When Don Corleone agrees to grant a favor to the neighborhood funeral director in the first Godfather movie, the Don is creating a future obligation on the part of the undertaker (and certainly one he won’t be able to refuse). It’s not only the power of the Don that exerts the influence, though – it’s the power of reciprocity.
Wanting to reciprocate for something we’re given is a deeply rooted cultural norm; when we get something, we feel it’s only proper to give something back. This overarching worldview, says psychologist Robert Cialdini, is common to every culture, in every part of the globe. The rule, he says, is drilled into us as children, “…essentially thou shall not take without giving in return.” Continue reading →
What motivates people to sell? What drives people to sell more and reach for higher goals? The traditional business view is that incentives like bonuses, prizes, and awards are the best way to drive production. In the last couple of decades, though, social scientists have been looking at things from a different perspective.
When tasks are simple and goals are clearly defined – make 20 cold calls; schedule 4 sales appointments – incentives like money and pats on the back work well to foster productive behavior. The “this – that” incentive model promises if you do “this” you’ll get “that” reward. It’s the old carrot and stick idea: people want positive rewards and don’t want to get stuck on the bottom of the sales chart.
In situations when the goals are more complicated though, these kinds of extrinsic incentives don’t work as well. In fact, according to business analyst and writer Daniel Pink, extrinsic financial incentives can actually dull inspiration and lower results. Continue reading →
Last issue we wrote about the importance of protecting one of our scarcest and most important resources – time. Today we’re going to talk about another precious resource – other people’s attention.
Before you plow the field, you’ve got to first remove the boulders. Before you till the soil of any sales opportunity you first have to deal with the big obstacles that get in the way of open, two-way communication. Plowing ahead on a prospecting or sales call without first having people’s attention is like listening to the radio while the signal keeps fading in and out. It’s hard for anyone to understand what’s going on and it’s annoying as hell. Continue reading →
In any business day, we’ve all got a limited number of hours to accomplish our purposes and an endless number of distractions and detours that can pull us off track and make us much less productive.
Prospecting for new business – whether you’re making cold calls or networking for referrals – is a critical phase of the sales process that’s especially vulnerable to time-eroding detours. If you’re not reaching the right people efficiently and qualifying them promptly, you’re liable to end up like the college student who got four Fs and a D because he spent too much time on one subject. Continue reading →