Raise Concern About Sales Competition, Not About Yourself

As you are reading this sales article, read very carefully. Because I wouldn't want you to think of a pig right now. No, do not think of a fat, brown, smelly pig right this moment. What are you doing? Do you have a picture of a smelly, fat, brown pig in your head right now? I thought I just told you not to do that. What are you doing then?

The mind can only process positive statements directly. In order to process a negative statement, one must first create a positive representation of the negative statement in the mind. To *not* think of a pig, you first had to see a fat, brown, smelly pig. Only then could you attempt to tell yourself not to think about it. Gee, by now though you've already thought of the pig, so what good is it to tell you not to?

So how does this relate to sales and persuasion? Let's think for a moment. Have you ever said something to a prospect like this: "Don't worry about the strength of our widgets. I assure you we have the strongest widgets in the industry"? You just told the prospect that there is reason to be concerned about the strength of your widgets! This statement either planted the suggestion that there is reason to be concerned about the strength of your widgets, or it reinforced the belief that your widgets are weak. The prospect may have never even heard of the possibility that Zebox widgets are weak. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own perceptions, that we forget what its like to be an outsider new to our company, products and services. Language patterns like the above severely weaken you by needlessly drawing attention to your weaknesses.

Words to remember: "Say it the way you want it".

Are there times when negatives are useful? Sure. Let's say you want to draw your prospect's attention to the lengthy implementation effort of your competitor's product. You could say "Zebox Technologies Widgets take forever to get installed. Ours install much faster." This might work if you have a lot of rapport with the prospect. But if you are presenting to a group, or talking with someone you don't know well yet, you could annoy the prospect and lose credibility through this direct attack.

Here's a more effective indirect language pattern: "So you're also considering S Widgets? We'll don't worry about whether you can complete your project on time in 3 months. All of our widgets install in 30 days or less. Just ask our customers." Through the use of a negative, I have just raised concern about my competitor's installation time, whilst highlighting how my company meets their rapid installation time criterion. And I have avoided using a direct assault, helping to maintain rapport and respect with my prospect.

Say it the way you want it, unless a negative is just what you need.

© 1999-2004 Shamus Brown, All Rights Reserved.

Shamus Brown is a Professional Sales Coach and former high-tech sales pro who began his career selling for IBM. Shamus has written more than 50 articles on selling and is the creator of the popular Persuasive Selling Skills CD Audio Program. You can read more of Shamus Brown's sales tips at http://Sales-Tips.industrialEGO.com/ and you can learn more about his persuasive sales skills training at http://www.Persuasive-Sales-Skills.com/

In The News:

“They Aren’t Using CRM!!!”  Business 2 Community
Selling Against the Status Quo  Business 2 Community
JF Oakes selects north central sales representative  Pest Management Professional magazine
Bettcher set to expand  Meat Management
September retail sales see annual gains  Supply Chain Management Review
Is Amazon Unstoppable?  The New Yorker
Sales and Marketing Management  Business 2 Community

Leadership - How To Turn The Vision Into A Reality

Be clear about where you are now. Audit your strengths... Read More

Ten Awesome Ways To Incease Your Sales In Holidays

Everybody thinks that the businesses will slow down a bit... Read More

Transforming Your Sales Force by Creating Specific Expectations

I just finished a phone call with a potential client... Read More

The Four ?D?s of Sales Management

Recently I stumbled across some notes that I had kept... Read More

Speed-up Your Sales Cycle

This week's article is my response to a question by... Read More

How to Sharpen Your Sales Message with Do-it-Yourself Focus Groups - Small Business Power Tools

You've probably heard of focus groups. It's a tool that... Read More

A Fracas in the Franchise - Keep Your Customers by Keeping Your Workers

As a previous owner of a Franchise I know the... Read More

Poor Performance - Fix it by Coaching

Coaching is about finding out the cause of poor performance... Read More

Finding A Sales Force That Pays For Itself

The elements involved in building a sales force, especially one... Read More

Profitable Relationships: Is It Amateur Hour or King of the Hill?

"We're in the relationship business?...airplanes are what we use to... Read More

Sales Marketing: 12 Sneaky Tricks To Help You Outsell Your Competition

Business can be like war sometimes.You may have to fight... Read More

Never Trust a Silent Customer

Imagine you run a pizza parlour. You have all these... Read More

Make Time, Not Excuses

There are four primary activities that successful salespeople engage in... Read More

Sales & Marketing Plan Strategies

Design and Implementation of a new Sales & Marketing campaign... Read More

The Boss from Hell: Quick to Criticize, Slow to Praise

So you have a boss who dumps all over you... Read More

How to Write a Business Plan Sales Section for a Mobile Service

We all agree one of the most important parts of... Read More

The Art and Science of Managing Expectations in Selling

It is very easy to fall into a trap with... Read More

Sex, Drugs, & Rock-n-Roll at Trade Shows

Here's the Scenario...You're at a trade show. Out of town.... Read More

How Exhibitors Can Move More Attendees Closer to Buying

Q. What's the single, biggest change exhibitors can make to... Read More

How to Keep Projects From Spinning Out Of Control

Are you involved in projects that seem to go nowhere... Read More

Moving a Business Relationship from Free to Fee: Turning Strangers to Friends with Power of Freebies

In the last issue I shared with you a technique... Read More

The Hardest Job Of A Trade Show

You've heard this before: There were four people named Everybody,... Read More

Book of Lists Marketing for Pressure Washing Companies

The American Business Journals produces a Book of Lists each... Read More

Sacking Clients: Brand Power Wheel

Remember in the last message we talked about your directional... Read More

Sales Forecasting For New Businesses

Sales forecasting is the process of organizing and analysing information... Read More