It takes a lot of brain power to plan and execute effective sales strategies and close countless deals. Many small business owners have to wear multiple hats, they have to be the manager, the accountant, the bookkeeper and salesperson. For some entrepreneurs, the sales hat is the most intimidating. Yes, it takes lots of practice, patience and people skills to be good at sales, but to reach the level of a seasoned salesperson, you must think like a scientist.
Surely, you know about how the brain triggers a fight or flight response in different situations, similarly, sales prospects have various chemical reactions in the brain when listening to your pitch. If they hear or see something that makes them feel uncomfortable, they might turn around and not look back, but if they like what they hear and enjoy your presence, they'll say, "I'd like to learn more..." or "Let's make a deal".
The question now is, how do you get someone's brain to react positively to a sale? Well, there's a lot to it, but here's a quick guide on how to put your sales hat on and think like a neuroscientist.
Increase Oxytocin Levels
As you probably already know, oxytocin is a hormone that is secreted from the pituitary gland. It is known to be connected to our emotions. According to Psych Central, higher amounts of oxytocin appear to be associated with greater relaxation and more willingness to trust others. By simply maintaining eye contact, smiling often and shaking hands you can increase oxytocin levels, making prospects more likely to trust you and build a strong connection with you.
Speaking of handshakes, touch is one of many ways to increase oxytocin and produce a sense of closeness. Some folks think salespeople are all fast-talking, insensitive people that won't ever go away. Break these stereotypes by creating a relaxed environment and showing compassion. Prospects want to know and feel like you care about them and want to do everything in your power to make their lives easier. You can start a conversation with a handshake and end it with a stronger handshake, or if you're feeling silly try a high-five and if you feel it appropriate, even a hug can trigger oxytocin and build trust.
Use the Power of Laughter
The fact that laughing can cheer you up is a no-brainer, but let's hear what a medical professional has to say about the many positive effects that result from conversations that make you laugh-out-loud. According to Psychology Today, Dr. Matt Bellace at Lynn University says laughter releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which serves as a reward for the brain, and notes that laughter improves immune functioning, stress relief, increased tolerance for pain, improved cardiovascular health, reduced anxiety, and improved mood.
So, go ahead and incorporate jokes, silly references or puns into your sales presentation. It'll be a great feeling to know you won a client by not only knowing your stuff, but also sharing a similar same sense of humor.
When you think of effective listening skills, you may think about eye contact, nodding to what the prospect is saying and repeating points back to them to make sure you understand what was said. Although these actions are important, active listening doesn't end there.
As you listen to what your prospect is looking for, be in the moment and ask questions related to what they're talking about. For example, if you own a travel agency and you have a customer trying to decide whether to use your agency or another, ask them, "What exactly are you looking for in an agency? What does the agency have to do to make you a lifetime client?"
This open-ended question will encourage the customer to be completely honest and will give you the opportunity to try and help them make an educated decision - ultimately making them trust you more. The Harvard Business Review says, effective listeners empathize and validate people's feelings in a supportive, nonjudgmental way -- creating a safe environment for discussions.
It's great to see how neuroscience can play a critical role in sales. These are just a few strategies to keep in mind as you think about the sales side of the business. By thinking of the scientific perspective when building rapport with prospects and clients, your selling skills will become second-nature. Now, put your sales hat on and use your brain power to close more deals today.