Sales Strategy

The Science of Persuasion and Influence in Software Sales




Animals respond to external stimuli based on instinct: they eat, fight, run, and procreate according to automatically triggered signal paths defined deep in their brains. Humans have instincts, too, but most of our "fight or flight" days are behind us. The daily tribulations we face are not so starkly defined as we decide where to concentrate our time and energy, what points of view to take, which professionals to listen to, and how to best set ourselves up for future success.

To handle these imprecise, no-right-answer situations we rely heavily on learned responses. Through millennia of social conditioning humans have developed rules for interaction that provide intellectual shortcuts to cut through the noise of modern life and guide our behavior in a myriad of situations. In Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini identifies the "six levers of influence" to which we all respond - knowingly or not - to keep our society functioning smoothly.

As a sales professional, working within the framework of the "six levers of influence" will make you more persuasive and improve the reception of your message. In this article, we'll review the "six levers" and brainstorm ideas for using them in a sales context.

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Four Stages of Your Business Value Advisory Practice


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FIGURE: Stages to a profitable, sales-enabling Business Value Advisory practice.

Software is an intangible product whose primary benefits are productivity gains for the users, groups, and companies that implement it. This great strength of technology is also a weakness, as it's tricky to define just where and when gains will occur.

For salespeople, it's challenging to build the business case for a software purchase that will impact several areas throughout the client's company, has many stakeholders with disparate agendas, and aims to facilitate a complex mix of visionary goals and operational returns.

To tackle this problem, many software companies develop strategic consulting practices that work with salespeople and clients to analyze strategy, assess operations, align technology, and measure the value of deploying software. This is a difficult endeavor that most companies never fully accomplish. For those that do, however, rewards include revenue growth, expanded total contract values, increased repeat sales, and expedited sales cycles.

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The Four Software Sales Strategies


I love a community bake sale. Fresh bakery and hot coffee are wonderful treats on a weekend morning. But when it comes to sales strategy, I am a bit jealous of the people working the tables. They've got EVERY ADVANTAGE baked right in to their sales model!

Maybe it would be better to bake cookies than sell software, right? Take heart! You might be unintentionally applying the wrong sales strategy to the right customer.

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