Sunday, March 02, 2008

Psychological Sales

A couple of readers have wondered why I have psychology books on my reading list. The fact of the matter is that sales - most of life actually - can be helped by using certain psychological techniques. Here are a few of them that are taught in most sales courses:

  • Mirroring Body Language - Just put yourself in the same body position and posture as the person across from you in order to build rapport. People usually do this unconsciously anyway, but it doesn't hurt to be aware of it.
  • Reading Body Language - There are whole books on this subject, but I think all you need to know are the basics since you are unconsciously aware of it anyway. The simple ones are that are taught in sales training courses are crossed arms indicates defensiveness, both hands out and up indicate openness, both hands out and down indicates emphasis.
  • Repeating the Last Thing Someone Said - The goal here is to keep someone talking or to expand on what they said. The other person will go on without thinking about it. I was even caught in it when explaining it to someone else. "Repeat the last thing they said?", my friend asked. "Yes, you see..." and I went on for a moment before I realized she had caught me. A simple variation to keep people going is "Hmmm mmm".
  • Silence - Many, if not most, people are uncomfortable with silence and will attempt to fill the void. The hard part is getting them to fill it with information you need.
  • Full Listening - Most people hear, but are already thinking about the next thing they are going to say in the conversation. The hard thing is to listen totally. What words is the person using? What words are they not using? Where are they looking during the conversation (to their right is fabrication, to their left is recollection). What is their pupil dilation and what is that telling you?
These techniques along with some basic psychological understanding (Freud, Rogers) can give you a surprisingly good view into what people are thinking.

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