Category Archives for "Sales Training"

Why It’s Okay to Lie to Salespeople

The reason most prospects lie to you is that they have multiple layers of sales resistance.

Traditionally the sale model has always been about advancing the sale. Well, the people in your market place are fed up with the traditional sales model.

People are tired of being manipulated.

Inwardly, the prospect you’re dealing with simply wants to be treated like a person. And all too often the sales dialogs or scripts you’re using are structured with the sales process in mind first—and not the person on the other end.

Think about it from your own experiences.

How many times have you been approached and you knew the top priority of the salesperson was to advance the sale? The car salesmen. The insurance agent. They cared more about their agenda than they did about you.

As Greg Swan said, Life stinks when your heads up your….

Death to the Traditional Sales Model

Well the person you’re attempting to serve is no different. People have become extremely sensitive to the slightest hint of anything to do with the sales process.

Yes. I’m an advocate of becoming highly skilled with questions so you can diagnose your client’s needs [critical if you want to earn a paycheck in this soft market].

BUT…you’ve got to be very careful. You have to be very delicate and super-sensitive to the person you’re talking to…and their needs.

And the best thing I’ve found to help remove sales resistance is to completely let go of your sales agenda. I mean throw it out the window. Focus totally and completely on their needs—not your goals.

The real goal should be to get to a genuine, authentic dialog with that person.

By getting to what sales trainer Ari Galper refers to as the real truth, you’re positioning yourself to be a true problem solver.

But until you get to the real truth you’re actually stuck in somewhat of a guessing game.

See oddly enough, over time, it has become completely socially acceptable to lie to salespeople.

Why? Because the overriding opinion about salespeople is they’re only interested in getting the sale.

The worst part is all the sales models, all the sales training, all the traditional tools have been teaching us to advance the sales process. Well guess what? People have figured the process out.

They can smell it from a mile away. And if they catch even the slightest trace that you’re attempting to advance the sale…you’ve lost the game.

Once they sense that you’re in any way attempting to advance your agenda…you’ll never get to the real truth.

And unconsciously they will feel completely justified in lying to you.

4 Hidden Pressure Points

Whenever potential clients feel sales pressure, they almost always respond with defense and resistance and lying. Hidden sales pressure takes many forms. If we can avoid the ways we bring sales pressure into our cold calling, then we can stop triggering this response.

Here are four hidden sales pressures that we bring to our cold calling:

1. Focusing On the Sales Agenda
If you’re like most people who make cold calls, you’re hoping to make a sale — or at least an appointment — before you even pick up the phone. The problem is the people you call somehow almost immediately notice your mindset.

They sense that you are only focused on your goals and interests, rather than on finding out what they might need or want. This short-circuits the whole process of communication and trust building.

So try this. Practice shifting your mental focus into thinking, “When I make this call, first I’m going to build a conversation. From this, a level of trust can emerge which allows us to exchange information back and forth. And then we can both determine if there’s a fit or not.”

When your focus shifts from making a sale into making a conversation, there’s no sales pressure. Many people enjoy conversations. Moreover, as long as you’re sincere, this will be one of them.

2. Talking About Ourselves First
When we start our cold calls with a mini-pitch about who we are and what we have to offer, we’ve introduced sales pressure right away. The other person knows we want to make a sale, and they have to respond to that pressure. Most will respond with defense or rejection or lying.

So instead, start your conversation by focusing on a need or issue you know the other person is likely facing. Step into their world and invite them to share whether they’re open to exploring possible solutions with you.

3. Forcing the Conversation into a Pre-Planned Strategy or Script
Here’s a hard one to avoid if we’re using scripts or carefully planned cold calling strategies.

When we rely on these methods, it’s usually because we just don’t know how else to “do” cold calling. However, when we take charge of a conversation in this way, the other person almost always feels like they are being maneuvered. That’s pressure.

I’m not suggesting that we don’t prepare and plan for our cold calls. There are some really good ways to begin cold calls that we’ll want to use over and over. Additionally, there are special phrases we can use that convey well the fact that we’re interested in solving a problem for the other person.

What we want to avoid, however, is trying to control a cold calling conversation. This almost always happens with scripts and old-style sales strategies. Potential clients feel this pressure and respond negatively.

4. Bubbling with Over-Enthusiasm
The problem with over-enthusiasm in our conversations is that the other person has to make a decision whether to buy into our perspective, or reject it. They feel the hidden sales pressure that wants them to be carried along with our enthusiasm. This usually means braking, whether gently or abruptly.

With over-enthusiasm (which is often just an offshoot of our tension), potential clients feel somewhat boxed in. They feel the pressure of our expectations so they feel compelled to respond either positively or negatively. Most will almost always respond negatively.

So chill out.


Eliminating all sales pressure from your conversations will invite the other person to respond much more warmly and positively.

And the best way to do that is to completely throw out your sales agenda. Focus on diffusing pressure. This is a gentle process where you carefully use language that demonstrates you’re only interested in serving them.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Conquering Call Reluctance Once and For All

Anne G. reviews the MLS to make sure she knows all of the new listings that might be of interest to her buyers–instead of following up on her leads.

Hank M. defers his follow up calls so he can build his industry knowledge by reading journals and newsletters.

And Chris H. finds herself giving in to the impulse to write proposals for prospective clients rather than pick up the phone.

What do these three real estate agents share in common? You probably guessed it, call reluctance.

Call reluctance is the “social disease of the sales profession.” Each year, call reluctance single-handedly accounts for over half of all failures in one of the largest professions in the world.

In their book Earning What You’re Worth, researchers George Dudley and Shannon Gooson write that as many as 80 percent of all salespeople who fail within their first year do so because of insufficient call activity.

Unresolved call reluctance can cause frustration and loss of sales. So with this in mind, how do you overcome call reluctance?

Here are five tips:

1. Aim for a number of calls you will make each day. Make this goal small and comfortable.

2. Next, increase the daily number of calls you will make. Do this slowly. Here you will start to see that you don’t encounter the bad things you imagined, or, if you do, you find out that you can handle them.

3. Record each call. In a notebook strictly devoted to your sales calls, make notes about things you should have done differently. Keep this notebook handy whenever you make sales calls and review it every day before you make phone calls.

4. Realize the difference between real and imaginary threats. Over time you will recognize that ninety-nine times out of a hundred the bad things you thought would happen, don’t. And if you do experience rejection or fear, realize it’s not personal. The caller is rejecting your offer, not you.

5. Report to an accountability person. Whether it’s you’re spouse or friend, broker or coach, invite someone to help you stay on track and meet your goals.

Caution: Research shows that successful people do the hard things other people refuse to do. Work through these five steps only if you want to break through to the next level. Follow the footsteps of the successful now and within time you will prosper.

Related Articles

Pleasure and Pain: The Seemingly Dark Art of Manipulation

Why So Many Agents Fall Down Before the God of Commission-Cutting

9 Coercive Selling Tactics

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

Wendy Kopp’s Elegant Idea to Growing Your Business

Last Monday I asked the question: “Why would anyone in there right mind work with fewer people?”

If you still think it’s either impossible or a bad idea to limit who you work with, read this following story. It should convince you of the power of selectivity. [via]

The idea: convince Harvard graduates to teach in America’s roughest public schools

In th spring of 1988, Wendy Kopp graduated from Princeton with an idea: why not convince graduates from leading universities to spend the first two years of their careers teaching low income kids in the public education system?

She had no money, no office, no infrastructure, no name, no credibility, no furniture, not even a bed or a dresser in which to store her clothes. Leaving Princeton, Kopp moved into a small room in New York City and approached the Mobil Corporation.

Once Mobil agreed to grant $26,000 of seed capital to fund her idea, Teach for America, Kopp spent the next 365 days in a juggling act–convincing top-flight people to join her bus with the promise that she would convince donors to fund the bus… while at the same time convincing donors that she would convince top-flight people to join her bus….

One year later, Kopp stood in front of 500 recent graduates from colleges like Yale, Harvard and Michigan. These graduates assembled for training and deployment into America’s under served classrooms.

And how did she convince these graduates to work for low pay in tough classrooms?

First, by tapping their idealistic passions. Second by the making the process selective.

She basically said to all these overachieving college students: “If you’re really good, you might be able to join our cause. But first you have to submit to a rigorous screening and evaluation process. You should prepare yourself for rejection, because it takes special capability to succeed in these classrooms.”

Selectivity led to credibility with donors, which increased funding, which made it possible to attract and select even more people into the programs.

As of 2005, more than 97,000 individuals applied to be part of Teach for America and only 14,100 made the cut, while revenues grew to nearly $40 million in annual support.

Wendy Kopp understood three fundamental points.

First, the more selective the process, the more attractive a position becomes–even if volunteer or low pay. The same is true if people are paying you.

Second, the social sectors have one compelling advantage: desperate craving for meaning in our lives.

Purity of mission–be it about educating people, connecting people to God, making our cities safe, touching the soul with great art, feeding the hungry, serving the poor, or protecting our freedom–has the power to ignite passsion and commitment.

Third, the number one resource for a great organization is having enough of the right people willing to commit themselves to mission.

In real estate, this translates to creating momentum–a flywheel–that will eventually turn by itself.

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5 Essential Strategies to Become a Real Estate Leader without Doing Anything Shady

Machiavelli. Hobbes. Nietzsche.

These classical thinkers and their power philosophies may guide the behavior of the world’s dictators…but they are grossly inconsistent with true ethical leadership in real estate sales.

Case in point: If we judge according to a high standard of leadership, Hitler, Idi Amin, and Jim Jones were never leaders despite enormous but temporary power and materialistic success. [Neither were these naughty agents ever leaders.]

Louis B. Lundborg states this truth:

“A leader is one whom others will follow willingly and voluntarily. That rules out tyrants, bullies, autocrats and all other who use coercive power to impose their will on others.”

Or as Kenneth O. Gangel correctly observes:

“Leadership is not political powerplay. Leadership is not authoritarian attitude. Leadership is not cultic control.”

Yet we must never think that a leader is powerless…

The World’s Idea of Power Is False

Indeed, to suggest that a leader is without authority is to pose the anomaly of a leader with no followers. In fact, leadership is a special kind of authority: legitimized power–the power of ethical, inspiring influence and enablement.

This kind of authority can be awesome in its effect upon individuals and families and colleagues. It is the kind of power an excellent teacher or guide brings to bear upon the people he or she serves.

Legitimized power avoids manipulative tactics to enhance the leaders status or to accomplish the leader’s agenda. The real ultimate test of genuine leadership is the realization of enduring change that meets people’s most basic physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

There is the almost irresistible tendency to judge leadership by production statistics and materialist standards and to grant esteem and promotion to such successful people.

But if actual needs in the lives of people are not met…no meaningful leadership has taken place despite whatever production numbers were exceeded or income achieved.

Leadership Versus Management

We should distinguish between leadership and management, although sometimes the differences are pushed too far and become contrived. Of course, there is overlap, and the differences are not always crystal clear.

As is obvious, a good leader must have good management skills, and good managers usually have leadership qualities. It is difficult to imagine a good manager who is not also a good leader and vice versa.

  1. Vision: A leader has greater vision than a manager. Leaders go beyond the day to day and see the whole relationship in the scope of a lifetime. Leaders envision objectives never dreamed of. And they inspire others to share those dreams.
  2. Renewal: Leaders want change. They want revision of process and structure, with an eye toward changing outmoded methods, defining new goals, tapping new resources, motivating or enlisting personnel and invigorating the family, the company and it’s individuals. Managers give directions and evaluate performance. Leaders stimulate achievement and energize everyone. Leaders are more creative, innovative and transforming.
  3. Orientation: Leaders are people-oriented. They think in terms of people and their needs. Managers think about getting things done. Managers tend to be more task- and program- and profit-oriented. Leaders think about doing right things to help people maximize their potentials. Managers supervise people, but leaders energize people.

5 Essential Leadership Strategies

Real leaders must be distinguished from mere power wielders. Real estate leaders never use people to accomplish their own agendas, but inspire others to achieve their own goals. The test of genuine leadership is change that meets family and personal needs and enables people to feel fulfilled after the transaction is done.

The primary task of good leaders in influencing people are:

  1. Leaders listen. Their decisions and actions are based on real understanding of their clients needs.
  2. Leaders build cooperation. They never set out to use people to accomplish their goals and purposes. They disavow personal partisanship in favor of developing a spirit of cooperation and loyalty.
  3. Leaders inspire. And then get out of the way. Good leaders infuse others with an animating, quickening and exalting spirit of enthusiasm for the task of buying and selling a home. They do this primarily through their personal optimism, authenticity, enthusiasm and example.
  4. Leaders emphasize values. They focus on the fundamentals of value systems, reasons, philosophies, intrinsic truths, structures, objectives, designs, moods, emotions and environment.
  5. Leaders balance priorities. There is always awareness of the person, the family and the job to be done. No one of these is sacrificed for the benefit of the other.

In fulfilling these primary tasks of leadership, the real estate agent may do a variety of other things, yet all is done under the spirit of personal value, cooperation and service.

Now it’s your turn: tell me about leaders in your life who have had a profound impact on you? Did they use any of these strategies? If not, what made them leaders in your eyes? What strategies am I missing?

Pleasure and Pain: The Seemingly Dark Art of Manipulation

One of the most powerful ways to generate direct marketing responses is to set out reasons why responding to your offer brings wonderful pleasure and why not responding sustains or even increases pain.

Whenever you can, set up pleasure and pain offers. You can do this even in face to face presentations.

Tell your prospects all the good things that come by working with you or buying a particular home…

And then suggest the bad things that may occur (or remain the same) by not responding.

Articulating pleasure and pain offers simply means telling people the favorable consequences of accepting your offer and the undesirable consequences of doing nothing.

Here are a couple of examples:

Why They Should Choose You as Their Agent

•  Pleasure: “Sell your home for the most money, in the fastest time and simplest way because I use proven marketing methods and have a vast network.”

•  Pain: “Choose a different agent and you may end up working with inexperienced, careless, even thoughtless agents that will drag the sale of your home own for ages, refuse to negotiate and market the home as minimally as possible.”

Why They Should Buy That Particular Home

•  Pleasure: “End constant frustration with limited storage space, enjoy vaulted ceilings, ample sunlight and a vast, fenced in yard.”

•  Pain: “Skip this opportunity now and the next buyer strolling up may beat you to the punch.”

Why It Makes Sense to Put an Offer On This Home Now

•  Pleasure: “Position yourself to move into this home sooner rather than later, besides…”

•  Pain: “Waiting to put an offer on this home might allow another buyer to come in and put an offer on it and then the seller may like the idea of a price war, which means the highest bidder wins.”

Pain Is Not Torture, If…

To some this may seem like manipulation. In my mind, as long as you are telling the truth and not withholding certain truth…it is not manipulation.

You are giving facts to a person to help them make a decision. Ari Galper’s got this down pat.

One thing that is extremely helpful when working with pleasure and pain offers is that you believe in yourself–and what you are doing.

If you don’t believe in yourself and don’t believe or enjoy what you are doing…then your resistance to this approach maybe a symptom to something deeper: job dissatisfaction, low-self esteem, insecurity.

I confess: I struggled early in my career with face to face sales simply because I was insecure. But that was not all…

Then I discovered I was an introvert. And that explained a lot.

Figuring out that I was an introvert [and being okay with it!] helped me to operate where I could be the most productive.

Writing is infinitely easier to me than face to face. I eat, sleep, read writing. It comes very natural. Face to face, on the other, is a vicious exercise of the will.

What that tells me is that I need to spend most of my time behind a keyboard. I’m very comfortable behind a keyboard, and salesmanship in print is very easy for me.

Still Not Comfortable with Manipulation? Think About This

Now, if telling people the truth about the pleasure and pain of certain decisions still feels below you and you are certain you are not insecure or introverted or in the wrong job altogether, then consider other issues outside of buying or selling a home.

Like drug addiction.

Would you be manipulating someone if you told them the pleasures of not doing drugs (stability in your life and freedom from worry about cash, cops or crashes)…

And then the pain of drug addiction (broken relationships, poor job performance, financial ruin)?

Consider this approach to other weighty issues, like teen pregnancy and smoking. Then move across the spectrum to subtler issues, say choosing a college, and finally buying a home.

I think you’ll see that it’s not manipulation when you are sincerely concerned for the other person and are simply putting all the cards on the table.

Even better is this: If you can remain objective during the process and even say, “You know, this may not even be the home for you. I just wanted you to know all the facts.”

Are You Making This Persuasion Mistake?

If you’ve ever wondered what The Bridge on the River Kwai, psychotic strangers, Abraham Maslow, concrete rebar and flaky surgeons have to do with persuasion and sales skills then you’ll want to read this…

The Surprise Hero of the Story

In the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai Alec Guinness plays the part of the British officer who is tortured by the Japanese to force his men to build a bridge that has military value to the Japanese.

Guinness finally consents when he thinks that perhaps allowing his men to build the bridge would be good therapy for them.

His men on the other hand think its some kind of trick. They think they are supposed to sabotage the bridge. What they don’t understand is the mindset of this British officer.

Guinness plays a character who takes pride in his country, his army, his work. Delivering anything less than the best is not in his thoughts. In fact, he wants to prove to the Japanese that the British build the finest bridges in the world.

The interesting turn in the story occurs when an American solider arrives trying to destroy the bridge. Alec Guinness fights to keep the solider from blowing up the bridge, a bridge that is helping the Japanese fight the Americans.

Now let me ask you: who’s the hero of the story?

It’s not William Holden. It’s Alec Guinness. Why is that?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow years ago presented an idea known as the “heirarchy of needs.” In his representation of this hierarchy of needs, he’s set up a pyramid:

1. Survival

2. Security

3. Social

4. Self-Esteem

5. Self-Actualization

The idea is that through life you gradually work your way up that pyramid.

As a baby, your only concern is food, water, sleep. As you get older, you realize that your parents and the house you live in protects you. About age 3 you understand that the world does not revolve around you. About 13 you kind of return back to yourself, craving to feel important, to be independent.

And finally, you want to have purpose. Not only that, but you want to achieve all of your dreams. You want to burn up, not burn out.

Later in his life, though, Maslow added to more needs: the need for consistency and the need for order.

This is the answer to why Alec Guinness is the hero of the Bridge Over River Kwai.

He’s a person that is consistent and predictable. He has a set of values that he does not waver from.

In fact, if you remember, in the early part of the movie you see this as he endures enormous torture from heat and isolation, but never backs down from his original statement. It’s not until he’s relieved and allowed to determine their fate.

This means he’s a person who can be trusted.

How This Applies to Real Estate

Imagine if this happened to you:

A surgeon says, “Sorry to say this, but you are going to need a quadruple bypass surgery.”

And you say, “Can’t we just do a double bypass?”

He then replies, “Alright, we’ll do a double and see how you do after that.”

How secure would you feel after that?

The same applies in business and persuasion. In fact, a huge part of persuasion deals with consistency.

The rule of thumb is this: we tend to trust the people who are reliable, consistent and predictable.

Say you live in house on a street with just one other house. You’re not going to trust the total stranger who moves in there until he demonstrates he’s stable, consistent or predictable.

If he proves himself to be off his rocker or strange or unpredictable, do you think you are going to trust him if he comes over and says, “Hey, can I borrow your car? I need to run to the store.”

I hope not.

Neither should your clients trust you if you blow off phone calls or cave in at every suggestion. Don’t be surprised if you can’t get them to agree with anything you suggest.

I find it impossible to respect, let alone trust, someone who is flaky, shallow or weak. What about you?

On the flip side of it, demonstrate that you are a person of consistency and you will have people eating out of your hand [okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you get my point].

Consistency in behavior, especially in difficult or tense times, is the biggest part to influencing people.

That’s why it’s so imporatnt to figure out what you stand for, what your values are, what makes you tick, what ticks you off.

Create that marketing plan, dust off that personal mission statement.

Then it’s important to get a backbone as rigid as rebar. If you want to be a person of influence then you need to have what it takes to stand the heat.

If you don’t, then you are making a big mistake.

Expect people to walk over you. More importantly, expect to feel like your life is out of control, that you are a victim.

Why So Many Agents Fall Down Before the God of Commission Cutting

Do you know the value you bring to a real estate transaction? Could you easily justify your 6% commission to a skeptical buyer?

Often, real estate agents don’t know the value they bring to a transaction. They underestimate their worth. They dread the “C” word. They worry someone will figure them out.

So, when commission is mentioned, they throw themselves at a buyer’s feet and say, “How much?”

Over dramatized, I agree, but close to the truth. Especially in this wonderful mortgage meltdown we seem to be having.

Knowing the value of what you bring to the table is essential if you want to overcome any objection to a 6% commission.

With that in mind here are five simple reasons to justify your commission:

1. Without a professional, sellers may not sell as quickly. This is critical if they have a deadline or contingency clause on another house.

2. You are an objective, seasoned negotiator. You bring an emotional, clear-headed stability to the table. You are able to see the whole picture and you might pick up on advantages amateur negotiators would miss.

3. You know competent home inspectors, architects, contractors. You’ve been dealing with these people for years and know their work well.

4. You will list their home on the MLS–a privilege granted only to real estate professionals. And the MLS means nationwide exposure.

5. You will advertise and promote a seller’s home on the internet in newspapers, magazine ads, brochures, the MLS and on your own web site. To do this themselves would be costly.

Listen, the point is to distinguish yourself as an expert in the art of buying and selling a home. Educate yourself. Designate yourself.

Lawyers command enormous fees for a reason: they are experts. Surgeons are the same way. It’s not enough to say that you passed your state exam.

You have to define some skill you bring to the table that any hack on the street couldn’t bring. And once you define this for yourself, learn how to articulate it with pose and clarity.

Finally, have the courage to walk away from any deal, especially if someone insists you cut your commission. This attitude alone will make you a powerhouse, profit-making real estate professional.

Then, believe in yourself. Wholeheartedly.

Problems Questions Can Create

Tom Freize knows questions. Ari Galper knows. Our boy Socrates knows.

There’s no doubt that questions are a powerful way to persuade.

Through questions the party you are negotiating with can be led toward the conclusion you desire. However, the use of questions can also raise several problems that can easily kill any deal.

First, one may touch an emotional chord with a poorly worded question.

When filling out an application, the proper way to ask a woman her age is not, “When were you born?,” but “On this form, they require your age. Some people prefer ‘twenty-one’ plus. Do you have a preference?”

Second, avoid confrontational questions like, “Why would you make a demand like that?” Instead, ask “Why is that important to you?” This permits full and continuing discussion.

Third, questions can cause problems by the way of their form or substance. That means don’t ask questions that carry any vague implications or that can be turned against you.

The following illustration proves my point.

A clergyman asked his superior, “May I smoke while I pray?” Permission was emphatically denied. Another clergyman asked the same superior, “May I pray while smoking?” Permission was happily granted.

One more thought: use questions for clarification, not to score points against your adversary.

Finally, well-conceived questions can be a powerful tool for recognizing the needs of the other party…and knowing their needs puts you in a position of power and moves you closer to wrapping up the sale.

So tell, me any other problems I missed? Any horror stories you want to share from asking the wrong question?

What about this: ever asked a question and realized as soon as you asked it you wanted it back? Did that same question turn a good situation into a sour one?

Let me know what you think. Looking forward to hearing from you!

If you haven’t already, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

Obsession: A Painful Lesson in Options

When it comes to personal freedom among the citizens of the world’s countries, Americans tend to stand apart.

Germans, for example, are willing to obey strict building codes to preserve the historic beauty of their cities.

Canadians are willing to accept stricter gun control laws for personal safety.

Americans, on the other hand, have an incredible desire for personal freedom, no matter how destructive it may be.

We have a tremendous desire to feel free; we don’t want to feel like we’ve been outmaneuvered and only have one choice
left open to us.

The Lesson

That’s why when you are in a closing situation you should always give the other side two options from which to choose.

The key to the Two-Options technique, however, is that both options must be acceptable to you.

You say, “Well, Jack and Jill, I don’t think that there is any question that you should buy this home…the question becomes, how do we work it out so that you can live comfortably with the investment?”

“Let’s take a look at these two different financing plans and tell me which would be best for you. One is a…”

The takeaway lesson here: never back anyone into a corner by saying, “Take it or leave it, they won’t reduce the price.”

Chances are they will probably leave it.

The Pain

Then again, I’ve been in positions myself where I got it into my head that I had to have something. And I wouldn’t budge. Later I regretted the decision.

Have you ever done that?

And have you ever been in a situation where you saw a client who was hooked and it was obvious no amount of reason could persuade them differently?

At that point, are they truly free?

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9 Coercive Selling Techniques

In the first season of 24, Jack Bauer was coerced into assisting a political assassination, by threat of harm to his wife and daughter.

By threat of blackmail, the five main characters in The Usual Suspects are coerced into paying back a debt to Keyser Soze.

And in The Empire Strikes Back, Lando Calrissian is coerced by Darth Vader into double crossing Han Solo, as bait to trap Luke Skywalker.

As you might have guessed, these are all examples of coercion.

If you’ve been following our blog or subscribing to our newsletter for any length of time, it should be clear to you that I don’t believe marketing or sales should be coercive. I think you’ll know that I think it should be the opposite, meaning it should allow someone to choose freely and willfully.

The fact that some people use influence or persuasion to get money a lot of times puts the idea of selling, marketing and persuasion as evil. Puts a bad taste in their mouth. And yes, of course, persuasion has been abused throughout history. And will continue to be abused.

At some point in time, however, we all use influence to get things in life—time, love, friendship, fame, power, loyalty, and yes . . . money too.

But here’s the irony—persuasion works best when it’s invisible. The most effective influence leaves people with the impression that they have made a completely independent decision based only on the facts.

With that in mind, here are nine tried and true selling techniques that fly under a prospect’s radar, disarm cynicism, and yet still powerfully persuade. You can come to you own conclusions about their level of evil.

•  Reciprocation: People tend to return a favor. Thus, the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing and selling. In his conferences, Robert Cialdini often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethopia in 1937.

•  Commitment and Consistency: If people commit, verbally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment.

•  Social Proof: People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in a late 70’s experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky. Bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. Living in the same neighborhood or subdivision where you are selling homes and sharing that fact with your clients is an example of social proof. This information will immediately make your client feel comfortable with buying a home in that area because they already “know” someone else doing it.

•  Authority: People will tend to obey authority and celebrity figures.

•  Liking: People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. The Guinness Book of World Records listed Joe Girard as the “World’s Greatest Retail Salesman” for 12 consecutive years. What was his secret? He built and maintained relationships.

•  Scarcity: Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying there are only three homes with a particular floor plan available in a new subdivision works. If it is true, of course.

•  Honesty: Try pointing out the flaws of a home upfront, and being brutally frank. In this day and age of exaggeration and fine print, people are so disarmed by simple and intentional honesty that they will pay closer attention to the rest of what you have to say. You’ll have more credibility in the prospect’s eyes when it’s time for a purchase decision.

•  Storytelling: Stories engage a person’s mind and emotions in a way that dry sales text can never accomplish. It’s also something they will never forget. In addition to the literal story that you tell, every good story provides a connotation that allows the reader to draw their own conclusions. And since people rarely argue with their own conclusions…

•  Teaching: When we learn new things, we grow new neural connections in our brains as we expand our knowledge. And brain research confirms that emotional engagement is linked to learning because it helps us recall relevant memories stored in our central nervous system. Teach someone about a homes history, architecture or unique materials–and don’t forget why the material was used–is simply smart selling.