You may find that your selling often involves the delicate task of modifying your prospect’s thinking and behavior. He may think that there’s little reason to buy from you now. You might be thinking the exact opposite because you know your work would improve his situation, reduce a cost, avoid a cost or increase revenue. So how do you change his mind? You sell.
Understand what your prospect is thinking.
You must recognize a few key points whether you’re selling something very personal and significant like financial planning or a product for a manufacturing facility. What your prospect thinks is very personal and that makes him resistant to change. His ideas are right to him and when you want him to change his mind you’re basically telling him that his ideas are wrong. A person can’t have two diametrically opposed ideas and both be right.
Does that mean that selling is impossible? Of course not. Your job is to introduce ideas to your prospect that cause him to think differently about his current situation.
Move him gradually.
Your job is to introduce ideas to your prospect that show him that perhaps his ideas aren’t the best for him now. His ideas may have been the right ones before the meeting, but now you can introduce new information to change his mind. What you’re doing is moving your prospect’s thinking gradually. You don’t go from one idea to the opposite in a small step.
When you introduce ideas that he didn’t consider you can say, “I know you mentioned X before. Have you thought about what would happen to your business or to you with Y?” You change the context of your prospect’s thinking by introducing new ideas. You make it acceptable for him to change his mind.
Move him gradually, but have him move himself.
Yes, you do want your prospect to think differently, but changing his mind must be his idea, not yours. That means instead of telling your prospect the new information, you must ask a question to introduce the new information.
Consider the objections or resistance you might get from a prospect. Talk with your peers to hear what they are addressing. Then develop the questions that uncover the issues they are considering.
For example, a prospect might think he is better getting investment guidance from a less expensive financial services corporation. That firm provides investment advice and pays its advisors on commission for the products they sell. Other financial services firms work as fiduciary advisors and are paid a fee and must serve the client’s interests first. A prospect may be unaware of the significance of the difference.
Here’s what you say to introduce the idea to a prospect. “How important is it to you to work with someone who puts your financial interests first ahead of the company he works for?” The prospect would certainly be interested in having his own interests considered first. He would say, “It’s very important.” Then you answer, “I’m hearing you say that it’s important to you to work with an advisor who gets paid on a fee basis as your fiduciary instead of a commission. As a fiduciary he must put your interests first.” Now you’ve given your prospect new information that helps him make a better decision now.
Changing your prospect’s mind is not always an easy thing to do. It’s just one of the things you’re supposed to do when you’re in sales.