Attack Fear

Fear In business, life and sales is largely learnt. By learnt I mean Through your own bad experience, or by hearing of other experiences whether true or false, or by observing other experiences. Any format… visual or verbal can contribute to us adopting fear around certain circumstances. It could be as simple as watching a social media clip where a man gets rejected for handing his crush a bouquet of flowers she didn’t like, now we could fear that happening to us, even though that might have never happened to us personally. Naturally Our minds anchor that fear and assumes various negative outcomes which we then believe to create pain. Why pain you ask? Because studies have shown that when you experience real pain from a heat source applied close to your arm or emotional pain like a picture showed of a loved one that’s passed away, the Brain responds the same, Emotional and real pain can feel just as bad. Humans have flight or fight responses to threats of danger, and dangers today aren’t what they were in the past. Back in the day when a cave man sees a predator it regarded as danger. Today we don’t have the fear of predators roaming around our homes, we fear rejection, failure, not meeting the expectations society and our loved ones might have of us and among many more stimuli’s regarding threats and danger. Our bodies are still hardwired to react the same. We trigger a fear response in the amygdala which prepares our motor functions for fight or flight. It releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and activates the sympathetic nervous system which raises the heart rate and increases blood pressure which aids in your body’s ability to fight back or run. All these responses are controlled by the limbic system in your brain which is designed to look after your emotional state. In short having this emotional state in your body whereby you feel the need to fight, flight or freeze is your limbic system overriding your cerebral cortex based on fear. In other words, with adrenaline being dumped into your system you’re not exactly going to make the best intellectual decisions. Think about the last time you had a serious situation when your flight, fight or freeze responses kicked in. You find yourself in autopilot mode, and only later on when your mind is settled do you think about what you should have done better, I know I come up with 100s of scenarios I should have decided on. Its easier to come up with better solutions when your limbic system isn’t in charge and giving your brain a temporary holiday. Why is this relevant to business, life and Sales? Picture that last time you had an important presentation and your nerves got the better of you. Remember that interview you botched up because you froze and couldn’t answer the questions. Or the last time you wrote a test and couldn’t remember what you studied. Can you remember sweating, lack of cognitive abilities lies, and your heart pounding in your chest? Once your heart rate increases above 145, you suffer reduced hearing…I’m sure loss of hearing can help you close deals. Sarcasm fully implied. Above 175 beats per min, you suffer impaired senses, speech and memory. Again, the making of a great sales, investor or interview pitch. Laugh out loud. How can these fearful responses be good for you? It can’t… Fear over comes us. It causes inaction or incorrect action. We need to unlearn fears or stop overthinking. Or we could just realize that the fears we have are not proportionate to real threats like our ancestors had with regards to predators. How can speaking to a CEO via a cold call be likened to a predator about to eat our new-born baby. So, erase fear or at least put it into perspective.   Fear is part imagined; Dan Pena says, “False expectations appearing real”. It is claimed that humans are the most fearful creatures on the planet because of the ability to learn, think, and create fear in our minds. The sooner you realize that the fear is not real in most cases like approaching a prospect to do business with. what’s the worst that can happen. He says no, even if the prospect does it in an ugly manner, how can that hurt you. It can’t if you don’t let it. People like comfort zones and playing it safe. Risk sparks fear. All this keeps a person in one place. The world is changing and moving forward and its being driven by risk takers and innovators, the people that are willing to bet big, aim for the stars, and to do what hasn’t been done before. The richest people on earth created new ways of doing business and disrupted markets. They didn’t stay where it was comfortable, they got out their bubbles and challenged themselves and status quos. Defeating fear is a mental exercise. The most common regret among people is playing it safe. When last did you hear about someone playing it safe doing anything great. Defy assumptions and don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is feedback. Learn from your failures and soon what was your outside comfort zones will now be your new normal. Allowing yourself to grow and take on bigger tasks. That’s the growth mindset… TRY, FAIL, Learn and GROW. Or you could not try, learn nothing and never progress or achieve anything out of the ordinary. A life on complacency won’t get you success in business and life. You must be bold and avoid fear. It’s a matter of mind. Embrace and build up a tolerance to uncertainty. A tactic I love using when fear persists is finding a more powerful fear that calls to action the overcoming of the original fear. For example, if you fear requesting a meeting with a potential investor to explain your ideas because his sitting at a restaurant table with people around, and you feel its rude to approach him at this timing. Then assume the fear of never getting your ideas heard, never getting another chance, failing and never getting your dream business. See your lifestyle stagnating with no chance of improvement, go through the pros and cons, and the pros of approaching the Potential investor will be higher than the cons. Again, what’s the worst that can happen, you can get blown o, the lesson learnt is that you should have dressed smarter, had a better introduction, been more energetic and crated better rapport, maybe humor would have been a good starting point etc. Try, Fail, Learn and Grow… Fear is learnt. Overcome it alpha logo

Human Nature, Knowing Your customer

  The first thing you need to know about your customer is that he/she is a human being, sounds silly right? It shouldn’t because its profound. It means you know your customer way better than you think you do, because being human means you have that in common, you have lots of similarity’s by default. Sell to your customer the way you want to be sold to. Do you like it when someone forces you to buy something, is it nice when someone drills you with misleading questions to get their point across that you should buy their product? Is it nice when they speak over you and not listen to your concerns? Do you enjoy scripts being read to you as if it’s a bad bedtime story? No! So why do we do this to others…. Ask how you want to be sold to and o‑er the same respect to your clients. Humans are more alike than you think, by living with yourself for so many years gives you a deep insight into customer behaviors if you just reflect on what you like. Do you love opening your emails and seeing massive essays from a salesperson, do you read their entire emails, and open all the attachments they bombard you with? Do you enjoy get called over and over again, follow up on top of follow up? No! So why do people sell like this? Use your insight on human nature to your advantage. Let me go through some examples of human nature and how we can use that to our advantage.
  • Conviction bias, the stronger we feel about something, the more we believe it to be true. If you skip to my NLP studies, you will learn that all meaning is subjective. People are irrational at times; they make decisions based on how they feel. Not always based on facts. So, it’s important to gain their trust so they believe what you’re saying, without their belief in what you’re saying they won’t buy. Knowing that people buy on emotion but justify it with logic, it’s important that the information you provide creates the right meaning for them in order to invoke the correct emotion. Then mimic that emotion my mirroring their body language to reinforce that emotion and build further trust. The stronger they feel about something the more they believe it to be true. This is true in fact that there is another bias called the confirmation bias which means that people will seek out information to justify their thinking. And as you know, you can pretty much find any information to back up any of your thoughts on the web.
  • Appealing bias, in other words the more attractive or wealthy someone appears, the higher the chance of someone thinking they are of good nature. It’s true that very attractive people tend to get treated better. Also, studies have shown that peoples facial features can make you appear more trustworthy. Theirs an authority bias, which implies that people see more value in someone they perceive knows more about a matter than they do. If someone controls the discussion and its direction the other person will think they know less on the matter giving the seller more authority and thereby more value. If someone is wealthy in a segment, then they have better rapport to begin with. If someone comes across truly knowledgeable in a matter, that person will have a higher belief ratio. Over 70% of people purchase because they trusted and believed the sales representative. So always look your best, always know what you are talking about and these biases work in your favour.
  • People are also prone to group mentality, and a bias that supports that is the group bias, we believe what the group we belong to suggest more easily. So, when selling know the groups your customer belongs to, maybe it’s a nationwide chain store, getting approvals in the other sites will help get approvals in the remaining sites. Getting home/head Offices to agree will help get yeses from the sites below the home/head Office. Even getting competitors to say yes gets your foot in the door many times, because your customer and the competitors belong to the same industry group, so you will have their interest if your product or solution works for competitors. Use the group mentality to your advantage.
  • Self-serving bias, people overlook things that challenge their self-esteem like criticism for example, but they love to take credit when applicable. We must be care full when selling not to be too critical of their shortcomings as it will have a negative effect in creating rapport and being likable and being like able is one of the main reasons why anyone buys from anyone. Also, sometimes by letting the client conclude on their own that this product or service is the right direction or positive supports their loving to take credit for things nature. Entitlement is another human trait, inflated views of one’s self, that can be difficult to get around if you don’t see it and play into the advantages of selling to someone who is entitled. They want power, so let them speak and give them decisioning power, play into their hands.
  • People are also self-centered. See even reading a comment like that can make your hair stand up, and become defensive, which proves the self-serving bias I just wrote about. People are very concerned about their own prosperity and survival. What’s in it for me mentality. This is one of my favorite biases to use to my advantage, provide the value proposition and let the client win, bring the client closer to their goals and you will have a happy client.
  • People can be greedy, it’s one of the seven sins, one of the oldest sales techniques that is proven to work is temptation. Remember the story of the devil tempting Eve with the knowledge of good and bad. And she gave in. He closed the deal. Temptation has withstood the test of time whether you believe that story or not. One of the main temptations in today life is money, so if your product makes or saves your client some money then you can sell according to this nature in humans. There is even a risk discount bias, people shy from taking risks if they see a downside, but if they see an upside, they are more willing. For example, if you sell a product at 20% o‑, they prefer the saving over the spending and buy at 80%. They still spent 80% even though it’s still a risk of money wasted but the saving enticed them. Risk adverse buying is also in our nature, people buy what makes them feel safe and at low risk, even if it means buying at a higher price.
  • People are jealous and envious by nature, some more than others. People whether they want to admit it or not do desire the possessions of others, they do get envious if others have what they want. They have a longing to own the possessions of someone else. This makes selling easy if you phrase your selling points according to this nature. Example, the top retailers are using this software, and you can see how it has benefited them today. Or have you seen that so and so designed his interior using our furniture range… this also relates to human’s possessive and competitive nature. Again, all people are competitive, some just more than others. People like to lay claim to things. Look at the world around you people own a lot of stuff, it’s in our nature, use these human traits to sell. Fear of loss, VIP and exclusivity techniques suit this style very much.
  • People wear masks, they don’t like to say things exactly as they are. They will try say what they think you want to hear. So, you must look for the true meaning, you need to read between the lines and understand what’s behind the words, this is verbal and nonverbal comprehension which I address later. The same goes for another human trait which is people don’t like to say no. They will drag things out, rather than to just say no, they will be vague and elusive rather than say no, they will ignore and be unresponsive rather than say no. You need to create an environment whist selling to allow your customer to be open and honest, they must feel safe to speak freely. And you can ask specific questions to avoid the whole run around when a client wants to say no but tries the nice route. People don’t like to ask for help, or speak up when they don’t understand something, you think your client understands because they nod their head in agreement yet sometimes, they confused and won’t speak up. Again, creating the right environment can help avoid these human tendencies. Also, the rest of my sales advice will help you communicate effectively to avoid any confusion in the first place.
  • People are defensive by nature, we love free will, and if our free will gets challenged, we get defensive. Instead of forcing a sale on someone, try and help them reach their own positive conclusion about what your selling, if they perceive it as their idea then they won’t go against their own free will. Also, if you master the art of listening more than selling you will find that with the right questions the client will sell themselves on your product.
  • People prefer instant gratification over long term views. Dopamine satisfaction you get from the here and now are far greater than the long-term views. People are also not patient by nature. This is powerful characteristics to aid in our selling approaches.
  • Humans are scientific by nature, since we were young, we learned by testing how things work, have you ever watched a baby play, they quickly figure out how to open things and move levers etc. As we get older, we still do this, we learn and improve by testing, we like predicting outcomes. Let your customer be hands on where possible. It goes a long way in creating understanding and impact. People can think, and that ability allows us to have imaginations, forward pacing and visualization selling techniques works hand in hand with this. We are also curious creatures, use our inquisitiveness to keep a client engaged and interested.
  • Humans are playful, it’s in our nature, humor can help us relate, when you show similarities with your client, they begin to trust you. Think about your friends, they are your friends because of the things you have in common.
  • Another interesting fact about being human, is we love rules and being governed. We need leadership and rules, we build societies it’s in our nature. We have legislation. So, when selling don’t overstep the boundaries we create as society because it will make your client feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Stick with the rules. Ethics plays a huge role here. To gain rapport you need to behave ethically. Integrity is the corner stone of sales success.
These human characteristics are for all types of people, you could be selling to a receptionist or a CEO, they will have these things in common, just on varying scales. But you do need to get more specific when dealing with your customers, these mentioned traits are a great foundation for your selling tactics, but there is more we can know about our customers. Look at your customer base, is it house wives, is it the purchasing departments at companies is it business owners directly, then look at the industry they are in, the trends, their lifestyles, the challenges and opportunities they might be facing , look at what a day to day would look like for your customer, this list is very specific and I could never cover enough intel because customer bases out there are way to vast. The point is to really study your customers in your market and better understand their buying behaviors so that you can prepare and sell better. Find out exactly what they want and need. The more you know about your customer the better you can provide for them.   alpha logo