Jan 11, 2021 • Podcast

How do I persuade buyers to change?

On this episode, Paul reveals three techniques to persuade the buyer to make a change.

Show Notes

“Persuasion is not easy, but it is possible.”

“Get the buyer past what they sacrifice today and get them to focus on ….”

Ask questions that transport the buyer into the future.

Tell a story. Share an example of the impact of your solution.

“__________ is a powerful tool.”

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How do I persuade buyers to change?

(Transcribed from podcast)

On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about persuasion. Recently, I was working with a group of salespeople. They asked a very common question. “Paul, I’m dealing with a customer that, you know, they’re kind of on the fence whether they should change or not. How do I persuade them to change?”

So, that’s what we’re going to focus on in today’s show. I’m going to give you three tips to help you persuade that buyer that is maybe going to change, but they’re kind of on the fence. We’re going to help you out.

Before we get into that, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. If you’re thinking of starting a podcast, now’s the time to do it. New year, new goals—all that good stuff. Anything and everything, all things podcast, Andrea and her team have you covered, especially when it comes to editing and producing. So, reach out to Andrea and her team over at The Creative Impostor Studios. They do an absolute wonderful job.

Also, pick up your latest edition of Value-Added Selling. We have a whole section in the book on persuasion. In fact, Value-Added Selling is filled with persuasion techniques. It’s really your go-to guide for going out there and selling value.

With that being said, let’s get back to that question: How do I persuade the buyer to change? You know, persuasion is not easy, but it is possible. We’re all in the persuasion business, whether we’re in sales, whether we’re in marketing, operations, accounting, everyone is in the persuasion business because we’re always trying to persuade people to do things or to not do things. So, persuasion is part of what it means to be human. With that being said, we’re going to focus purely on selling today and how we can persuade buyers to change.

So, there are three things we need to focus on. The first one is to get the buyer past what they’re sacrificing today. Most people don’t want to change because of the pain that they will go through to have to change today. That pain, that sacrifice they make today, that looms larger than what they could potentially gain in the future. So that’s what you’re really doing is you’re trying to bypass what the buyer’s thinking about today to get them thinking into the future. Because, in the future, that is where they’re going to experience the outcome—the real benefit from changing.

For example, if you’re trying to persuade someone to get healthier, that means you’ve got to persuade them not to have that cheeseburger today. But that cheeseburger tastes good. Instead, have a whole grain turkey sandwich. That burger might taste better today, but it can do more damage in the long term. That turkey doesn’t taste as good today, but it’s going to yield a better future outcome.

You’re getting the buyer past what they sacrificed today so that they can experience a greater outcome in the future. So, that’s the first step in getting the buyer to change is to get them past what they sacrifice today and get them to focus on what they gain in the future.

There’s a couple of ways you can do that. One of them is certainly highlighting the long-term impact of your solution—the long-term gain—and focusing on that. But you also can ask the buyer questions that will transport them into the future. You know, questions like, “Mr. Customer, a year or two from now, what would cause you to say, ‘Wow. I’m really glad I decided to make this change?’” Or “A year from now, where would you like to be? Where would you like your company to be?” These questions, they get the buyer thinking long term about the outcome. And while they’re focused on that, they’re not focused on what they’re sacrificing.

The second thing we need to do is tell a story. There’s a wonderful book called Lead With A Story by a guy named Paul Smith. I’ve read the book a couple of times actually. And, it’s really a powerful tool for anyone in business—any salesperson, especially. Telling stories is a critical part of sales, and it’s a critical part of what it means to be human. We love hearing stories. We love laughing and seeing a hero struggle and then come back. We love those types of stories. And so, if you’re trying to persuade the buyer to change, figure out a way to tell them a story that parallels one of the challenges that they’re currently facing.

When we think about storytelling, it’s not like you lead with, “Hey, Mr. Customer. Once upon a time, there was a, dah dah dah.” Now, we don’t do that. Storytelling is about sharing an example. It’s about highlighting how that example is similar to what they’re currently experiencing. It’s about highlighting the ups and the downs that they could potentially be experiencing. And then the end of the story is about how the hero succeeds. How the protagonist prevails in the end. And that means that they’re able to achieve the outcome that they wanted to achieve.

So, tell a story, a story of success from a previous customer—previous example—that parallels what your customer’s currently going through. It could be as simple as this. “Hey, Mr. Customer. You know, this reminds me of a similar situation with one of our customers just a few months ago. This customer was experiencing some of the similar challenges that you’re facing. Their company was looking to expand and grow, but they reached certain bottlenecks in their operation. Well, that customer—we were able to come in work with them, partner with them, understand their needs. Their owner was able to realize their dream of growing their business and launching their brand new product.”

That’s a simple story. Obviously, that’s made up, but you have to fill in the blanks. You have to be able to demonstrate how your solution helped that previous customer and tell them a story. Get a little emotion in there and that buyer’s going to pick up on that information. Stories—that’s how we learn. So be able to tell a story, a success story, that parallels what your customer is experiencing.

The final thing we can do to persuade that buyer is to use some social proof. Social learning—that’s a powerful tool. In fact, in Tali Sharot’s wonderful book, The Influential Mind, she explains the importance of social learning. Here’s what she had to say. “When people perceive others’ choices, the brain automatically encodes added utility to those selected options in regions that are important for signaling value. Basically, our brains operate according to a rule that what is desired by others is likely valuable.”

Think about how that plays a role in persuasion. So, if we can provide social proof– and social proof can be a number of things. First of all, let’s say a market leader in a specific industry or region is using your solution, that provides social proof. Make your prospects aware that that market leader is utilizing your solution. If you have additional certifications or awards, that provides further social proof that your solution is award-winning, that it’s worthy, that it’s valuable. Back to what Tali Sharot was saying is that if it’s desired by others, it’s valuable. Testimonials from your existing customers—this provides even more social proof. If your customers are willing to write up a testimonial bragging about how great your solution is, it shows that it’s desired. So again, it is valuable. That’s the power of social proof.

All right folks. That’s the show for today. Again, today was all about how we persuade the buyer to change.

The first thing we need to do, get that buyer to think long term. Get them past what they’re sacrificing today.

Number two: tell a story of success that parallels what your prospect is going through.

And number three: make sure you provide some social proof along the way.

Make it a big day.

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