercial or elevator speech makes for a good introduction and your branding is a clear reflection of your service, neither closes the deal or makes the sale. In fact, making the sale no longer is about pitching products or selling services, but it is rather about buying a piece of the customer’s mind. Buying styles have been altered by our “auto-response” age of instant love and push-button success. People are busier than ever and their lives are on overload causing them to feel even more stressed out with one more decision that we define as resistance to the sale.

Change has changed. The velocity of change has changed and thus “instant influence” has become essential for high impact in both sales and leadership. Since up to 95 percent of one’s buying decision is based on emotion or the unconscious, you must know about the thinking patterns of the prospect’s mind and their emotional core.

Confusion Loses the Sale
The spreadsheet approach to problem solving is quickly disappearing except for a number-crunching accountant. To meet your quotas, your selling style must thus accommodate those changing societal trends. The same brilliant mind that has created the mental fatigue and stress also causes buyers to resort to a more instinctual, impulsive buying pattern. Thus, it is essential for you to focus, simplify, and create shortcuts for the buyer. While options and alternatives can create flexibility, they also can add to the information overload and confusion and a confused mind always says “No.” One simple choice will close the sale. Confusion will lose it!

Most decisions are based on fear and that includes your fear. Disguising your fear is like trying to stop sweating. However, if you have no fear of losing the sale and are willing to walk away, in most cases you just marked it “sold.” The secret is to act with high intention and low attachment so that you don’t conduct business like it is a life-threatening event.

“You”—The Instinctual Brain’s Pass code
Your words should be simple, short, and to the point as people are easily distracted and tune out quickly. When presenting information, hit your delete key repeatedly so that you are not telling but selling. Using the word “You is essential because the instinctual brain is self-centered and thus lights up when it hears the word “You.” It could care less about your products, your features, or even your benefits unless it directly impacts them. “You” is like the pass code to the instinctual brain.

Since our intuitive/instinctual brain operates much like a young child, you must present information to others as if speaking to a child.

Tips to Engage the Emotional and Instinctual Brain:
  • Grab their attention with a startling fact, story, or drama
  • Create experiential learning and participation by incorporating emotion, visuals, and action.
  • Tell stories. Stories well told create sensory impression, stir emotions, and need to be included but must relate to a point that in turn relates to the world of the customer.
  • Hit their hot buttons. To get a decision you need to create emotion. There is no action or motion without emotion. Emotions are an inner source of energy, information, and influence.
Thinking Without Thinking
While the dominance of our unconscious, instinctual brain can be quite frightening, it also gives us the power and efficiency of thinking without thinking as described by Malcolm Gladwell in Blink. Our brain processes information on two different channels to come to the same conclusion. The more traditional, conscious approach is tedious and time-consuming as it is based on gathering information and learned experiences. The intuitive, unconscious mind, however, leaps to conclusions in that it processes information very quickly somewhat like a computer. While the unconscious makes quick decisions based on what seems to be little information, it is actually drawing from a vast inner network of information that is limitless. It simply is not the more obvious, conventional, visual reality that we define as “information.” The truth is revealed in the decoding or how you interpret and read the information given which is often visceral such as sweating palms, a pounding heart, or butterflies in your stomach. Learn to trust it.

This accelerated processing of information by our intuitive unconscious or instinctual brain is essential for decision-making in our fast-paced world where every second counts. In fact, our ability to think without thinking, to know without knowing, and to act on our hunches and gut guidance has saved many lives as demonstrated in the disaster of 9/11. There was certainly no time for a spreadsheet or an analysis of the pros or cons. Very similarly, survival in the sales arena is also contingent upon our intuitive intelligence and instinctual IQ to shoot from the hip and execute with accuracy. Understanding how the instinctual/intuitive brain receives and processes information is crucial to your sales success for it is where buying decisions are made.

Questions Ignite Intuitive Flashes
Tap into the your unconscious intelligence network for answers that will increase your sales effectiveness by asking yourself questions and then release it or stop thinking about it. Create a receptive mind state so that when the answers come to you on a conscious level you recognize the insights and record them immediately. Whether you are preparing for a sales presentation or a board meeting, these questions will help prepare your intuitive unconscious to send the right answers. Resolve to divorce the following anti intuition attitudes that conspire to limit the effectiveness of your gut guidance: pessimism, intolerance of ambiguity, excessive logic, inflexibility, and deficiency of “do nothing” time.

Two Routes: Mindful and Mindless
There are two mental routes to persuasion—the central and peripheral. The central route to your sales presentation requires you to present evidence to bring clients to a logical conclusion after serious analysis. However, the peripheral path shortens the sales process by activating the emotionally driven decision trigger that creates mental short circuits to simple cues that quickly conclude ”Yes” or “No.”

Integrity (or lack of) is sniffed out like hounds on a hunt. Integrity is having your thoughts, words, and deeds all in alignment. It is walking your talk and being a person of honor. These powerful tools and techniques are neither innocent nor guilty, but are neutral for only human beings have intentions and integrity. How you use your power reflects your true character. As you commit yourself to the purpose-driven life, your resonance with authentic power creates a compassionate culture where everybody wins.

Edie Raether is an internationally recognized speaker, author, coach, and authority on breakthrough thinking, innovation, influence, and change.

©2004 Edie Raether. All Rights Reserved

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