By Jeff Molander,  Communication Coach, Speaker & Founder at Communications Edge Inc.
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Why are people ignoring your sales message? Hmmm? I have the answer. And it’s not what you’re expecting.

You’ve tried all the tricks when reaching out.  Whether you're using LinkedIn, cold calling, emailing, you're...

  • sharing value,
  • showing empathy,
  • breaking the ice with humor,
  • being direct & clear about what you sell.

Yet people aren’t engaging. It must be your message. Right?

Probably not. 

It's likely not your email template, nor the call script or message framework borrowed from LinkedIn experts. It's everything you believe is true about good sales communication skills.

The principles you believe in.

Look, what if the problem is you? What if how you think about sales is causing you to communicate in persuasive ways that turn people off?

The problem is persuasion

Question: Why do prospects react negatively to sales and marketing messaging -- even when they DO need help?

Answer: Persuasion.

The prevailing sales psychology is borrowed from marketing: "Persuade them to meet with me."

Full stop. That's the problem!

The remedy? Stop persuading.

In life, and certainly business, it's best to study what everyone else does (persuades) -- then, do the opposite.

Exceptional outcomes demand exceptional strategies. And that takes exceptional thinking, principles.

Most of what to say differently is knowing what NOT to say or do. Knowing what to STOP doing when reaching out.

“People are generally better persuaded by reasons they have themselves discovered rather than those coming into the mind of others," said 15th century mathematician, physicist and inventor Blaise Pascal.

A colleague recently introduced me to Tali Sharot, author of The Influential Mind. She says no matter how good your advice is, if it contradicts someone's belief they'll ignore it.

People don't want their minds changed -- even if their actions are causing self-harm.  They just want you to agree with them, she says.

Yup! Stop persuading. 

Sales messaging needs this

Instead, your outreach message should help people begin to convince themselves. 

What is your understanding of the difference -- between persuading and helping someone persuade themselves? 

Read that question again. It's that important.

I want you to throw away the idea of persuading. Replace it with helping people convince themselves. And do this by facilitating choice. No more persuasion. Let them choose.

For example, forget about using a call to action. Instead, providing choice helps people open up. This framework allows the other person to hear your message differently -- to see it as the first step in becoming attracted to something you said.

Smart daters understand the role attraction plays -- when starting a conversation with a CEO.

Talk too much about yourself, too soon... or speak about yourself, your hopes and dreams... in detail and at length... you'll look selfish to your date.

But there's a bigger problem. You're leaving no room for attraction to develop -- via curiosity.

It's the same with an executive.

In her new book, "How" Sharon Drew Morgen puts it this way. Rather than persuading, it's more effective to help others discover their own answers. Want to know what's holding the status quo in place?

The most important goal is to avoid asking the customer to reveal it to you! Because doing so often is often received as being a selfish act -- you're asking so you can sell.

Instead, help them uncover their unconscious thoughts -- to discover deeper meaning. On their own, for themselves.

In front of you. It's like a good therapy session. This creates a safe space for self reflection.

The idea is to help them step out of their own self and become an observer (of their situation, thinking).

Heavy stuff, I know. But the psychology is key, as are the success principles you adhere to.

How you think drives the strategies and tactics you use. Think average thoughts -- you'll get average results!

Your help is unwanted

It's common to use words to communicate, in essence, "I’m here to help" when reaching out to warm or cold contacts. That's why we offer value up front or, as the great Frank Kern says, give "Results In Advance" of their purchase. However, people don't want our help -- and see the offer as a ploy to sell.

You say, "I'm here to help" yet customers immediately hear “I’m here to sell.”

It’s natural. Think about your own experience with sales people who offer free help -- or tell you, “You have a problem, I’m here to help.”

How presumptuous. How uninformed. And how transparent. We think, "I know why you're helping... to help yourself."

That's what persuasive messaging triggers in people.

Instead of manipulative persuasion, helping customers convince themselves is a better way to engage them. You see, people will convince themselves to meet with you -- if you let them. And if being convinced is right for them.

They'll ask YOU to meet 

Helping someone to begin persuading themselves to act starts with helping them feel an urge to ask -- to begin the process.

Earn their ask by getting them curious. Simple.

Here’s why this works: People value you more when THEY ask for contact… and they value less when YOU offer your time or advice.

Read that again. I'm serious. Meditate on this, understand it.

You value what you ask for more -- and value less when people offer you. It sounds obvious because it is. But it's usually missed -- due to persuasion's nature.

To talk about yourself. Your thing. To push. To offer first. 

It's much easier to start yapping -- persuading. It takes a bit of effort to get someone curious.

Remember: Persuasion is a push. Curiosity pulls.

So, why are clients ignoring your message? It's not your message.

It's everything you believe is true about communication. And how skilled you are.

Ok. Let me show you how to get asked by sparking curiosity. It’s all about presenting choice rather than making calls-to-action. I’ll show you how to say less and earn MORE attention. You’ll start pulling with curiosity and give up pushy persuasion. 

Get started now with this Curiosity Crash Course.

About the Author

In 1999, I co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc. where I helped secure 2 rounds of funding and built the sales team. I've been selling for over 2 decades.

After this stint, I returned to what was then Molander & Associates Inc. In recent years we re-branded to Communications Edge Inc., a member-driven laboratory of sorts. We study, invent and test better ways to communicate -- specializing in serving sales and marketing professionals.

I'm a coach and creator of the Spark Selling™ communication methodology—a curiosity-driven way to start and advance conversations. When I'm not working you'll find me hiking, fishing, gardening and investing time in my family.

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