How to Help Clients Focus on What Matters Most to Them
Mike “Sparky” Detmer (firstname.lastname@example.org) is president of Niles Audio
You can probably tell from my picture accompanying this column that my impressionable years growing up were the early 1960s. In school I had the dubious distinction of being the in-house AV expert. Unlike your craft today, all that was required to be an AV expert back then was to have the ability to thread 16mm film into a projector and monitor it during school lessons, most of which were geared toward history. It was during these history lessons and presentations that I remember seeing a clip of President Dwight D. Eisenhower giving his brilliant “Chance for Peace” speech.
“Ike,” as President Eisenhower was called at the time, gave a persuasive speech that shifted the American public’s spending from building war machines to investing at home.
“The cost of one modern heavy bomber is a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people,” Ike reasoned. And it all made sense. Who wouldn’t want better schools, more food, and housing over bombers and war ships? Americans ate it up because they valued the opportunity to have better things over waste on war.
Acura recently did something similar in its television advertising campaign. It depicted welldressed men pointing out the unique features in an expensive wrist watch, pen, pool table, and (dare I say) tube power amplifier with a quizzical musical score that made each of them seem more silly than the next for valuing those features. Then the announcer says, “There are excuses for spending money on luxury. And then there are reasons.” Cut to a shot of the Acura line-up and the viewer immediately gets the feeling that these cars are worth spending on.
So, what if I told you that you can use this same convincing technique to close more sales in your business? Well you can! And it’s particularly effective during those awkward times when customers are indecisive in choosing your bid over others or selecting audio-video and control over other spending options. Here are three tips on how it can work for you:
1 In the qualifying process, find out what your client values. You sell myriad categories, but what does your client value most? Keep a mental list. If you find out that your client is a music lover, then “frame” better sound. If it is automation and control, then “frame” convenience, and so on.
Like President Dwight D. Eisenhower did, you can highlight something that the decision maker values and contrast it with something that costs money but is not necessarily on the high-value list.
2 By pointing out “lost opportunities,” sales people help their clients focus on what really matters to them and pave the way to a sale. Like Ike and Acura did, you can highlight something that the decision maker values and contrast it with something that costs money but is not necessarily on the high-value list. For instance, try this when presenting and selling higher grade loudspeakers:
“Yes, I’m asking for a little more in my bid. But, unlike the speakers in my competitor’s bid, I’m recommending ones that have thin bezels to blend-in with your ceiling, pivoting woofers so the sound can be directed where you’ll appreciate it most, and a lifetime warranty so you can enjoy great sound forever. Don’t you think the better quality in each room is worth the cost of a tank of gas?”
What upscale buyer wouldn’t appreciate this logic? A few more tanks of gas doesn’t mean that much to them, so why should spending a little more on something they appreciate be so hard to do?
3 Another spin on this technique is depicting the things given up as something that can wait. Frequently I get e-mail blasts that Niles dealers send to their customers promoting products or services. One that stands out comes from Dallas at Minnesota-based Supercalibrations Custom Home Electronics, who recently sent a recap of the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show and recommended some pretty cool stuff he saw there. You can do the same, and it won’t cost much more than time.
When you do, try something like this: Depict a beautiful home theater setting with a tag line, “Take the cruise next year!” You are implying that the cost of the custom-installed theater is a mere delay in your client’s vacation– something they can accept easily.
Try “framing” lost opportunities in your next presentation or advertisement. Customers will likely accept your argument. This is because “framing” your value proposition gives you additional power and credibility in their minds.