Too many salespeople hope their questions will be witty and insightful enough to grab the next prospect’s talking and sharing their challenges.
If there were a few magic words that got anyone sharing their secrets, then anyone could sell.
Unfortunately, few prospects want to share details of their lives and businesses without having gained something in return. The salespeople who understand this basic principle of psychology and science also understand that they have to bring something the prospect considers unique and surprising if they want to begin a great relationship and sale.
That’s why we sat down with Moeed Amin, a student of neuroscience and director of Proverbial Door. He’s interviewed hundreds of buyers on what makes them want to engage with a salesperson. He uncovered a simple system that leverages the way our brains work in order to drive better conversations with prospects.
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it, and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: Moeed says the trigger for leveraging neuroscience in generating better conversations happens before we pick up the phone to call a prospect or draft an email. He says there are four areas we need to gather intelligence in:
First, understand the prospect’s industry. Moeed says this is perhaps the most critical part of our research as buyers appreciate an understanding of their industry more than a salesperson understands their business.
Second, knowledge of the prospect’s company. These are the things most salespeople who do research are looking at: financial statements, recent news headlines, etc.
Third, the role of the buyer we’re pursuing and their key performance indicators. If we know the 3-5 things our prospect has to deliver to their company to succeed, then we can align what we sell to help them achieve one of their top priorities.
Fourth, the person. What do we know about them and their hobbies, background and goals?
R – Repeatable: Once we’ve done research on our prospect’s industry, company, role and personality, we can begin leveraging neuroscience to ensure we’re bringing unique value and getting the attention of an undoubtedly busy prospect.
Moeed says that the acronym CUES lays out a simple way to take the research we’ve done and put it into a conversational script that we can use in our prospecting calls and communications.
C: Curiosity. Moeed says we first need to pique the prospect’s curiosity. This means coming to the conversation with a unique angle. Instead of attempting to sell trucks, for instance, focus on the driver retention. The problem is solved through your trucks, but the unique angle will trigger elements of your prospect’s brain that light up when novel ideas are presented.
U: Uniqueness. If we’re bringing the same information, stories and questions as every other salesperson in our industry, we’re battling against our prospect’s brain as we’re all trained to quickly categorize and write off repeating patterns
E: Emotion. If we’re not engaging our prospect’s emotions, then we’re missing out on the part of the brain that drives the majority of a prospect’s decisions. We can engage emotion through customer journey stories and through the prospect’s own frustrations and pain we learned prior to making contact and learned during conversation.
S: Surprise. This means teaching something the prospect something they don’t see, have underappreciated so far, or haven’t been able to understand.
I – Improvable: To improve a system that’s based on the biology of the brain, it’s more important to improve the way it’s being used as the brain of our prospects is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Moeed says this means getting closer to your customers. Take the time to ask them why they purchased from you and pay attention to anything that changes. This might mean a quarterly meeting where you sit down with your sales team and ask, “What have we noticed changed in the things our buyers are concerned with?”
Of course, make sure you use what you hear to update your CUES sales system to ensure you’re leveraging uniqueness and surprise.
M – Measurable: Moeed recommends we measure the basic things all salespeople measure, like retention and gross sales. But to understand how well we’re leveraging neuroscience, we need to get a level deeper. We also need to measure sales velocity to see if the way we’re approaching prospects and leveraging what we’re learning is closing sales faster. Finally, Moeed says to measure the quality of the conversations and relationships we’re having with prospects. If we’re lighting up the emotional and goal-oriented centers of our prospect’s brains, then the quality of our relationships with prospects should also increase.
It doesn’t take a PhD to leverage neuroscience in sales, but it does take a commitment to go deeper than surface-level selling.