Secrets to Soaring Sales

If Something Seems Too Daunting, The Elephant Will Override the Rider

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If you haven’t already read Sunday’s blog entry on the powerful metaphor of the human brain as elephant and rider, read that first. It’s the springboard on which the following several days’ blog entries will bounce off of.

As much as we’d love to think that we’re perfectly logical, perfectly rational human beings, we just aren’t.

For me and far too many other Americans, our riders logically know that we should exercise. But we don’t. The idea of having to take an hour out of our day to pursue physical pain and exertion just isn’t an attractive option. So, even though we know we should do it, we don’t FEEL like doing it.

How about cleaning? I know my house should be tidy, but do I really want to go out of my want to clean it? Sometimes it’s very difficult to motivate myself to do so, even if I logically know that I should.

That’s the elephant refusing the rider’s command. The elephant is much bigger than the rider, and sometimes it just refuses even if the rider points us in the right direction.

So, what do we do in this situation?

We need to make the amount of change needed by the elephant a lot smaller. K-Mart recently has broadcasted a ton of commercials advertising it bringing back layaway. For a small down-payment, you can have everything you want, and 0% interest for the first six months (or whatever it is, I’m not exactly sure as I don’t represent K-Mart in any way, shape, or form). Putting up several hundred dollars for a TV seems really daunting to the elephant, but a small down payment? That’s nothing!

Amazon put up one-click shopping. You used to have to fill out a ton of information: name, address, credit card number, etc. While supplying all that information, you have plenty of time to change your mind. But one-click shopping? Not a problem! Just click one button, and that product is on its way to your house!

Sometimes making the task seem smaller to the elephant is a great way to motivate it into taking action. Think of how you can make your sales process easier for the elephant to want to go through with it.

The Elephant Responds Better to Negative Emotions

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If you haven’t already read Sunday’s blog entry on the powerful metaphor of the human brain as elephant and rider, read that first. It’s the springboard on which the following several days’ blog entries will bounce off of.

We’ve previously discussed just how powerful it is to appeal to people’s emotions. The elephant is so much bigger than the rider, and if you want to get an immediate and powerful reaction, the elephant is the way to go. Of course, you also need to point the rider in the right direction, to get the elephant moving, which is the logic you supply.

Recognize, though, that the elephant is much more motivated by negative emotions than positive ones. Sure, the elephant feels happy when it eats apples from a tree. But it avoids pain far more than it seeks pleasure. For instance, if there were burning embers in front of the apple, do you think the elephant would seek it out? No! The negatives of seeking out that particular positive don’t make it worthwhile.

Similarly, recognize that people’s internal “elephant” responds far better to negative emotions than it does positive. Sadden, frighten, or upset them by how much less efficient their lives are without your product or service!

Once you’ve done that, then supply the positive emotions that come with your product or service.

Get their attention with the negative, get them excited with the positive.

Then you’re well on your way to making more sales than you can handle.

Great Salespeople Supply Rationalizations

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If you haven’t already read Sunday’s blog entry on the powerful metaphor of the human brain as elephant and rider, read that first. It’s the springboard on which the following several days’ blog entries will bounce off of. Also, check out yesterday’s blog post where I discuss how people buy on emotions and rationalize with logic.

Over the past few days, you’ve probably very thoroughly understood the need to get people to FEEL something. The elephant is so much bigger than the rider, and the elephant is the only way to get an immediate large pull in a new direction. Make them feel FEAR that if they don’t act now, they will lose money in the long-term. Or, make them feel BELONGING, about how they will be just like all their friends if they buy this type of car. Or, make them feel RESPONSIBLE as a parent by purchasing something for their child’s education.

Whatever it is that you sell, make sure to make your prospects FEEL.

Of course, once they FEEL that they need your product, that’s when you supply the rationalization for it. Expert salespeople are great at making people FEEL for a product, but they also need to give them a logical reason why they should buy.

They need to shape the path for the rider, so that the elephant will ride right along.

People Are Experts at Rationalizing!

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If you haven’t already read Sunday’s blog entry on the powerful metaphor of the human brain as elephant and rider, read that first. It’s the springboard on which the following several days’ blog entries will bounce off of.

Robert A. Heinlein once wrote: “Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.” There are only few statements truer than this.

Very often (especially when it comes to buying decisions), we decide what we want based on desires or emotions, and only after deciding that we want it do we rationalize the decision with logic. For instance, does your wife really need 80 pairs of shoes? Or does she WANT 80 pairs of shoes, and then comes up with reasons why she NEEDS 80 pairs of shoes.

What about shopping on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving)? People stampeding over one another, fighting to get the best bargains. If you ask a Black Friday shopper, he or she may tell you they’re shopping for the savings. Yeah, right. Saving a few dollars is well worth the price of getting up at 3 AM, and being thrown in an unruly mob of other shoppers.

What they really want (even if they don’t recognize it) is to be admired by others for how well they manage money, or admired for their courage and bravery in entering such chaos, or maybe they simply want a story to tell. They FEEL something they want to be first, and then they RATIONALIZE that decision with logic.

What does this mean? The elephant is very powerful, and if you can get people to FEEL something first, you’re well on the way to the sale. We’ll discuss supplying rationalizations tomorrow.

Make It Easy on The Rider: Give One Option!

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If you haven’t already read Sunday’s blog entry on the powerful metaphor of the human brain as elephant and rider, read that first. It’s the springboard on which the next several days’ blog entries will bounce off of.

The rider is very clever, logical, and insightful. The problem is that the rider has trouble making decisions. The rider likes over-thinking things. The rider likes analyzing and analyzing.

The elephant is easily moved the action, but the rider pulls it back, saying “Not so fast. We better think about this more.” Of course, the more you think it through, the less you are likely to act. You just keep thinking, and thinking, and thinking. The rider is pulling the elephant around in circles!

Sometimes people call this phenomenon the rhyming term: paralysis of analysis. The more information you’re given, the less likely you are to act.

Make it easy on people’s riders. Give them one option.

Shape a clear path for the rider, and the rider will take the elephant riding right along.

The Elephant Is BIG: Emotions Sell!

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If you haven’t already read yesterday’s blog entry on the powerful metaphor of the human brain as elephant and rider, read that first. It’s the springboard on which the next several days’ blog entries will bounce off of.

As was discussed yesterday, the elephant is the emotional side of you, the side that wants to go stampeding into a china store with no thought of consequences. It’s the logical side of you, the rider, that pull the elephant back.

Recognize, though, just how BIG the elephant is. The first implication that we can draw from this metaphor on the nature of sales is that you need to get the elephant excited! You need to get the elephant wanting to charge in and purchase your product or service!

Tapping into people’s emotions and feelings are so much more powerful than trying to appeal to logic (of course, you should appeal to both, and we’ll discuss that later, but for now, understand that emotional appeals are far more powerful than logical ones). The great author and salesman, Zig Ziglar, once called sales a “transference of feeling.”

Your goal is to get people to FEEL! If your security system provides safety for your clients’ families, you have amazing potential to tap into the fear of what happens without your security system. If you sell cars, you have enormous potential to get people to feel as though they’d be classy or stylish in a new sports car.

Emotions are powerful. Use them.

The Elephant and the Rider

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This is such a cool, powerful metaphor for how the mind works, which has applications to sales which we’ll discuss in the coming days. For now, let’s just cover the metaphor, though.

Giving credit where credit’s due: I stole this metaphor from business professors Chip and Dan Heath (and they stole it from psychologist Jonathan Haidt).

Think of your mind as having two parts: an elephant and a rider. The elephant is the emotional side of your brain. It’s the side of your brain that will go storming into a china store without much thought. It’s easily motivated to action, it’s the side of you that wants to go in with both guns blazing.

The rider, on the other hand, is your logical side. It sits atop the elephant, pulling the reins. When your elephant wants to charge in recklessly, it pulls back the reins, saying “Not so fast. Let’s consider this for a while.”

In motivating people (and making sales), you need to properly take advantage of both rider and elephant, and I’ll give you some ideas on how in the coming days!

Be Vivid, Paint Mental Pictures

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Being vivid shouldn’t increase your credibility, but it does. Let me elaborate…

In a 1986 study by Shedler and Manis, they had participants role play the part of a juror. They had to decide whether a neglectful mother, Mrs. Johnson, was fit to tend her son.

Here’s the catch: they added vivid details to either the prosecution or the defense in separate experimental groups. For instance, the defense’s case would read: “Mrs. Johnson sees to it that her child washes and brushes his teeth before bed time.” The vivid condition added: “He uses a Star Wars tooth-brush that looks like Darth Vader.” The prosecution’s case would read: “The child went to school with a badly scraped arm, which Mrs. Johnson had not cleaned or attended to. The school nurse had to clean the scrape.” The vivid version added: “The school nurse had to clean the scrape, and in the process she accidentally spilled mercurochrome and left a red stain on the breast of her nurse’s uniform.”

Although it’s wholly irrelevant to the case what the toothbrush looks like (it only matters that the child was brushing his teeth) or where the nurse stained her uniform (it only matters that the child came to school with a scraped arm), it turned out it made a difference. When vivid details were added to the prosecution, the “jury” found in favor of the prosecution. When vivid details were added to the defense, the “jury” found in favor of the defense.

How can you add vivid details to your sales presentation?

Be Concrete When Stating Benefits

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I have no doubt that you are highly specialized, a technical wiz in your field! You probably know all the jargon in your field, you’re probably familiar with all sorts of diagrams and abstractions. And that’s great!

But you shouldn’t use them when interacting with someone who isn’t specialized in your field. You may have some clients who are very technically savvy in your field, and with them, it’s fine to use all your jargon and abstractions.

But when you’re dealing with an outsider, break it down into very concrete terms. Instead of talking about abstract principles, use concrete examples. Tell your clients the bottom line and how they’ll benefit from your product or service. Show, don’t tell, them. Give live demonstrations.

Be concrete.

Accessorize Your Sales

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Well, I hate to admit it, but I just succumbed and bought myself a Nintendo Wii. What I quickly learned is that no sooner have you bought the Wii console than you need to buy some games. If you want to play with other people, you need to buy more controllers. Then, some of the games require a “nunchuck” as an extension to the controller. If you want to play Wii Fit, then you need to buy a board that you can run on, step on and off, and balance on. If you want to play some sports games, then you need to get the Motion Plus extension for your controller. If you want to play Guitar Hero or Rock Band, you need to buy all sorts of plastic instruments so you can strum a guitar or bang on drums. You can also buy a steering wheel for racing games.

Wowza! One simple purchase from Nintendo, and boy have they ensured that you’re coming back for more!

How can you upsell accessories that go with your product or service?

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