Straight Line Persuasion

Harsh applied for a sales executive job & after clearing the respective rounds, his final interview with the sales manager is underway. Excerpts from the conversation have been listed below.

Sales Manager: – “Okay Harsh. Can you sell me this pen?”

Most of the times what happens during this question is:

Harsh: – “Okay Sir. This is a beautiful pen that I am holding in my hand. It’s made up of very fine plastic which is more comfortable & this design-able grip gives a it premium look.” And he speaks for another 5 minutes.

From the conversation which you just read, what did you understand? 

Yes. The sales interview with a pitch on pen but there is more which we wanted to convey from this & it is about the selling process. Now, I’ll move to show how can we sell.

I wanted to give you a fine learning & a tactic which is not followed usually while selling & breaking your perception that sales are only about convincing, cajoling & persuading towards your product. This article will be based on the tactic that was given by Jordon Belfort & named as “Straight-line Persuasion”.

Definition of sales:

Sales is absolutely an exchange of commodities, i.e. the customer gets a product/services in lieu of money. But, over the years the definition of sales has evolved now & it is not about selling any more. In fact, it is more about building relations & trust among all the customers who in exchange don’t take the person as a salesman but as a “Sales Consultant”.

Selling the product is not the objective of a person. It is one of the short-term aims that someone wants to fulfill but in the long-term what matters after all is only one thing i.e. “relations”. This is actually a fact that the customer is not interested in your pitch – which has all the data, product specifications & a lot more. What they are really interested in is whether you understand their need at that point of time & suggest them the things smartly without directing or jabbing your product into their throats. 

One of the selling tactics or approach which I also like the most is “Straight Line Persuasion” which ultimately helps an individual to grow at his/her own level & build trust between the sales person & customer.

What is “Straight Line Persuasion”??

It’s a system that almost has an art & a style to it, & a specific science that involves the following:

Three things which are most important in this method are:

  • Developing customer rapport.
  • Controlling the flow of the conversation by essentially creating a straight line whenever the customer starts to go irrelevant, by bringing them back to where they need to be.
  • Asking questions to understand the needs of the customer better.

These things are the most important ways to close deals with your customers. When you have started making customer rapport, you will not allow the customer to deviate from the main body of your script that you have written for this particular sale. It should always lie in a straight line & each step should be focused on bringing customers back on point & for that there is one thing that you can do – which is ask questions as much as you can. Questions should be in such a way which understands & develops the need of the consumer while doing this exercise. Remember – relevant questions are the key element or core of this method. 

The only thing that is more important while initiating this is that closing to the right people will make this process efficient & if your target is not correct then it would surely be a waste of time.

During my tenure in sales, there were some wrong customers whom I targeted while pitching the product & result was a disaster as they wasted my entire month & still selling didn’t take place. Therefore, choosing the right customer is also a huge task but there are parameters to select your correct prospects.

I would like to finish with this thought. But before going, let us look at the best answer that Harsh could have used to sell the pen.

Harsh: Okay Sir. What kind of a pen do you use? Is it a ball pen or an ink pen? What is your process of buying pens? Is it in a bulk or multi purchases? What is your average cost of buying a pen? Do you have any color preferences or premium looks you wait for?

After questioning him & understanding the need & the kind of a pen you have right now plays a vital role & then he could pitch in a better way with the answers given by the sales manager. There would have been a chance that your pen didn’t sell, but that is alright.  That doesn’t show you’re not a good salesperson. In fact it shows your skills & process which really matters while selling. 

With this whether Harsh is recruited or not, I leave this decision up to you & request you to answer these in my comment section. There will be many more articles on sales with real life experiences coming on giving greater insights of sales. Till then, happy learning.

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