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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Why Most of Your Prospects Don't Buy

If you're honest with yourself, you know that of everyone you present to, less than 50% buy. The poor close ratio is due top your sales presentation not "clicking" with the prospect. You are committed to making your clients’ futures better, but if you present that benefit, you will lose sales.

Americans do not relate well to the threat or benefit of future occurrences. Here’s my evidence: Do you know people who smoke cigarettes? Can they read the warning on the package and have they heard that smoking leads to lung disease, heart disease and a potentially nasty death? Then why do they still smoke? Because they get pleasure today, right now, and they willingly trade a few seconds of present pleasure for an ugly and early death in the future.

Need more evidence about behavior? The Center for Disease Control tells us that 61% of Americans are overweight. I’ll wager that most of them know that cheesecake is high in fat, leads to increased weight gain, high cholesterol, potential hardening of the arteries, heart disease and an uncomfortable and early death. Yet we consume thousands of tons of cheesecake annually because we readily trade a few minutes of pleasure right now, for a potentially debilitating future (heart disease, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, etc).

What does this have to do with selling financial products? Because when you understand how people behave, you make more sales. Sales is all about human psychology, not your products or your firm.

You sell insurance or investments that provide a benefit in the future or helps avoid a future detriment. But I just proved to you that the future is a weak motivator. Americans want to know, “What can you do for me that feels good NOW!” Is it any wonder that your prospects say, “I’ll think about it,” or decline very important coverage when you offer a payoff that will not occur for many years? You walk away with no sale thinking that your prospect doesn’t get it. No-- it’s you who doesn't get it. Your prospect is not logical - your prospect is a present tense, pain-avoiding, pleasure-seeking homing device. Show them how they can avoid discomfort or have pleasure today and you have a sale.

This may seem difficult for you because your life insurance, your long term care policy, your annuity your investment products are all for protection of some future occurrence. How can you possibly frame the benefit of these products in the present?

Here’s the idea:

“Mr. Smith. Are you ever concerned that if something should happen to you, how your family will fair?
How often do you have that thought?
How does it make you feel?
Do you need one more thing to worry about?
Would spending 15 minutes to eliminate that worry be a worthwhile investment of your time?”

In this scenario, I do not sell financial protection against his death; I sell the end of his worry right now. He gets an immediate payoff from the policy - peace of mind. That’s a benefit your prospect can digest because it’s now. In fact, it’s more important than a benefit, I offer the avoidance of current discomfort. All of us are highly motivated to avoid current discomfort and we will take action and make purchases to avoid it.

If you think I may be off the mark, consider why you got out of bed this morning. Did you do it because of dreaming you would earn $100,000 today and the excitement of that conquest had you hop out of bed at 5 am rarin’ to go? Be honest. If you look closely, you see that you got out of bed for one or more of these reasons:

To avoid the discomfort and worry of having your house foreclosed on if you don’t pay the mortgage
You don’t want to be viewed as an irresponsible person
You set some appointments and people will be upset with you if you don’t show up today
It’s what your parents told you to do and they would be dissatisfied with you and that would make you feel bad
Your spouse is depending on you and you’ll feel like a heel if you don’t bring home some cash

You got out of bed today strongly motivated to avoid discomfort in the present. To avoid present discomfort is the most powerful yet subtle motivator. It is responsible for most daily human activity.

Now you know what motivates your prospect to act. Stop talking to them about the future. Give up explaining how that group of mutual funds will give him a more comfortable retirement or that he really needs LTC protection because 43% of everyone over age 65 spends time in a nursing home. While these are interesting logical appeals, he doesn’t really care. He wants to know how you will make him feel good today, or more importantly, take away current discomfort.

So your challenge is to take 30 minutes right now. List each of the products and services you sell and list what pain those products and services can help your prospect avoid or what pleasure they bring, TODAY! Then develop new sales scripts around those current payoffs and make sure that the word “will” is never used again in a sales presentation. The word “will” precedes a future payoff and from now on, you sell only current payoffs. Every time you have the urge to say, “will,” say, “does.”

If you cannot figure out how to speak about your products as a current benefit or detriment-avoidance tool, you better give your prospect some cheesecake or a smoke.

Post provided by Javelin Marketing