In sales, it is your job to get interested prospects to take action. But the question becomes, what is an effective method for encouraging an individual to take action? You can find the answer by an examination of the subject of reasoning. At its core, the process of reasoning is how salespeople persuade prospects to move forward. The definition of reason is to “think through logically, conclude or infer, convince, persuade by reasoning, an explanation of a circumstance which made certain results seem possible or appropriate.” In my book, R3R1: The Sales Formula for Success, I dedicate a section to the “Foundation of Reasoning.” In the R3R1 formula, “Reason” is the second R: Relate>Reason>Resolve = Results.
As you think about the definition mentioned above, let us spend a few minutes reviewing the fundamentals of reasoning that I outline in the R3R1 formula. There are four main points, and they are as follows:
- Who is your company?
- Why is your product or service different?
- How do you and your prospect have aligned goals?
- Your customers have excellent outcomes.
Individuals who have read my book or taken my sales course, “The Science of Selling Academy,” have discovered the power of combining these four essential reasoning arguments. They have learned how to effectively use this process to get more of their prospects to move forward. Using specific “messaging skills,” R3R1 adherents have noted that prospect-types who previously were not buying from them now respond positively and take action. The logical question that presents itself is why do individuals react positively to this type of foundational reasoning? The answer is rooted in the science of consumer behavior and two aspects of such conduct. The first is heuristics, and the second is optimism bias. When you understand these two aspects of intrinsic human behavior, you will want to learn how to use this most effective way of motivating your prospects to buy what you are selling.
Heuristic thinking is derived from Ancient Greek, heurískō, which means ‘I find, discover.’ It is defined as “any approach to problem-solving or self-discovery that employs a practical method that is not guaranteed to be optimal, perfect, or rational, but is nevertheless sufficient for reaching an immediate, short-term goal or approximation. Where finding an optimal solution is impossible or impractical, heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution. Heuristics can be mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of deciding.”
Now, let us take a few minutes and analyze heuristic reasoning, keeping in mind that everyone follows this thinking process in their own way. Why? At our core, we are mentally fatigued and usually are looking for the quickest and most straightforward path to a solution to whatever problem is challenging us. Most of us are busy multitasking several problems and issues in life simultaneously. So, when a desire or need comes along, our minds shift into “find the easiest solution mode” to lessen our cognitive load or other mental preoccupations.
The fact that we take mental shortcuts in our thinking processes makes us receptive to messaging, as relayed during the reasoning section of the presentation. Remember, the Foundation of Reasoning presentation includes specific messages of easy solutions to fill the desire or solve a problem. So, our conscious and unconscious minds cause us to respond positively to these well-prepared messages. R3R1: The Sales Formula for Success outlines how to evaluate and construct reasoning messages to elicit the best response from prospects. It also teaches how to use them precisely and repeatedly to increase sales presentation performance.
The Foundation of Reasoning also has success due to optimism bias. What is optimism bias? In the book, The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain, by Tali Sharot, it is defined as “the inclination to overestimate the likelihood of encountering positive events in the future and underestimate the likelihood of experiencing negative events.” Basically, we are conditioned to look at the bright side of life, which causes people to have a bias toward believing they will have a positive outcome when entering a decision. Consider the fourth component of the Foundation of Reasoning – outcomes. When a salesperson gives a thoughtful presentation that includes proof that their current customers or users of their service have excellent results, it triggers the prospect’s optimism bias. They start to think consciously or unconsciously that they will have a good outcome as well. Why, because “it happened for the other person, so why not me.” This thought process is optimism bias in overdrive. That is why marketing companies use statistics and customer testimonials in their commercials.
What if a salesperson effectively uses the Foundation of Reasoning during a sales presentation? In effect, they present a live commercial, and due to the combination of heuristics and optimism bias, the prospect’s positive response may even surprise the salesperson who is merely triggering a prospect’s reaction by using embedded behaviors of heuristics and optimism bias. The combination of helping prospects find an easy solution to their problem or their perceived need and being optimistic about their use of the product or service is a potent blend. If you appropriately and consistently layer key reasoning arguments into your regular conversations during sales presentations, you will find that prospects are much easier to persuade. Remember, you are supplying the information in a way that triggers their innate response to be more agreeable to your requests. In other words, you will become much more persuasive at prompting action, and that is the goal.