The Unfair Advantage

Summary Written by Marc Gaudett
"So why do you see different results? The answer is found in your words and how you use them"

- The Unfair Advantage, page 2

The Big Idea

It’s the words, not the message

"Your choice of words can either invite resistance or it can create trust. If you invite resistance, no one will hear your ideas. If you create trust, you gain the confidence of you audience. People will listen to what you say"- The Unfair Advantage, page 30

Have you ever had the experience where you say something and people are reluctant to agree, but then someone else in the group says almost the same thing (maybe a few words were different) and people were all of a sudden more open to considering the idea? Duane suggests it is the words, not the message, that can create the resistance experienced when people are not on the same page. People have different preferences for communication (kinesthetic, visual or auditory) and while many of us have a preference, we usually have one that we favor over the others and this is used most commonly in our day to day speak.

I really found this section of the book helpful because it applies to both the written and spoken word. This is applicable to my prospecting efforts because at work it is common practice for our team to share best practices about what emails or voicemails elicit the most responses. In the past I would just simply apply something because it was said to work without ever realizing why. Now this information has allowed me to take that a step further and make sense of why these strategies worked and confidently come up with my own that increases my response rate.

Why not try a new approach. When prospecting a new account try sending an e-mail that contains a mix of kinesthetic, visual, and auditory language and see if you get more responses. (Keep in mind you that have to get them to open the email first so a catchy subject line may be needed.) Once you know their preferred language preference you can tailor future messages to them more accurately.

Insight #1


"Remember selling requires the skill to read your clients, speak their language and sell them as they want to be sold"- The Unfair Advantage, page 74

I found that becoming conscious of the type of words people use was one of the differences between this book and other sales books. One of the techniques I found really interesting was the notion of pacing, leading and then pacing again (it takes practice!) as a means to avoid objections or increase overall agreement. One way to avoid objections is to break the pattern and avoid their preferred language. Pace their initial word choice to build rapport and then lead them to a different language to bypass resistance.

Consider making five calls matching a prospect’s communication at the beginning of a call and then change your language style to a different one for the rest of the calls before asking for the order or next appointment. Next, try five calls without this specific strategy and note the difference. Record the number of objections and how you feel each call went and then compare to see the difference.

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Insight #2

Past purchases

"We all have great reasons for buying products, services, or ideas. The only problem: those reasons usually come after we have decided to buy"- The Unfair Advantage, page 104

This gives some food for thought for salespeople selling a product or service because it serves as a reminder that the customer has purchased in the past. This is a great point because it develops the strategy that the prospect will buy based on their past purchasing decisions. If they bought a house once, they will buy a house the same way. The next time around the buyer may ask better questions or analyze the details more completely, but the actual buying decision will follow the exact same strategy as before. Therefore, find out how the person bought the last time.‎ I found this advice useful because it gives some direction as to what type of questioning to apply to experienced buyers so that I can better understand how to help them this time around. This is crucial because as a salesperson you often run into multiple variables that determine whether someone will buy your product or service or not and having a tool that ads more predictability to that process can enhance the salesperson’s confidence and shorten the sales cycle‎.

The Unfair Advantage is for those who want to learn specific strategies to get better results from their communication. This book is not about asking specific questions to get your customer to buy, it is about understanding their preferred form of communication and finding a way to get in sync with them and ultimately get the sale. If you are interested in learning tools and techniques that are not typically taught as part of a sales training program, the information found in this book will help you take your game to the next level.

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Duane Lakin

Dr. Duane Lakin is a psychologist and business consultant. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Duane has over thirty years of experience serving business leaders as an industrial psychologist dedicated to helping people and businesses be more effective. In talking with sales and marketing people from many industries, he realized that the skills used to gain rapport and influence people in the practice of applied psychology are very similar to those skills needed to sell yourself and be persuasive in business. As a result, he has concentrated on teaching skills for selling yourself, your ideas, and your products, including the practical applications of NLP (neurolinguistic programming). Since the mid-1980’s, he has been looking at ways to make NLP useful to sales people. Sales representatives have told him clearly that they are not interested in touchy-feely theories or complex analytical approaches to selling. At the same time, he has discovered that few sales people are trained to sell themselves and how to use language to increase their effectiveness. Not surprisingly, he has seen remarkable sales increases resulting from brief training in the art and skill of selling YOU. His workshop, “The Unfair Advantage—Sell with NLP!”, has been seen by representatives of over 750 companies in the U.S., U.K., Russia, Hungary, Italy, and Canada. He has trained managers from companies such as Xerox, PacBell, Andersen Consulting, American General, Cable and Wireless, Hewlett Packard, GE, and many others. He has written or contributed to articles in “Selling Power”, “HR Magazine”, “Production and Inventory Management”, and “Sales and Marketing Excellence”. He is a recipient of the “TEC 200” and “Vistage 100 Achievement Award” designations for outstanding resource speakers to TEC (now called Vistage). His book (based on the workshop) has been translated and published in English, Romanian, Polish and Spanish languages. An audio version of the original edition of the book and a DVD of a live workshop are available.

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