Sales Management Digest

How to Find Your Prospect's Hot Button
Paul j. Micali
People think about themselves most of the time. Prove this to yourself the next time you are in the company of others. Listen very closely to the conversation – you will discover that over 90 percent of what they say is about themselves: what they did, where they went, where they are going, how they feel, etc. Therefore, it follows that – when prospects are considering buying something – their main concern is what's in it for them.

But most salespeople don't sell that way. While the style might vary, the end result is a long, drawn-out presentation in which all the features and benefits are paraded before the prospect. In other words, every prospect is given the whole dose. And this is done in the hope that the prospect – upon hearing something that satisfies his or her dominant desire of the moment – will interrupt and say, "That's it! What you just said is most important to me." However, such interruptions rarely come.

Instead, the entire presentation is suffered through to the bitter end, when the prospect says, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Three Keys to Finding Your Prospect's Hot Button
Prospects almost always have a dominant desire. We call this dominant desire the "hot button." Once you have found the hot button of your prospect, you build your presentation around it. And the more often you can hit that hot button during your presentation, the better off you are.

1. Let the prospect talk. It is easy to find your prospects' hot buttons once you have gained their interest. Just let them talk. Let them enter the conversation very early in the sales interview. Invariably, they will "spill" the hot button of the moment.

2. Realize that hot buttons shift constantly. After all conditions change – and as some problems are solved – the prospect's dominant desire (his hot button) changes accordingly. If you are a good record keeper and you jotted down the hot button you uncovered during your previous call, use this information as a stimulator to get the buyer talking. Then listen very carefully for today's hot button. It may be quite different from last time – and your presentation will have to be tailored to fit the new dominant desire.

3. Use the prospect's language and words. For instance, you may be selling a product that is able to increase the profits of a company by reducing its overhead. If the prospect's hot button is more profit, you bang away at "profit." If the hot button is "overhead," leave profit alone and concentrate on "overhead." On your next call, however, the hot button could very well be something else. Find it and then hit it as often as you can throughout the presentation.

All of us have been accused from time to time of only hearing what we want to hear. That's very much the case with prospects who are regularly cornered by salespeople who always have the best product at the best price. Don't be like your competitors. Use some imagination.

The trick is to remember to use the hot button technique on every single sales call. How? Practice. With everyone you meet, immediately start the practice of isolating their hot button – whether in a business or social setting. Just say to yourself, "That's the hot button of that individual." It will be great practice and will help your sales immeasurably.
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