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Monday, July 7, 2008

People Buy for Only One Reason

People buy your product when the perceived value is greater than the cost. They won’t buy when the value is equal to or slightly greater than the cost. The difference between value and cost needs to be LARGE. That perceived difference typically has little to do with the product and more to do with your presentation. That’s why the best copywriters get paid more than $1 million a year for creating killer ads and that’s why million dollar producers earn millions a year for making killer sales presentations. How do you create maximum value and make a killer sales presentation?

You create value by having the prospect see that your product matches with their important goals.

You won’t do that by explaining or telling the features and benefits of your product. You do that my first asking questions and determining what’s really important to your prospect. The “really important” stuff does not sound like “making more money” or “savings taxes” or “lowering costs.” The really important stuff sounds like “taking care of my family” and “taking my grandchildren to Hawaii” and “being a responsible father.” If you don’t find out what’s really important to prospects, then don’t plan on being a million dollar producer.

Here’s what an insurance sales conversation sounds like by a million dollar producer (P=prospect, A=Agent).

P: I don’t really know why we agreed to meet with you. We really can’t afford any insurance.
A: I do help people get enough insurance but that’s not really what I wanted to talk with you about. Before I explain that, let me ask you a question. Since we are not going to talk about insurance, why did you set this time to meet?
P: I’m not sure; I guess you might have something useful to tell us.
A: About what?
P: About how to handle our money better.
A: Why, do you feel it’s not handled well now?
P: Well, I make a good living but it always seems we are behind, never able to do the things we want to do or are important, like get enough insurance.
A: Do you think that everyone has priorities?
P: Yes.
A: What are yours?
P: That confuses me sometimes.
A: Really? Is that your new BMW in the driveway?
P: Yes.
A: Do you have a loan on it?
P: Yes
A: Well, then I guess your priorities are clear. You have decided to put your family in debt and use your limited cash in order to drive a new German automobile instead of those things you previously alluded to as being important. Would you agree that people set their priorities with their checkbook?
P: Yes. And I don’t really feel good about it.
A: I think you do or you wouldn’t have bought the car. Do you notice that people do what makes them feel good today?
P: Sure
A: do you think this leads to the best decisions?
P: No, not at all, I think it’s a little immature.
A: What do you think is mature?
P: Making decisions based on the long run and those things that are really important
A: What’s really important to you?
P: The health of my family, being able to send my kids to good schools, making sure they are happy and protecting them
A: Do you feel you have made those things a priority—is the BMW consistent with that?
P: No.
A: Would you like to get on track and start living consistent with your priorities and making financial decisions consistent with them?
P: Yes.
A: Where do you think you should start?
P: Well, I know I need to start placing money in a college fund and I know I don’t have enough insurance should anything happen to me.
A: And god forbid you become disabled; are those you love protected?
P: I’m not sure if I have enough of that protection through work.
A: You tell me. If I could help you with the items you just mentioned so that you start making financial decisions consistent with your visions for your family, those things that are priorities and living the vision of being a responsible father that you have for yourself, would that be valuable for you?
P: Yes, that would be unbelievable.

At this point, the sale is made. The conversations that occur hereafter are mechanical. The prospect now desires to make a change. The product features are close to irrelevant because the prospect has made an emotional commitment. And the sale is not about insurance or anything about the product. The sale, when concluded by a master, is always about something important to the prospect because the prospect will ALWAYS buy that.

It’s amazing that every new recruit is told that “people buy emotionally” and then is immediately taught to sell logically using features and benefits. The dialog above is the true definition of selling that makes a difference:

  • Selling is the asking of appropriate questions so that prospect sees the correct course of action for himself
  • Selling is enrolling the prospect in their own vision