Three Types Of Sales
If you’ve ever bought a car, then you are familiar with something called “sales resistance.” As soon as the salesman or saleswoman came walking up to you, your defenses automatically went up. Another name for this is “conscious resistance.” It is widely believed that one of the functions of the conscious mind is to prevent extraneous and harmful ideas from invading our brains. To protect us from getting duped.
There is lot of information regarding the so-called “conscious” and “unconscious” mind. Sometimes the second is referred to as the “subconscious” or the “non conscious” or even the “other than conscious.” Talk about these things can tend to get fairly esoteric and metaphysical in a hurry, which can be less than helpful if you are looking for a specific solution to something. Think of your conscious mind as things that your brain has decided that you “need to think about” and the unconscious (or whatever else you want to call it) everything else. These things you’ve either done them enough times, or God or Mother Nature has decided through evolution that we needn’t worry about these things.
Your heartbeat, your breathing (most of the time), driving to work, scratching your nose, that memory of that time back in third grade when that girl did that thing that you thought meant one thing, but really meant something else. All of these are considered “automatic” and no needing conscious thought, until something specifically calls them to mind.
There’s nothing mystical or metaphysical about it, it is just a conservation of brain bandwidth. If you had to think about all those things, all the time, you’d go nuts, and end up in the corner babbling to yourself. Maybe there were some people who walked around holding all those thoughts in their minds all the time, but they likely were to busy thinking about all those things to reproduce, so there genes didn’t get passed down.
The commonly accepted belief is that we can pretty much hold between 5 to 9 things in our conscious thought at any given time. Once something new comes in, the oldest one drops off into unconsciousness. It’s still there in our brains; it’s just that we don’t access it because our brains have decided it’s not important enough to keep in our memory.
There are plenty of cases where witnesses to crimes supposedly couldn’t recall certain events, but under hypnosis they were able to come up with enough information to help get a conviction.
Back to the approaching car salesman. As soon as you see him coming up, your brain goes into defensive mode. He represents a threat, because his overt intention is to get you to give him a bunch of money. His job is to convince you to believe him enough so you’ll hand over a stack of cash (or sign a lengthy finance contract) based solely on his description of this item for sale. Since this represents quite a large amount of money, or resources, you are on high alert, as there is a potential for serious damage.
Those 5 to 9 things that you can hold in your brain suddenly are cleared and room is made to scrutinize his offer with as much brain bandwidth as possible. You suddenly forget what you want to eat for dinner, that report that you were worried about that you forgot to write before you left for work on Friday, and which of your kids’ friends house he wants to sleep over at tonight.
If you’ve ever sold anything, and felt that huge anxiety that comes with trying to persuade customers, this is why. They are looking at you with much more scrutiny that most people face. Even public speaking, while terrifying for many, doesn’t involve as much scrutiny as trying to sell somebody something. Especially a big ticket item like a car. Unless you are selling from the podium, there’s a good chance that while most of your audience is sitting there politely listening to your speech, they are also planning their shopping list, wondering what to buy their boyfriend or girlfriend for their next birthday, and so on.
The whole of sales strategies is designed and developed to overcome this “sales resistance” and convince the customer that they would be better of giving you their money in exchange for something than they would be to keep their money and get nothing. This can be incredibly difficult, but if can also be incredibly lucrative if you can figure out a way to do it consistent. There are three basic strategies that sales people use.
The Hard Sell
This is the most belligerent of the three. The salesperson hammers away at the prospect, and through brute force of willpower, overcomes the potential buyers resistance. This is the most confrontational, the most anxiety producing, and requires the most amount of mental energy. This is why most normal people loathe going to a car dealership. They fear, many times rightly so, that they will be hammered until their resistance is futile, and the best choice is to accept the salespersons offer, and then slink home, convincing themselves they made a good deal.
The benefits of this, from a sales perspective, is that most people really don’t have that strong of a resistance. After only twenty minutes or so, most people start to show signs of starting to cave.
The drawbacks are obviously a huge amount of stress and pressure, which can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, not to mention to coping strategies salespeople are commonly known to adopt to deal with this stress, like smoking or drinking.
The Logical Sell
This is just laying out the features and benefits of your product, and hoping the customer decides to buy your product. Many times people that use this strategy are referred to as “order takers” because there’s not a lot of persuasion going on. Most retail outlets rely on this method. Give the customer as much information as he can handle, and hope he buys your product.
The main benefit of this is this is not confrontational in the least. Even if the customer decides not to buy your product, he will likely remember you as a helpful and friendly salesperson.
The main drawback is you likely won’t make a great deal of money using this strategy. You may very well eke out a living, but in most cases the pay is not that spectacular. Jobs that are highly paid that use this method are hard to come by, and usually involve working for a company whose reputation is doing a lot of the convincing for you. In order to make money this way, you need to get yourself in front of a lot of prospects, which can produce stress and anxiety almost as much as in the hard sell scenario described above
The Covert Persuasion Method
This is by far the most lucrative, and causes the least amount of stress and anxiety. This is based on the idea that all decisions are made on an emotional level, rather than a logical level. And by structuring your communication to elicit the proper buying emotions, the sale is easy. Probably the most surprising thing to most people is that you don’t really need to talk about the product at all to elicit the customer’s buying emotions. This is why it is referred to as covert persuasion.
The main drawback is that this takes quite a lot of face to face practice, and requires a lot well developed skills, like reading body language, facial expressions, using specific language patterns and using your mannerisms and gestures in specific ways.
There are a few people that are really good at this, and they make tons of money, and work a lot less often, and lot less hard than most people. If you’ve ever wandered into a store, not really sure if you wanted to buy something, and just from asking a few questions, and getting a few answers, you felt really compelled to buy something, you’ve likely experienced at least one aspect of covert sales.
Any method that is designed to move your emotional mind, rather than your logical mind, is using these methods.
These are much easier to do in a TV commercial, or a well-crafted newspaper or magazine add than they are face to face. The difference is that ads you see on TV are designed to hit the emotional hot buttons that we all have, like sex, safety, belonging to a group, etc.
To use these face to face, you need to elicit the individual hot buttons of the person you are speaking with, and then covertly fire them off while talking about your product, and then covertly connecting those emotional hot buttons to your product or service.
If you want to have some fun, next time you see a particularly persuasive ad on TV, try and figure out what emotional hot buttons the writers were trying to hit, and how they did them. Be careful, because many times their intention is only that you remember their product name, so next time you are in that market for that particular product, theirs will be the first one you think of. If that happens, they’ve successfully snuck their products name past your conscious resistance.
Be careful. It can be disheartening to discover that a many of your decisions and desires were covertly put there by skilled advertisers.
The best defense, of course, is a good offense. Before you buy something, make sure you have a clear, logical reason, and that it satisfies your criteria that you decided on before going to the shop or the dealership or website.