Salespeople often talk about the need to discover a seller’s motivation. “No motivation, no sale“, many say. While I believe this to be true, I also believe that many salespeople do not understand what motivation really means, and therefore don’t know how to question sellers deeply enough to discover their true motivation.
In his book, The Secret of Selling Anything, author Harry Browne said,
Everyone is already motivated. The only question is “By what?” Your job is to find out what it is that motivates your prospect. And then show him how he can get what he wants through your product or service. Only then will he buy.
There is one little word in that paragraph that many salespeople miss: the word, WHAT.
What motivates your sellers? Too many salespeople mistake ‘what’ for ‘where’.
For example, a seller says, “We’re selling because we’re moving to Brisbane”. So the salesperson thinks the sellers are motivated because they want to move to Brisbane. In truth, all the salesperson knows is WHERE the seller wants to move to, not WHY they want to move there.
Where is not the same as what. The salesperson still does not know the sellers’ true motivation (the ‘real’ reason), but often he thinks he does. This is dangerous.
You can work hard to get a property sold, only to have the sellers decide not to sell because their reasons for staying were more compelling than their reasons for selling. All that work for no result. And all because the salesperson didn’t question deeply enough to discover the sellers’ true motive.
I believe the problem begins with the words “motive” and “motivation“. I know that these words are common in sales training – Harry Browne himself said, “All it takes is this one simple rule: Find this prospect’s motivation and appeal to it. Selling is easy for the person who does”.
But “motive” and “motivation” are sterile words that disguise the most important thing a salesperson must discover before attempting to list a seller:
WHAT IS THEIR REAL REASON FOR SELLING?
‘Discover the motivation’ really means to understand your sellers, to find their real reason for selling. To make this mission clearer, let’s lose the word motivation altogether. Try this:
How will the sellers’ lives improve as the result of this move?
This is a much better question, because it reveals to the sellers the benefits in moving. Ask this question and you will find the ‘what’ instead of the ‘where’.
Using our couple moving to Brisbane as an example, when you ask how their lives will improve as the result of moving there, they may say that they used to live in Brisbane, but moved away because of a job opportunity. But after moving they found it difficult because they didn’t know anybody. They couldn’t go out at night very often because they didn’t have anybody to babysit the children – no friends and no support base.
Emotional Reason For Moving
Now you are getting to the emotional issues – loneliness, isolation, a lack of support. The motivation behind moving is to be back among family and friends, and their lives will improve when they do. They will have support and can go out at night on occasions. Emotional stuff.
Once you know the emotional reason why they are selling, you now know WHAT motivates them: they don’t want to be lonely anymore.
At the time of listing, this might not seem too important, but think about it. When you list sellers, is it important to your integrity that you only list them if it is right for them to sell? It is to me. Before I ever listed anybody, I wanted to know whether they should sell or not, because I believe that you should not convince anybody to do anything that is not right for them.
After the property is listed, however, knowing the ‘what’ is even more important.
Should, for example, these sellers say that they do not want to accept a fair offer because they believe that it is $10,000 too low, you can use their emotional reason for selling to offset the $10,000 they are holding out for.
“You told me that you are lonely, that you cannot wait to move to Brisbane, is that correct? So why are you saying ‘no’ to something that is so important to you, your family, and your well-being? We all know that this offer is fair. Saying no to it will mean that you stay here, and remain lonely, without the support of the people you love“.
I am sure you agree that there is far more to this for our example sellers than merely a move to Brisbane. It is that ‘far more’ that you need to uncover.
How will their lives improve after they make this move? Ask the question, and take your time to uncover what motivates them.
Motivation is elusive, but if you ask the right questions you will find the real reason, the emotional reason.