Monday 3 November 2014

Brain Friendly Selling Tips #5: Concrete

“If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it.”
Albert Einstein

One of the challenges that many organisations face is the transition that their salespeople must make from transactional selling to consultative or solution selling.  Due to the competitive nature of most industries margin is gradually eroded as companies fight each other using price as the key point of differentiation. 

If the customer wants to purchase a product and perceives no clear point of differentiation between two suppliers, he will invariably place his business with whoever has the cheapest price.  And the margin spirals invariably downwards.

In order to differentiate themselves and protect their margin position companies increasingly have to shift their focus to be a provider of tailored solutions rather than a just a transactional supplier of products.

This has necessitated a shift from the more traditional “box shifting” salesperson to the more consultative solution- orientated salesperson. 

One of the inherent challenges that accompany this is the salesperson’s ability to sell less tangible and complex solutions, and finding or training sales people to sell successfully in this manner is a major point of pain for many Sales Directors.

Your sales pitch needs to be as concrete as it possibly can be.  Intangible and abstract ideas are difficult for the customer’s brain to process.  Such thinking is usually the domain of experts who are capable of processing in this manner.

When making decisions and solving problems the brain places heavy demands on a part of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex.  The pre-frontal cortex can become tired and overwhelmed when faced with confusing decisions to make. 

So make your pitch as concrete as possible.  Concrete language and concrete explanations are required for most customers’ brains to grasp and understand a concept.

If you are selling a tangible product bring your product (or at least part of it) with you. Let the customer touch and feel it.

If you are selling something more intangible make it more concrete by providing a visual representation of it or what it does e.g. a flow diagram

Showing the customer something is far easier for their brain than them trying to imagine it for themselves.

About 25% of the brain is involved in visual processing (more than any other sense).  Make sure you capture the brain’s attention with strong visuals.  A message accompanied by a picture is far more memorable.  In order to consider and weigh up a complex decision, the visual circuitry of the brain is frequently activated, so providing a more concrete visual input can help the customer to make an effective decision.

Visual images (such as flow charts, diagrams etc) can contain a lot of information and are very brain-friendly as they reduce the amount of energy the brain needs to use to take in the information.   

The use of visual imagery can reduce the demand on the pre-frontal cortex, which leaves it better able to process information and make a decision.

Good luck and good selling!

Simon Hazeldine

Simon Hazeldine MSc FinstSMM is an international speaker and consultant in the areas of sales, negotiation, performance leadership and applied neuroscience.
He is the bestselling author of five business books:

·   Neuro-Sell: How Neuroscience Can Power Your Sales Success
·   Bare Knuckle Selling
·   Bare Knuckle Negotiating
·   Bare Knuckle Customer Service
·  The Inner Winner

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