How to Improve Critical Thinking Skills: Give Your Buyers Grace
Developing your mental prowess requires mastering new techniques and approaches. It’s as much about your mindset as your skill set.
This post and video contain an important reminder. It's one that might require a mindset shift and some healthy self-awareness. When you shift to adopt this mindset, you'll have a much better shot at understanding others and meeting them where they are. That means you'll have a better shot at being heard and understood when you share your POV, too.
It’s about giving your buyers grace to replace these judgments you might be making about them:
- Buyers are liars. At a recent gathering of auto sales professionals, this sentiment emerged as their top obstacle for selling more cars.
- Buyers are only interested in price. They ask price questions early on and seem to talk a lot about price. They even seem to be looking at price alone when making buying decisions.
- Buyers play games and treat sellers unfairly. They offer objections even when they don’t mean them. They don’t return calls or honor appointments. They string us along.
- Buyers think they have all the answers. They do a little online research and seem to think that’s all they need to know. They don’t listen to sellers’ explanations and pitches.
- Buyers don’t know what they want. They don’t understand the features of our products and how they’re different from our competitors’ products. All they care about is price!
- Buyers are too busy to meet with me. They have a lot on their plate, and I’m just a salesperson who doesn’t deserve a lot of their time. I have to make it quick and hope for the best.
- Buyers can’t make decisions on their own. They might claim to be the decision maker, but then they have to consult other people and the sale stalls out.
It takes critical thinking to move past the emotional and conditioned responses that cause you to judge buyers harshly. That’s where grace comes in.
Are You Missing Opportunities by Making Snap Judgments?
Grace stems from the same Latin root word as gracias (Spanish) and grazie (Italian). It’s related to gratitude or thanks. That’s one of its original meanings. That Latin word, gratia, also had another meaning – favor or goodwill. Giving grace, for our purpose, means appreciating buyers and granting them the favor of some latitude they may not deserve.
When we make snap judgement, like the ones listed above, it adversely impacts our effectiveness. When we view buyers negatively, we assume a defensive posture. We behave in a way that is guarded and creates barriers to the buyer/seller relationship. When we assume buyers have bad intentions, no time for us, or an inability to act, we come across as disinterested or “going through the motions.”
Those snap judgments and what you portray because of them will keep you from advancing the sale. Buyers, like all humans, read people and respond accordingly.
To avoid subconsciously projecting defensiveness or disinterest, you have to assume good intent. That requires giving buyers grace.
How to Improve Critical Thinking Skills by Giving Your Buyers Grace
When you release yourself from the constraints of trying to second guess your buyer’s hidden agenda, nefarious motives, and thoughts about you as a seller, you free up mental space for better use. By giving your buyers grace and assuming good intent, you’ll have more head space for critical thinking.
Making snap judgments or getting caught in thinking traps limits your ability to:
- Listen closely and hear subtle cues about buyer needs
- Empathize with the buyer
- Ask incisive questions that advance the sale
- Identify the buyer’s most urgent and pressing need
- Connect the dots between buyer needs and your solutions
- Present well-reasoned and compelling solutions
- Invalidate objections
- Negotiate for mutually beneficial outcomes
- Notice buying signals
- Adapt your presentation style to appeal to the buyer
When you see all buyers as the same, you’ll make generic and uninspiring presentations. You’ll fail to create unique, relevant and meaningful value for each individual buyer. And you’ll be stuck in a rut that drags you down deeper as you come to believe, even more, in those snap judgments you’ve been making about buyers.
If you have those kinds of thoughts about buyers, you’ll need to use critical thinking to challenge yourself. Those are feelings, not facts. Don’t give them more power than they deserve.