“Contrary to received wisdom, real money is made selling people things that they didn’t know existed or didn’t realise they wanted.”
~ Source Unknown
Your Ethical Responsibility
These three keys are universal elements of persuasion and motivation. They work just as well for criminals and people with evil intentions as they do for people whose hearts are pure as driven snow. The problem on both sides, is that very few of us are totally objective when we consider our intentions. For all I know, Adolf Hitler genuinely believed that he was acting in the best interests of wider humanity.
You can respond to that reality by saying, “It’s better not to know or use such powerful tools given that possibility.” I appreciate the temptation, but you are then leaving people to their own devices… And to the mercy of less principled sales people who will press their ideas and courses of action on them.
Is that the right course of action?
Perhaps it would be better to master these power tools and use them with restraint, taking care to pre-qualify your buyers, and possibly even provide them with armour against unprincipled salesman pitching dangerous products and even more dangerous ideas. I leave it up to you to determine how your particular solution stacks up against the alternatives and whether and when it is the best possible solution for your audience.
#1 Tapping into the Emotional Angst Your Buyer is Feeling
The biggest leverage you have in your sales process comes when you tap into both the general angst that your typical customer has and the specific manifestation of it that the person in front of you is experiencing. It’s a universal truth that people are willing to pay more and do more to escape from pain than they will to indulge themselves in pleasure.
The Biggest Loser TV show has very little difficulty getting obese people to show up and comply with restrictions during the first week or two, but for most of them, the results they get from compliance don’t spur them on to greater effort. Instead, it removes the urgency and decreases their interest. The exception is when there is some greater health goal which demands real change.
It may seem unkind to focus on your prospective buyers big worries and deliberately add to their fear and uncertainty, but until you show them the abyss they’re about to fall into, painting a vision of their future happiness is counter productive. The whole Covid-19 reaction is a brilliant example of effectively creating buy-in and compliance through fear… If not your direct fear of illness, disability, and death (in a world that worships youth, wholeness, and energy), then your fear of being judged and shamed for non-compliance.
Basic psychology informed authorities that creating anxiety, fear, helplessness, paranoia, and concern about what-people-think would be a much more powerful tool for compliance than a picture of everyone working together to create Utopia could ever be. It’s an unpleasant truth, but they were 100% correct.
#2 Effective Sales Systems
People respond to offers and buy for reasons that are unclear even to themselves. That’s why looking at search results and determining what product you should sell is a fundamentally flawed method for product creation. A far more powerful strategy involves know what people are looking for, designing a way of meeting that need, and then presenting the desirable result to people.
This method has two main advantages:
- It gives your product or service a unique competitive advantage because it is designed with the end in mind; and
- It sets you up to make a sale, not merely deliver a presentation.
The role of effective marketing is to set the sales person up to make a sale and for the buyer to walk into any meeting predisposed to buy. Ideally, you want the prospective buyer to be trying to jump ahead to the point where they can sign on the dotted line and hand over their credit card number. That puts you in control of the buying process, and also sets up the deliverables which generally provides a smoother and more enjoyable process for everyone.
If your marketing and sales systems aren’t working in tandem like this, then you are making life harder for both yourself and your prospects.
#3 Strategic Nurture and Follow up Systems
Not everyone is ready to buy immediately. Sometimes they came across your offer at the wrong point in their budget or project cycle or perhaps your idea is so innovative that they need time to absorb its benefits.
That’s why you need a strategic, long-term, nurture and follow up system. This is best automated because once set up you can plug people into it and let the system do the work for you. The simplest form of this is to set up a 52-week set of followup emails or texts that will continue to pique your prospect’s interest and keep you top-of-mind. After a year, no one will notice when you cycle through them again and you will have appropriate follow up for every season of the year.
Attracting Buyers Who Jump to Action
When you set up your marketing process appropriately you find yourself talking to buyers, not tyre-kickers. They may not be ready to buy today, but they (mostly) have a genuine interest in your product and a present or future need in mind.
This immediately changes the nature of your sales conversations and not only provides you with a steady pipeline, but also creates confidence and certainty in the mind of your buyer. These two states are essential for a successful relationship between buyer and seller.