The sales process can be challenging at times, but when done right, a good salesperson can predict their customer’s next move. Having the right product on hand for the consumer is only half the battle. Joining Jim today is Jeff Shore, award-winning sales trainer and keynote speaker, to discuss psychology-based sales training and how to sell the way your customers want to buy.
Jim Fitzpatrick: We’re so happy to have with us as our next guest, Mr. Jeff Shore. Jeff, thank you so much for joining us on the show today.
Jeff Shore: Thanks for having me, Jim. Let’s have some fun.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Great. Talk to me about how you got started and why your interest in the way that people make purchase decisions?
Jeff Shore: Yeah, as a frontline sales person, I was trained and really readily adopted, a lot of salespeople do, “Well, you want me to say that? Great I’ll say that.” But that was usually about all about the company or the product or whatever it happened to be, but it didn’t have a lot to do necessarily with really getting to know the customer, so I was a product first salesperson. It didn’t work. It worked to an extent, but over time, I felt like that was sort of a missing piece, that if you understand the customer well enough, then that sales process starts to roll right out in front of you. I’ve always been interested in psychology anyway, so the psychology of a purchase decision really started to grow in my interest. I just think people are fascinating, really, really interesting to get to know how people think, how they make decisions and then if we can figure out how they make a decision then we should be able to reverse engineer the process to make it easier for them to do that, right?
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s a very good point. All to often, salespeople do get their marching orders from their managers or their corporate trainer, what have you, without ever asking what are the buying motives or what’s the journey to the sale? Right, from the consumer’s standpoint. What’s the single biggest mistake that sales professionals tend to make in the sales process?
Jeff Shore: I think the issue more than anything else is that salespeople are so consumed with what the customer is moving to, that they neglect to really understand what the customer is coming from. That background, that perspective, that history is critical because it gives us context for everything that we’re going to do next. Not a salesperson, here’s my shiny object, it’s just beautiful and you’re going to love it. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but it will sure make it easier for me to connect to that product if you understand why I’m here in the first place and what happened in my life before I walked through the door.
Jeff Shore: I travel extensively. I’m on the road about 40 weeks out of the year. I’m always in rental cars. I was in another state, I upgraded my rental car and I was driving around, I was like, “This is a great car. I love this car.” Then I got back home, got to the airport, got into my old car and went, “Eh.” I thought it’s not right that I should enjoy a rental more than I like my own car. My question for you now Jim, is how important is that context and that story to a salesperson?
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. Very important.
Jeff Shore: You know? But nobody wanted to talk about that. Nobody wanted to talk about the experience that I had had or even why I was there in the first place. I think that this is to me what I talk to salespeople about more than any other subject, most salespeople want to get to the what are you looking for? What do you want to spend? What is your timeframe? But great salespeople are all about why. Why are you thinking about buying in the first place? Whether it’s a car, a home or jewelry or anything else. Why are you thinking about buying in the first place? Then, why is now the right time? The why questions will always be more important than the what questions.
Jim Fitzpatrick: You talk a lot about mental shortcuts that customers take in their decision process. What are some examples?
Jeff Shore: There are shortcuts because when we’re making decisions and a purchase decision, we’re actually making literally thousands of minor decisions along the way. They can’t all be made consciously. We end up making a lot of our decisions non-consciously. We use decision-making shortcuts, psychologist refer to these as heuristics, that we carry around with us. I’ll give you a couple of examples. Easy equals right. In a customer’s mind, the easier something seems to be, the righter it feels to me. That complexity confuses the mind and a confused mind says, “No.” That’s a shortcut that a customer’s going to take. Like a lot of companies, that’s what they’re doing now, they’re crafting their presentation to ask what is easy for our customer?
Another shortcut that our customers take is that like equals trust. If I like you I have a tendency to trust you. That likeability equals trustworthiness is a profound shortcut and if I can invest in that sense of likeability it makes a huge difference. There are all kinds of shortcuts that our customers take like that that they don’t even know they’re taking. It’s really not just buyer behavior, it’s human nature behavior.
Jim Fitzpatrick: When you build that relationship, and I should say the more that you build a trusting, likable relationship there’s not the emphasis on price, right?
Jeff Shore: That’s absolutely right. It is so important that you said that, Jim because we have seen this happen over and over again that when we immediately launch into a discussion of price, the danger is that it triggers our logical, analytical brain. Well, that’s a problem because we don’t buy with logic and analytics. Those are support mechanisms. On my podcast, I had the Swedish researcher Martin Lindstrom, who has hooked people up to functional MRIs to study the brain and determine what part of the brain is firing when they’re making a purchase decision. His research determined that the decision to purchase anything is about 85% emotional and 15% logical. So, if you get into a price conversation, you’re trying to have this logical, analytical question, or discussion, over something that somebody wants to buy based on their emotion, there’s a disconnect right from the very beginning. If there’s the connection, if there’s the sense of enjoyment in that then we trigger the emotion and that’s the place where people want to buy from anyway.
Jim Fitzpatrick: I agree. What are some of the things that salespeople will regularly do that are just a turn-off to the customer?
Jeff Shore: I think the first thing is just the chest-nutting. When I say chest-nutting I don’t mean to say, “I am great as a salesperson.” If I start by saying, “Let me tell you why my product is so great.” Right from the very beginning, the information about your product is your ubiquitous. A customer can find it anyway. When you lead with let me go first, I think it’s the biggest turn-off. It’s like walking into a bar and saying, “I’d like to know about you, but first I want you to know about me.” Think about it, in any other environment, on an airplane, in a bar, wherever it is, that would be a tremendous turn-off.
Jeff Shore: For me, I play ice hockey or for your viewers in Canada, just hockey. I don’t know if you have to say ice hockey in Canada. Anyway, I was in a hockey supply store and a salesperson, we were looking at it. We were trying to find a new stick. I was pushing the puck around and he had asked me about my game. Describe the way you play, what position and everything. By the time we were done, he said, “Listen, I know this is more expensive than you wanted to spend, but this is the right stick for you. What do you think?” He acknowledged that it was more than I had said I wanted to spend. But he also acknowledged based on what he knew about me, that this was the right stick. At that point it was like if I’m not going to buy that stick what happens?
Jim Fitzpatrick: Exactly.
Jeff Shore: If I make a price decision I don’t get what I really want.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. Probably the follow-up would be, “I can sell you the wrong stick for a lot less money.”
Jeff Shore: He didn’t say it but it would have been a good line and I would have stole it.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. That’s right. Jeff Shore, keynote speaker, book author, unbelievable sales trainer, consultant, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be with us on the show today. We very much appreciate it. I know our viewers are going to get a lot out of this and hopefully we can have you back to talk more about this topic of sales that everybody’s trying to figure out. Right?
Jeff Shore: Anytime Jim. Thanks for all you do. It’s a great show, very valuable. Keep up the good work, my friend.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Great. Thanks so much.
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