Humans are wired to not want to be different. Most of us work hard to fit in. Turns out that playing the ‘this is what everyone is doing’ card can be one of the most powerful ways to persuade customers, colleagues and businesses to do the things you’d like them to do —such as making a particular purchase or agreeing to your position over a deal. This is called consensus messaging.
In the 90’s when I worked as a sales rep for Lucent Technologies we often joked we won many deals because no one ever got fired for purchasing a Lucent phone system. Back then it was what almost every business did. So if something went wrong you could always say to your boss “I went with Lucent, who could have expected this”.
Consensus Messaging Can Come Down To Semantics
Consider the small difference in the these two messages and the corresponding results.
Message 1: “75% of customers who stay in this hotel reuse their towels.”
Result: The number of customers who reused their towels increased by 26%.
Message 2: “75% of people who stayed in this room reused their towels.”
Result: The number of customers who reused their towels increased by 33%.
You can learn more about consensus messaging by reading Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
Either the product, service, company, or you are not remarkable…or
You’ve feature puked (overly focused on the technical aspects of what you sell) instead of putting together a well told story that fits your buyers world view.
Example # 1: Being remarkable
Product: Starbucks coffee
Common remarks: Makes my head hurt, gives me heart palpitations, is the best coffee ever, is the worst coffee ever, is too strong, is too expensive.
Point: It’s not the actual remarks that make the big difference is that fact that it’s being discussed.
Result: Sells at a premium
Example # 2: Telling stories
Product: Harley Davidson
Consider this: The ad tells a story that fits a worldview that many people already have. There are no words, no claims, no stats, no price listed, no attempt to convince the consumer of anything. It does not tell the customer “this is our world view now see if you fit in”. Instead it says if this is your world view we’ve got something in common.
Result: Sells at a premium
So here’s why customers focus on price
If you’re not remarkable or your story does not fit into the world view the customer already has then you’ve left them nothing to focus on but price…so they do.
Let me know in the comment section: How are you making your product, service, or yourself remarkable? What stories are you telling your clients.
In any given day there are hundreds of things to eat up a sales persons time (regardless of your profession we are all sales people). I learned early in my sales career to keep my focus on revenue generating activity. Back then there were only three:
- Proposal writing
- Customer / Prospect meetings
What was true then is still, some what, true today, but I’d like to replace prospecting with – blogging. According to HubSpot blogging is the second largest social media customer acquisition channel. Linkedin ranked higher but I prefer blogging because it’s a channel that you or your company own and control. Additionally, every blog post ads a page to your website that has SEO value.
Businesses, sales people, and marketers should have a single goal with blogging – to become the person or company that people rely on for information regarding your product, service, or industry. Once your potential customers have given you permission to educate them (via your blog), they will come to you to help solve their business challenges.
I know many people don’t blog because they say they don’t know what to write about. Here are a couple of ideas off the top of my head:
- Make a list of the questions you get asked most and blog the answers.
- Blog about one of your customers achievements – did one of your clients land a major deal – share the news.
- Use an RSS reader to stay up on industry news and comment on it in your blog.
- Write a series of ‘how to’ post and when a potential client ask you a question reference your blog post.
- Is there a popular book being read by your industry – write a review of the book and email a link to your existing clients.
Last thing – don’t worry about how many readers you have. It could take quite a while for your blog to catch on. I heard Seth Godin say that when he started writing his blog hardly anyone read it. Today, he’s got one of the most read marketing blogs in the world.
I’m always surprised when even a single person Tweets or Likes one of my post. But it goest to show that if you just put your thoughts and ideas out there they will strike a chord with someone. All you need is that one right someone to cause your ideas to go viral.