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The Power of Suggestion

It is human nature for prospects to initially dismiss your selling points. However, you will find that any point you want to drive home, when referred to a third party, will have a better chance that your prospect will not dismiss it. Prospects are more apt to trust someone else’s opinion, even if it is the exact one you are promoting, when you credit an outside source for the origination of an idea.

This is especially true with points of contention that are emotionally charged. By using a third party reference, you can test the waters for your ideas and be somewhat protected if it backfires. For example: “We had a customer who complained about XYZ Corp in their ability to deliver on time. I don’t suppose you have experienced poor delivery?” And if you get a negative response you can fall back with, “I didn’t think so.” This allows you to minimize the disruption in the flow and momentum of your conversation.

Any time you can depersonalize your own selling points, you are perceived as less aggressive and generally more believable because you give your prospect the autonomy to self-discover their own conclusions. The power of suggestion can be effective and disarming. Moreover, third party references to problems that your prospect is experiencing directly will allow the prospect to admit a problem but take some of the sting out of admitting it directly to themselves. For example: “A colleague and I are constantly going back and forth on the importance of this new technology. What do you think?”

What will prevent you from using this technique is that you will want to go for the jugular and make your points decisively instead of subtly. Third party selling requires a little more tact, less ego, and more patience. It also requires the belief that your prospects frequently are smarter than you sometimes give them credit for.

When utilizing third party selling try to use examples that give your selling points balance and a sense of neutrality. By doing so, you gain credibility and trust. For example:

  • Not everyone buys this argument, but some in the industry are saying this is the wave of the future. What do you think?”
  • “Independent studies in the industry are showing conflicting results with this technology. What are your experiences?”
  • I know that some of our competitors are actively attacking this new technology. What is your company’s stand on this technology?”

Third party selling projects a non-selling posture of being fair and neutral. It also empowers the prospect to feel less pressure when they want to voice their opinions and allows the salesperson to get to the truth of the matter faster.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com