Sales is like dating. No one wants to be sold, they want to fall in love

Updated: Jan 22, 2019

Creating a No-Brainer Sales Pitch

“Special offer!”

“Order in the next 2 hours and you’ll also get...”

“Join now to experience these exclusive benefits!”

We have all heard the sales pitches based on time pressure, exclusive opportunity, and pay to learn more. If you’re like most people, those tactics just push you away no matter how “special” the special offer is.

In today’s world, people want to know what your company believes, not what your brand has to offer. It’s like dating.

If you go out for coffee and start listing off all the perks of being married to you, you will probably scare away most prospects (unless you’re insanely wealthy and brush your teeth semi-regularly). Desperation doesn’t sell, and telling a potential date that if they don’t accept your invitation in the next 2 days they will have missed their chance forever is not a tempting offer – especially if you come back a week later and give the same limited time offer.

I get it, there has never been more competition out there for your industry with the prevalence of the internet and Amazon and everything else, but if you have to rely on a special offer to sell your product or service, you either aren’t creating enough value for your customers, or you aren’t communicating the value you create in a compelling way.

So how do we craft a sales pitch that converts, without making customers feel like they’re being pushed to buy? Here are 5 strategies:

1. Identify with their need on an emotional level first

Emotion makes us act, logic makes us think. You’ve heard it said in many ways before – like sell the sizzle, not the steak – but people need to feel the pain of their current state of affairs before they will be motivated to make a change. Far too often, we sell the solution to someone’s problem, assuming they already understand they have a problem that needs to be solved. If we first ask questions to help ourselves and the potential client understand the pain they’re experiencing, there will often times be no selling needed, just a logical set of next steps.

2. Proactively create value, for free

This may require you to shift your business model. Blockbuster had the chance to buy Netflix for $50million, now it’s worth about $150billion, and Blockbuster is, well, just ask anyone under 16 if they have ever even heard of it. Subscription business models and software services have made consumers accustomed to free trials and try-before-you-buy samples. Of course, not every business model can offer what they do for free to every client for a month, but what can you do to show that you care about your potential client before they sign a contract with you?

Just like dating, a great place to start is understanding the background of the prospect, taking time to make things convenient for them, personally following up, etc.

3. Clearly, and simply, identify what it looks like to work with you

There are a lot of options out there, and hesitation often stems from uncertainty. Clearly mapping out for potential clients on your website exactly what it will look like to work with you will give them confidence that you know what you’re doing and that they have a clear path to follow moving forward. History has shown that people remember best in terms of 3, but try not to go over 7, or else the process starts to feel too complex and overwhelms the potential client.

4. Turn Away Customers

Nothing is more attractive than what you can’t have. From a young age when we are told not to touch the stove, or not to eat any cookies before dinner, we want to do those things all the more. The principle of turning away customers will vary based on industry, but having a stated customer identity, and claiming that you may not be a good fit for everyone, will make customers who do fit your identity feel like they belong, feel special, and feel a sense of loyalty as a result. If we try and attract everyone to our business, no one will want to come, but if we identify with a specific attribute or a defined mission, and if we are willing to turn away those who disagree, then the brand will actually stand for something, and people who agree with you will want that brand to stand for what they believe. Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, gives a great example of this when he famously replied “We will miss you.” to a customer complaint that part of Southwest’s differentiating features - the lack of priority seating - was frustrating.

5. Remove All Barriers of Entry

To make the sale a no-brainer, consider why a customer would say no, or what would make them frustrated, and take away all of those factors. Does full or partial payment really have to take place up front if there is a contract signed agreeing to pay at the end? Do customers have to fill out a form of 10 mandatory questions when they just want to call or text a quick question? Literally, 1 extra click of inconvenience can make all the difference. If potential clients are scared of trying something new because it could be worse than the old system, could you offer a full-reimbursement plus cost of transition guarantee? A lot of removing barriers of entry comes down to how confident you are as a business to deliver the value you say you will to your customers. The best businesses know what they can provide, and they aren’t afraid to prove it to customers.

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