When Jeremy Miner, the CEO of 7th Level Communications, first started out in sales, he noticed something: nothing he was doing was working (similar to many salespeople’s first experiences). He, like us, had been taught many techniques from the old sales model and from so-called ‘sales gurus,’ but he wasn’t achieving the six figures a year that they said he could make following their techniques. At the same time, he was in college studying Behavioral Science and Human Psychology, and he was struck by how what he was learning about the human brain contrasted from what he had been taught in sales. He was studying how the brain makes decisions and how people are persuaded to do something. It was the complete opposite of the traditional selling techniques.
“I knew I wanted to succeed in sales. To do so, I knew I needed to take a giant leap outside my comfort zone. Following the status quo wasn’t going to work,” Miner said. “So, rather than just listening to the methods I had been taught, I decided I’d go in search of another sales training program with the behavioral science elements of sales. I searched… invested in many training courses… attended many events… and read many books. But none of them had the questions that I needed to ask to get my prospects to persuade themselves in a step by step sequence rooted in human psychology.”
So… he created it himself. “You may think that would’ve been easy, since I was studying behavioral science in school. Far from it! But as I continued my trial and error process, I eventually got to a place where I mastered the series of questions that I now call ‘Neuro-Emotional Persuasion Questions’ (more on these soon). And, the year I finally felt I had mastered it, I ended up making $2,370,485 dollars in the year in straight commission as a W-2 sales rep.”
Techniques That Took Jeremy Miner to $2.4 Million
Miner now teaches students around the world how to practice the new mode of selling, which means ditching the traditional model. He goes in depth into each of the neuro-emotional persuasion questions in his course. These questions are intended to help the prospect convince themselves that they need what you’re selling.
- Asking questions more than presenting. “I now tell my students that prospects should be the ones talking for about 80 percent of the conversation. To guide this, ask questions. “Engage, don’t tell” is one of the three main forms of communication that I teach in the new model of selling. The “Old Model’ of Selling DOES ask some questions. But, 99 percent of salespeople don’t ask the ‘right’ questions at the right time in the conversation. They just ask ‘surface’ questions which only get you the superficial answers from your potential customers.
Rather, it’s critical to ask specific, skilled questions that bring out emotion from your prospects on what their problems are doing to them. These could be what I call ‘problem awareness’ questions where you ask what problems they have, and how they’re affecting them. These are followed by ‘solution awareness’ questions, where you ask what they have done in the past about solving their problems, what has worked, and what hasn’t, which helps them view you more as a trusted authority who is there to help them, and not just sell to them,” Miner said.
- Helping the prospect recognize the consequences of not solving their problem. “Another type of NEPQ question that is particularly effective is what I call ‘consequence questions.’ Once you have established what the problem is and what the solution could be, it’s important that the prospect states out loud the consequences of not resolving their problem. In other words, they hear in their own voice what would happen if they don’t solve the problem (buy your solution) — what they’d be missing out on. Perhaps this would be lost social media exposure if they don’t purchase your social media organic reach service, or they lose a sense of safety if they don’t immediately purchase your security device system,” said Miner.
When they are the ones to say it out loud, they’re more likely to persuade themselves. Contrast this with if you filled in the blanks for them and said, “You’ll lose social media exposure if you don’t purchase this today.” The fact that you were the one to say it totally changes the effectiveness of the statement. Even if that’s completely true and they believe it, too, they don’t want to hear you tell them — they’ll likely get defensive and get off the call.
- Engaging and discovering in a helpful conversation.
So, it shouldn’t just be following a script or giving a pitch, but it shouldn’t just be asking questions, either. Rather, the best sales conversations work in a banter between salesperson and prospect. I call this ‘learning and discovering from each other.’ Imagine this like you’d talk with a friend who you had no intention of selling to. You ask your friend how business is going, and they complain about something related to what your business solves. So, you ask some more questions to understand more, then mention what you do. The equal playing field is your mutual curiosity to hear what the other has to say.
It shouldn’t be any different in a sales conversation. It shouldn’t be you shoving your product pitch down a prospect’s throat. That’s simply not what they want, and a great way to lose a potential sale.
To learn about Miner’s exact NEPQ process, visit his website: 7thlevelhq.com.
3 Pieces of Advice OptionsSwing Inc. Wants to Share With Fellow Fin-Ed Entrepreneurs
Starting any type of business and seeing it grow and survive is hard. Entrepreneurs go into their ventures prepared to see them fail, even though they always have to give their all to stop that from happening. Saying that it’s a gamble would take it too far, but entrepreneurship is nevertheless a risky business.
Still, there are plenty of resources entrepreneurs can use to boost their business’s chances of succeeding. Experiences from their fellow enterprises who have been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale are invaluable.
For entrepreneurs looking to start a financial education company, here are three pieces of advice from the founders of OptionsSwing, the fin-ed company that’s the darling of Instagram users.
It could be argued that there’s never a better time than right now to get started on a substantial project. In this case, however, the “now” refers to an extremely specific time in the history of the world: the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full effects of the pandemic cannot be known while it’s still ongoing. It will probably take years and years after the world brings it under control until anyone will be able to even assess how much damage and suffering this virus has caused.
Some effects, however, are painfully obvious right now. One of them is that people are becoming either unemployed or underemployed. A number of them have been turning to the stock market in the hopes they’ll be able to use it as an additional revenue stream. Starting a digital subscription business at a time like that is great, but so is sharing the knowledge that can help people stay afloat.
In many cases, waiting for something to happen and then reacting to it is the best way to deal with challenges. When there are too many unknowns ahead, trying to cover them all can become impossible, impractical, or simply too distracting from whatever’s going on in the here and now.
Investing in expanding one’s problem-solving capacity is a whole different beast, though. Tech is a great example of it; investing in it early on means that entrepreneurs won’t have to scramble for resources when they desperately need them. The tech will be there, allowing them to focus on the problem they’re having.
Tech might be the most obvious example for laying the groundwork for future problem-solving capabilities, but the same advice can be extrapolated further. Investing in any resource that’s especially useful in critical times is a good use of money.
While it’s possible to see many one-person operations in the world of business, when it comes to scaling and growing, “the more, the merrier” is the correct motto. Talent procurement in startups is a big deal because, often enough, the quality of the talent has to compensate for the lack of resources.
Even entrepreneurs who believe in their singular vision and don’t want anyone to meddle with their ideas could use help now and again. Delegating work to other people and believing that they’ll do a good job might prove to be necessary for the business’s survival. At the very least, it will be a great way for the controlling entrepreneurs to learn to relax, better handle the uncertainty of someone else’s work, and build healthier relationships with the people around them. It’s a win on all fronts.
To keep up with OptionsSwing, follow them on Instagram at @optionsswing.
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