The Kung-fu of Sales Psychology: Selling to Win

In ancient Chinese philosophy, kung fu refers to any learning or practice that requires patience, energy and time to complete. Although the art of kung fu is more commonly associated with martial arts, in China it is a compound of two words, combining (gōng) meaning “work”, “achievement”, or “merit” with “man”. Kung fu is often referred to as the “achievement of man”.

In that sense, the art of sales is a form of kung fu, because it requires skill, patience and work to achieve your goals.

After reading this blog, you will be a master in the kung fu of sales psychology. It will take you time, patience and energy to complete but once you learn about the psychology behind customer purchase decisions, winning lucrative contracts and making those six-figure sales will become much easier.

Identify the right prospects

The first step in sales kung fu is correctly identifying your prospects. Doing this will take the pain out of selling, because half the work is done for you. A great place to start is by utilizing your professional networks and endorsements because it is easier to find quality leads from people you have already built up a relationship with.

Where possible, you want to encourage your customers to make referrals, as they are more likely to match the profile of your existing clients. Another great way to find hot leads is to give away free samples, consultations or products, with the aim of collecting customer data to use in future sales or marketing strategies. Ideally, you should ensure that online contact forms are on your website or marketing collateral to make it easy for potential customers to leave their details.

When you initially make contact with your leads, find out a little more about their business and their challenges to see whether it is something you can help them with. You should also give them the opportunity to ask questions about your business. Asking questions is a great sign, because it indicates interest on the part of the customer. You will then be in a much better position to set up a sale.

Adapt your selling style to your prospects

Any master of sales kung fu will tell you that the one size fits all approach simply doesn’t work when it comes to sales. The key to building a rapport with your prospects is to adapt your sales technique to the personality of the person you are prospecting to. In the 1920s, the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung identified 4 personality types. These are: dominant (D), influential (I), steady (S) and compliant (C). Dominant personality types are more impatient, results-focused and sometimes have a tendency to be abrupt.

Influential people care more about persuading others, steady people are more reserved and tend to emphasize security. They often use lots of facial expressions and hand gestures while they talk and are not prone to emotional displays or outbursts. Compliant people value quality and accuracy and are naturally more cautious. They tend to rely on calculated data-backed decisions. So once you recognize and identify these personality types, you should adapt your selling style accordingly.

For example, if you are prospecting to a high ‘D’ then you should focus more on the results your product will bring and include testimonials from high ranking, influential people. On the other hand, it is prudent to take a more detail-oriented and data-backed approach with a high ‘C’. Compliant people are often scared of making the wrong move and so including a purchase guarantee or refund can help put their mind at ease. Regardless of who you are speaking to, the key is to adapt your selling style to the personality of the other person, which makes it easier to build a rapport with them.

Engagement: Mastering the sales presentation

Every sale needs a good story. You need to give your customers a reason to care about your products, especially when the market is saturated with competitors.

Of course, the way you present the story of your product will depend upon the personality profile of your prospects as discussed above, but it needs to be powerful and compelling. The best stories feature one person or family that your target audience can relate to and demonstrate how they were able to overcome their challenges. It clearly needs to explain why your product or service helped to solve their problems. Presenting your products in this way will help to boost engagement and ultimately, sales.

Tech tools

Technology is on your side when it comes to lead generation. There are many tools out there which you can use, but one of the most important is your CRM system. CRM systems allow you to build up a complete profile of your customer by making it easy to track the history of all the interactions you have with those customers: phone calls made, emails sent, meetings held, presentations delivered, enquiries received, etc.

You can also make sales forecasts, share files, gain insights and communicate with customers via the CRM. CRMs also contain lots of automation features, which frees up enough time for you to focus on priority tasks.

Some of the most popular automation software includes Hubspot Sales, Pipedrive and Unomy to name a few. All of these tools can help you to identify the right leads, automate many of the more mundane sales processes such as sending emails and capture important customer data.

Communicate on value, not on price

The number one mistake many salespeople make is they try to sell on price and not on value. But with the best will in the world, it is going to be hard to convince your prospects to part with their hard-earned money without giving them a good reason. As a kung-fu sales master, your main hook should be on how your product will alleviate the fears of your prospects and help them to solve their problems. If you’ve done the footwork in the beginning and correctly identified your leads and their personality types, it should be easier to communicate the value of your product to your target audience.


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