It is critical to know your product, or your service, inside out. Naturally, it makes sense that it is very hard to sell your product (or service) without having a complete understanding of what you provide.
But far more important than understanding your product (assume I mean product or service), is understanding your prospects, your potential customer.
And even more important than that, is understanding why people buy.
There are three things you need to understand when selling, and I want to share with you those three secrets. These are not my opinion.
And they can be applied to selling a cup (we’ll come back to the cup soon), or a private jet.
The same three things can be applied, no matter what you are selling.
Whether you are selling physical products or a service, again, the same three things apply.
The first is emotion.
People do not buy rationally. They buy emotionally and back it up rationally.
Even when people need to buy something, such as a new washing machine, the choice on which to buy starts with emotion.
- Will it look good in my kitchen?
- Can I save time with a bigger load in a wash?
- Will it same money due to its efficiency?
- Will it reduce my bills?
- Is it better than my neighbours?
- Did it get recommended by someone I trust?
The logical decision is rarely the final decision!
So you need to understand the emotions of your buyer. Which emotions will they be feeling when they are considering buying from you?
- It might be greed (I want a bigger one, or a cheaper one).
- Fear (if I don’t buy this…)
- Jealousy (they have one, I don’t)
- Wanting to help (if I buy this, others will benefit)
And so on. Every emotion may be the trigger for your customers.
If you understand what emotion you can tie in to, you can increase the feeling that they have.
I was in Amsterdam last year, and I walked past the Harley-Davidson shop. Now I’ve always been a rocker at heart, but never owned a bike. But I love their leather jackets!
I wasn’t going to buy (you know what’s coming…) but I dropped in to look around. A helpful salesperson came over and didn’t (didn’t!) try and sell me a jacket.
This is the key thing – he didn’t try and sell me the jacket. He didn’t tell me about the quality of the leather or the workman-ship. He didn’t mention the price.
Instead, he just said “here, try it on”. How did I feel?
That’s the critical point here. I felt bloody great!!
He didn’t need to ask. Instead he did something better.
And we will pick up this story in a short while!
So, the critical thing to understand is that emotions are the first and equally important factor in making a sale.
You’ve got to first understand what emotion your prospects will be feeling, and then enhance, and introduce, positive emotions.
Second, in addition to the emotions on which people base their buying decisions, is knowing their pain point.
By pain point, I mean the reason why they are buying in the first place.
People do not buy their way in to something, they buy their way out.
The classic example is the hole in the wall. I want a hole in the wall, to put up a shelf. So I need a drill. I don’t want to buy a drill. I don’t want to spend money. But I do want a hole. So I need a drill.
Buying the drill solves my problem. It removes my pain point.
If I sold drills for a living, and I could contact everybody who wanted a hole in a wall but didn’t have a drill, I would have a successful business.
So the task you have, is to understand your prospects pain point. What do they actually want? They might need your product or service, but they don’t want to buy it.
But they do want to solve their problem – their pain point.
This all goes back to thoroughly understanding your customers. You must know them better than you know yourself. If you know what they want, coupled with the emotion that’s driving it, you are in an excellent position to convert them.
Consider then, what your customers want, that will make them need your product. What problem are you solving? What pain point are you removing?
What BENEFIT does your product or service bring. This is not about features. The benefit of the drill is that it can make a hole. This is the pain point being removed. The speed of the drill is not my priority, I want to know it can make a hole in the wall.
The fact it is cordless is a feature. The benefit is that I don’t have cables hanging around, it is portable and wherever the hole is needed, the drill can be used.
You must know what benefits your product or service brings to remove the pain point. The feature will not remove it, the benefit will. After all, the ultimate benefit is that their pain point no longer exists.
If you can remove that point of pain with what you are providing, you have nearly made your sale.
So why nearly? Because there is the third secret to selling you need to know, in order to close.
FACTS TELL. STORIES SELL.
You have considered what emotion your prospects will be feeling.
You have thought about what emotions will make them feel like buying.
You understand their pain point, and how you can remove that pain point.
But the problem is that (unless you are very fortunate) there are many options still available to the customer.
A quick search on the internet and your prospect suddenly has many options to choose from.
So you’ve tapped into their emotions, you’ve solved their pain point, before they go searching you need to close the deal.
A little side note that there are various types of customer, and not all will convert (otherwise we’d all be millionaires!). The T4S “Traffic for Sales” book talks more about this in detail.
But let’s close the deal!
Humans, since they sat around camp fires, love a good story. We talked about this earlier, and this is the third and final secret to selling.
Back to my leather coat! The salesperson, who by now has got me feeling great, and fulfilled my emotion, and triggered my pain point…. goes for the kill!
He tells me how this leather jacket is the same as Dr. House wore in the popular TV series. He strikes gold as I loved that TV series. Now the leather jacket is not just a leather jacket, it’s the same as Hugh Laurie wore as Dr. House.
Not only do I feel great (actually even better now), we are discussing the episodes in which he wore it. I’m standing there in the jacket and of course, I don’t want to take it off.
All I want to know is the price (which defines me as a type of customer, more on that in a second).
But first let me stress, facts tell, stories sell.
The salesperson still hasn’t talked about the features of the jacket, none at all. He is letting me make my own mind up. I am the person I listen to first when buying something. The single best way to make a sale is by getting the prospect to make the decision themselves.
By providing a story, you are making your product different to the rest. You are giving credibility and validating the decision to buy.
If you are selling a personal service, the story can be you. How you arrived where you are, the struggles and the successes. Things in your life that people can associate with.
If I told you that I can provide a service supporting you in digital marketing and selling online, you would think (quite rightly) that there are many (many!) people offering the same service.
So let me tell you a story.
When I was 21, working at Suffolk Health Authority as a young IT support officer, I realised that the NHS in the UK did not have a website. Rather surprised, I registered the domain www.nhs.org.uk and put a load of public domain information on it (about NHS organisations, contact details, performance tables, etc).
Within a week I had the National Horse Show (“NHS”) call to shout at me for using their domain name (their domain name?!), I had my employers threatening me with the sack and the Department of Health threating to take me to court over the Official Secrets Act.
But of course I was young and naive. So when the Department of Health offered a job to do it for real (or go to court) I took it. I launched the first website on the NHS Intranet (second largest private network in the world at that time, based on employees).
Still the NHS didn’t have a website!
At an NHS conference in Harrogate one year where I was speaking, over a bottle of wine with a lady called Carol Aston, I planned out a website for the NHS. For a year I spent my days “selling the idea” to the Government in Westminster.
Eventually www.nhs.uk was launched and now gets around 30 million visitors a month.
I left the NHS to join a media company in London as IT Director, which we successfully floated on the stock market. Following that, I set up Web Technology Solutions Ltd and have been advising businesses and the government ever since on how to make the most from being online. I have now launched T4S.site (so happy!).
That’s my story. You may not be interested in improving your digital marketing strategy, but if you were, I would hope that the story is unique and sparks your interest. So you need a story. For you, or your products. Something that makes it stand out from your competitors. Something to tell your audience.
You are not persuading or using sales tactics. You are simply letting them decide to buy.
Your (or your product’s) story, coupled with emotions and pain points are the three things you need to make a sale of anything to anyone.