ABC: Attunement, Buoyancy, Clarity
The old salesmanship model of ABC is “always be closing.” Salesmanship has changed over time. Daniel Pink’s ABC sales is about “Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity.”
Attunement is an ability to get out of your own head and into the head of the person you’re attempting to persuade. It’s about seeing the situation through their eyes. This skill, called perspective taking, requires you to:
- See where a person’s coming from. What motivations, concerns, and biases do they bring to the table?
- Understand what they’re saying. You’ve got to truly grasp what they what.
- Honor their point of view. Respecting their position can build a bridgement to agreement.
Buoyancy measures your ability to float “in an ocean of rejection.” As a seller/persuader, you’re going to hear “no” many more times than “yes.” Managing this means equipping yourself to deal with rejection – a.k.a becoming more buoyant.
To build up buoyancy, we make effort to de-catastrophize rejections, the thinking of “this seems like the end of the world” is rooted in three Ps of self-biases.
- Personal bias. Don’t take rejection personally. It’s not about you but other person, a philosophy consistent with the Four Agreements.
- Persvasive bias. Rejection can beget a loop of negative confirmation. You think: “This always happens!” But in reality, it doesn’t always happen. Focus instead on all the times you’ve prevailed in the past.
- Permanent bias. No final rejection is a final word. Think about all the ways things aren’t ruined. Then get back up, dust yourself off, and start selling again.
Clarity is the ability to see a situation in a fresh light and help people surface problems they didn’t realize that they had.
In the past, sales was a role that was revolved around expertise – the seller knows more than the buyer. But the era of information parity means shifting the persuader’s role from information gatekeeper to curator. It also means shifting from problem-solving to problem-finding.
To that end, part of providing clarity as a salesperson hinges on being an expert on issues that contextualize the transaction. This is where you’ll use your expertise to guide the customer to the best solution for his or her particular need. Your worth comes from an ability to synthesize knowledge for the buyer’s benefit.
A major part of knowing how to frame a pitch persuasively comes from understanding that human inherently fall victim to cognitive bias: We tend to let our subjective reality – or how we perceive the world – take precedence over an objective reality. Based on the cognitive bias, there are 3 powerful persuasive framing:
Experience Framing. People have tendency to value experience over goods and services. In attempting to sell someone a house, you sell them on the experiences made possible by home ownership rather than the property itself.
Potential Framing. Potential is often more persuasive then current performance. When going for a promotion, you tell a boss all the ways you’d succeed in the new role instead of listing ways you’re competent in your current role.
Loss Framing. It contextualizes a sale around what the buyer stands to lose if they don’t hit the bid. Selling someone insurance is the classic example of this frame.