Kimberlee Slavik has been a top performer in sales for more than 20 years, and she recently released a book called Visnostic Selling. Her goal is to help sales and marketing professionals harness the power of neuroscience by translating vendor-speak into client-speak.
Kimberlee always assumed her sales success resulted largely from dumb luck until she listened to Michael Bosworth’s latest book, What Great Salespeople Do. The book talks about storytelling and neuroscience and explains the chemical reactions that happen in the brain. Stories make the Bible the best-selling book of all time because they allow readers to visualize events.
She was listening to the book while she was driving so she couldn’t highlight or make notes, but the content made sense to her. It was the first time she recognized the science behind her own success.
Because her career selling complex intangibles requires her to qualify clients very well, she must be able to articulate what she can do for them. She hopes to help other people figure out the science that it took her so long to discover.
Visnostics is a trademarked word that combines visualization and diagnostics. Instead of showing up to a demonstration with a bunch of slides or a brochure or a website full of words to say, visnostics teaches you to reword everything. Speak in the first-person as though the client was actually saying these things. When you do, it triggers a completely different response in the brain. The order of words also plays a tremendous role.
This isn’t a questionnaire that asks questions on your way to helping you diagnose. Truthfully, no one looks forward to filling out surveys. Instead, provide a statement instead of a question and offer three different ways to respond:
- “I can say this today.”
- “I wish I could say this today.”
- “I don’t know.”
If your prospect chooses the first option, he must score himself on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning he has a long way to go and 5 meaning it’s perfect.
They’re very engaged because they know they have to respond to what you’re saying. It allows you to sort of hijack the prospect’s brain because they have to concentrate to answer. It’s a powerful tool for sellers.
When you trigger chemicals in your client’s brain without him even realizing it, that’s powerful. The prospect wants to tell you his story because this is what the visnostic statement creates. Instead of the seller doing all the talking, this process prompts the client to share their stories.
The book teaches people to create a spreadsheet in which one column includes all of the seller’s visnostic statements, and the book also helps sellers understand how to create those powerful visnostic statements. Another column maps out each of the visnostic statements to a summarization of a statement of work. In other words, how you can turn a non-strength into a strength.
Once the salesperson walks the client through the statements, they’ll have a sense of the things that the client is doing well, the areas with the biggest room for improvement, and areas that simply need tweaking.
Within an hour or two, the seller can be confident and competent in front of their clients.
Kimberlee begins by asking sellers to visualize a dollar sign, a clock, and a toolbox. Those images represent results related to finances and timelines and there’s an associated impact. The first words will be “I’m going to save you $1 million in a month.” For an office furniture salesperson, the aerodynamic office furniture will create more comfortable employees who work harder and work longer. The seller will then establish visnostic statements according to segmentation.
You can figure out your segmentation by talking to past clients who will tell you more than your marketing department ever could. Since they are actually using the furniture, they’ll help you flush out differentiation.
Change your approach
When you start thinking dollar sign, clock, and toolbox, revisit your own marketing message. Start at your own website and pick out all the words that represent results. Many people are disappointed to discover that they don’t have as many as they thought they did. It might trigger you to find results by talking to past clients to understand how working with you has impacted their lives.
One real estate agent had recommendations that all sounded the same on his site. He had a long paragraph that took up half the page describing his work. Kimberlee had to dig to find results statements, but when she did, she put together this visnostic statement:
“My realtor had a contract on all three of my homes in less than a week when all other realtors were averaging 100 days or more.”
The reader now knows that the person sharing the recommendation wasn’t just a lucky sell. The realtor sold three homes in less than a week. The statement also differentiated the realtor from his competition by specifying how long other realtors were taking to sell houses.
This new way of thinking will change the way you view your marketing materials, your brochures, and your website.
Most organizations are oblivious to the fact that marketing and sales don’t work well together. Her workshops require that marketing and sales sit in the same room together during the translation from features and functions into visnostic language. They move from vendor-speak to client-speak and it makes a world of difference.
Anytime the two teams work together, it creates a powerful team-building exercise. When their efforts are aligned and they are in sync, magic happens. When they are out of alignment, sales suffer.
Managers who are interested in this kind of training must do their homework first. Make sure you’ve bought into the program and that you understand it. Kimberlee invites readers to connect with her personally for what amounts to a free consultation.
After the initial consultation, she invites organizations to put their very best presenter on the phone with her. She does a Zoom call to record the presentation so she can see the best presentation they have to offer. She then dissects and separates it to identify vendor-speak and client-speak.
Kimberlee did this for a Fortune 20 company, and the result was 28 pages of transcript, and of those, only half a page amounted to information the client would like to have. Additionally, the graphics weren’t designed to help the audience retain the data being presented.
Painting a picture
Kimberlee worked with a realtor in the sale of her own house who used visnostics to generate interest. She wrote a description about a dock that the homeowners could visit at the end of a long day, and a kitchen island that was big enough for mom and dad to make lunches at while the kids sat down for breakfast. She described the kind of life people might live inside the house, and she got 7 offers on the first day. The house ultimately sold for more than $30,000 over asking price.
The realtor had people competing for the house, and she got three new listings with people who wanted to use the same approach to sell their own houses.
“Fundamentals of Visnostic Selling” episode resources
Connect with Kimberlee on LinkedIn or Google the term visnostic. Listeners can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to get something from Kimberlee, and then she’ll send the feedback to The Sales Evangelist so we can continue to help more people understand why podcasts are a valuable use of time.
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