Whole Brain Thinking and Sales
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Are you using your whole brain to influence others?
Have you ever been sat in a meeting de-energised because the focus is on plans and progress tracking when what you really want to discuss is strategy and new ideas?
Perhaps the meeting is focusing on customer or employee needs and concerns when you’d rather discuss business objectives and measures. Are you aware that the reason for this frustration and loss of energy could be routed in your own thinking preferences?
When making decisions to buy a product do you prefer to (a) focus on facts, (b) focus on product features and claims, (c) focus on the “look and feel” of the product and what others think or (d) focus on aspects of a product that are fun or innovative? Again, this points to your thinking preferences.
Thinking preferences are like filters for the sensory information we absorb every minute of every day. They determine how we take in, process and disseminate information. In effect they create a lens through which we see the world around us.
So, how can understanding thinking preferences help in sales and influencing others?
Understand what people need – speak their language!
How often do you ask yourself “what information does this person need in order to make a decision or resolve the problem?” Consider the following customers;
Mrs “Just give me the facts” – she is likely to have done some research so make sure you are credible. Know your stuff and have data to back up your ideas or claims.
Mr “Show me you care about me” – he wants genuine interest from you, so ditch the “script” and make a personal connection. Use storytelling to back up your ideas or claims.
Mr “What’s the plan” – he’s the type of guy who wants a clear, linear walk through of the information you want or need to present. He will want to know timelines, details and what happens next. Use case studies to prove the reliability of your ideas and claims.
Mrs “What are the possibilities” – she’s the type of woman who needs to see the big picture and doesn’t want to get bogged down in detail. She likes flexibility and wants to know “why” and to focus on creative or innovative aspects of your ideas or claims. Use metaphors to get your point across.
A word of warning! – be careful of gender stereotyping. It’s simply not true that men are the factual ones and women think more emotionally or that women are the planners and men the risk takers. Human beings are individuals so look for the clues rather than relying on what you think you know.
Prepare well – cover all bases
Until you begin interacting with someone you won’t know what their thinking preferences are. For this reason, prepare for all eventualities.
First create context, what are you trying to get across and why? Paint the big picture.
Secondly, have an agenda or meeting outline in mind (it doesn’t have to be detailed). Use this framework to manage expectations, stay on point and focus on the purpose of the conversation.
Thirdly, use facts and data to back up your ideas and/or claims. You may not need it all, but it can be useful to create clarity and perspective.
Lastly, think about how you will engage emotionally. What stories and case studies could you use? Above all ask good questions and listen.
Learn how to spot clues – tailor your approach
“Language is a window into the mind”. People will provide you with clues to their thinking preferences if you know what to look for. These clues will be in statements they make, phrases they use, their patterns of speech and in their body language. If you are in their office or personal environment there will be other clues too.
For example, consider the person who says, “I like proven products that have passed the test of time” and “I like to play it safe”. They ask you questions about quality and reliability whilst using controlled facial expressions (in their very neat and tidy office environment). This person is very likely to be a practical thinker. They will want and expect details, a step-by-step approach and a plan.
The person who says, “Just give me relevant data” and “I need to quantify the benefits”, who asks questions about value and/or functionality, who displays little or no emotion and whose workspace is sparse and business-like is very likely to be a rational or logical thinker.
Spotting these clues is important because you can flex your approach to meet that person’s preferences, rather than expect them to flex to yours, as is often the case.
Where do I start?
Good communication skills, influencing ability and leadership starts with you. Understand you own preferences and how they impact on others. To help you do this Zentano have created a couple of complimentary resources we are happy to send to you. Please contact us here for more details.
From there, learn to spot clues that other people give you and then try different tactics and approaches to engage with them, influence them and help them drive decision-making.
Whole Brain Thinking preferences form an integral part of our approach to developing Leadership and Management capability and the ability to implement Consultative Selling Skills. If you want to know more, we offer a complimentary one-hour meeting to help you assess what your business needs and decide what actions you should take. Please contact us here.
Your brain is the most valuable tool you have, but are you using it as well as you could do?