Applying pressure is a tricky art form. I always say closing a business deal is like catching a butterfly with your bare hands. If you apply too much pressure, you’ll overpower your client and crush any hopes of a deal. On the flip side, if you don’t apply enough pressure the deal is guaranteed to slip away. In this post, I’ll give you some effective ways to perfectly apply pressure. The most important part to remember is that pressure is needed either way.
Anyone that refuses to use pressure in business will never be successful. Keep in mind that pressure is required to make diamonds and that same idea is applicable in business. When pressure is used in the right ways you’ll enhance your customer experience, skyrocket results, and start making more money.
Mastering the use of pressure will cause you to start seeing massive success. Not only that but when pressure is being applied correctly, it doesn’t seem high pressure to your clients. I’ve had clients that tell me that I’m super easy to work with and that they loved how I wasn’t high pressure. Little did they know I was applying pressure throughout their entire customer experience. They just couldn’t tell.
Why People Shy Away from Using Pressure
Before I go over applying pressure, it’s important to understand why people avoid it in the first place. There’s certainly a negative connotation associated with pressure. The main reason for this is due to the old age of sales. Somewhere along the lines, people thought that they needed to lie, be deceptive, trick customers, etc. to be successful in sales. This hit an unethical bone in people’s bodies, rightfully so. That’s not the case anymore with the new age of sales (find out more on why with my entire post on it here). The internet and competitive market have completely revolutionized the way we do business. Those unethical business tricks no longer work in today’s day and age.
It’s impossible to apply pressure when you’re not sold on your product, service, or profession. If you hate sales that’s the reason for the disconnect. If you can’t sell yourself on sales then you might be in the wrong profession. You’ll never be able to push through objections if you aren’t sold on your product or service. Instead of overcoming objections, you’ll think “yeah I wouldn’t do it either.” So you need to get sold and get sold fast! Being 100% sold on your product, service, company, profession, reason why, and prices will allow you to sell more.
I have found that the final reason why people don’t like applying pressure is because they don’t know how to use it. They may have tried it in the past and had an interaction completely blow up in their face. Maybe someone hasn’t ever tried it because they think it’s bad or unethical. I commonly see people wanting to use it but they don’t know the best way to use it or the timing. Also, there’s times when people think they’re using pressure when they really aren’t.
Whatever the case may be just know that not mastering the use of pressure is holding you back from the success you deserve. Or at least the success you can achieve.
The Best Way to Apply Pressure
“Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee.” -Muhammad Ali
The best way to apply pressure in any business situation is when your client doesn’t feel it. Think about it, no one likes to be pressured into things. It takes the fun out of decision making and makes customers feel anxious. Instead, customers like to be the ones making a decision. Remembering this is imperative for your success.
The goal should be to focusing on how to get your client in a position where they’re 100% sold. So much so that they know not doing business with you would be a terrible decision that they’d always regret. You can do this by following these 7 tactics in applying pressure but I also recommend having a solid sales cycle and understanding why people buy.
7: Be Upfront
Never hide anything. In fact you should focus on being 100% honest. You’ve got to start reading your client’s needs and wants and suggestive selling. If you know something won’t be the best fit for your client then say so even if it means losing the sale. This honesty may prevent an easy sale from happening but will earn the complete trust from your client when it comes to your suggestions.
There was a study done between waiters and waitresses that suggestive sell and those that didn’t. The suggestive sellers would be upfront about certain dishes that typically received negative feedback would suggest an item that was super popular or one that had great reviews. The study showed that the suggestive sellers would receive tips that were over 30% higher than those that didn’t.
Customers view this type of selling as you looking out for them and their best interest. They respect it more, have a better experience, and reciprocity will kick in which is why they earn higher tips. You know the whole scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours concept?
6: Give Your Client Control but Steer the Ship
Stop fighting for control. Who cares if your client’s in control? If your client wants the control then give it to them and focus on steering the ship. Some clients like tour guides and some like doing their own thing. Embrace that and you’re already ahead of the majority of the competition. Not only that but your client will respect you more for it because they’ll see you respecting their wishes while going above and beyond.
Now, you can do this by suggestive selling. Giving feedback, suggestions, and pointers on things is a way to steer your client back on track. The best way to do this is to ask the right questions to get a full understanding of what will be the best fit for your customer. Finally, you’re going to have to connect with your client and provide them with the best possible customer experience. You basically have to prove the client that wants all the control that you’re an expert needed to consult them to the best possible decision. But you’ll never win if you’re fighting over petty things the whole time like control.
5: Set Expectations
This can be one of your most helpful tactics. Set your expectations for your client as soon as possible. Setting expectations could look something like, “Thank you, (client’s name), for taking valuable time out of your day to see me. Since this time is so valuable, I don’t want to waste a single second. Today, I’ll start by asking you some questions to get to know what you need and want, then I’ll show you what we have to offer, our competitive advantage, and I’ll tell you what I’ll specifically bring into the business deal. Ultimately, I want to wrap up with any questions you may have and end the meeting with getting a deal signed. Does that sound fair?”
Setting expectations like this does a couple of things. You show appreciation for the time while complementing the value of their time, let them know the order of the timeline, and ultimately put out there that you want a business deal signed. It’s almost like you address the elephant in the room and ask for the sale at the same time. Obviously, you need to ask for the sale many times but this shows 100% transparency. Clients love it too!
4: Ask Tough Questions
Sometimes when the going gets tough you need to ask some tough questions to understand where or what’s breaking down the deal. It’s like ripping a bandaid off but you’ve got to do it.
Tough questions are the ones you want to ask but feel nervous asking them. These questions are needed otherwise the business will never be earned.
More times than not there’s typically just some confusion from the client’s end. A lot of the time the client doesn’t want to admit it because they don’t want to feel dumb. Think back to when you were in school and you wanted to ask a question but didn’t in case it was a dumb one. To combat this you need to overcome your internal fears and ask those tough questions.
The only way to earn business is with fully communicating. You’re the one that facilitates the communication. Only then will you be able to uncover the hesitations and fears of your client.
3: Get Creative
Get creative with your clients and make sure you overcome every objection no matter what. This’ll require you to get more creative than you’ve ever been before… mad scientist creative.
Just without the creepiness… you get the point.
You’re going to have to problem solve and carry most of the weight. Never make it difficult for your clients to buy! If your client doesn’t know how to do something or needs help then go above and beyond for them. It’ll result in the business almost every time. Even if it doesn’t it’s nice knowing you helped someone. I have an entire post on this concept with examples here.
2: Inspire Action
Warranting action is the ultimate goal. You want to earn the business. There are different ways and reasons that cause people to take action. If you incorporate things like scarcity, urgency, social proof, reciprocity, excitement, etc. you’ll ignite action.
There are 25 cognitive biases that impact the way people make decisions. All these human emotions are unavoidable and if you know what they are you can use them to nonchalantly apply pressure. I’m currently in the process of breaking down all the cognitive biases so if you subscribe to my blog or visit my website you’ll know in depth how they work and when to use them. You won’t want to miss out on any of them! Just used one on you right there called loss aversion 😉
1: Use Humor
Humor is my most effective tactic in any business deal. People love to laugh and don’t laugh enough. Remember that people buy from people that they like. Humor gets your client to like you more while reducing tension, if there is any. More importantly it shows that you’re a normal person.
Keep in mind that you can’t force humor. If it’s not natural for you then practice it in bits and pieces until it is. That’ll help you acclimate yourself.
I joke all the time about being a salesman with my clients. If someone hits me with an “I want to think about it.” I’ll answer with something like, “(client’s name), this is typically the part where I become super high pressure so you buy…” Then we typically break into laughter and then I’ll follow with “I’m just messing with you but I’m a little curious what’s holding you back from going ahead with it?” I’ve had this strategy work out into numerous deals. It’s almost like the client knows they can be more real with me after it happens.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to use humor throughout your entire experience if you want to use it in the close. It will most likely be misperceived if you don’t. It’s never good when jokes go horribly wrong…
Ultimately these 7 strategies will help you become an expert at applying pressure. Success will come when you incorporate all of the strategies. You’ll have some successes from them individually but the massive success comes from all of them being used together. These tactics will help you apply pressure unknowingly, creatively ask for the sale, overcome objections, and earn more business.
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