Are your sales pitches and Cold Calls getting the Cold Shoulder?
This could be your solution!
Anyone who has made an effort to pitch a new business on the telephone or face to face has had the horrible experience of sensing that the prospect has already made up their mind before you even opened your mouth. It is a frustrating experience being judged and dismissed almost before we speak.
I have heard lots of salespeople moan:
‘We are different, but they wouldn’t even listen!’
‘They had made up their mind before I even arrived.’
‘They didn’t even hear what I was saying they just dismissed me!’
For salespeople it is a frustrating and humiliating experience to judged and dismissed without being heard. This is why many people get quickly out of selling. They lack the thick skin to deal with the regular, instant rejection.
Many salespeople can only pitch and close to warm prospects unable to Cold Call because they cannot deal with the rejection. This is why startups often rely too heavily on networking and referrals – they simply can’t handle the instant rejection that comes with day-today selling.
Can things be different?
Let’s look at why we judge instantly. The Hindus call are large subconscious mind the ‘monkey brain’ the mostly uncontrolled subconscious, Sigmund Freud called this part of our mind the Adaptive Unconscious, and Malcolm Gladwell wrote extensively about this part of our mind in his best-selling book ‘Blink’. Gladwell wrote that the instant ‘decision’ are responsible for many of our errors or judgement and even racial prejudices.
Our subconscious mind is the largest part of our brain and processes most of our actions and decision without conscious awareness. The power of this part of the mind is huge. Watch someone drive a standard shift car – an experienced driver is aware of the traffic around them, shifting gears, managing the brake and clutch, all while talking to passengers, smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of coffee. We are often able to perfectly execute dozens of very complicated actions simultaneously without even being consciously aware.
How do we do this?
When learning a new skill we need our conscious mind and every bit of our attention. As we learn the knowledge enters the subconscious mind and slowly that part of our the brain takes over.
We do the same with judgment.
We receive a Cold Call and react automatically based on our personal experiences and learned ideas about salespeople. A new supplier visits our office to present their offering and we automatically assume lies and deceit. This is the subconscious mind at work ‘helping’ us by automating the decision-making process based on our past judgments and experiences.
The subconscious mind is not necessarily ‘right’ but we absolutely believe its decision. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, demonstrated that the snap decisions we make are actually incorrect. Even highly experienced professionals, such as police officers, are more likely wrong when relying on the snap decisions of the subconscious mind.
How do we get around the subconscious mind of our prospect?
The subconscious mind looks for patterns and then makes judgments based on those patterns. The reason professional con men are able to cheat us is that they substitute one pattern for another – they confuse and distract the subconscious mind. They might ask us to help them find a lost kitten – a pattern that our subconscious mind sees as a trusting person that needs our help. Once our subconscious is ‘tricked’ our mind will follow in that direction. Later we are often amazed at how we could have been so easily cheated.
A salesperson is fighting the opposite – a prospect who expects a cheat and is negative, critical and aggressive toward us at every step. This instant reaction is automatic, subconscious and not rational. The only exception is salespeople – salespeople are the easiest group to sell to because they trust salespeople.
The solution is easy.
What we need here is brain software ‘hack’. If the brain is looking for expected patterns give instead unexpected patterns. If the brain does not recognise the pattern then there is no judgment and the conscious, cognitive mind takes over. In a Cold Call we know that smooth talking, pushy callers are probably salespeople. If we start with a question and use vocal tones that suggest someone different from a salesperson, we bypass the instant judgment. The same result comes from using dramatic and startling statements that our subconscious lacks a pattern. This is where Steve Jobs excelled!
Anyone who has been to a street market where people are pitching products has seen this work. The salesperson speaking quickly and rhythmically dramatically demonstrates the set of super sharp knives we probably don’t need but buy anyway. Why? The salesperson has distracted our subconscious judgment just long enough to entertain us and we buy.
Every sales situation has this opportunity to disrupt and win where others lose – Steve Jobs was a master of this sales technique.
An essential part in the psychology of selling is to understand that rejection is automatic – it is not about us – so don’t take it personally. Instead put effort into designing a sales approach that avoids the subconscious and puts us in control of the customer conversation.