By Keith Rosen, MCC
The Executive Sales Coach TM
”So, what exactly is it that you sell?” This is one of the first questions I ask new clients when we start working together. As you can imagine, most of the time they respond with either the product name, the type of product or service they sell, or the process in which they deliver their product or service.
While this may be the final deliverable, it’s not exactly what you are selling. The fact is, the product doesn’t always, as the old adage goes, ”sell itself.”
Instead, consider that the prospect is actually purchasing the end result of your product or service or, said another way, their desired state of where they want to be. (I dedicated an entire chapter to developing your compelling reasons in my last book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cold Calling.)
Here are some examples of visual pictures in advertising that strike at the desired state that their target audience wants:
- Lose 20 pounds in two weeks
- Look younger in 30 days
- Cut your debt in half
- Find your ideal relationship
- Discover your dream job today
- Fill your practice in less than three months
Painting a vivid picture of your product’s end result is only half the equation. While you may be able to communicate a clear benefit to your prospect, that doesn’t mean the benefit is strong enough for them to make a change. Selling the prospect on where they want to be may stimulate good conversation but does it move the prospect into action?
Let me say this in a different way. Your prospect’s current product or service may be ”just fine” or ”good enough.” And if it is good enough, then why should the prospect spend money and time to make a change? The fear of change is a considerable obstacle to landing a sale.
Ouch, That Hurts! Selling the Pain
Before you can convince someone to purchase your product and enjoy its benefits, there has to be enough discomfort in their present state to motivate them enough to take action and want to make a change. So, sell them on where they don’t want to be.
You need to uncover their current pain and the cost of not making a change. What does it cost your prospects to maintain their current condition? Does it cost them money, time, stress, productivity, lost sales, a potential hazard, a great employee, or their health?
Help the prospect visualize the advantage of moving from their present state to their desired state. Through the use of well crafted questions, you can uncover their struggle, and then you can paint the picture of moving the prospect from their ”painful” present state or condition to a desired state with the benefits of your product or services.
If you are sick, you want to get better. The pain associated with being sick encourages you to seek help to become healthy again. If you are miserable at your current job, or unemployed, this pain may be the driving force that pushes you to find a new job.
There was a story of an army officer who was fabulous at enrolling new recruits with the government benefits available to them.
Officer Murphy was assigned to the induction center, where he advised new recruits about their benefits, specifically their GI insurance.
Before long, Captain Miller noticed that Officer Murphy was having a staggeringly high success-rate, selling the government insurance policy to nearly 100 percent of the recruits he advised. Rather than asking him about this, the Captain stood at the back of the room and listened to Officer Murphy’s presentation.
Murphy explained the basics of GI Insurance to the new recruits. ”Nothing different here,” thought the Captain.
After Officer Murphy explained the basics, he then shared the following insight with the new recruits: ”If you are killed in a battle and have GI Insurance, the government has to pay $200,000 to your beneficiaries. However, if you don’t have a GI insurance and get killed in the battle, the government only has to pay a maximum of $6,000.”
”Now,” he concluded, ”Which group do you think they are going to send into battle first?”
In this way, Officer Murphy excelled at highlighting the pain or cost of not purchasing the GI insurance in a way that the new recruits could understand. The cost of doing without the insurance was now greater than the cost of purchasing the policy.
One universal and timeless truth when selling: Pain is a greater motivator than pleasure. In order for a prospect to buy from you, the cost of not changing must be greater than the cost of making a change.
About Keith Rosen, MCC — The Executive Sales Coach
Keith Rosen is the executive sales coach that top corporations, executives, and sales professionals call first. As an engaging speaker, Master Coach, and well-known author of many books and articles, Keith is one of the foremost authorities on coaching people to achieve positive change in their attitude, behavior, and results. For his work as a pioneer and leader in the coaching profession, Inc. magazine and Fast Company named Keith one of the five most respected and influential executive coaches in the country.
If you’re ready for better results quickly, contact Keith about personal or team coaching and training at 1-888-262-2450 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Keith Rosen online at Profit Builders and be sure to sign up for his free newsletter The Winners Path.