The Duality of Belief in Sales

Dr. Dan Neundorf
June 4, 2012 — 1,085 views  
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The Duality of Belief in Sales

hange theirs, believe in yours
We all know that we have to believe in our sales pitch in order to be at our most effective. It's what we are taught from the first day: believe in what you are selling and the customer will as well. But did you realize that there are a whole other set of beliefs at work during a sale? A set of beliefs that could be so engrained as to make your task almost physically impossible?

I'm talking, of course, about the client's belief system.  If you've never thought about this, don't feel bad.  Most don't. 

This is because many companies utilize a sales system that is handed down the pipeline from outside consultants that have never made a sale a day in their lives.  They sit in front of a computer and crunch numbers, implementing rigid, formulaic systems that are not only impractical, but ineffective as well.  They haven't been in the trenches like you have.  They don't consider the human element of sales. 

They don't consider the client's beliefs.  

The Client's Beliefs Are More Important than Yours

The fact of the matter is, you can believe in what you're selling all you want.  This will make you more confident and sure and everything else that you've been taught with along the way.  It's true.  But what it won't do is alter the belief of the client.  For that, you will need an entirely new technique.

This is because people cling to their beliefs as a justification of their own self, even in the face of overwhelming and factual data that proves their beliefs faulty.  At the core of these beliefs, rests the person's values, which in turn dictate their political, moral, religious and ethical codes as well as their own knowledge.  This results in value judgments.

One of the reasons going up against these value judgments can seem like such an uphill battle is because these judgments are often rooted deep within the person's psyche.  When a value is formed, often during childhood and adolescence, it can be unshakable.  And this isn't necessarily a bad thing; you like to think of yourself as a person with convictions, don't you?  Of course you do, and so do the clients.  It is just an element that you need to work around in order to effectively make a sale.

When we look at this problem, we should keep in mind that people seek out information that supports their own values, beliefs and experiences, while avoiding new information that states the contrary.  We can see what a delicate situation we are in.  Fortunately, there is a proven method that we salespeople have at our disposal: DEBA.

How to utilize the DEBA Process

DEBA is not only the process that leads up to the purchase, but also the parameters within which a good salesperson can work in order to alter the client's underlying irrational beliefs.  Understanding the systematic order of DEBA and how each step not only affects the following, but the preceding steps as well, you will begin to understand the dynamics and duality of the fundamental belief aspect of sales.

DEBA is an acronym for Data, Experience, Belief and Action-to-Buy.  As mentioned, this not a formulaic step system, but rather a dynamic process in which roles must be constantly transitioned in order to complete the sale.  In a perfect world, we would go straight from the Data to the Action-to-Buy (the D to A), but we instead have to deal with the Experience and Beliefs of the client (the E and B), most of which are irrational.  This is where we make our living.

So how does this help you?  Well, now that you know the equation, you can start plugging in the factors.  You obviously know what you want to sell, so the A factor is set.  You also know all about your product, so the D factor is set as well.  Which brings us to the E and B: the Experience and Belief.  You can begin to see why these are the most important, yet most resistant to change elements of DEBA.  Let's take a look at how you can tackle them.

Successfully Changing Beliefs

Fundamentally, a good salesperson will know that the strong packaging of data and a smooth, subtle transfer of that package to the client should help to alter resistant attitudes, ultimately convincing the client that your product is what they need.  You can change their beliefs.  We can base this packaging on a few key factors in order to increase the success rate of our sales technique.

The reputation of the manufacturer.  Never underestimate the good name of your product.  There is a reason that the client is even showing interest in the first place and it is likely due to the branding and trustworthiness that you already have going for you.  You need not always push excessive and far-flung angles.  Sometimes the product can actually sell itself.

Your own characteristics.  Building a reputation as a trustworthy individual is important.  Don't make a habit of promising the sky if you can only deliver a cloud.  In this ever-shrinking world of technology, word travels a lot faster than it did twenty or even ten years ago.  Find some common interests you share with the prospect and build a rapport.  Build a trust.

The client's characteristics.  Keep their age, experience, job, gender and culture in mind.  Ask questions that will key you in on how they receive their influence.  Do they frequent a social club?  Then maybe word of mouth is the best way to approach them.  Do they have a copy of The Wall Street Journal poking out of their briefcase?  Print ad and news stories; cold hard facts.  Are they religious?  Cite that your product's manufacturer supports a charity they might find appealing.  Every single aspect of their being is a clue as to how they like to be approached.  Be observant.

The product itself.  The features of your product, service or message should not be lost in a flood data.  Tailoring how you present this along with the above mentioned aspects will help you to not bombard the client with unwanted information that may scare or turn the client off.

When you have the proper Data package and the right delivery method in place, you will begin to notice that you have diminished the past experience factor by providing the client with a brand new experience.  One that if successful, you have subtly delivered in a manner that leaves them open to a change in perception about their beliefs due to your burgeoning relationship.

And when you have a relationship in which you are able to change their perception about their beliefs, the sale is all but in the bag.  And that's just where we like it.

Dr. Dan Neundorf

Impact Training and Development

Dr. Dan Neundorf is the Director and Lead Trainer at Impact Training and Development Inc. Holding a doctorate in education (Ed.D.), Dr. Neundorf has over 25 years of experience as a leadership coach, training director, facilitator and University Professor. To contact Dr. Neundorf, the author of Influence: How to Get it and Keep it and Sales Influence: The Secret To Making Your Relationships Work, email him at [email protected]