Guiding a Salesforce Mindset, with Rob Jolles


Exclusive Interview with: Rob Jolles

With over 30 years of experience and research, Rob Jolles is a leading authority and pioneer on the art of influence and persuasion. Jolles is a sought after business coach, author, and keynote speaker who has helped numerous Fortune 500s hone their communication skills, reinvent their sales process and boost their performance. Jolles’ keynotes and workshops inspire individuals and organizations to create real, lasting change by not just teaching clients how, but why.

If the intent is to change someone’s mind in order to help that individual, you are ethically influencing behavior. If the intent to change some one’s mind is to help the person who is utilizing the tactics, that is manipulating behavior.

SPEAKING.COM: What is the difference between influencing people and manipulating them?

JOLLES: As strange as this sounds, very little. In fact, the real difference does not impact the actual process and comes down to one word: intent. If the intent is to change some one’s mind in order to help that individual, you are ethically influencing behavior. If the intent to change some one’s mind is to help the person who is utilizing the tactics, that is manipulating behavior. There are many other litmus tests to this particular question, but that’s the easiest and most obvious.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to help or guide others?

JOLLES: The easy answer is we talk too much and we listen too little, which seriously impacts the trust we are trying to create. But I think the biggest mistake we make is not staying on top of the problems we uncover. Rarely are others who desperately need to make a change, unaware that a problem exists. Rather than ask more questions and go deeper into the problem, we tend to want to offer a solution and fix the problem as fast as we can. We’re left scratching our heads and wondering why there has been no change and our client is still “thinking about change” but not executing a change.

SPEAKING.COM: You address the importance of meeting someone where they are in the decision cycle. However, sometimes, by the time someone moves from one point to another, it’s too late or much more difficult to solve a problem. How can you convince people that there is a problem that they need to resolve when they aren’t at that stage yet?

JOLLES: That’s what trial closes are for. In the past, trial closes were used to direct others to an ultimate close, but not here. Clients go through three critical decision points, and trial closes that line up with these decision points allow us to take the guesswork out of where a client is within his or her decision cycle. This doesn’t mean we can’t move a client back through the cycle if need be, but it does mean we can stay intelligently lined up with the client.

When we ask questions about problems we fix well, we can get someone to “discover” a solution for themselves.

SPEAKING.COM: What is an example of how you can get someone to “discover” a solution for themselves rather than just presenting the solution yourself?

JOLLES: Fundamentally, needs don’t just fall from the sky. The problem shapes the need. When we ask questions about problems we fix well, we can get someone to “discover” a solution for themselves.

SPEAKING.COM: You say today’s salespeople are trained to adopt an “order-taking mentality.” Could you please elaborate on this and explain why it’s a problem?

JOLLES: We tend to dramatically over-train salespeople on product, and not process. When all you’ve been taught is how a product works, your only value is to regurgitate product information. If a client has already taken themselves through the decision cycle, this works well. Unfortunately, that represents about 7% of the actual prospects out there. In fact, about 79% of the population knows a problem exists, but feels no urgency to address it. Those are the prospects we should all want to talk to, and feature dumping solutions to these individuals will not move these prospects to change.

Keynotes are wonderful for waking up the sales force and seeing if you have the right speaker and the right process in place, but real, live training, with role-plays, case studies, and sometimes simulations create cultural changes.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the steps companies can take to correct order-taking mindsets in employees?

JOLLES: Well, you’re getting this from a trainer at heart, but for goodness sakes, process train your sales force. Keynotes are wonderful for waking up the sales force and seeing if you have the right speaker and the right process in place, but real, live training, with role-plays, case studies, and sometimes simulations create cultural changes. You correct “order-taking mindsets” with repeatable, predictable processes.

SPEAKING.COM: What are a few actions salespeople can take to build trust quickly?

JOLLES: That’s the easiest question on the list. Ask questions, and listen to the answers. Don’t tell your story, don’t fix any problems, and don’t offer any solutions. Just keep your questions open, begin with the end in mind, and listen.

SPEAKING.COM: Part of your book, How to Change Minds, emphasizes the importance of building trust through listening, and for that section, you asked people about behaviors they found negative in others who were (supposed to be) listening to them. What were your most significant findings?

JOLLES: Interestingly enough, one answer was so overwhelming, the next nine in total did not equal the number of votes the first answer on the list provided. “Interrupting me when I’m talking” was far and away the single biggest bad listening habit clients identified.

To bring sales speaker Rob Jolles to your organization, please contact Michael Frick at: Mike@Speaking.com

© SPEAKING.com, published on August 22, 2018

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