Sales Myth Episode 2: Selling Ice to Eskimos

Another sales myth that is the most popular is that if you can sell, you can sell anything.

And a lovely cliché of selling ice to Eskimos. That is also not true.

There are several types of sales people and they perform better if they stick to their marketplace. So, there are people that can generate new business, and we often call them hunters and they have a series of different formal business names. And then, there are those people who can nurture and grow an existing client base, we call them account managers and farmers. They are not the same people.

If you move people between the two jobs, they will fail. The hunters who are agile, adaptive, fluid, capable of dealing with the unknown and that ultimately means people that are new to the business, new to your client base, will get bored and stroppy and lazy if you make them step on and farm. They won’t object though. They’ll agree happily because farming is easier, or it is to them anyway. So they’ll happily say, “Sure. I’ll take over the client base and the prestige of being the account executive,” but they would do a bad job for you.

On the other hand, the strategic long-term precise people who are really good account managers who can sit themselves down and really think about what they need to say and why and how, and prepare the tools that they’re trained, who don’t need to improvise and don’t like doing it. They cannot ___. Not just won’t they willing, they actually can’t. The different mentality. It’s a different skill sets. So, you will waste their skill and capacity if you make them go out and do it. Lots of businesses, when they’re short of cash just get everyone on the phone, let’s all make cold calls including, yes. I’m the managing director. I will sit down because I’m brave and I will do it with you.

Five percent of people are able to do that. Don’t torture and discourage and demoralize your staff by making them do something that they really cannot. It’s not about their willingness. It’s not about them being being diligent.

Find out more by contacting Maya.

Watch Part 3: Answering whether there’s only ONE type of Salesperson?

The Importance of the Herd effect in selling

herd effect blog 3 june

Having started in previous posts to talk about the role of fear and trust in selling, we now introduce two additional concepts; “herd” and “separate”. The Herd response signifies safety in numbers and falls into the trust side of the decision making process as they keep as safe.  Much as media use the term “following the herd” as a negative concept it is fundamental to our nature as we as humans are, after all, herd animals.

The alternative to being part of the herd is to be “alone” and “separate”. Being separated is scary for most of us as humans; we only have to see psychology experiments which confine people in rooms to see how much it really affects us. Being alone and separate heights our fear response and subsequently triggers our expectations of danger or death. This heightened anxiety is no state for calmly making commercial buying decisions or splurging out on personal luxuries.

How does this relate to the commercial world? Being part of the “herd” is about staying with the majority, doing the things the majority are doing and definitely buying the things that the majority are buying. There are only a few brave souls who are able to explore uncharted territory, implement unproven technologies or make decisions without regard to the opinions and reactions of their peers. There may be a reasonable number of people showing interest in new products but few will take action and buy them while they are in the minority.

Obviously then, when making sales, you want your prospects to feel the comfort and safety of staying in the “herd” and keep them miles and miles away from this dangerous “alone” and “separate” zone where they associate themselves, or you, with danger during your sales call.

The first issue in the safety of the herd is whether they perceive you to be a trusted member of their herd or an outsider. Do you clearly belong to a herd they expect for the product you represent? Or do you appear as an obvious outsider of their herd or any they want to relate to? Your membership of the herd can be about simple appearances and dress code or it could be about the content of your conversations.  Are you making them feel like they belong to a safe herd when they are talking with you? Or are you talking about things that are unknown and are trying to draw them away from what is known and safe?

Making prospects feel safe buying your service or product is easier if your product is well established with many testimonials, great client case studies or endorsements from people they trust and admire. As the old advertising said “no one ever got fired for buying IBM”. Getting fired is definitely a commercially dangerous outcome to be avoided by clients.

However if you’re selling something new to your market, no matter it’s obvious revolutionary benefits you are effectively asking your prospects to make a stance alone by taking the risk of a new product. To achieve the sale you will need to develop much more trust on other issues to compensate for the lost sense of safety being alone in a new market will trigger for them.

Stay tuned for our next installment about what motivates people to make decisions to change their current state including making decisions to buy new products.

The Role of Trust in Overcoming the Fear Filter

Continuing on from The Role of Fear in Selling where we looked at how the fear filter works, we continue to discuss the Trust barrier in selling.

To recap, the fear filter separates the Primal brain and its flee or freeze or flight response and the Modern brain with all its logic and rational decision making; it’s the bit that can make or break your deal. Expanding on this, this article introduces you to the critical Trust barrier and how it is the foundation of stable buying decisions.

As we established, the fear filter blocks your prospects from being able to think logically and rationally if there is any risk of harm in your sales processes. Now here’s another thing: the same filter, this same line, can stop data coming down to the primal brain where the ability to make a final decision resides. In short, information and data must pass UP to the Modern Brain and then DOWN again to the Primal brain for any decision to be made, as seen below.

role of trust blogThis means that the information you give a customer and the conversation you conduct with a customer has to pass through two filters in order for them to make a decision. We talked about the fight or flight mechanism and the survival instinct.

As we mentioned, data doesn’t go up from the primal brain unless it’s not frightening, and when coming back down, the data will not come down from the modern brain unless it is trustworthy. And now we have the second filtering process – the Trust barrier.

Now say your information gets past the prospects fear filter the first time your prospects are able to make sound, rational and logic decisions thanks to the modern brain. This information must once again come down and pass the trust barrier.

So once again, your prospects are assessing the risk of decision. Will the decision to buy have any negative consequences? If it does then they will not make the purchase; that is, they cannot act on the decision despite having come to it in a logical and methodical way.

To optimise your prospect’s decision process, you need to be really conscious of how to communicate data so that it is absorbed by the logical brain and processed complete enough for them to make a decision that they can confidently act out.

Part of this is the way you explain things but an equal part is knowing their current knowledge and beliefs on this issue. Until you know what they already know and believe you cannot make sure the information you present will make enough sense to them to be trusted as correct and used reliable to make the decision to buy it. If you say something that contradicts their beliefs or they cannot understand completely they will not be able to use your information as part of their rational processes.

Next, we’re going to talk about the data you present to your prospects. Tune in for the next article on how to gain their trust, overcome the fear filter and the trust barrier, and sell your product/service.

More in the series: The Herd Effect and Selling