Head / Heart / Gut selling – a balanced and human approach to sales and business development.
Many years ago Nike introduced the slogan “Just Do It” to market their products and build brand support. The U.S. Army introduced the slogan “Be All You Can Be” to attract new recruits. Both of these slogans speak to human potential, personal challenge and about stepping up to succeed. In similar fashion, those of us in sales face a daunting set of challenges to be the best we can and to offer our finest to our clients. Although we may not have a slogan or motto we live by, we are called to efficiently and professionally perform the process of selling (uncovering and developing needs, providing solutions and securing commitment) while balancing those activities with effective interpersonal skills. Our success is dependent on our ability to master both sides of the equation – apply the process and develop the soft skills required for relational success. That balancing act requires knowledge, skills and attributes that satisfy clients in every interaction. Failure in any of these elements can negatively impact the overall outcome and damage our brand and reputation.
To assist those committed to raising their level of performance by forging stronger connections with their clients; I’m sharing this simple and compelling model that has worked well over the years for me and my clients. Don’t focus on one client buying or influence zone only, be sure to connect with your clients at a head, heart and gut level to achieve lasting success.
Head – Process, or technical selling, relies largely on analysis, data, logic and knowledge without addressing or targeting the human aspect of making the sale. This approach diminishes or even ignores the value of the seller’s relationship with the client. It often leads to a lowest price discussion and puts us and our firm in a commodity or low price position. It can also undermine marketing and advertising efforts that try to build a strong and value based brand. It can reduce client support and block opportunities for business development.
Heart – Emotional, or relationship selling can be viewed as being too affective or expressive and position the seller as being overly sensitive and one not to be taken seriously. Some sales people rely almost solely on emotions because they lack critical technical skills or knowledge relating to their products and services. They often rely too much on personal rapport and connection to mask or deflect focus from their deficiencies or weaknesses. The heart is important but not at the expense of the facts.
Gut – Intuition and instinctual selling can result in the sales person to be viewed as weak and ineffective because of too much focus on perceptions that may lack substance and depth. On the other hand, sales people that don’t pick up on unspoken clues may come across as lacking emotional intelligence and sensitivity and not take advantage of, or speak to what many realize is the elephant in the corner.
Being out of balance is being out of step with our clients and can result in us finding ourselves replaced by a more proficient problem-solver who is able to equally blend the functional with the interpersonal. The best sales professionals recognize client needs and provide solutions, while simultaneously relating to customers as the unique and individual people they are.
To “Be All You Can Be”, strive to balance all three components of the Head / Heart / Gut selling approach. That means some people have to get out of their head to connect with a client on a personal level. Others must include more logic in the form of facts and data to be taken seriously. Some need to actually speak up and share their gut feelings and risk speaking the truth to bring about change or add significant value. The best sales people realize that constant shifting and adapting is required to address client requirements, preferences and even changing moods. These sales professionals model the attitudes and behaviours that create a standard of excellence by which all other competitive efforts are judged.
In my September blog, I discussed the benefits the Head / Heart / Gut model can have on your organization. Take a moment to read it http://www.kison.com//listen-to-your-head-heart-and-gut/. Here is also a link to a short video from a session where I provide some perspective on this topic and how you can apply it to your business and relationships. http://www.kison.com//resources/videos/#connect-with-your-clients-heart-and-gut