The 16 principles of influence

by BN26 Dec 2011

Sales is a process that can be learned – and it could be as easy as these 16 steps. Peter Heinrich takes you through the sales journey to find out where you can improve

 The best sales people consistently employ 16 specific ‘principles of influence’.  These are listed somewhat in the order that they flow in the sales process. I will seek to outline them for you here. Then you can ask yourself, “Do I need to be better in this principle?” and if so, you can go away and look into it more deeply.

  1. Attention: Top sellers capture the attention of busy prospects. They are memorable in prospecting and in sales conversations. They break through the noise. They highlight their differentiation. You can’t influence someone if they’re focused on something else. Use a good fact find!
  2. Curiosity: Once you have someone’s attention, the easiest thing to do is lose it. Your goal is to pique and hold the prospect’s curiosity. Curiosity is a powerful concept. People know what they have, but they want to know what they are missing. Give them the sense they might be missing something and they’ll naturally want to know more.
  3. Desire: Desire is the gap between where someone is and where he wants to be. The more you can stoke someone’s desire to change his reality, the more you’ll be able to influence him. When buyers start to see what’s in it for them, they start to become emotionally involved in wanting whatever it is.
  4. Envy: Desire is powerful. Envy is desire with a turbo boost. If your prospect wants something they don’t’ have, their desires will drive them. If they want something that other people have, their unhappiness will eat away at them until they get it.
  5. Emotional journey: People forget what you tell them, but they remember how they feel. Top sales people, leaders and professionals take prospects on an emotional journey, often through stories that evoke emotional responses. This emotional journey helps prospects to feel the pain of where they are, and feel what the happiness and fulfilment will be like in their better future.
  6. Belief: You’ll have maximum ability to influence people when prospects believe that things could be better, should be better, and can actually get better if they buy from you. The more convinced they are that your solution will succeed, the more willing they will be to move forward.
  7. Justification: People buy with their hearts and justify with the heads. Even if you are able to capture the hearts of your buyers (through the emotional journey you take them on) if you can’t make the ROI case for working with you, you won’t make the sale.
  8. Trust: The principle of trust works closely with the principle of belief. Belief is faith that something will work. Trust is faith in you. Trust is the foundation of the sale. No trust, no sale. (And, with trust, don’t just try to gain it. Deserve it.)
  9. Stepping stones: People are driven to be consistent. So if you can get them to try or buy something from you once, even if it’s small, they’re much more likely to buy again. Break the information into small chunks and don’t rush them. You can shorten the leap of faith with stepping stones, small bits of information and then ask them if they understand what you have said.
  10. Ownership: Until an individual takes ownership over decision, actions and results, your ability to influence him or her is limited. Your job is to make it the buyer’s agenda to move forward, not your own.
  11. Involvement: When you have a hand in creating something, you’re more likely to be a passionate advocate for its success. Buying is the same way. Involve your buyer in in the selling process, and they’ll be much more attached to seeing the solution come to life.
  12. Desire for inclusion: People don’t want to be left out. They want to feel included. If the best companies are purchasing a certain technology, they want to be in on it. If a new management method is sweeping the nation, people don’t want to feel left out. Mortgage clients are no different. The more you can help buyers feel included, the more they’ll want to move forward.
  13. Scarcity: People value rarity and don’t want to miss out on an opportunity. Good brokers highlight differentiation, and make sure that buyers know when they may miss out on an opportunity.
  14. Likability: People buy from people they like. They interact with people they like. Likeability creates and enhance opportunity for conversation at all stages. And , as we know, conversations are at the heart of sales success.
  15. Indifference: Indifference is emotional detachment to the outcome of making the sale. Indifference is often being understood in light of its opposite: neediness. The more you seem like you need the sale, the less likely a buyer will view you as a peer, and the more difficult it will be to sell.
  16. Commitment: Good brokers are great at getting buyers to agree to next steps. Written and public commitments are stronger than verbal and private commitments. The best sellers ask for commitment at the right time, get signatures, and get buyers to communicate commitments publicly.

Peter Heinrich is the managing director of MFAA-approved industry education provider National Finance Institute.