I published #1 Sales Tool last week. A few hours later, I received this email.
"What a great salesperson Pepper, the robot, will be. He/She'll understand the prospect's feelings, but not have any feelings of its own to get in the way of or distort the understanding. Teach the robot how to react to specific feelings and voila, a sales machine! No more need for approval or getting emotionally involved. Just understand and handle."
That's an interesting thought. My first response was: Duh, tapping into your emotions to move the sale along is so powerful, switching that off is a stupid idea... and then a series of memories where my emotions got in the way understanding and handling a prospect. Hope you'll write more about this.
To which I replied...
I will. Would you like to participate by submitting some questions that I can answer in the post? Would you like me to link back to your LinkedIn profile, a website or blog?
Here's his reply along with my answers in line and bold.
Sure, thanks Rick. Got plenty of questions to choose from:
- When should/shouldn't salespeople tap into their emotions? Never! It's that simple. If your emotions are driving your behavior, you are intellectually out of control. You will show anger, frustration, elation, fear, whatever and your prospect will know and be able to use it against you.
- Which emotions get in the way? Anxiety of losing a sale? You can't lose what you don't have. Craving approval? Need for Approval is different from Emotional Involvement, but just as debilitating. Frustration when prospect doesn't react the way we want? Absolutely, the #1 cause of losing control of emotions. The prospect does something that takes us by surprise. Asking about price as the first question; "Show me what you've got" right out of the box; "I haven't heard great things about your company" are all designed to put the salesperson on defense. "We're always open to new ideas."; "I've heard good things about your company." and "We've got budget and board approval and this needs to get done immediately." are all designed to lull the salesperson into a sense of complacency and confidence. So, that the salesperson will jump through what they believe are a few small hoops to an easy sale.
- Which emotions are good for sales reps during sales process? I will occasionally show a prospect anger, un-confidence(?), or whatever other emotion I think they need to see to change the course of the conversation. However, the emotion will not be real.
- How do you recognize when emotions get in the way of understanding & handling a prospect? How to prevent emotions throwing you off track? When you're surprised, worried, anxious, excited, or trying to figure out how you got here and what to do next. What can you do - in the moment - when you notice emotions are... clouding your judgement / causing you to be less effective / pulling sales conversation in a direction other than towards closing? Go with the prospect. Interesting. How so? Really. give you time to think and the opportunity for the prospect to explain. What kind of internal strategies you have to manage yourself? Don't get ahead of yourself. Also, practice off line. You might be surprised at how many times I've been told that a real situation unfolded exactly as we had practiced. Almost as if I had coached the prospect on their lines. The fact is that my client and I had probably rehearsed enough scenarios so that they entered the call relaxed and reactive.
- How do you get better at "reading" other people's emotions? (other than the generalized "practice your observation skills" and "it comes with experience") Unfortunately, that's the answer. I'm always 'on'. I encourage my clients to practice on the clerk in a grocery store, their mechanic, in a bar and other social situations, even on coworkers, subordinates, supervisors and family until it becomes automatic.
- How do you respond to different kind of emotions your prospect is having? (e.g. what do you do when he's afraid? Angry? Frustated? Bored? Amused? etc) First, get it out in public. "I sense that you're upset with me." "Uh oh! Did I cross a line?" "Does that smile mean you think I'm funny, or did you pass gas?"
Emotional involvement is one of the five killer obstacles that salespeople have to vercome to become rock stars. The next class of rock stars starts right after the 4th. If you'd like to be considered, read this and get on my calendar.