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Using the Power of Certainty to Drive Sales Success
When it comes to selling, nothing is more important than the power of certainty. After all, when potential customers or clients are uncertain, they hesitate. They don’t want to move forward, say “yes,” or allow you to close the sale. The more uncertainty you have, the higher the risk for the person making the purchase and the more likely it is they will decide to wait.
On the other hand, when there is a high level of certainty and the product or service will help the customer accomplish what they want to achieve or give them the result they desire now and in the future, the sale can very easily be made.
So in a world of amazing uncertainty, you have to ask yourself, “What am I certain about?” One of the top certainties of today is that the future is all about relationships. Even though we live in a highly technical world, it is still a human world where people buy and sell on logic and emotion, on their view of the future, and on the level of trust they have in the people they’re working with. Therefore, no matter what you’re selling, if you don’t have trust it will be difficult to rapidly increase sustainable sales.
The fact is that it has been increasingly difficult for order-takers to make a living in today’s networked, mobile, social, and interactive economy. The salespeople who do best are those who act not as order-takers, but as trusted advisors. This is true whether you’re selling flat-panel display televisions at an electronics store, multi-million-dollar ERP systems, or real estate. Becoming the trusted advisor is key.
For example, if you go to a hardware store and ask someone to help you find something, and that salesperson simply points you to the correct aisle, he or she may make the sale, but not a loyal customer. However, when that salesperson takes an interest in what you’re looking for, asks questions about how you plan to use the item, and then helps you find what you are looking for or a better solution, you’re more likely to go back to that hardware store and seek that person out. In fact, you’re no longer just going to the hardware store; you’re going to see your trusted advisor who works at the hardware store.
Now the main questions are: “As a salesperson, how do you really reach that trusted advisor status?” And, “Once you attain that status, how do you use certainty to fill your sales pipeline?” Here are three keys to keep in mind.
Many salespeople lower the level of trust they have with customers, not because they aren’t trustworthy people, but because they aren’t thinking about trust before they do their sales pitch. Therefore, when you’re talking with a prospect or customer, you always want to ask yourself, “Where is the current trust level?” Perhaps there isn’t any. If so, that’s okay. Work at building trust as the conversation and resulting relationship progresses.
For example, instead of saying something negative about a competing product, pull out your smart phone or tablet and show the customer tweeted complaints about the competing product, as well as tweets about your product. This will give the customer social proof that you are telling the truth.
Raise the bar on trust whenever possible. Change how you talk about your product or service, how you sell it, or how you demo it so that trust stays where it is or, better yet, goes higher. When you can raise the bar on trust, you’re much closer to that sale because now you’re a trusted advisor.
Rather than strive for sales or transactions, strive for relationships that span time, price fluctuations, and the competition. Sometimes that means sending customers to your competitors. Yes, it sounds contrary to the traditional sales building advice, but it’s a sure way to build your trusted advisor status.
For example, if a competing product to yours would better suit a customer, tell them about it. Give them the other company’s web site, phone number, or address. Write it down for them. Even though you didn’t make this sale, you just made many future sales because you are now definitely a trusted advisor.
In my own 30 years of research and in starting numerous successful companies, I’ve found that the best way to gain trust is to make recommendations in the customer’s best interest, even if that means sending them to a competitor. Why? Because now the customer realizes you truly want to help and that they can trust you for the right answers. Then, when they have another need or challenge (which they most certainly will), they’ll turn to you to help them. When you’re always the first company they contact, you’re bound to get long-term sales.
Remember, transactions are here today and gone tomorrow. That’s why your goal is to gain customers who are with you forever. After all, it’s much less expensive to sell to current customers who already trust you than to try to gain a new customer. Invest the time upfront and you’ll have better results in the future.
Once you have people’s trust and understand the power of leveraging relationships, it’s time to ask yourself a key question we touched on earlier: “What am I certain about?” Chances are, you’re certain about a lot of things. For example, you know when major holidays will hit, when seasons will come, and even your industry’s sales cycles. Another example of certainty is that the number of customers using smart phones to help them make purchasing decisions while in a store will increase. And if you’re really building relationships and trust with your customers, you’ll also be certain about their needs, both now and in the future. So it’s time to make a list of certainties and put those certainties to work.
Let’s take the sales cycle as an example. Most industries have sales cycles where there’s a certain time that people buy the product or service. Rather than prospect, market, and sell during the sales cycle, if you know it’s coming, why not prospect, market, and sell before the sales cycle starts? Why? Because one of the strategies I teach in my book Flash Foresight is that opposites work better. So rather than compete and sell when everyone else is competing and selling, why not sell when your competitors don’t think the sales cycle has started?
Before the sales day begins, always ask yourself: What are the problems that are most likely on my customer’s minds? What are the uncertainties that might keep them from saying yes? Then ask yourself: What am I certain about? The key is to use the things you’re certain about to make saying “yes” easier for your customers. Eliminate the risk of saying yes and put more risk on saying no. If you’re a trusted advisor and talking to your customers about the certainties you know they’ll be facing, they will listen and buy.
Fill Your Sales Pipeline
We live in a highly competitive and uncertain world. And that can force many salespeople to forget about relationship building and focus on the current transaction. Yet when you focus on developing personal relationships with customers, becoming a trusted advisor rather than a salesperson, and using the power of certainty to your advantage, you will provide the comfort and clarity for customers to make a buying decision now.
ABOUT DANIEL BURRUS
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and business strategists, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous untapped opportunities. He is the author of Flash Foresight (CLICK HERE to get your copy now).
Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.
Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?
Some scientists have studied near death experiences (NDEs) to try to gain insights into how death overcomes the brain. What they've found is remarkable, a surge of electricity enters the brain moments before brain death. One 2013 study out of the University of Michigan, which examined electrical signals inside the heads of rats, found they entered a hyper-alert state just before death.
Scientists are beginning to think an NDE is caused by reduced blood flow, coupled with abnormal electrical behavior inside the brain. So the stereotypical tunnel of white light might derive from a surge in neural activity. Dr. Sam Parnia is the director of critical care and resuscitation research, at NYU Langone School of Medicine, in New York City. He and colleagues are investigating exactly how the brain dies.
Our cerebral cortex is likely active 2–20 seconds after cardiac arrest. Credit: Getty Images.
In previous work, he's conducted animal studies looking at the moments before and after death. He's also investigated near death experiences. “Many times, those who have had such experiences talk about floating around the room and being aware of the medical team working on their body," Dr. Parnia told Live Science. “They'll describe watching doctors and nurses working and they'll describe having awareness of full conversations, of visual things that were going on, that would otherwise not be known to them."
Medical staff confirm this, he said. So how could those who were technically dead be cognizant of what's happening around them? Even after our breathing and heartbeat stops, we're conscious for about 2–20 seconds, Dr. Parnia says. That's how long the cerebral cortex is thought to last without oxygen. This is the thinking and decision-making part of the brain. It's also responsible for deciphering the information gathered from our senses.
According to Parnia during this period, "You lose all your brain stem reflexes — your gag reflex, your pupil reflex, all that is gone." Brain waves from the cerebral cortex soon become undetectable. Even so, it can take hours for our thinking organ to fully shut down.
Usually, when the heart stops beating, someone performs CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). This will provide about 15% of the oxygen needed to perform normal brain function. "If you manage to restart the heart, which is what CPR attempts to do, you'll gradually start to get the brain functioning again," Parnia said. “The longer you're doing CPR, those brain cell death pathways are still happening — they're just happening at a slightly slower rate."
CPR may help retain some brain function for longer. Credit: Getty Images.
Dr. Parnia's latest, ongoing study looks at large numbers of Europeans and Americans who have experienced cardiac arrest and survived. "In the same way that a group of researchers might be studying the qualitative nature of the human experience of 'love,'" he said, "we're trying to understand the exact features that people experience when they go through death, because we understand that this is going to reflect the universal experience we're all going to have when we die."
One of the objectives is to observe how the brain acts and reacts during cardiac arrest, through the process of death, and during revival. How much oxygen exactly does it take to reboot the brain? How is the brain affected after revival? Learning where the lines are drawn might improve resuscitation techniques, which could save countless lives per year.
"At the same time, we also study the human mind and consciousness in the context of death," Parnia said, “to understand whether consciousness becomes annihilated or whether it continues after you've died for some period of time — and how that relates to what's happening inside the brain in real time."
For more on the scientific perspective on a near death experience, click here:
That's as fast as a bullet train in Japan.
The way an elephant manipulates its trunk to eat and drink could lead to better robots, researchers say.
Elephants dilate their nostrils to create more space in their trunks, allowing them to store up to 5.5 liters (1.45 gallons) of water, according to their new study.
They can also suck up three liters (0.79 gallons) per second—a speed 30 times faster than a human sneeze (150 meters per second/330 mph), the researchers found.
The researchers wanted to better understand the physics of how elephants use their trunks to move and manipulate air, water, food, and other objects. They also wanted to learn if the mechanics could inspire the creation of more efficient robots that use air motion to hold and move things.
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
While octopuses use jets of water to propel themselves and archer fish shoot water above the surface to catch insects, elephants are the only animals able to use suction both on land and underwater.
"An elephant eats about 400 pounds of food a day, but very little is known about how they use their trunks to pick up lightweight food and water for 18 hours, every day," says lead author Andrew Schulz, a mechanical engineering PhD student at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "It turns out their trunks act like suitcases, capable of expanding when necessary."
Sucking up tortilla chips without breaking them
Schulz and his colleagues worked with veterinarians at Zoo Atlanta, studying elephants as they ate various foods. For large rutabaga cubes, for example, the animal grabbed and collected them. It sucked up smaller cubes and made a loud vacuuming sound, like the sound of a person slurping noodles, before transferring the vegetables to its mouth.
To learn more about suction, the researchers gave elephants a tortilla chip and measured the applied force. Sometimes the animal pressed down on the chip and breathed in, suspending the chip on the tip of its trunk without breaking it, similar to a person inhaling a piece of paper onto their mouth. Other times the elephant applied suction from a distance, drawing the chip to the edge of its trunk.
Elephants inhale at speeds comparable to Japan's 300 mph bullet trains.
"An elephant uses its trunk like a Swiss Army knife," says David Hu, Schulz's advisor and a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Mechanical Engineering. "It can detect scents and grab things. Other times it blows objects away like a leaf blower or sniffs them in like a vacuum."
By watching elephants inhale liquid from an aquarium, the team was able to time the durations and measure volume. In just 1.5 seconds, the trunk sucked up 3.7 liters (just shy of 1 gallon), the equivalent of 20 toilets flushing simultaneously.
Soft robots and elephant conservation
The researchers used an ultrasonic probe to take trunk wall measurements and see how the trunk's inner muscles work. By contracting those muscles, the animal dilates its nostrils up to 30%. This decreases the thickness of the walls and expands nasal volume by 64%.
"At first it didn't make sense: an elephant's nasal passage is relatively small and it was inhaling more water than it should," Schulz says. "It wasn't until we saw the ultrasonographic images and watched the nostrils expand that we realized how they did it. Air makes the walls open, and the animal can store far more water than we originally estimated."
Based on the pressures applied, Schulz and the team suggest that elephants inhale at speeds comparable to Japan's 300-mph bullet trains.
"By investigating the mechanics and physics behind trunk muscle movements, we can apply the physical mechanisms—combinations of suction and grasping—to find new ways to build robots," Schulz says.
"In the meantime, the African elephant is now listed as endangered because of poaching and loss of habitat. Its trunk makes it a unique species to study. By learning more about them, we can learn how to better conserve elephants in the wild."
The paper appears in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The US Army Research Laboratory and the US Army Research Oﬃce 294 Mechanical Sciences Division, Complex Dynamics and Systems Program, funded the work. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the sponsoring agency.
Source: Georgia Tech
Original Study DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2021.0215
The experience of life flashing before one's eyes has been reported for well over a century, but where's the science behind it?
At the age of 16, when Tony Kofi was an apprentice builder living in Nottingham, he fell from the third story of a building. Time seemed to slow down massively, and he saw a complex series of images flash before his eyes.
As he described it, “In my mind's eye I saw many, many things: children that I hadn't even had yet, friends that I had never seen but are now my friends. The thing that really stuck in my mind was playing an instrument". Then Tony landed on his head and lost consciousness.
When he came to at the hospital, he felt like a different person and didn't want to return to his previous life. Over the following weeks, the images kept flashing back into his mind. He felt that he was “being shown something" and that the images represented his future.
Later, Tony saw a picture of a saxophone and recognized it as the instrument he'd seen himself playing. He used his compensation money from the accident to buy one. Now, Tony Kofi is one of the UK's most successful jazz musicians, having won the BBC Jazz awards twice, in 2005 and 2008.
Though Tony's belief that he saw into his future is uncommon, it's by no means uncommon for people to report witnessing multiple scenes from their past during split-second emergency situations. After all, this is where the phrase “my life flashed before my eyes" comes from.
But what explains this phenomenon? Psychologists have proposed a number of explanations, but I'd argue the key to understanding Tony's experience lies in a different interpretation of time itself.
When life flashes before our eyes
The experience of life flashing before one's eyes has been reported for well over a century. In 1892, a Swiss geologist named Albert Heim fell from a precipice while mountain climbing. In his account of the fall, he wrote is was “as if on a distant stage, my whole past life [was] playing itself out in numerous scenes".
More recently, in July 2005, a young woman called Gill Hicks was sitting near one of the bombs that exploded on the London Underground. In the minutes after the accident, she hovered on the brink of death where, as she describes it: “my life was flashing before my eyes, flickering through every scene, every happy and sad moment, everything I have ever done, said, experienced".
In some cases, people don't see a review of their whole lives, but a series of past experiences and events that have special significance to them.
Explaining life reviews
Perhaps surprisingly, given how common it is, the “life review experience" has been studied very little. A handful of theories have been put forward, but they're understandably tentative and rather vague.
For example, a group of Israeli researchers suggested in 2017 that our life events may exist as a continuum in our minds, and may come to the forefront in extreme conditions of psychological and physiological stress.
Another theory is that, when we're close to death, our memories suddenly “unload" themselves, like the contents of a skip being dumped. This could be related to “cortical disinhibition" – a breaking down of the normal regulatory processes of the brain – in highly stressful or dangerous situations, causing a “cascade" of mental impressions.
But the life review is usually reported as a serene and ordered experience, completely unlike the kind of chaotic cascade of experiences associated with cortical disinhibition. And none of these theories explain how it's possible for such a vast amount of information – in many cases, all the events of a person's life – to manifest themselves in a period of a few seconds, and often far less.
Thinking in 'spatial' time
An alternative explanation is to think of time in a “spatial" sense. Our commonsense view of time is as an arrow that moves from the past through the present towards the future, in which we only have direct access to the present. But modern physics has cast doubt on this simple linear view of time.
Indeed, since Einstein's theory of relativity, some physicists have adopted a “spatial" view of time. They argue we live in a static “block universe" in which time is spread out in a kind of panorama where the past, the present and the future co-exist simultaneously.
The modern physicist Carlo Rovelli – author of the best-selling The Order of Time – also holds the view that linear time doesn't exist as a universal fact. This idea reflects the view of the philosopher Immanuel Kant, who argued that time is not an objectively real phenomenon, but a construct of the human mind.
This could explain why some people are able to review the events of their whole lives in an instant. A good deal of previous research – including my own – has suggested that our normal perception of time is simply a product of our normal state of consciousness.
In many altered states of consciousness, time slows down so dramatically that seconds seem to stretch out into minutes. This is a common feature of emergency situations, as well as states of deep meditation, experiences on psychedelic drugs and when athletes are “in the zone".
The limits of understanding
But what about Tony Kofi's apparent visions of his future? Did he really glimpse scenes from his future life? Did he see himself playing the saxophone because somehow his future as a musician was already established?
There are obviously some mundane interpretations of Tony's experience. Perhaps, for instance, he became a saxophone player simply because he saw himself playing it in his vision. But I don't think it's impossible that Tony did glimpse future events.
If time really does exist in a spatial sense – and if it's true that time is a construct of the human mind – then perhaps in some way future events may already be present, just as past events are still present.
Admittedly, this is very difficult to make sense of. But why should everything make sense to us? As I have suggested in a recent book, there must be some aspects of reality that are beyond our comprehension. After all, we're just animals, with a limited awareness of reality. And perhaps more than any other phenomenon, this is especially true of time.