What mode of selling have you been taught? I can almost predict it’s the old model — which is how Jeremy Miner, the CEO of 7th Level Communications, refers to it. It’s ‘old’ because it’s been used since 1898 when the model was created, and it was created by old sales ‘gurus’ who haven’t sold anything for decades. Let me guess, just to be sure: you make a cold call to a prospect and launch into, “Hi, my name is ____, I’m with XYZ company and the reason why I am calling you today is…..”. You barely get even this out, and your prospect throws out some objection and gets rid of you. Sound familiar?
Well, that’s the wrong way to do it — and consumers agree. Miner told me that a study by Daniel Pink found that the most common words that come to people’s mind when they think of sales or selling are “sleazy,” “annoying,” “manipulative,” “dishonest,” and… “yuck.” There are others, too! Now, you may think, “Well that’s other salespeople. I’m selling something honestly!” The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling. You could be the nicest person in the world selling the coolest product in the world. But as long as you’re adhering to the old selling model, you’re going to get an adverse response from prospects.
Here’s how sales should be thought of: “necessary,” “fun,” “important,” and “essential.” These are, by the way, the only four positive words that were listed in Daniel Pink’s study, but the problem is that they were at the bottom of the list. If you’re selling a product that can really help someone, then why use sales techniques that come across as sleazy and pushy and work against human behavior?
We are taught that a home run sales call is a great presentation that seamlessly lists all the astounding features, benefits, and how great the product or service is, but here’s the kicker: the data says that this is not very persuasive. Miner shared with me all about the “new model of selling” — what he teaches to his students to skyrocket their sales results and income.
The New Model of Selling
What IS persuasive? We are all chiefly concerned with only one person in our lives, and that’s ourselves. It sounds selfish, but we’re rigged to think that way. Just as you are thinking about how awesome it would be to land that commission or close this deal when you’re on a sales call, the prospect is thinking, “Why should I care, or what’s in this for me?” And unless you ask certain questions that help them feel that you are there for them to see if you can help them, you’ve already lost them within the first few minutes.
The new model of selling, which Miner created as a young, broke college student fed up with the old model of selling, has three forms of communication.
- Engage, don’t tell.
- Learn and discover from each other.
Miners says that three of these forms of communication are critically important, and they all work together. Here’s what they mean.
Engage, don’t tell means that we have to get away from just presenting. People don’t like to be told what to do. If they feel like you’re being pushy, they’ll instantly shut down… even if your product is exactly the same solution that they’ve been looking for. A salesperson who is pushy and does all the talking doesn’t give enough space to the prospect to feel engaged and that they are part of the process.
Miner says to learn and discover from each other by beginning an open conversation. This isn’t just them sitting back and listening to what you have to say. This means you are both sharing information, asking each other questions, and establishing trust with each other. There’s no alternative or underlying agenda other than authentically discovering if you can help the prospect.
Finally, dialogue gets at this back-and-forth, open, trust-oriented conversation, “I tell my students that 80 percent of the conversation should be the prospect talking. It’s your job to sit back and listen… and then see how you can help through a series of questions I call the Neuro-Emotional Persuasion Questions. These questions help the prospect to state their current situation, any problems or shortcomings, and potential solutions out loud,” Miner said.
To learn more about these NEPQ questions and the new model of selling, visit Miner’s website at 7thlevelhq.com.