How to Sell to Internals
My coaching client Brenda, the owner of a web design and google ads management company, had done an analysis of the current web strategy for one of her prospects. She had unearthed valuable information but had no way to present it. And her prospect, also a business owner could be difficult to deal with. He didn’t like being told what to do, and was a bit Macho. In LAB Profile® terms, he had an Internal Motivation Trigger™.
I developed an easy to follow process, especially for dealing with highly Internal prospects, making them feel comfortable and motivated, and therefore more likely to buy. As you know, people won’t buy (or buy into an idea) unless the way you present it strikes a chord with them.
Here’s the formula I gave her:
Fact -> Problem -> Solution -> Benefit -> As you know ….
Let’s decode this formula for highly Internal prospects (or even your clients!):
“I researched the traffic coming to your site and there is an average of 10 searches per month for your key terms.” Avoid judging this information and make sure it is purely factual.
“This means that people who need your services are likely using other search terms and not finding your company, so you are missing some business that should be coming your way.”
“I suggest (nice suggestive language for Internals, rather that Command Language such as “you should”) having us identify the highest frequency, most likely search terms for companies looking for what you provide.”
“This will get more people coming to your site who actually need your services and can in turn increase your business.”
As you know…. :
“As you know, most people only click on the very top results for their searches, so if your site doesn’t show up at the top for the search terms they are using, it is unlikely they will find your company.”
Take Aways! (How to use this information right away in your work) You can prepare your next meetings the easy way — and reduce the time it takes to get ready and increase the likelihood of getting buy in.
- FACT What information do you have to give your prospects and clients that they don’t already know?
- PROBLEM What is the negative consequence of this information that they will want to move Away From?
- SOLUTION What is the solution?
- BENEFIT What is the positive consequence of this solution that they will want to go Toward?
- AS YOU KNOW What do they believe to be true that proves the problem exists?
Want to be more persuasive?
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p.s. How many times did I use the formula in this article?
I use a different formula based on the S.P.I.N technique where emphasis is placed on the negative consequences of the problem, before offering a solution. If the prospect does not “hurt” enough with his/her problem, s/he will likely find the cost of the solution too big or not motivating enough to act.
S for Situation: “I researched the traffic coming to your site and there is an average of 10 searches per month for your key terms.”
P for Problem: “This means that people who need your services are likely using other search terms and not finding your company, so you are missing some business that should be coming your way.”
I for Implication: “How much money do you estimate you are losing or not making because of this situation?” How much more money could you make if you considereably increased the traffic to your site? How would you estimate that in dollars?
N for Needs/Payoff: “How important is that for you? When would you want to change the situation? What would be a good solution for you? How would you feel if you site brought in more paying clients? What would be a monetary goal for you?”
If the client realizes how much money he or she is losing or could make by giving monetary estimates, and is committed to do something about it, only then would I propose a solution. Value before price. What s/he is potentially losing that hurts enough to do something about it, and potential gains if s/he acts now.
Hi Richard, thanks for summarizing the SPIN method.I like the way you ask questions to engage someone with an Internal pattern. I suspect that asking too many questions at once might be antagonizing or feel like an interrogation. As you know from your own experience, With someone who wants to decide for themselves, the language you use is important.
Yes, you’re right about interrogation. Got to be careful with the quantity of questions. The SPIN method helps in having the person decide for him/herself, because all the answers come from them before you actually propose anything. This approach is different from, let’s say a consultant who would take the lead and use external testimonials or data to drive his point. This would work for externals a bit more.
However, testimonials could also be introduced later on in the process for internals in order to validate their own choice.
A little anecdote… A couple of years ago, I was coaching sales directors on the road while they were coaching their representatives. I was there to make sure that coaching was used instead of the usual supervision/evaluation approache. This was for a large cheese importer in Canada. We were going out the whole day in different large grocery stores and chains and one representative – a very successful woman in the company – proposed various cheeses to store owners or managers. As you may guess, there is a lot of loss in the cheese department and that is one of the reasons why they are so expensive.
She said, “It would be a good idea to put two additional products in this bin…” I watched the nonverbals of the owners or managers, and it seemed as if they would say no. But then, she ended with…”It’s your choice.” 98 % of the time – to my surprise – they would say “OK, go ahead!”
I analyzed her method, and I surmised that she was communicating at two levels: 1) the conscious one where she seems to give them a choice by saying “It’s your choice”, and 2) at the subliminal level where she actually said “It’s your choice to put two additional products in this bin…” I’ve used this myself, and I can testify that it works most of the times. People like choices, and the impression that they chose or decided by themselves. Powerful stuff!
Perfect info. and timing – am now rewriting my advert and web pages 🙂
As always, very helpful, Shelle!