How many times has this happened to you in a sales meeting before... You've got your ideal prospect in front of you and a solution that you are 100% positive will help them solve their greatest business challenges.
You're so confident you will close the sale that you've already told your entire sales team you've got this in the bag!
But then at the end of the sales meeting, the prospect hits you with a flat out 'No'. Fewer things are more soul-crushing than this!
Why do situations like this occur? Why, when you have the perfect prospect and have made it as clear as possible that you know how to help them, do they suddenly slip through your fingers?
We will tell you why: Because you don't know how to influence their decision-making process.
If you want to close a deal with a prospect because you know you have exactly what they need, then you must influence them to make the right decision.
Because, if you don't influence them, then other negative factors inevitably will. And, more likely than not, they will go in a different direction.
With that being said, we are sharing exactly how you can influence people in sales!
By the end of this, you will know how to positively influence your sales prospects into making a decision that will benefit both you and themselves.
Never let another prospect slip through the cracks again! Exercise influence to keep prospects in your hands.
Why Is Influence Important In Sales?
For some people when they hear the word influence, they think negatively about it. They associate it with things like manipulation and guilt tripping.
However, their initial assumptions couldn't be further from the truth!
In the sales process, influence works just like any other sales tool. And, tools are used to help prospects make the right decision for themselves.
Here's the thing: As much as we hate to admit it, the human brain is very monkey-like. We all have very short attention spans AND are highly emotional. As a result, we often stand in our way of achieving progress.
Influence is a tool used to unravel the monkey-like human brain. It helps salespeople take control of the prospect's decision-making system so that the monkey mind doesn't.
As long as the salesperson has the intention of helping the prospect solve their problem and knows that they have the solution they need, then there is no manipulation involved.
If it weren't for influence in sales, then odds are that sales wouldn't occur all that often and prospects wouldn't get their problems solved as quickly or smoothly.
Think of it this way... Either one of two things can happen in a sale:
- The prospect's monkey mind influences their decisions
- You exercise your influence to impact their decisions
It's going to be one or the other!
Therefore, if you want to give your prospect's a better buying experience and close out more deals for yourself, then exercising influence is of the utmost importance!
What Is The Best Way to Influence People?
While we are sharing ten of the best ways to influence prospects in sales, each one of the tactics is rooted in a single concept.
And, that concept is service.
At the end of the day, your success in sales comes down to one thing: How well you can serve a prospect's needs.
Because it is rooted in service, exercising influence is one of the most effective ways that you can help serve prospects.
Therefore, when applying each of the ten best ways to exercise influence, service should be at the very front of your mind.
If you're thinking that you are just here to close out more deals to make more money, then you are in the wrong place!
In fact, service is cyclical... The more you focus on serving your prospects, the more success will circle back around to you. That process cannot work in the opposite direction!
With that being said, the absolute best way to influence people in sales is by using influence tactics that help you better serve your prospects.
10 Ways to Use Influence In Sales to Win Deals
Now without further ado, here are 10 ways that you can influence your prospect's decision-making system.
Use these 10 tactics effectively, and they will make a purchasing-decision in your favor!
And, the best part is that each of these tactics takes little to no effort on your part.
Will you exercise your influence to become the most successful sales version of yourself?
1. Hype Yourself Up
How many times have you walked into a sales meeting or even a retail store and the salespeople looked completely out of sorts? Perhaps they were leaning on their desks or pacing in circles with a hunched back.
For lack of a better word, they looked completely disinterested in what they were doing. And as a result of their terrible energy, you immediately turned back and ran straight out the door!
If that has ever happened to you before, then we don't blame you for running out! There is nothing more awkward than walking into a meeting or salesroom with the intention of potentially buying something, only for the salesperson to look like they don't give a crap.
We have said it many times before and we will say it again: As a sales professional, your energy is contagious! Whatever emotion you are radiating will ultimately infect the prospect.
Therefore, if you are completely disinterested, bored, or sarcastic, your prospect is going to pick up on the negative energy behind it. Then, the only influencing you will be doing is influencing them to run to the door!
Furthermore, why would you expect someone to be excited to buy from you when you aren't even excited about helping them solve their problems?
If you want to influence people to do something positive like make a purchase from you, then you need to hype yourself up with positive energy! Because, that energy will eventually circle back to the prospects and influence them into making a purchasing decision.
Before you even walk into a sales presentation or hop on a sales call, check your vibes. If you're not excited about helping solve your prospect's problems, then you will only influence them to do the opposite of making a purchase.
2. Play Your Role
Have you ever sat in on a sales presentation in which the lead sales rep literally transformed themself into a different person? It was like they flipped a light switch to turn into an extremely captivating person who nobody could take their eyes off of.
If you've experienced this situation before, then you have witnessed the power of role-playing in sales.
Believe it or not, but the best salespeople are also the best actors.
Well, consider this: In both business and life, we are always playing different roles to influence decision making.
Take for example when you go out to a fancy restaurant... The wait staff plays a specific role in order to make you feel like someone worthy of an upscale dinner. They pull the chair out for you, address you as sir or mamm, and overall speak with impeccable elegance. As a result of their role playing, you willingly spend more money at their restaurant. On the flip side, if you walked into a fancy restaurant and the wait staff treated you horribly, you probably would have walked out, bought less food, and spent less on a tip.
Whether you know it or not, we are always playing different roles to influence decision making.
With that being said, if you want the best sales results, you need to play the role of a zealous, captivating salesperson.
3. Identify an Eager Want
Straight up: You can't and shouldn't try to influence someone to buy something from you if they truly don't need it.
If your friend is a vegetarian, do you offer them a chicken sandwich when they come over? Hopefully not!
While it might seem totally obvious that you shouldn't try to sell something to someone who doesn't need it, it is actually extremely common in sales.
In fact, trying to sell something to people who have zero desire or need for it is actually one of the most pervasive problems in sales. It’s part of the reason why salespeople in general are often given a bad reputation.
If you want to have a successful sales process, the first thing you need to do is identify exactly who eagerly wants and needs your product or service!
Unless you know who those people are and are targeting them specifically, then good luck trying to influence your prospects to buy from you.
Only once you do know who those ideal people are can you think about how to influence them to buy from you.
You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration in your sales career if you only focus on influencing the people who eagerly want and need the solution that your company has to offer!
4. Give Before You Get
Perhaps there is no greater truth in this world than this: There is no such thing as something for nothing.
Moreover, if you want to get something from someone, then you need to give them something first.
This universal law is equally true in sales as it is in any other area of life! And, it is better known as the law of reciprocity.
Think of it like this: If you want to influence your prospect's decision making system, you need to soften them up first. Perhaps a better way of putting it is that you need to make their brains more malleable.
And, the way to do that is by giving them something valuable before trying to take anything from them (their time and money from a sale!).
But, what kinds of things can sales teams give to their prospects to receive a sale in return? Here are a few things that you can consider giving:
- A physical gift when they enter the sales meeting (food, coffee, etc.)
- A free trial period of your service or tester of your product
- Valuable insights into their business that they don't even know about
Once you give the prospect something to bite on, you immediately soften up their brain's decision-making system. As a result, you have opened a very wide door to influence them.
5. Genuinely Care About Their Needs
Like we already discussed above, the energy that salespeople give off is palpable. If you don't give a rip about helping your prospects, then that negative will certainly rub off onto them.
In the same way, if you don't genuinely care about your prospect's needs, they will know it. And, if they believe that you don't care about their needs, there is little to no chance of you being able to influence them.
With that being said, you absolutely must show your prospects that you genuinely care about helping them. In fact, your entire sales strategy should be crafted around demonstrating that you are there to solve their needs.
As a result of showing you care, you will stand a much greater chance of influencing the prospect's decisions because they will place greater trust in you.
There are two key ways that you can show prospects that you care about their needs, including:
- Asking them insightful questions
- Using engaging body language behaviours
Unless you show prospects that you care, they will never trust you. And, if they don't trust you, they will completely shut off any line for you to potentially influence them through.
6. Create a Dramatic Story
When a prospect approaches you for help, their mind is more likely than not being consumed with thoughts about their own problems.
And, we don't blame them! If you were in their shoes, don't you think that grappling with a pervasive business problem and having to place trust in a salesperson to solve it would be extremely stressful? Absolutely!
While the prospect's stress can present potential challenges in the sales process, it can also be used as a tool to influence their decision making. And, the way to use the prospect's stress to influence them is to make use of sales storytelling.
Sales storytelling is all about turning the prospect's journey into an epic story about them overcoming their demons and coming out stronger on the other side.
No, seriously. That's what it's about!
While it might sound cheesy at first, know that the best salespeople are also the best storytellers. They know that telling stories makes the prospect feel important, understood, and validated.
And, if you can make the prospect feel those three emotions, that you have certainly increased your odds of being able to influence their decisions.
Don't be afraid to really blow up the prospect's situation into an epic story. If you feel a little bit out of your comfort zone when doing so, then you are probably on the right track to creating the perfect story!
7. Be a Sounding Board
One part of the sales job that many newbie salespeople don't know about is that they sometimes need to play the role of a sounding board. By that, we mean that they need to be willing to hear out all of their prospect's problems, including those underneath the surface.
The truth is that, when prospect's come to you with an issue in their business, they usually start out by only telling you about issues that are on the surface.
But later on in the sales process once they’ve established trust with you, they eventually crack. Before you know it, they are spilling out their deeper emotional issues to you.
For example, if a prospect comes to you for help with their company's social media presence, there is probably an emotional issue lying beneath it. Perhaps they are extremely stressed, anxious, or angry about the current state of their online presence. But, they don’t reveal those emotional challenges until later on in the process.
Therefore, it is your job to address those emotional issues just as much as it is to address fixing their core business problems!
If you want to close as many deals as possible by influencing prospects, you must be a good listener. You must be willing to listen to the prospect's emotional issues in addition to the technical ones.
If you want to get better at this, think about how the other person feels in the situation... If you were in their shoes, what kinds of emotions would you be feeling?
Want to influence your prospects? Don't neglect the importance of acting as a sounding board!
8. Validate Their Emotions
If you've successfully done your job at being a sounding board, then you'll likely have some insights into your prospect's emotional challenges.
Once you have those insights, the best thing that you can do is validate them.
Tell them that if you were in their position that you would likely be feeling the same way!
The idea behind validating their feelings is to do two things:
- Show empathy
- Create humility
First off, validating your prospect’s emotions makes them feel like you have empathy for them. And, if they think that you have empathy for them, they are more likely to side with you when it comes to decision-making time.
Second, validating the prospect's emotions puts you on a similar level to them. More specifically, it creates a sense of humility around you. If prospects can see the more human-side of you, they will open themselves up to your influence.
9. Express Sincere Appreciation
If you want to have influence over your prospects, show genuine gratitude for them being there. Put yourself in their shoes... They have to give up time, energy, and money to work with you, so you should be grateful for that!
There are a couple of subtle ways that you can show prospect's you appreciate them, including:
- Repeating the person's name
- Using a sincere voice
- Having your actions match your words
First off, repeating the prospect's name back to them subconsciously sends the message that you appreciate them.
Second, speaking in a positive yet mild tone of voice shows prospects that you have respect for them. Take for example the voice of a talk show host when interviewing a guest.
Lastly, you can show someone that you appreciate them by doing exactly what you say you will do.
Nothing sends an 'I don't really respect you' signal more than when you don't do what you tell someone you are going to do.
Therefore, always make sure that your actions match your words!
10. Be Honest But Don’t Argue
Last by certainly not least, if you want to positively influence your prospect's decisions, you should be straightforward with them. But, you should never, ever initiate an argument.
For example, if your prospect makes an incorrect objection to your sales proposal, be honest with them without immediately responding with "I disagree" or "No, you're wrong".
By doing so, you'll only ruffle their feathers and lose any opportunity to have influence over them.
In his bestseller book How To Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie proposes that the only way to get the best of an argument is to not argue at all. Considering the profound impact that Carnegie's book has had on entrepreneurs around the world, it's worth listening to!
Think about it... When someone starts an argument with you, the message that they are sending is that their opinion is superior. And, superiority will only make the prospect want to turn away.
Instead of arguing, listen to the prospect's objection. Ask them questions about it to try and get to the root of why they don't agree with you.
Then while tensions are still low, slide in and propose a different perspective. By doing so, you are being honest with the prospect without getting them all worked up.
Nothing eliminates your ability to have influence than arguing with prospects, so just don’t do it!
Final Thoughts on Ways to Influence People In Sales
Sales is all about service. The better you serve your prospects, the more deals you close.
And, one of the best ways to serve prospects is to exercise influence over their decision-making process.
Don't let their monkey mind control the decisions they make! Instead, use your positive influence to guide them towards a decision that will help them solve their business problems.
In the end, the salesperson who has the most effective influence over their prospect is the one that serves them the best.
And, the one who serves the best has the happiest clients AND closes the most deals in the least amount of time. Will that one be you?
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