Tactical empathy followed by playfully curious. If you’re looking to get better at sales, that’s the approach Chris Beall, CEO of ConnectAndSell, recommends. This week, we discussed with Chris about conducting sales, fueling curiosity, and building trust.
Do you build before selling, or sell before building? This is the biggest chicken and egg problem in business. Chris explains that one of these approaches is a lot more expensive and requires guesswork, while the other is a lot simpler. When you sell before building a product, all you need is a message about a problem that you claim to solve. The main issue lies in that people who can build products are not natural salespeople. And they have probably never been trained in the art of doing sales. As a result, many great products do not take off as those who built them are often intimidated by sales.
Sales has to start somewhere. It can begin passively where you wait for someone to show up and hope that they are interested in what you have to offer. Alternatively, it can begin actively where you approach someone and make them a deal on the spot. Effectively, the active approach, while necessary in business, causes people to feel ambushed 100% of the time. When it comes to tech products, people are repulsed by it and they dislike what they cannot understand. Hence, not only are you ambushing people, you are ambushing them with a repulsive idea. This is why sales technique is key.
Chris notes that there is a huge difference between approaching somebody and them approaching you. The number one thing that sales personnel need to do is get a switch to occur, from you approaching them to them approaching you. To do this, you need to fuel curiosity. The easiest way to do this is through trust. Chris follows the principle of 27 seconds. When you call a potential customer, you need to acknowledge that you are ambushing them and that you are a problem. By showing the customer that you understand that you are an inconvenience, you are empathising with them. After this, say in a playfully curious voice ‘Can I have 27 seconds to tell you why I called?’. 27 seconds is a short period of time and people get curious about why specifically 27 seconds. At this point, most customers will chuckle and you have successfully gained their trust. This technique of tactical empathy followed by being playfully curious has been vetted by FBI and is proven to foster trust.
While the first step is to build trust, the next step is demonstrating that you can solve a problem. When you’re ambushing someone, their immediate problem is you. Being the problem, you can provide the best solution, which is going away. Many sales reps are unable to do this as they do not wish to see themselves as a problem. By cutting a deal with potential customers and letting them know you’ll be out of their way if they listen to your quick pitch, they will be more inclined to listen to what you have to say.
There’s only one way to build trust with a human and it takes 600,000 bits of information to do that. And the only way to get that 600,000 bits across is in a real conversation that’s going to take you 27 seconds.