Seeding – your secret weapon for non-pushy sales
I don’t teach many “traditional” sales techniques in my programmes. This is because so many of them are based on psychological manipulation and NLP techniques that genuinely heart-centred business owners simply don’t feel comfortable using. “Icky” is a word that gets used a lot!
But one very powerful technique from traditional sales that I love and you can master very easily is Seeding
Seeding is the art of dropping into conversation a casual mention of something that you offer. The idea is that it piques interest & curiosity in your client. And what’s so nice about it is that you don’t need to do anything else or labour the point. You just trust that if the ground is fertile the seed will grow on its own. Then when you are ready to introduce your offer at a later time the client is much more open to listening to you. In fact they might even start pursuing you to find out more!
I first learned about seeding way back when I was being trained for my first ever sales role – as a holiday rep in the Greek Islands in my early 20’s. Twice a week we would meet our new batch of holidaymakers at the airport, pack them into a coach and as we drove them from the airport to their hotel we would give them a bit of a guided tour of the island over the microphone.
“Over there on the horizon, that’s the volcanic island of Nissyros, you can actually drive right up the inside of the volcano and walk on the surface. You can even fry an egg on it.”
“And up there in the hills is a mountain village so steep there are no roads only steps and people get around by donkey. You can buy home-made honey and woven shawls. They make really beautiful and unusual gifts”
(Most of our flights arrived in the middle of the night so our sleepy passengers couldn’t see a thing, but we still did it!)
Then the very next morning we would invite them into a welcome meeting straight after breakfast and sell to them – day trips to Nissyros; outings to the mountain villages – and they booked in their droves.
What I love about seeding is that it is so subtle.
It doesn’t require any pressure and the client doesn’t feel like you are selling. But it does raise their curiosity and get them ready to hear more from you.
Seeing can be used really effectively in 1-1 conversation or when speaking to groups of people.
Share a useful tip, piece of advice or a teaching point. And then tell the audience where they can find out more. e.g. “So I’ve taught you one thing that you can start doing straight away, but there are 3 more ways to address “I can’t afford it” which you will also need to know and I teach those in my Get More Clients Saying Yes! home study programme.
Drop in a mention of a service that you won’t be making an offer on. For example you may be speaking to sell your home study programme (remember, you only offer one thing!) but mention in your talk something that happened on one of your VIP Days so that your audience knows you offer that service too.
A casual “in passing” mention of something you offer e.g. an upcoming workshop, or the mentoring group you run can often be enough to pique someone’s curiosity to want to ask you more.
Case studies and client stories are also a very powerful way to seed. If you can drop into conversation the results you have helped one of your clients to achieve and the difference it has made to their life it can have a much greater impact than if you try to convince someone how you can help them. It also seeds the idea that you do actually have clients, which helps with credibility!
Seeding is very subtle and gentle technique and if you do it well it won’t feel like self-promotion – in fact even you won’t feel like you are selling!
If you can learn to sprinkle seeds into your conversations and talks it will make your sales so much more effective – and just as importantly so much more comfortable for you.
With Love & Gratitude,
Hi, having read and enjoyed all your popular blogs on this post I am curious about peoples limiting perceptions of NLP manipuating techniques. I have stiudied and practised many therapies including NLP and find it is not the quality of the therapy but the therapist. Manipulation is used as a negative implication, yet a chiroprator manipulates the body, a cook manipulates the oven temperature etc. It is the intention that gives meaning. I agree with your blog on seeding and use it in cinversation, and tell them I am sowing seeds then word weave all we have spoken about to a positve conclusion. However, it could still be ckassed as manipulation in a sense .People manipulate throughout their daily lives. Good or bad all subjective.
However, I do want to be clear, I am enjoying your clarity in your blogs and wish you continued success.
I love your thoughtful comment. It’s a really interesting point and I guess the question on your mind, and also often on my mind is this: “Is manipulation OK if it’s used for the greater good?”. Ultimately I feel the answer is no, and for this reason I don’t teach NLP sales techniques, even though I’ve learned many. I prefer to be more transparent about what I’m doing and let the client make up their own mind. Ultimately my take on this is that the real skill is the ability to communicate the value of our work and the difference we can make. When we learn to do that well, no manipulation is required because the client can choose for themselves. But there are grey areas – like the seeding you’ve just pointed out. I love where this is going as a discussion as it’s not so clear cut – you may have started a blog brewing on this topic!