“The personal decision capital scale is a tool to help you create a success path with your customers.” – Scott Ingram in today’s Tip 830
How do you differentiate affinity and trust?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Steven Cardinale. Steven is the author of Synaptic Alchemy. Being involved in entrepreneurial ventures, large Fortune 500 companies such as Eli Lily, Janus Funds, and PwC and earning an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, has given Steven insights from every angle of success. Here he is:
Steven Cardinale: We’ve all either personally experienced or have been intimately involved in the following conversation. It goes something like this. The prospect really likes me and they like us. They’ve spent a bunch of time asking questions and asking for information. They like us so much that I put the chance of winning this deal at 80%. That’s great that they like you, but liking you, your sales rep, or your company is all about affinity. Remember that, liking equals affinity.
However, someone who is going to buy from you is all about spending personal decision capital on your behalf, which is an indicator of trust. And that has nothing to do with affinity. In fact, I’m sure you’ve won deals in the past where you and your customer really didn’t have an affinity for each other at all. You just weren’t ever going to be best buddies. But there was an alignment between the value you offer and your customer’s needs. That’s what happens when your customers buy. They expend personal decision capital on your solution because there’s an alignment between the value you provide and their need.
So how do you start to tease out the difference between affinity and personal decision capital?
Well, the first step is to start to quantify a customer’s current personal decision capital balance. That I did on my last company. We started to plot customers on a decision scale going from minus five to plus five with zero B neutral. Any time you meet anyone and I mean anyone, whether it’s on a Zoom call in person or on the phone, you start a negative one. And negative one is the feeling you have when a sales associate walks up to you in a retail store or on a car lot. You know they have an agenda. And usually, that agenda is not aligned with your intentions. Over time, as you interact with your customer, that personal decision capital number will increase. If it’s going down, you have a totally different problem. It’ll go from a minus one where they aren’t willing to part with any useful information and are resistant to anything you say that behavior is in essence what defines a minus one to a zero where they are neutral and then you’ll finally start moving up the scale.
Each level in the scale is demonstrated by certain behaviors, but one is when your customer starts to give you general information when you make a low-risk query. Like, have you made this decision in the past? An individual who’s added to will give you detailed information that’s still public. That’s the difference from a number one, general responses. Two, the responses are detailed. Customers who are at a level 3 will make you a priority and carve time out of their day to tell you things that are private and you really shouldn’t know. They’ll let you in on the little secrets of how their colleagues behave or how to close the deal. A customer who is willing to expend their own political capital for you is at a level four. They’re willing to take risks that could cost them in their personal reputation for the decision to go with you.
A level five customer will put themselves on the line. For example, they might be willing to have a serious argument with their spouse or their boss on your behalf. Once you start collecting data on where each individual in the decision-making process is, then you begin to see where your sales team needs to be in order to win. In my business, we need to have at least one decision-maker at a level four and everyone else at level 3s or higher in order to have an 80 percent confidence that we were going to win the deal.
Once you know where you are, you can implement a strategy and a process to move decision-makers up the ladder, which is vital to increasing your closing percentages. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a sales executive, or a business development rep in the field, you have the ability to accurately separate affinity and alignment. The personal decision capital scale is a tool to help you create a success path with your customers.
Once you’ve done that. Be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!