In today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we discuss the immediate steps you can take to begin growing your influence. Whether you are in sales or not, everyone, at one time or another, needs to increase their influence.
I’m reminded of a coworker of mine who really knew how to connect with people. Tom had that ability to influence others.
He just understood people and prospects and he knew how to speak to them. He could point out potential problems before they became problems. As such, when he spoke, his clients listened. He was respected.
My guest today, Stacey Hanke, is here to talk about how we, like Tom, can grow our influence. [00:01]
Stacey and her team work with directors, to C-Suite, and with sales professionals to make them more aware of the level of influence they really have versus they level of influence they believe they have. They accomplish this with keynotes, with mentoring, and through workshops.
They increase awareness by giving practical how-to advice so their clients know how to use both verbal and non-verbal methods of influence every day of the week. [03:25]
Stacey has worked with a lot of individuals and organizations over the past 16 years. And though she sees it happen quite often, Stacey believes that influence is not something that you should turn on and off.
For example, you’ve got a high stakes phone conversation, meeting or sales pitch and you decide to ‘turn it on.’
There’s nothing authentic about that. There’s no integrity to it. [04:46]
Influence is when your verbal and non-verbal communication remain consistent at all times and in all situations. It is congruent with your priorities and purposes.
Influence is having the ability to move people to take action long after the interaction has occurred.
It takes discipline and hard work. It is hard because we often get caught up with worrying about how we are perceived. Will they like me? Am I going to say the right thing?
Switch your thinking. What is important to my client? What is their experience with the topic? Why is this conversation happening?
To really drive home the value of your product or your service – whatever you’re trying to influence the person to act on – it first has to resonate with the client. [05:36]
So, be genuine.
Stacey recently helped a client to realize that he was putting more time into marketing materials and PowerPoint slides than into the actual delivery of the product. It is not the experience his clients were looking for. [06:46]
As a sales rep, one of the first steps to increase your influence is to ask for real feedback. You have to plan for it and ask for it.
Ask someone who you can count on to tell you the truth to listen to you as you practice. Ask them to listen, pay attention and give you feedback. When you can prepare in this way, the person providing the feedback is more likely to be direct and constructive with their comments.
We don’t need to be told how great we are.
We have to figure out our weaknesses in order to grow. It takes discipline to handle feedback and even more discipline to act on it. Don’t sabotage yourself by asking a subordinate or someone who is likely to tell you what you want to hear, instead of what you need to hear.
Put your pride aside. Strive for honest answers. [07:39]
Stacey has encountered many in her workshops who are hesitant to pursue feedback. She attributes this to the stigma that surrounds feedback as meaning you’ve done something wrong.
Feedback instead means that you are already doing well. You wouldn’t be in the position you are in if you didn’t know what you were doing. Feedback provides opportunity to become even better. It encourages constant growth. [09:41]
In a study conducted by Joseph Folkman of over 51,000 leaders, it was realized that leaders who frequently ask for feedback rank in the top 86% for leadership effectiveness. On the other hand, leaders who rank in the bottom 15% for leadership effectiveness are in the bottom 10% when it comes to asking for feedback. [10:20]
So how does this translate to working with a prospect?
Stacey reaches out to her clients every three or six months to find out what has been working for them during that time. She frequently asks her clients why they continue to work with her team. What keeps them coming back?
Then she flips the coin. What can her team do to make things easier? How can they provide more value on a long-term basis? This allows the client to tell you how best to upsell them by letting you know what other services they might want or need.
Your clients can disappear at any point but if you deliver the value that you promise and you truly care about your clients, then the ability to upsell based on their feedback provides a service to them. [11:31]
Being influential is not the same as being manipulative. The more you practice asking for, setting up, receiving, and dealing with feedback, the more you’ll start to crave it.
It sounds crazy but sometimes the feedback is completely different from how you felt during the conversation or how you thought you came across.
Sometimes feedback can be harsh.
But the toughest feedback often comes during periods of growth or transition. You might hate it at the time but it will help you grow. [13:42]
Feedback can be hard to embrace if it requires a change that takes us out of our comfort zone. Make feedback common practice. You can apply it to everything in life. The more uncomfortable you get, the faster you grow.
Once you get over the hurdles, once you stop hitting your knees every time, you will start to see improvement.
Staying in our comfort zone only makes us lazy. Resting on our laurels or believing that we already know everything comes across in our performance.
When you are feeling strong and landing deals, Stacey says that is the time to feel uncomfortable. Work hard even when times aren’t tough.
Imagine going to the gym only when you want to lose weight. It isn’t going to last. It is too painful.
Instead, be consistent to get consistent results. [17:09]
Talk to your clients like you would talk to a friend. They don’t need somebody pushing a product down their throat. They want someone who is trying to meet their needs so ask how you can do that for them.
To have more influence from a personal standpoint, try seeing yourself as your audience does.
Record yourself on your phone. The level of awareness that develops from observing your own verbal and non-verbal cues can be truly eye-opening.
Everything about our behavior translates into the experience that people have with us. Influence doesn’t happen during the conversation. It happens after the fact. Focus on your thoughts. [20:26]
Focus your eyes on a single point and practice as if you are speaking to individuals there.
When you focus your eyes, you become focused in your thoughts. When you lose focus on the point, you will find that you also lose your train of thought.
Make every interaction purposeful.
When you are trying to connect with someone, only speak to them when you can see their eyes. Make it a meaningful conversation.
Anytime you need to look away, stop talking. It creates trust. Without trust, nothing else matters.
You save time when you stay focused and speak less. [22:30]
Many of us forget that the people we are trying to influence may not be as excited about our years of experience or about our product as we are. If you only have two or five minutes with a client, think about how to provide the greatest value in the shortest time.
Make it memorable for them. They don’t have to say ‘yes’ today but you can increase their interest today. Let them know how to reach you tomorrow. [24:31]
If you want to use social media to increase your influence, be sure to be consistent among the platforms.
Stacey cites the common problem of using cellphones to send emails, namely, that disclaimer at the bottom to ‘please forgive any grammatical errors.’ Why would you ask a potential client to do that?
Influence comes through with everything we do.
Be sure your messages are consistent. Don’t bash other companies. Remember that your tone of voice does not convey to the written word. Avoid the risk of coming across as unprofessional.
Think before you post.
Connect with Stacey and check out her available resources at staceyhankeinc.com.
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Influence is the ability to move someone toward a desired action, but there’s much more to it. It’s the ability to draw people toward something instead of pushing them toward it.
For sales professionals, influence attempts to gain commitment because it’s in the client’s best interest rather than to gain compliance.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Bob Burg helps us understand the role of influence in sales, and where we’re going wrong in our dealings with customers.
No one will buy from you because you really need the money, or because you’re great, or because you have a quota to meet. They buy because it’s in their best interest.
The goal of selling is to discover what the other person needs and wants and to help him get that.
If you are at a place in your sales career where you “really need the money,” suspend your desperation.
When you are in control of your own emotions, you are more likely to turn a negative situation into a win for everyone involved. When you allow yourself to become frustrated, helpless, or angry, you become part of the problem.
This doesn’t require ignoring your emotions, but rather controlling them instead of allowing them to control you.
This sounds easy enough, but the reality is that we have different sized feet. We don’t understand the other person’s belief system or world view, which originates from his upbringing, his schooling and his experiences.
We tend to assume everyone else’s worldview is the same as ours, but it isn’t the case. Our beliefs are frequently in conflict with someone else. We should always be aware of these differences.
A frame provides context. When a toddler falls down, he often looks to his parents to determine how he should respond. If they demonstrate alarm, he will too.
Setting a productive frame creates an environment in which people know how to operate. In the case of sales, it means saying something like, “We simply can’t know if this is right for you without exploring further. This conversation is a chance for both of us to make sure it’s a good fit.”
You’ve set a frame of discovering together which removes the pressure for the customer.
The law of the out says that the bigger back door you give someone to take, the less likely they are to take it.
The frame is the context of the situation, and it’s more important even than the content.
Tact is the language of strength. It allows us to help people see things in a different way without feeling criticized.
Empathy is identifying with another person’s feelings. Recognize, though, that empathy doesn’t necessarily mean understanding how he feels; rather it ‘s an acknowledgement that he is feeling something distressing or confusing.
Choose your words in a way that won’t make the other person feel defensive or bad.
This doesn’t mean you don’t care about being right. It means you keep an open mind, and realize that you won’t always be right.
Hear the other person’s perspective. Challenge your own premise. Don’t be so attached to being right that you miss what the other person is saying.
When you give up the attachment to being right, the other person tends to drop his defenses because they don’t have the sense that you are trying to win.
Your product or service doesn’t have to be perfect. Its benefits simply have to outweigh its liabilities.
“You can have everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want.” ~Zig Ziglar
Connect with Bob at www.thegogiver.com where you can find the book series The Go-Giver.
Check out The Sales Evangelizers on Facebook to connect with sellers of all levels and all industries. Learn what they are doing, share ideas, and compare notes with sellers from all over the world.
Audio provided by Free SFX.
Breaking news! Trust is an all-time low among consumers right now.
And that’s pretty understandable with the overwhelming amount of information out there today and our customers being more well-informed even before they buy something.
The huge, huge challenge, therefore, is how do you master the art and science of persuasion and influence?
Today’s guest, Kurt Mortensen, author of the book Maximum Influence, takes us into the world of persuasion and influence and how we can improve on those skills necessary for generating sales.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Kurt:
Kurt’s coolest sales experience as a customer at a suit store
Biggest mistakes people make when persuading someone:
Causes of the big decline in trust in sellers:
Strategies for Selling with Power:
Studies show that when people like you and trust you, you have an 88% chance of persuasion.
Not only do you have to persuade them in the way they want to be persuaded but you also need to help them persuade themselves which is another important to your success.
Is rapport-building still important?
Initially no, eventually yes.
Teach them something new, different, and creative or something’s going to help them how you’re going to serve them upfront that they’ve never thought of before, that opens the door to having a need.
Once you’ve created a need or want, then you can build rapport and work through that.
How to start persuading today:
Up to 95% of persuasion involves a subconscious trigger. You will be judged for the first 30 seconds whether they’re going to buy from you or not. Emotional subconscious things have a bigger effect than logic salespeople use.
Great persuaders ask three times more questions. They are consultants rather than salespeople.
Change the word “sales” to “consultant” to reduce resistance and empower salespeople to be consultants.
Salespeople hear the same objections over and over again so they tend to cut the person off and give them the answer which triggers arrogance.
Every word you use will attract or repel people – contract vs. paperwork, sign here vs. endorse this, etc. Be careful with using words that freak your prospects out.
6, Learn more tools.
There are more tools you need to adapt and get them to learn how to sell with power. You’re not as good as you think you are and your people skills not as fine-tuned as you think. People don’t trust you as much as you think. Open your eyes to these to realize you need to change some things.
More laws of persuasion:
Kurt’s Major Takeaway:
Sales is awesome. Have fun. You have a moral and ethical obligation to persuade people into salespeople. Develop your sense of humor. Humor and influence have an incredible correlation. Making your prospects smile can change everything as it changes their mood.
Check out Kurt’s books:
Listen to Kurt’s podcast at www.MaximizeYourInfluence.com to learn about the latest science and art of persuasion and influence.
Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.