With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story coming out soon, it got me thinking about one of my favorite powers of the Force -- the Jedi Mind trick.
As a refresher to you non-Star Wars buffs, the Jedi Mind trick is when a Jedi uses the Force to put their ideas into someone else’s brain, which encourages that adversary to comply with the Jedi’s wishes.
Remember the scene in Star Wars: Episode IV when Obi Wan Kenobi stops the Stormtroopers from finding R2D2 and C3PO? With a wave of his hand, Obi Wan tells them exactly what he wants them to say and they mindlessly repeat “these aren’t the droids you are looking for,” and then let him through the checkpoint.
You can use its powers in sales as well.
The key to being a Sales Jedi is getting your prospects to verbally articulate why they want to do what you are suggesting. You can’t just get them to regurgitate your proposal, but you need them to be able to explain why they agree with you.
The Power of Repetition in Sales (The Power of Repetition in Sales)
Repetition is a very useful sales technique. If you can get your customer to repeat the value of your product back to you, it has a self-reinforcing effect, and over time becomes their opinion. It's sort of similar to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But to fully embrace the benefits of the Jedi Mind trick, you need to take it one step further. You need to get your customer to be able to articulate and understand that value, not just repeat it.
Start this process on your initial sales call. When you have a client on the phone, ask them, “What do you see of value here?” and then take notes on their reply. Keep the tone positive and the conversation on value.
Later, repeat back to them the points they brought up. The client will obviously agree with you if you use their own words, making your statements more influential and easier for them to digest.
Another Sales Technique From a Real-Life Sales Jedi
A real life Obi Wan is Harvard professor and well-known author Daniel Pink. He taught me a similar sales technique I find fascinating and extremely effective.
His idea is that if you can prompt others to speak about their own reasons for doing something it is way more compelling than pushing your reasons onto them. He further shows that when it is someone’s own ideas, they are far more likely to behave based on those reasons.
So how can you be a Sales Jedi and get your prospects and customers to say what you want? Pink lays out a two question approach: First, ask them to rate their readiness to buy, and then question them on why they picked that rating. Let’s walk through an example.
Pretend you are trying to sell a CRM to a small business owner who thinks her shop runs just fine on spreadsheets. She is hesitant to embrace change, but you can sense that in the back of her mind, she's aware they really should be utilizing a database.
The first step is to ask her to rate her readiness to adopt a CRM on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being "not ready" and 10 being "fully ready." Let’s say she responds with a “3.” Your follow-up question: “Why didn’t you pick a lower number?”
All of a sudden, a crazy thing happens. This question prompts the prospect to explain why she is actually more ready she realized. This creates a wonderful starting point for her to see your point of view.
According to Pink, persuasion is prompting someone to see why they might want what you want. No question that perfecting this technique will take some practice, but it’s a great skill to work on.
Whether you are trying to steal the plans to the original Death Star or just attempting to close a new client, the Jedi Mind trick is a powerful tool to keep in your sales bag of tricks. Try it out and let me know how it works for you.
Originally published Dec 7, 2016 7:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017