Jason Cutter’s new book Selling with Authentic Persuasion reveals that not everyone is cut out to be a salesperson, but often people who struggle as salespeople just don’t realize they are acting like order takers rather than salespeople. In these pages, Jason Cutter, who has years of experience managing call centers, leading sales teams, and selling himself, walks readers through the process of determining whether you are an order taker or have the potential to become a quota breaker. And then he shows how using authentic persuasion can make almost anyone comfortable with sales.
One of the first issues Cutter tackles is that many people in sales do not succeed because they fear being the pushy salesperson they’ve experienced and vowed never to be like. Another issue is that some people just haven’t learned proper sales techniques or they fear the customer won’t like them if they try to make the sale. In all these cases, Cutter has advice to coach readers through shifting their mindsets away from the fears that keep them in order taker mode to find new levels of success and happiness. By using authentic persuasion-honest, empathetic techniques to help customers and to determine if you can help them, making that transition from order taker to salesperson is much easier.
What is an order taker? Cutter defines it as “someone who takes orders for a living. The fundamental principle driving the order taker is to be of service, to interact with people with the goal of helping them fulfil their needs or desires… An order taker is all about the other person’s satisfaction. The order taker is not about ensuring they personally get what they need or want out of the transaction.”
Cutter identifies the mindsets of “I really like helping people” and “I don’t like forcing people to buy” as a deadly combination for a sales career. Instead, Cutter says “a sales professional’s goal is to help people achieve their goals, avoid pain, and fundamentally, end up in a better place as a result of dealing with us… [W]e don’t want to force anything, but we use certain skills to move people toward purchasing.” Those skills can be summed up as authentic persuasion.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome in helping someone move from order taker to salesperson is the person’s fears-and not just fears of being disliked for being pushy, but more deeply rooted fears that go back to our early years as humans when we had to get along with others in our community for survival because rejection by the group could mean isolation, which ultimately would mean death. Although those fears may be irrational in our modern world, they still prevent us from acting, as salespeople, in our best interests.
Cutter offers a brilliant exercise for overcoming these fears. We have all heard about goal-setting. Instead, he wants would-be salespeople to use a fear-setting technique. Goal setting means setting a goal and then determining all the steps needed to reach it. Fear setting means taking your fear of what might happen to the extreme. For example, you might fear that if the person you’re trying to sell to thinks you’re pushy, they might report you to your boss, who might fire you, and you might not find another job, and then you won’t be able to pay your bills, so you will become homeless and ultimately starve to death-the extreme being death. Realizing how ridiculous this scenario is as the result of one customer interaction can help people push past the fear to sell effectively.
Cutter then wades through all the clutter that gets in the way of effective sales. He talks about how desperation to sell can be felt by the customer who will then run away. He talks about how using manipulation will ultimately backfire on you. And then he turns to what a salesperson’s real goal should be: “your job as a sales professional is to help each prospect overcome their fear of change and buy from you for the right reasons.”
If salespeople have fear, so do customers. Cutter believes they mostly fear change, and they know that buying your product will mean having to experience and cope with a change. Cutter says only two main reasons exist for why people decide to change: fear of pain or hope for gain. He offers advice on how to respond to prospects’ fear of change or that they have made a wrong decision so you can guide them to the sale, with the belief that you are not pushing something on them that they don’t need but actually helping them to fulfill their needs.
Throughout the book, Cutter uses examples of various salespeople who learned to use the authentic persuasion tools described in the book. For example:
“Carol realized she could help more people by effectively moving them forward to buy from her. She knew if qualified prospects didn’t buy from her, they would find someone else who likely wouldn’t care about them as much as she did. Carol learned it was possible for her to care about her customers, address their concerns, stay in control, and close deals.”
Throughout Selling with Authentic Persuasion, Cutter covers numerous other situations that salespeople encounter, such as the importance of saying no to prospects you aren’t a right fit for, how to prevent buyer’s remorse, and effective ways for generating referrals by turning customers into raving fans. Far more is discussed in the book than I have room to mention here.
Having worked as a salesperson and then a manager in a call center for many years myself, I wish I had read this book long ago. I absolutely believe that by following the advice in this book, any person who wants to give themselves the edge in their career and go from order taker to quota breaker will be surprised by their results.