How to Win the Hearts and Minds of Decision Makers


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Optimal selling and persuasion skills must include an understanding and appreciation of the emotional drivers people use to make decisions.

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How to Win the Hearts and Minds of Decision Makers

  1. 1. Winning the Hearts and Minds of Decision Makers Parissa Behnia Idea Chef 678 Partners
  2. 2. Setting the Stage <ul><li>Crudely put, each product has three life stages (with their own decision makers): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting it Funded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping it Alive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Launching It </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How we communicate and to whom we communicate varies by stage. </li></ul><ul><li>Success depends upon our discovery and understanding of emotional drivers. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Tweets That Make You Go Hmm… <ul><li>You make more friends in 2 mo's by becoming interested in other people than in 2 yrs trying to get them interested in you. - Dale Carnegie </li></ul><ul><ul><li>@JeffreyHayzlett </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You never know if someone's interested or interesting unless you ask. Food for thought. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>@JasonFalls </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate <ul><li>We tend to place greater weight on facts, figures and data. </li></ul><ul><li>However, we don’t make decisions because of those lovely numbers. </li></ul><ul><li>Decisions have emotional drivers which are rationalized later. </li></ul><ul><li>Optimal selling is an iterative process and incorporates emotional and rational elements. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Let’s Watch Something
  6. 6. New Brain Dialogue is Rational <ul><li>And it says… </li></ul><ul><li>Gee, this is interesting. </li></ul><ul><li>What’s the ROI? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it fix a technical problem? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it meet the requirements? </li></ul><ul><li>Example: This phone has a lot of features. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Old Brain Dialogue is Emotional <ul><li>And it says… </li></ul><ul><li>I am 100% self interested. </li></ul><ul><li>Can I trust you? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it address my fears, wants or needs? </li></ul><ul><li>Example: This phone helps you get out of a jam and save your marriage. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Product Manager Jobs are Written by the New Brain <ul><li>Responsible for the product planning and execution throughout the product lifecycle, including: gathering and prioritizing product and customer requirements, defining the product vision, and working closely with engineering, sales, marketing and support to ensure revenue and customer satisfaction goals are met. It also includes ensuring that the product supports the company's overall strategy and goals. </li></ul>
  9. 9. No Two Decision Makers are Alike <ul><li>Who are they? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal : Finance, IT, Engineering, Marketing, Operations, Sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>External : Outside Investors, End User </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We don’t talk to them at the same time. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting funding happens before developing distribution strategies. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>They don’t care about the same things. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The end user may not care about requirements. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So why talk to them in the same way? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Winning the Mind Isn’t Sufficient <ul><li>We sell the same vanilla story rather than hearing decision makers’ unique stories. </li></ul><ul><li>When we pitch, it’s self motivated and can make people feel under siege. </li></ul><ul><li>These are some behaviors as a result: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Projects are put on hold </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meetings are postponed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Let me think it over and I’ll get back to you” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We’re going to allocate funds to another project” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It becomes hard to achieve your objectives. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Walk a Mile in Their Shoes <ul><li>A decision maker may (not) support a product based on beliefs which can include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Name Maker - “If this is a hit, I’ll get that promotion.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Job Security - “I’ve been a part of failed products before. I don’t want to lose my job.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ground Floor Opportunity – “If I’m the first to buy, I’ll be cool and an influencer.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compensation – “If the product doesn’t do well, I will lose my bonus and can’t pay for XXX.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It’s important to know these beliefs as a basis of connection and conversion. </li></ul>
  12. 12. My Only Interest is Your Best Interest <ul><li>New Brain </li></ul><ul><li>Provide logical reasons to talk </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge the requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Offer a solution that meets the requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Old Brain </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate the reflexive defensive posture </li></ul><ul><li>Get full disclosure of wants, needs and fears </li></ul><ul><li>Customize offering, design or delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Link the solution to the drivers </li></ul>A connection with decision makers drives actions in support of that connection.
  13. 13. Let’s Watch Something Else
  14. 14. A Summary <ul><li>Success comes when you follow an iterative persuasion process but treat each stage and decision maker differently. </li></ul><ul><li>Technical requirements (new brain) are easy to understand. </li></ul><ul><li>The emotional drivers (old brain) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are tough to decipher. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Require time, effort and energy to re program your mind. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The best solution is an old-new brain combo. </li></ul>
  15. 15. What is Your Preference? <ul><li>New Brain Only </li></ul><ul><li>Long Sales Cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Projects On Hold </li></ul><ul><li>Flat Sales </li></ul><ul><li>Mediocre Launch </li></ul><ul><li>Poor Distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Limited Budget </li></ul><ul><li>Old and New Brain </li></ul><ul><li>Bypass RFP Completely </li></ul><ul><li>10X Sales </li></ul><ul><li>“ Buzz” </li></ul><ul><li>Cohesive Product Delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition </li></ul><ul><li>Additional Funding </li></ul>