Good salespeople ask themselves what they want their prospect to do at the end of their presentation. In other words, what’s the next step to move this sale forward? That could be a signed contract, a meeting, or a recommendation. But great salespeople ask themselves another powerful question that is instrumental in determining whether that prospect will take the next step or not. And that question is this:
How do I want my prospect to feel?
Think about the last time you made a major purchasing decision. How did you feel before you said “yes?” Were you excited? Convinced? Motivated? Challenged? Those are the feelings that are likely to lead to action.
So how does your prospect need to feel to take action? Do they need to feel excited? Then guess what? Your intention needs to be to get them excited! Likewise, if they need to feel motivated, you need to be intentional about motivating them.
An intention is the energy lying underneath the words. In acting it’s called the subtext. Great actors don’t just play the lines. They play the subtext: the feelings and the intentions underneath the lines.
Most salespeople rely too heavily on just the words. It’s very easy to get caught up in telling your prospects things – passing on information, presenting evidence, showing capabilities, etc. But being informed, educated or shown something rarely leads to action. Why?
Because there’s zero emotion associated with those intentions. In the performance world, those are called “weak” intentions. And if you’re trying to move a prospect to take action, you need a strong intention that engages your prospect on an emotional level.
Here are some examples of strong intentions:
When you are clear in your mind about how you want to make your prospect feel – not just think – your body, your voice and your brain work together to make that intention a reality. The tone and quality of your voice changes. Your body language – from facial expressions, to gestures, to eye contact, embodies your desire to communicate in a specific way. Even the words you choose change – often without conscious consideration – to reflect that emotion you’re trying to convey.
Don’t believe me? Think back to a time someone apologized to you with the words“I’m sorry,” and you KNEW they were definitely NOT sorry! Compare that to when someone said “I’m sorry” and you clearly knew without a doubt that they were expressing regret. What was different? Obviously not the words. The intention. And that intention was likely expressed in the other person’s tone, energy and body language.
You’ve probably heard this saying: Action speaks louder than words. That may be, but I also think Intentions speak louder than words. Your intention (or lack of intention) has a direct impact on the quality and effectiveness of your communication. Therefore, it has a direct relationship to how people respond to you.
So before your next presentation take some time to consider, how do I want my prospect to feel? Change your intention, and you change your outcome.