Current Beliefs Are The Keys To Persuasion
Accepted beliefs are powerful assets. Every customer contact is driven by your credibility. You want to persuade your prospect that your product or service is worth their precious time. That’s not easy, as anyone that has made a few cold calls can attest.
This is also true in every advertising contact, not just sales. You know how quickly you scan every ad you’re exposed to. The same scanning process occurs in every direct sales contact.
You have about three seconds to capture the prospect’s attention. If you start out saying, “I have a great new product that is guaranteed to save you time and money on your electric bill,” guess what? They shut you down. Sure, it may be about benefits, but it isn’t accepted yet. Most benefits are generic.
You haven’t earned their attention. They don’t have time to listen to another sales pitch.
How would you like to try cold calling on surgeons? Doctors in general are difficult to talk to. They are all about the bottom line and time efficiency. Surgeons are even harder. As a group they are very “ego-enlarged,” so to speak.
Start By Showing You Can Read Their Mind
To capture their attention you start by showing them you know their world. If you do that they will give you enough time to complete sentence two. “Doctor, I know that safety scalpels are too light weight in your hand and you probably prefer to use the traditional metal handle scalpel. Right? Now she’s listening.
“I would like to show you our new weighted safety scalpel that feels exactly like your traditional scalpel in your hand but still offers a safety locking device. Can I send you some samples?”
You can’t pitch your new product or service until you’ve earned credibility by stating an accepted belief.
To gain the most power of persuasion, you want to use what your prospect believes are weaknesses or flaws in the current product or service of choice.
How To Uncover Accepted Beliefs
Every conversation you have with a customer or prospect presents an opportunity to ask a few questions. Ask about what they are frustrated with in their current product. Many times you will not get an answer and need to probe a little. “If you could wave a magic wand over your blank, what would you change about it?”
Then you can ask one or two more quickies before they will cut you off. Ask, “Why is that important to you?” And then when they answer ask again, “Why is that important to you?”
So you’ve tried to go at least two levels down into what’s really important to your prospect. This is gold, true gold, for the marketer. Ask these questions at every trade show and you will gather enough powerful knowledge to move your innovation program forward for a long time.
Use these uncovered beliefs to fuel your sales message, advertising message, and your innovation engine as you design improvements and differentiation into your products and services. In short, the knowledge you need to grow your business is right in front of you every day.
Many business leaders and managers make the mistake of falling in love with their own creativity. They design new products and services based on their own ideas of what would be cool.
Nine times out of 10 these ideas fail. Let your new product ideas come from your customers. Find out what they believe are the weaknesses of your products and your competitor’s products.
Design new products that remove those weaknesses. Improve the customer experience before your customers even ask for it.