Invisibility, flight, laser eyes… NONE of these superpowers compare to the #1 superpower for sales reps—which is the ability to read minds…
Because when you can read your prospect’s mind, you can give them exactly what they’re looking for. And that means more closed deals, better commissions, and a bank account even Bruce Wayne would be jealous of.
Today I’m showing you how to become a sales superhero by learning how to read your prospect’s mind. In this video you’re going to learn 6 ways to understand exactly what your prospect is thinking.
But before we get into the specifics, let’s talk about verbal language.
Language is an amazing tool for connecting and communicating with others. It lets us share ideas, vent frustrations and, solve mutual problems, But even still, Words alone have limitations. And context, history, and individual experience all can change a word’s meaning from one person to the next.
Luckily, according to the research, around 70% of our communication doesn’t rely on words. And equally lucky, our brains are equipped with the ability to read nonverbal communication effectively . we can use non verbal communication to understand what someone else is thinking without them ever saying a single word!
So, what do you need to do to become a better mind reader?
3 Internal Tactics
1) Establish a Baseline
Establish a baseline. This one has its roots deep in the world of science and evidence. Here’s why.
When you’re creating an experiment, say you’re testing the effects of a new pain pill, you need to run at least two versions of that experiment. In one of the experiments you actually give the pain reliever to patients. Duh, right? How else could you tell if the drug worked or not?
But you also have to run what’s called a “control experiment” too. This is where every variable of the experiment is the same. EXCEPT rather than giving the patients the drug, you don’t. You give them a placebo instead,
Why do we also run a control experiment? Because you need something to compare the results of the pain pill against. You need to know how much of the effects are due to the drug itself and how much are due just to the experimental conditions.
And when it comes to becoming a mind reader with your prospects, you need to do the same by establishing their baseline. Do they always have a sweaty brow, or just when they’re lying to you? Do they always speak fast, or only when they’re lying that they’re close to doing a deal with the competition and they’ve only come to you for pricing?
To get a baseline of your prospect, you first need to get them relaxed. Get them talking about something friendly and unassuming, maybe a hobby or the weather. Then study how they’re acting.
This is your baseline. From there, you can look out for changes from this state. Those changes indicate a shift in their mood
Say for example you ask a prospect about a competitor, and they change their posture and start talking faster. That may indicate they’re already working with them. If on the other hand they maintain their baseline and casually say they’re not interested in your competition, then they’re probably telling the truth.
See how that works? So first and foremost, always establish a baseline to help you spot changes in the emotions or actions of the prospect.
2) Ask Assertive Questions
In sales, you need to be clear and assertive with your questions.
For example, let’s take our old friends Sam and Walter the sales reps.
Sam’s got a problem with assertiveness. And when he tries to close, he asks something like this…
“Well, when… er… would you like to get started working with us? I mean if that’s what you choose to do?”
What’s the problem here? A Lack of confidence. And importantly, asking TWO questions—are you choosing to work with us and when would you like to get started?
There’s a lot to unpack for the prospect here. And it’s no wonder a question like this leads Sam’s buyers to give mixed signals, hedge on their promises, and ultimately back out of the deal.
Walter on the other hand is assertive and clear. He asks…
“Does it make sense to sign the contracts today?”
There’s only one way to go from here—yes or no. This reduces the mindreading that you have to do and it makes the buyers opinions clear for you to read.
So take a page from Walter’s book.
And last for the internal mind-reading tactics is…
3) Listening to Your Gut
There is a lot of science around the truth behind “gut feelings”.
In one study from the journal Nature Scientific Reports, Italian scientists filmed a series of short videos of a hand grasping a bottle and either pouring it out or drinking from it. Then, study participants were shown a short 1-second clip of the hand just before it touches the bottle. They were then asked to guess, using their gut feeling, whether the whole video showed the grasper pouring it out or drinking from the bottle.
And guess what? Participants guessed right far above the level of mere chance.
That shows, scientifically, that you should trust your gut feelings when reading your prospects.
And there are countless other studies just like this one too. Our intuition is more powerful than most people give it credit for. This primal response has been honed over millions of years. It’s what kept your ancestors alive. And it’s just as effective in the corporate jungle as it has been in the past.
So if you’re feeling like a prospect is confused, upset, excited, or disengaged but you can’t quite put your finger on why, listen to your gut. And more likely than not, your unconscious mind is picking up on signals your conscious one just can’t see.
Alright let’s shift over to the external tactics. First up here is…
3 External Tactics
1) Studying the Environment
When trying to read your prospects, be on the lookout for environmental cues that hint at your prospects personality, hobbies or motivators . You can then use those cues to round out your idea of who your prospect is. . you can also use their environment as a way to build rapport and open the door to even more friendly, open conversation.
For instance, when I interviewed Andy White, author of MEDDIC for the first time, I noticed he had tons of racing helmets on his bookcase in the background. Now, I could have let that environmental cue go by. But instead, I brought it up. I also happen to like F1, so we had instant rapport because of it.
And because of that rapport, I was able to get a better sense of what Andy was thinking and he was much more open with his thoughts and feelings as a result.
And guess what, you can do the same thing. So be sure to take note of environmental cues. They could be the difference between closing and crashing.
2) Take Note of Their Appearance
What are they wearing? How do they keep themselves? Are they clad in an expensive, jewel-encrusted watch? Wearing a Ferrari owners club T-shirt? Dressed down in a stained sweatshirt with unkempt hair?
These are all valuable details. And they’re all hints that you can use to better read them.
Now to be clear, we’re not looking to see if they “have money”. Lots of super-rich people wear tattered RL polo shirts, after all. But instead, what we’re looking for is their social status. Who are they compared to the people around them?
If for example they’re more dressed down than everyone else in the room, then they are probably the real decision maker here. Best to focus in on them with your pitch. If they’re wearing a Rolex and everyone else looks like students with Apple watches, you should probably approach them differently than the rest.
3) Be Ultra-Aware of Distractions
One of your top goals on a sales call is to command your prospect’s full attention. And if you don’t have it, that means they don’t care about what you’re saying.
Distractions also make it very hard for you to read your prospects too. Because if they’re distracted and they move away from their baseline, you don’t know if it was something you said, or if it was because of whatever else is going on around them.
There are three things you can do here.
First, you can double down on your point to bring the attention back. Really hit on the reason your prospect will benefit personally from working with you here. And hopefully, you can perk up their ears and get them interested.
Second, you can stop and call them out on it. As you might imagine, this one is risky, especially if you haven’t built up a lot of rapport. But in some cases, that assertiveness is enough to make them realize you’re someone worth listening to.
And last, you can reschedule. You can cut the meeting short and agree on a later date so your time isn’t wasted. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get a prospect in the right headspace to see the value in what you’re offering.