This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy Miner, Chairman of 7th Level, a Global Sales Training company headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and the author of the highly anticipated book, “The New Model of Selling : Selling to an Unsellable Generation” – co-authored by Jerry Acuff – CEO of Delta Point, expected to hit shelves fall of 2021.
Jeremy has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Inc, Entrepreneur magazine, Thrive Global, Yahoo Finance, Disrupt magazine, and a host of other publications on the topic of sales, persuasion, and the role of psychology and human behavior in the buying process.
As companies and entrepreneurs increasingly seek to introduce more persuasive principles of psychology and even sociology into their marketing and sales efforts, the landscape of communicating has changed drastically. Here’s how Jeremy believes that less “selling” leads to more sales.
Where and how did you get started in sales?
Jeremy Miner: I started from ground zero about 20 years ago, out of college. My first job was selling home security systems door to door. The company hired everybody because it was a straight-commission job. They trained you for about a week, handed you a script and map, then dropped you off and basically said, “Hey, go make some sales.”
At that point, I thought selling was just going to be easy, but quickly found out otherwise and started experimenting with different techniques.
You’ve created a new methodology called NEPQ. Can you explain what that is and how it works?
Jeremy Miner: Neuro Emotional Persuasion Questions (NEPQ) is a methodology that pivots on a key principle of behavioral science:
Human beings are the most persuasive when they allow others to persuade themselves.
This means asking the right questions, in the right sequence, with the right delivery – causing your prospect to be drawn towards you, to pull you in and pursue you – as opposed to being repelled by, rejecting, and trying to get rid of you.
How is NEPQ different from other sales strategies, what are your big differentiators?
Jeremy Miner: The biggest differentiator is that most other sales methods tend to work in direct opposition to the laws of human behavior and psychology, whereas, in contrast, NEPQ originates from the question, ‘What do studies in human behavior psychology actually tell us about different forms of communication, and the degree to which each either is – or isn’t – persuasive?’
It turns out science tells us there are three forms of communication, the first being the least persuasive, is “telling” people things – or “pushing” them into doing something.
The second form, which is a little more persuasive, is discussion, as embraced by proponents of consultative selling. Consultative selling, developed in the late 1980’s centers around asking logic-based questions to find out the needs of the client. The downfall with this approach is that logical questions invite logical answers, but people’s buying decisions aren’t based on logic but emotion.
The third and most persuasive mode of communication happens when we allow others to persuade themselves. Also known as dialogue, this happens when we ask what I call Neuro-emotional Persuasion Questions (NEPQ) – skilled questions which, when positioned within a scientifically designed sequence and structure, trigger the prospect to answer in such a way that they seamlessly sell themselves.
Does the NEPQ method work across all industries?
Jeremy Miner: Not only have I used NEPQ myself to sell and earn multiple seven-figure commissions year-on-year in four separate industries as a W-2 sales rep during my seventeen-year sales career, but since starting 7th Level, we’ve also trained clients across hundreds of industries who continue to report exponential sales gains using the NEPQ process.
One of the primary reasons NEPQ is applicable across the board is because the questions and tonality we coach our clients’ sales teams to use are designed to work with human behavior – rather than against it. Regardless of industry, every product or service out there exists to solve a problem or an emotional need.
Using NEPQ allows you to not only help your prospect uncover their real problems or emotional needs but, more importantly, what’s behind the problem, what’s driving the need, giving clients across any industry the foundation for radical results. In fact, we’ve collected thousands of examples from clients: individual salespeople – and companies – substantiating the exponential difference NEPQ has made to their sales by way of favorable responses from prospects – and close rates achieved. It’s personally satisfying for me to see NEPQ’s persuasive power working so well for those we train.
Is NEPQ only a sales tool, or can it be used in other ways/circumstances?
Jeremy Miner: We need to understand we are ALL in sales now, it does not matter what you do!
Even if you’re not out there getting paid a commission, you would most certainly be seeking in some way to persuade, influence and convince others. In fact, to be human is to be hard-wired with a desire to “move others.”
To break it down – If you’re a business owner seeking to have your employees follow your vision for the company, then you’re trying to persuade, influence and move others.
If you’re an employee wanting to convince your boss to give you a pay rise, then you’re in the business of trying to convince, persuade and move others.
If you’re an attorney endeavoring to convince the jury that your client is innocent, you are most definitely transacting in persuasion, influence, and moving others.
If you’re a teacher setting out to convince your class to apply themselves to an assignment, you are undertaking to persuade, influence and move others.
Heck, if you are a politician who is trying to get people to vote for you, you are doing this too. In fact, I have a student who applies his knowledge in NEPQ to help politicians and legislators ‘sell ideas’ to their constituents and get re-elected!
So the short answer is no, industry doesn’t. The number one skill a human being needs in order to get ahead in life is – learning how to persuade and influence others.
Covid has changed sales and how most businesses interact with clients, how does NEPQ fit into this new normal?
Jeremy Miner: When the pandemic set in, a lot of our clients in various industries weren’t phased at all. They simply took what they were learning and went virtual with it.
The fact is, because of the advanced questioning skills and human-behavior-friendly techniques NEPQ equips salespeople with, they are able to effect amazing results with prospects – even when they don’t meet in person.
For example: instead of the usual in-person meeting at a prospect’s home that an insurance rep would have, with Covid, they’d just sent out a Zoom link and hop into a virtual meeting with that prospect. Really easy.
Ironically, because of Covid, the majority of our clients actually increased sales significantly. This is because the time it would usually take reps to travel to and from appointments, is now spent meeting with more people. In some cases – double the amount of prospective customers on Zoom per day!