Increase Sales Performance by Learning What Your Prospects DON’T Want


You’ve probably heard the old adage that selling is easy, “Just find out what the customer wants, and then give it to them.” The problem is that most customers don’t know what they need, which means that just asking what they want won’t get accurate answers, and it won’t increase sales performance. 

For example, one of Henry Ford’s most famous quotes about his development of the automobile goes like this:

            If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said “faster horses.”

What Ford is saying is that his customers didn’t like the slowness of their transportation. That’s what they wanted fixed, but they didn’t really know what they wanted.

Most customers are like Ford’s customers: they don’t know what they want, but they do know what they don’t want.

For instance, have you ever asked your spouse what they want for dinner? The answer is almost always, “It doesn’t matter,” but when you suggest something, s/he is quick to respond with a No. In general, people don’t necessarily know what they want, but based on their experiences, they can usually tell you what they don’t want.

Pareto’s Principle

Vilfredo Pareto determined that there is an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. 20% of inputs result in 80% of the results obtained. That means that we can with determine with 80% accuracy the top 3 – 5 passionate reasons for change that will resonate with your prospects.

Program on Persuasion’s Predictive Sales Funnel can determine these reasons for you. To read more about the methods of our corporate sales training, click here.

With the Predictive Sales Funnel’s application of Pareto’s Principle, your salesforce will only have to think on their feet 20% of the time. The rest is science, and therefore, it’s predictable. 

What Are the Prospect’s Passionate Challenges? 

Because no one decides rationally, your sales force has to move the buyer emotionally, and then justify the emotion with a unique value proposition. Our corporate sales training teaches that the best way to do that is to ask your prospects to rank their top 3–5 challenges.

In fact, the most critical component of Program on Persuasion’s insight phase is segmentation. The more we can narrow the field, the more we realize the difference in your customers.

To learn how our corporate sales training finds the top 3–5 challenges facing each buyer persona, click here for our free Predictive Sales Funnel™ eBook.

What Do Those Challenges Have in Common?

The objective of the Predictive Sales Funnel™ is to narrow all your prospect’s many passionate reasons into 3 – 5 categories.

On an individual basis (and without the Predictive Sales Funnel ™), it can take a seller a very long time to understand their buyers’ passionate reasons, even if they can identify all of them.

The Answer

So, how do we do that? Program on Persuasion’s value lies largely in our ability to gain accurate Insight into your prospect’s biggest challenges, and it’s not based on anecdotal evidence. Although we do not go to the extreme of running a long empirical study based on standard deviations, we do create market research that is based on a large body of evidence.

Photo by Tim Gouw.