What’s Your Worldview

What’s Your Worldview

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say, “Salesman”?  Or for that matter, what do you think when I say “Apple Computer”?  I can only imagine what you might say.  But I’m sure your answers were similar to “Closer” for salesman and “Innovative” for Apple computer.  Am I right, or if not, pretty close?  I thought so.

You shared what Seth Godin would call your “Worldview”.  Everyone has one.  And our worldview represents the beliefs and biases that each of us bring to the table.  “Different people”, Godin says, “Have different worldviews”.  But it’s not who you are.  It’s what you believe.  More than that, it’s what you believe “right now”.

Maybe a better way to describe a “worldview” is to describe it in terms of how you think.  In other words, the story you “tell yourself” when think about a topic, is the story you believe.  Just like you had your own story when I mentioned the word “Salesman” … you’ll have your own story for about anything and everything I could mention.   Let me show you what I mean.

Do you agree with these statements?

  • Selling is selling … no matter what product
  • My sales process is more about me than it is about my customer.
  • Qualifying is an effective way to determine if a visitor might be a potential customer.
  • If done properly, customers don’t realize that they are being qualified.
  • Creating rapport is one of the first things I want to do when my customer arrives.
  • It’s important to discover and present to my customer’s “hot buttons”.
  • A feature and benefit presentation is a good way to build value in my product.
  • If done properly, my presentation will create urgency.
  • Objections are a sign of my customer’s interest.
  • Trial closes allow me to “see where I am” with a customer.
  • I need to close early in the process and I need to close often to be successful.
  • The more I close the more I will sell.

If you’ve read through these statements, there’s one thing that I know for sure.  Each of you had your own worldview.  Some of you agreed and some of you disagreed.  But you agreed or disagreed because of your own beliefs.  In other words, you had your own “story”.  So with this in mind, I’m left with one final question.

Does your worldview help you or hurt you in today’s market and with today’s customer?

Fact or Fiction?

I’m probably going to try something that I shouldn’t try.  I’m going to try to get you to think about your worldview of “selling” … and maybe even change it.  Seth Godin says I shouldn’t, but what the heck.  Let’s start with the questions I asked you about selling.

1.  Selling is selling … no matter what product I’m selling or how much it costs.

The popular worldview would be to say this statement is true, but new research has proved it to be false.  Selling something that doesn’t cost much money is very, very different than selling something that does.

Neil Rackham in his book SPIN Selling proved this to be true.  And he has now completed over thirty years of research to absolutely prove that the selling process for a High-Ticket product needs to be different than for an Low-Ticket product.

Rackham has traced his findings back to the way customers make decisions.  In other words, when customers buy a product that doesn’t cost much money, they follow a simple decision path.  But on the flip side, when they buy a product that costs a lot of money, their decision path is exactly opposite.  Here’s where it gets interesting.

If you are trying to sell real estate and using process that is designed to sell a product that doesn’t cost much money, your sales will drastically suffer.  And unfortunately, the homebuilding industry is overloaded with strategies and techniques that are designed to sell products that don’t cost much money.  Wonder why?

The homebuilding industry’s worldview of selling matches that of most people.  Simply stated, it’s focused on “needs based” selling.  Needs based selling is best described by the following mantra: “Discover the Hot Button … Present to the Hot Button … Close to the Hot Button”.   Which really, really works if you’re trying to sell low-ticket products?  And there’s a reason.

Most people believe that selling is about presenting and closing because that’s what they’re used to.  They’ve bought and sold hundreds of products that don’t cost much money and have watched the process work. And the easiest thing is to believe that if it works for one product, it works for all products.

Still not sure?  Let me leave you with some questions to ponder:

  • Have you ever read about the skill necessary for  selling products that cost a lot of money?
  • What’s it like when you’re “presented to” and “closed” when making your own high-ticket decision?
  • Could your capture rate be better and your discounts lower?

2.  My sales process is more about me than it is about my customer

Have you ever thought about your process from your customer’s point of view?  If you haven’t, it might be a sobering experience.  Take the critical path for instance.  Most people would claim that it’s a pretty “safe” selling process.  But is it really?  Let’s break it down and I’ll let you decide.

Meet and greet is the first part of the process.  And most “experts” would say that the goal of this part of the selling process is to begin the rapport process.  In other words, find some common ground before qualifying your customer.  While all of this might sound good and might match most salespeople’s worldview of a good selling process, there’s still a problem.  It this what your customer really wants or needs?  Ask yourself this question.

Who needs or wants rapport when a customer arrives at your community, you or them?  And if your customer doesn’t want rapport when they arrive, are you putting your agenda ahead of their agenda trying to make it happen?  The answer is probably yes.

Qualifying is the next part of the process.  Rather than make a mistake, I referred to the volumes of literature available in the industry’s current and numerous sales books and articles, to make the following statements.

Qualifying according to this literature is defined as the process of determining your customer’s needs and financial ability.  And who could argue, it seems like the right thing to do, especially if your agenda is to make a sale.  But does your agenda of making a sale match your customer’s shopping agenda?  Not sure?  I’ll explain.

What is your customer’s agenda when they arrive at your community?  Said differently, what are they there to do?  If you said eliminate you, you’re wrong.  With so many choices, they’re looking for the few (two or three) that most definitely stand out.  Think about it.

Customers are there to qualify you!  They want to see if you’re worth more time and further investigation.  So how smart is it for you to signal, “Whoa … wait a second.  Before you qualify me, I need to qualify you first”?

Discovery is the next step in the traditional selling process. In defining discovery, the industry teaches associates to ask questions to discover a customer’s wants, needs and desires. In other words, associates are taught to discover their customer’s “hot buttons”, make a presentation, offer a solution and conclude the transaction as soon as possible.  While it seems the right thing to do, who does it help most?

Think about “needs based” selling.  What are you trying to accomplish?  Aren’t you trying to discover your customer’s needs, make a presentation based on those needs and then close the sale?  See any kind of a problem there?  If not, let me explain.

Rackham, in his thirty plus year research project, discovered that the number one mistake sales people make, is to solve the problem before they’ve fully developed a customer need or desire to have it.  Still confused?  Think about it like this.

Why should a customer desperately want your product … want it above all others … be willing to pay more for it … and want to immediately do the paper work to purchase it?  Would they want to do all of this just because you made a presentation that’s based on their needs?  You be the judge.

The final step in the process is closing the sale.  Worldview and current philosophy declares that the more you “close” the more you sell.  In fact, the same philosophy states that you must close five times to even be close to attaining success.  Guess what?

Closing early and often really works if you’re selling a low-ticket item.  But if you’re selling a product that costs a lot of money, the more you close the less you sell.  Again, Rackham has proved that, with a high-ticket sale, closing early and closing often causes a customer to say, “I need to think about it”.  And they say that when they are asked to make a decision that has high-risk consequences.  The answer is a set of value building skills that help a customer move from ”confused” to “clear” thinking.

Selling a product that costs a lot of money requires a sales process that gets your customer involved in the closing process … not pressured.

Where Do You Stand?

My answers may not be what you want to hear, even though they’re based on thirty years of research.  But that’s not what’s important.  What’s important is that you are now possibly a little bit more prepared to think about selling from a different perspective … your customer’s perspective.  After all, you’re the cost and they’re the profit.

Twenty years ago Rick became the first trainer in the homebuilding industry introduce a sales training program that addressed the differences between high and low-ticket sales strategies.  Today, his Reimagine Selling program is still the only industry program that focuses on the behaviors most closely identified with high-ticket sales success. Reimagine Selling is supported by the longest and largest research study inside and outside the homebuilding industry and produces results better than any program ever.