A model to get more sales and to stay calm under pressure

[This post is part of a series on “Mental models and beliefs: an exercise to identify yours.” If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]

Do you want to get more sales? Even if you don’t sell anything, you probably propose things, pitch things, apply for things, and so forth. Do you want to be more successful there and to close more?

I learned today’s model in sales class in business school, but it applies to many cases — nearly any situation where you try to persuade someone of something nontrivial they have to agree to.

Think of anything you bought for more than pocket change. Take the clothes you’re wearing now, for example. I bet for at least a couple of the items after you were pretty sure you would buy them but before you did, you had objections. Maybe you wanted to make sure the price was right, or the fit, color, or whatever. But you still bought it.

When you’re selling, pitching, or influencing, objections near or after you thought the deal closed can be incredibly frustrating. Losing your composure then can lose you the sale.

Today’s model helps you keep cool at times like that.

A model to get more sales and stay calm under pressure: An objection is a statement of an unmet need.

People buy things to meet their needs. A big part of sales is communicating that what you’re selling meets their needs. An inevitable part of any sale is that, no matter how much you think you covered everything, before signing they will always object about something.

Many people get frustrated. “How could they not understand?” “I already explained that to them!” “Why didn’t they mention that before?!”

Today’s belief overcomes this frustration. It says that

An objection is a statement of an unmet need.

Instead of being frustrated, this belief tells you they are still interested (they wouldn’t have objected if they didn’t care). It doesn’t mean they disagree. If you listen and follow-up right, you have a good chance at getting the sale. They want you to get the sale.

When I use this belief

I use this belief when I’m in sales mode and somebody objects to whatever I’m selling. I also use this belief when preparing my presentation. Since I know they’ll object with something at the end, I don’t have to get every last thing in the presentation. I know they’ll ask me if I miss anything.

What this belief replaces

This belief replaces the frustration of thinking the objections criticize my product with the expectation that addressing unmet needs at the end is part of the sales process.

Where this belief leads

This belief leads to greater sales and increased ability to influence and persuade.

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