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The Elusive Hot Button — How Do You Find It?

by | 4 minute read

All sales training includes this line: “If you want to make the sale, be sure to push the prospect's hot button.” Great, where’s that?

It’s within plain sight; it’s within asking distance; it’s within listening distance. All you have to do is be alert.

Pushing the hot button only works if you can find it.

Here are some ways to discover/uncover the hot button in a conversation:

  • Ask questions about status and situation. Where he vacationed, where his kid goes to college.
  • Ask questions about issues of pride or biggest success in business.
  • Ask questions about personal interests. What does he do with most of his free time?
  • Ask what would he do if he didn’t have to work. What are his real dreams and ambitions?
  • Ask goal-related questions What is the prime objective of his company this year? How is he going to meet that objective?
  • Look at everything in the office. Look for something outstanding. Something framed apart from others, or looking bigger, more prominent. Look for pictures and awards.

Asking and looking are the easy parts. Listening is the hard part. Listening is the important part. The “hot button” is in the answer!

  • Listen to the first thing said or alluded to. The thing most on your mind is usually what you talk about first. It may not be the actual hot button, but it will provide insights to it.
  • Listen for first responses. What is first said in response to a question is what is foremost in the mind of the respondent.
  • Listen for immediate, emphatic responses. Knee jerk reactions are hot subjects. Absolute agreement.
  • Listen for a long drawn out explanation or story. Something told in detail is usually compelling (and hot).
  • Listen to repeated statements. Something said twice is “at the front of the mind.”
  • Look for emotional responses. Something said with passion or in a different tone.

Here are some insights that lead to uncovering the hot button:

  • The reason you look and listen for first responses is that they come from the subconscious rather than the conscious part of the mind. What is “hot” is usually deep rooted.
  • Write everything down. Somehow, writing inspires the prospect or customer to elaborate a point or stress its importance.
  • A story about an ungrateful employee who left and spoke poorly of the company is insight that the person has a “loyalty” hot button.
  • An immediate reaction about wasting or misspending money, indicates “perceived low cost” or “deal” is a hot button.

OK, you think you found it. Now, let’s push it.

Here are five button-pushing techniques:

  1. Ask questions about “importance” or “significance.” How important is that to you? Why is that important to you? These will help you understand the situation better.
  2. Ask questions about the area you think is hot. If you have taken notes, there are some areas to probe that will generate heat.
  3. Ask questions in a subtle way. Work them into the pitch as a part of the conversation, and watch the reaction. If you believe it’s a hot button, offer solutions that satisfy that circumstance.
  4. Don’t be afraid to bring up the hot button throughout the pitch. Reconfirm it and listen for emphasis of response from the prospect.
  5. Use “If I (offer a solution)…would you (commit or buy)…” variations. This type of question gets true response because it consists of a possible solution that hits the button.

A word of caution. The hot button is sometimes a very sensitive issue. It may have other ramifications that the prospect is not willing to divulge. Your job is to uncover the button and use it to make the sale. Use your best judgment. If you sense the issue is touchy, don’t push too hard.

The hot button is elusive. But you can find it with a question or observation. The hot button is a prize you can win if you listen to the prospect with care.

The hot button is a bridge that can get you from the presentation to the sale.

The hot button is an elevator. It will go all the way to the top floor (the sale). But it only works if you push the button.

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Jeffrey Gitomer

Jeffrey Gitomer

King of Sales | International Sales Trainer and Keynote Speaker | Best-Selling Author at Buy Gitomer
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of twelve best-selling books including The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling. His new book, 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling, is now available. For book tour dates and information about training and seminars, visit Gitomer​.com.
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@Gitomer

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