Over the past few decades, there’s been an explosion of scientific research on how the human brain makes choices and which factors influence what we say, how we act and what we decide to buy. Top business and sales leaders have taken notice of this wealth of scientific data and have begun applying it to selling. This innovation, known as science-based selling, is transforming both the way salespeople sell and how they are trained. Science-based selling equips salespeople to literally align how they sell with how potential customers’ brains formulate buying decisions. This alignment has been shown to significantly enhance sales effectiveness and results.
Here is an example of one scientific principle that makes a remarkable and predictable impact on sales results: Would something as simple as the number of product options presented impact whether or not a purchase will be made? Numerous research studies have proven the answer is yes! For instance, in one experiment, when consumers were shown only a single product option, only 10 percent agreed to purchase it. However, when a second product was presented, sales skyrocketed, as 34 percent agreed to purchase the original product, while 32 percent decided to buy the second product. In total, a whopping 66 percent of consumers agreed to purchase at least one of the options when two were shown.
The reason the second product option drastically improves buying behaviors is a phenomenon known as single-option aversion. When the brain is only presented with a single option to choose from, it assigns a high level of risk to the decision because it does not have anything to compare it to. In contrast, when there are multiple options in a choice set, the brain will select the best, and this victory increases confidence levels in the decision to purchase the option.
Outcomes of Science-Based Sales Training
It’s clear that science-backed sales strategies will guide salespeople in more effectively engaging potential customers, but how will they impact sales training? Here’s a look at three common outcomes that occur when sales trainers deploy science-backed selling strategies.
1. Deeper Levels of Buy-In
The success of a training initiative is dependent on buy-in from both company leadership and salespeople. Yet the data shows that salespeople use very little of what they hear in training. Why? Frequently, the reasons we give salespeople for embracing the training are anecdotal. Besides being unconvincing, ironically, this is the same rationale they will give for why they will not use the training.
Science-based sales training is different. It presents the objective science that each strategy is built on. Because salespeople understand the evidence that supports the behavior, they are far more likely to adopt it. What’s more, because they understand the “why” behind the activity, they can more effectively customize it to meet the unique needs, beliefs and situations of their potential customers.
2. Enhanced Results
Science-based selling has a unique starting point. It focuses on how people buy and then responds by building buyer-centric selling strategies and processes. This harmony between the buyer and seller has been shown to amplify customer engagement, loyalty and the probability of the sale.
That’s not all. Because science has codified how the brain formulates buying decisions, we now know the specific sales behaviors that will guide prospects through their buying journey. In fact, it’s no longer necessary to guess why top producers perform better than average ones. Armed with scientific data, we now have the tools to improve any salesperson’s performance.
3. Verifiably Effective
Many business and sales leaders confess that they are frustrated with traditional sales training. The cause of their frustration is that they cannot substantiate that the training will improve sales results until after it has been deployed.
In contrast, science-based sales training is grounded in thousands of scientific studies across a variety of disciplines, such as social psychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience and behavioral economics. This evidence makes it transparent. Company leadership can analyze, prior to training, the training content and its basis and verify that it will guide salespeople into heightened levels of sales performance.
The new reality is that we no longer need to base sales training on the latest fads or anecdotal evidence. Today, we can base it on objective science that will improve outcomes for trainers; companies; salespeople; and, most importantly, buyers.