Closing the Sales
The Business Psychology
Business psychologists guide clients in understanding the psychological dynamics of key people making important decisions and developing strategies in the negotiating the closing of complex sales. They work with sales directors, chief marketing directors and professional service providers to help throughout the sales process.
A new kind of business psychologist has emerged in recent years. They combine traditional knowledge and expertise of human and organizational behavior with the use of data-driven predictive analytics to predict behavior and provide data driven strategies that increase positive outcomes.
They can determine the psychological and emotional makeup of key participants in the sales process without the use of common tests instead they use predictive analytics, proprietary data bases and client interviews.
They employ unique databases and predictive analytics to gather information and determine how people will act, think, and make decisions in “real time “and how to us this information to increase gain new business and close sales.
In complex sales, there is a long sales cycle requiring relationship-building skills in dealing with group decision makers. Business psychologists provide valuable intelligence and advice regarding psychological factors, motivations, needs, and the buying requirements of prospects before the sale and during the group decision-making sales process. They assist in understanding the psychology of each member of the sales decision-making group and how to influence and gain the trust of key members.
THE BUSINESS PSYCHOLOGIST’S TWO-STEP PROCESS
Our process often leads the client on a pathway for successfully achieving their goals. Frequently, through negotiations, final settlements are mutually beneficial to all significant parties.
Gathering intelligence begins with using proprietary methods to gather information regarding the client’s case. The raw data is processed, consolidated and organized in a format that is conducive to applying predictive analytics.
By applying professional knowledge, skills, and predictive analytics to interpreting the data leads to developing a clear and rational analysis that is suitable for presentation to the client.
STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN
The key a successful strategy is addressing the other party’s emotional and psychological needs, including potentially unconscious motivations and drives.
Identifying and developing influence occurs when the clients learn how to indirectly address the emotional and psychological needs of third parties in winning complex sales.
Strategies often include what topics to discuss or not discuss and when to discuss them, when to accommodate, offer alternatives and when to stand firm and how to address the concerns of other parties.
Lastly, business psychologists often provide coaching to client as necessary in using and applying above strategies.
The Role of Emotions in Closing Complex Sales
Sales is a relational process. The emotional element has long been recognized as playing a prominent role in the sales process and closing the deal.
There is much research that indicates that emotions and feelings play a key role in deciding to buy a product or professional service. As much as we like to think we are strictly rational and objective, there is considerable evident to the contrary. We have subconscious emotional filters that guide our decisions. We don’t need to act emotionally to be influenced by emotional filters. We rationally make decisions based on subconscious emotional content. This process is often called in layman’s terms a “gut check.” We turn inward to check our feelings about making a particular decision.
What Influences How People Make Buying Decisions
A decision to buy a product or professional service is the result on what psychologists’ call “scheme.” We store images and emotional responses to past events and when activated they will affect how we behave. The mental and emotional content in this scheme are triggered by “real time” situations. They affect our decision-making and buying behaviors. Consciously, we are not aware when our emotional and mental scheme are aroused. The subconscious truly acts on its own and not in response to conscious decisions to act in certain ways. There are abundant clinical and experimental studies indicating that conscious awareness is bypassed by subconscious processes.
During the sales process, prospects buys when his or her emotional and mental scheme signals a “buy” decision.
Relevant Research Findings:
Clinical Studies and tapping the subconscious: Hypnosis is a scientific method of going directly to the subconscious where emotional and mental scheme are located without conscious awareness. In the hypnotic state people recall images, emotional contact and memories, i.e… “emotional and mental schemes.” Using hypnotic methods directed at the subconscious, difficulties and habits are changed without the person being aware of the change process.
Experimental Studies and emotional and mental scheme: “Subliminal priming” experimental studies demonstrate how our subconscious “emotional and mental scheme” activates our emotions and behaviors beyond our awareness. During laboratory experiments a word or picture is flashed too quickly for a person to become consciously aware of it. Yet. It is long enough for the quicker subconscious to take note. The subject’s subconscious perceives suggestions using the words thirsty, the name of a beverage or the word “father.” The subjects were totally oblivious to the subliminal priming of the words flashed before them. Laboratory subjects reported being very thirsty, wanting a beverage, responded to specific tasks saying that their father would want them to work hard. These and other studies show how events trigger or prime our subconscious emotions and images and effect our behavior. We all easily attribute reasons for our behavior as conscious rational decisions unaware of the powerful subconscious factors affecting us.
Brain Research and decision making: Brain research also indicates the very importance of our emotions in decision-making. Studies of persons with brain injuries of parts of the emotions brain, the pre-frontal cortex ,found they had extreme difficulty in making simple everyday type of decisions. More complex decision-making is even more impaired. Yet, their high-level intellect was unaffected by their brain injury. Their brain damage created a highly indecisive life since emotions that play a decisive role in decision-making were impaired.
The functioning of the brain underlines the importance of emotions in decision-making and how our daily experiences can trigger emotional content imbedded in the subconscious mind that effects buying behavior beyond our conscious awareness.
Influencing buyers: Buyers like all of us, have emotional and mental content within their schema located in their subconscious mind. Our experience in using research and predictive analysis in complex sales leads to the understanding of the buyer’s emotional and mental scheme and helps predict what is needed to influence their buying behavior.
A sales director, representing a high-end security service company, was struggling to get his proposal approved by the CEO of a nonprofit organization. Human Interaction Solutions was already working with the sales director and his company to support the company’s organizational change process and sales team development. As part of our assignment, we were asked to formulate a strategy to help the sales director close the sale with the nonprofit organization.
Our Research & Insights:
Our analysis of the CEO’s personality, psychological, and behavioral patterns revealed an intriguing challenge. It was evident that the CEO was highly creative, extremely competent, and a highly regarded thought-leader in his industry, but he was also a very disturbed individual. Psychologically, the CEO was likely to suffer from significant issues compounded by extremely low self-esteem. We concluded that his unwillingness to approve a proposal was directly tied to the satisfaction of power he felt when he denied vendors and other business matters from moving forward.
Strategy & Outcome:
Human Interaction Solutions developed a strategy for the sales director to help the CEO gain respect and positive recognition. For example, the sales director:
Hired a publicist to place the CEO’s latest article in a well-known trade journal
Helped the CEO receive an invitation to testify as an expert before a congressional subcommittee and arranged a recognition after-party.
Arranged periodic meetings with the CEO to discuss non-sales related security issues to build a non- sales relationship.
Revised his proposal in a narrative format to include the CEO’s thoughts on security issues, facts and figures.
As a result of the strategy and successful implementation, the CEO signed the contract with the security company.