How Humans Make Buying Decisions at the Psychological Level – Richard Harris
Harris is the founder of Harris Consulting Group. He is one of the top leaders in Inside sales. He is a keynote speaker and trainer. Harris trains salespeople on Full-Funnel Sales and provides Operational Guidance. He teaches from SDRs with no sales experience to AE’s with years of experience under their hood and the Customer Success Reps on how to upsell and cross-sell.
Harris helps organizations in streamlining their Sales Operations and Sales Process. Richard creates, audits them with recommendations that will speak to the unique use case and provide the right feedback and guidance.
Richard was one of the key speakers invited to the US version of the 4th edition of the B2B Binge Event. He helped us, and the ones who attended the event, understand customers at a psychological level. He unraveled the mystery of what goes in the customer’s head when they are looking to buy.
Richard sheds light on why buying is an emotional journey. He explains the three ego states of buying.
a. The child ego state (The emotional state): I want it. It is this egotistical state where all the decision originates.
b. The adult ego state (The rational you): Weighing the decisions to pros vs. cons. It gives the customer a reason to go ahead and make a purchase or book a meeting.
c. The Parent Ego State (The critical self): it aids in choosing something morally excellent vs. evil. It helps focus on what is ethically right vs. what is immoral.
When a salesperson understands these ego states, it becomes easier for the individual to act like a child, adult, or a parent to a customer based on the mutual understanding of the problem statement. And as the discussion moves ahead and the knowledge between the sales rep and the customer becomes better and better, the ego state also changes. Each of them holds a different role then. This evolution of function has to be very organic.
Most of the time, customer act like in a child ego state, but sales rep perceives it as parenting or the parent ego state. Salespeople have focus and listen very closely to understand the ego state your customer is in. Instead of rebelling or acting rebellious while understanding or negotiating a customer, try to understand each other and arrive at a better ego state to appeal to their Child ego state.
As a salesperson, Richard also shares how we can induce a sense of need in the customers and fulfill them. His talk gradually gravitates towards the responsibility the sales reps have towards their customer. Fulfilling the responsibility of providing the best possible solution to your customer is one of the critical things a salesperson should not forget. Fulfilling the responsibility day in and day out should be one of the key motivators for the sales rep.
Apart from all the emotional rollercoaster a customer and a sales rep go through, Richard also answers various questions raised. Some questions relate to the psychological aspect of sales but also how you can establish a sales process.
AMA with Richard Harris
Q- Is there a canvas or a format of the structure to practice like the one we were discussing currently?
A- I follow a framework, but I also think about whether you should follow the selling technique, which is mine. These ego states come all the time. You’ll notice that when you go home today, and you talk to your significant other or spouse, your kids, a friend, these ego states just come out. So the goal, in my opinion, is I want everybody to be aware that they exist. I don’t expect people to walk out of this mastering it. Normally when I’m training on this, we often sit down, and we’ll go through with who’s experienced this ego state and tell me about it in a deal cycle. Then we start to unpack it and find what does that mean in terms of what ego state are they in. What ego state are you in.
Q-How do we convey the right emotions in our communication while connecting virtually?
A-It is really important at this point, in the era that we’re living in. I think you allow the child through. You should be excited when you’re talking to someone. When you say, “wow, I’m excited to be here.” it needs to be genuine and authentic. I also think that you need to be authentic to you as a human and to your personality. These ego states will take care of themselves. Again the goal here is to make sure you’re aware of them. The most important thing I want people to understand is giving two centimeters of space; you give yourself the two centimeters of space in your head to recognize that you don’t need to be so fearful. Now when they start talking about budget or price, you’re not going to be nervous, but maybe it’ll give you that little bit of space to move into that rational mindset. And to try present pros and cons based on what you’re experiencing or based on what your prospect or customer shares.
Q- Can we replicate the same process that we used while discussing it with our clients on the internal teams?
A-Yes, I think it happens naturally. Think about it if you’re going to ever talk about a promotion or a job review or ask for a raise. We often, in my opinion, feel nervous, which is the child, which then we know puts them in an adult or a parent ego state because they think that they’re in control. We allow them to be in control. I think this is about what training and teaching are about you regularly see at executive meetings. You see it all the time. I think so many executives try to assume the parent role and make decisions when, in fact, they’re acting like a spoiled child. Now I don’t suggest you call people out on it. I don’t think you call your ceo a spoiled brat. You can. I’m happy to do it if you need me to. If this happens every single place, you go from the grocery store or the supermarket, hardware store, electronic store, and you can’t stop it and even if you’re trying to stop it. Then you’re trying to be rational well, that’s still the adult ego state.
Q- How do we draw the line between following up and pestering people?
A- You don’t follow up, stop saying reach out, follow up, check-in, touch base, circle down, to the top bubble. It would be best if you had a purpose. We all know that when we send follow-up emails, there’s an answer we’re looking for, which is usually true. It’s where are we in the process, are we moving forward, are we not right, when can I expect the contract back. So ask for what you want. I would say,” hey guru, you know I haven’t heard from you in two weeks. Can you let me know where we are.” this is the best subject line I think in most cases, particularly when people get-go dark. Which is often what this is really about. I would like to say “status update request, please.” “hey guru, I’m just looking for a status update. Are we moving forward? Have we pressed pause? Have you made another decision to go with another vendor? Ask for what you want, and if you don’t ask, then that’s a problem. It can often start with the purpose of this email is to find out if we’re moving forward. The purpose of this email is to find out if you’ve chosen another vendor or me. Just ask the question. Now you cannot say the purpose of this email is to follow up on my last three emails. Get rid of follow-up and those lines.
Q- How do you analyze your consumer’s behavior?
A- You’re looking at the body language. If your customers are smiling, if they’re trying to look through you. Again you’ve got to give yourself two centimeters of space to think what you need to say and how to say it as well as. You know, trying to figure out what they’re doing, so that’s the hard part for us. As a human, that’s why I always wish someone else was there. The goal isn’t so much from this exercise to be right which ego state are they in. The goal is for you just to recognize they exist and for you, at least for me. I’m always trying to be rational, maintain a rational part of my sales process so that I don’t get too excited. I still allow my inner child to come through right. If someone says yes, we’re going to move forward. I’m great. I’m excited to work with you. That’s my inner child. That’s good, so embrace it. So again, it’s just to drive awareness is my opinion is what marketing does. Their job is to invoke enough childlike ego so that people are interested. That doesn’t mean they’re going to buy you know based on sales and marketing alignment. Here’s the challenge vps of sales average ten years 14 to 16 months, marketing 24 months, and that’s because marketing is not carrying a number. If product marketing or the engineering team misses a deadline to get the product out, they rarely get fired. They’re giving a second and a third and a fourth chance. It doesn’t happen when you miss a goal in sales, so it’s unbalanced. The same thing with marketing right; they don’t get enough of the right kinds of leads; they don’t get fired. They get to try again. it doesn’t work that way in sales. Concerning this ego state