We’ve reached part 3 of this mini-series on speaking with prospects (or anyone else you need to influence). Part 1 is here.
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What do you know to be true and how do you know it? (NOTE: read my guide to philosophy in the Science of Copywriting Rule Book – First Steps).
Whatever it is, without concrete proof, it’s a belief – and we’re full of them. Our biases help shape them, and it’s these biases that make decisions for us on whether we choose to believe something or not – and more importantly [to us as copywriters], whether our prospects choose to buy something.
Which means we need to change their beliefs OR enhance their beliefs if we want to move them in a certain direction. So first we must reveal them, and the only way of discovering that, is to ask.
Whilst knowing and controlling our own beliefs and biases is one thing, knowing those of our prospects is quite another.
That’s why we started with ourselves in part 2. Until we have some idea of how we see and judge the world (from an observer’s point of view), we’ll never generate enough empathy to see how others do it.
And if you don’t know where your prospects stand in terms of their beliefs and biases, everything you say will fall on deaf ears (even if they appear to be listening).
Every argument that ever happened, happened for this reason. Getting into an argument with anyone is a waste of time (and yet salespeople and customer support people are often the most guilty).
It has a name of course: “taking it personally”. This is why Zen masters practice the discipline of being the observer. A so-called ‘out of body experience’ is exactly that. The ability to stand back from yourself and observe what is happening.
To do that when you’re alone with someone requires some interaction from you. Those interactions are always in the form of questions. Some direct, and some rhetorical (indirect).
Bad salespeople expect certain reactions, and when they fail to get them, push harder. This happens because they don’t know how to listen (as mentioned in part 1, ‘not talking’ is not the same as listening).
Good salespeople expect nothing. They probe and listen. And in time, the prospect comes to a conclusion. When done well, that conclusion will have happened because they changed some belief OR because they enhanced an existing belief.
A good sales person doing this is fine whatever the outcome. Any other way would be emotionally unintelligent (and that leads to failure and stress).
Part 4 tomorrow. Stay tuned.