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About This Episode
“Unless you’re Oprah or Barack Obama, no one cares what you think.”
There’s often a gap in experience between sales reps and the people they are trying to sell to.
This can lead to prospects feeling like they are being told how to do things by someone who has no business trying to tell them anything. Fortunately, David Priemer has spent his career studying proven practices to overcome this gap.
David is the Founder and Chief Sales Scientist of Cerebral Selling, a company dedicated to helping reps, leaders, and their organizations supercharge their growth through the science of sales.
On this episode of The Sales Engagement Podcast, David explains what experience asymmetry is, and 3 ways your sales reps can overcome the asymmetry to increase their credibility.
What is Experience Asymmetry?
Asymmetry typically refers to an imbalance.
So much of sales involves a younger, less experienced salespeople calling more experienced decision makers whose job they’ve never done.
For example, a sales rep selling a solution to VPs of Sales and Marketing who’s never been a VP of Sales or Marketing.
Or a rep could be selling a solution to doctors or freelance artists. And they’ve never been one of those things before.
So there’s an imbalance that poses a big challenge.
David offers three effective ways to overcome the imbalance:
Practice #1: Labeling
Labeling is knowing your audience well enough to read their minds and to articulate what they’re thinking but may not be saying.
For example, a middle-aged guy going to a personal trainer who says, “Hey Buddy, why you’re here?”
And the true reason he’s there is that his wife doesn’t find him desirable anymore. He’s not going to say that!
But what if the trainer said, “Hey look, you know, typically when I speak to middle-aged guys that come to me, it’s for one of three reasons.
- They’re trying to do something stupid like run an iron man triathlon.
- There’s something going on at home. Their wives or partners don’t find them desirable anymore.
- They went to the doctor and the doctor they need to get on the treadmill or you know, something bad’s going to happen.”
The idea behind labeling is to target the #1, #2, #3 pains that the customers typically have and lead with those so the buyer feels understood.
There’s a nuance here though. You want to make sure the label is specific enough or else it just comes off like a pitch.
Practice #2: Punching with the Weight of Your Organization
This starts with the words that you choose.
The problem with phrases like “I’ve found,” “ I feel”, or “I believe” is that you don’t have any credibility.
So the question is how can you evoke the punching weight of your organization?
Instead of saying “I found,” you want to say things like:
- “What our customers have found…”
- “What our founder Joe found when he started the company was that…”
- “What’s interesting, there was a study in Harvard business that talked about how people use feelings in sales. And what they found was…”
You have the become the messenger and shift the responsibility of credibility from you to a study, a customer, etc.
Practice #3: Honest Conviction
Manifesting conviction is powerful, and there is an easy step companies can take to dramatically impact the conviction of their sales reps:
Have one of your customers come into your next sales meeting in person and describe the value they’ve gotten from your solution.
Not a case study, not a video recording. Have them describe personally one on one the value that they got from your solution.
Lots of data and research on this shows that that conviction rate on the part of your sellers increases by orders of magnitude because now they’ve heard the story firsthand.
Sales is both an art and a science and neither component is more important than the other. But more important than both of those components is the “why”.
Always know your “why” while practicing the empathy to control how you come off to the other person.
As David unpacked in his last episode, empathy is about looking at the tactics you are using and asking yourself how you would feel if you were on the receiving end.
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