How to Use Motivational Interviewing to Increase Sales

May 29, 2013

Motivational interviewing is a technique that comes to us from the world of mental health. It is intended to help clients recognize the need for change without brow-beating them or telling them that their point of view is Inspiring Sales Motivation - Next Wave Maketing Strategieswrong.

When used in sales, the prospect should do exactly what you want him or her to do, all the while feeling that it was his or her own idea.

There are four key components to motivational interviewing that every salesperson should know.

1. Express Empathy

Whether your lead is buying insurance for the first time or is having a nasty breakup with his or her current insurance company, he or she will probably need to talk out doubts, fears, expectations and frustrations. Don’t jump in and try to sell your service now – it’s way too soon. Instead, encourage your lead to talk and make supportive remarks like, “That does sound frustrating,” or “I’m sorry you’ve had to go through all that.”

2. Develop Discrepancy

Developing discrepancy is the gentle art of helping the lead see that his or her current decisions are not meeting his or her needs. For instance, you might point out, “You say you want only the best for your employees, but is your current insurance company getting you there?” Or, “You say you want to work with a company you can trust, but from the way you’ve described things, your current company doesn’t meet that standard.”

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3. Roll with Resistance

Rather than trying to talk the prospect out of his or her resistance, allow the prospect to talk him or herself out of it. Your job is once again to listen empathetically and to point out discrepancies. For instance, “Yes, we do charge more than your current provider, but it sounds like your current provider isn’t able to meet your needs for quick response times and speedy reimbursement.” Another option is simply to say, “You seem hesitant. Why don’t you tell me about your doubts and we’ll see if we can work something out.”

4. Support Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy means being in charge of your life and of making decisions that will help you meet your goals. You can support client self-efficacy with comments like, “It’s hard to make a big change, but often it’s the right thing to do.” Or, “You’ve made a great choice. I know we will work well together and benefit your company.”

If other sales techniques don’t seem to be working, try motivational interviewing. You may be surprised how quickly it can convert a prospect into a customer.

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