How to talk about what prospects want and show them how to get it
Thu, 07/05/2012 - 12:26 — Bill Boyce
In The Psychology of Selling, Brian Tracy advises salespeople to become their buyer's favorite DJ on their favorite radio station WIIFM (What's In It For Me). He says that if you do this buyers will line up to buy from you. And if buyers line up to buy from you, you will be the star at the top of the sales board, drive luxury automobiles, live in a gated community, give coveted gifts to friends and family, and become financially independent. But to tune into WIIFM, you need to talk about what buyers want and show them how to get it.
What buyers want (what drives buying behavior)
“People buy for their reasons, not yours.” - Jeffrey Gitomer
Knowing what buyers want is tricky because buyers don’t always verbalize their wants, even when bluntly asked during a needs analysis. And when they do, the stated reasons might not be the real reasons. The problem is not that buyers are coy or deceptive. Rather, it is that buyers frequently don’t know their preferences because they are hidden.
There remains an overwhelming assumption that logic is the primary force influencing buying behavior. This is certainly what our society assumes and expects. Our social contracts and religious beliefs assume that we are capable of making informed and rational decisions. The premise is that logic and judgment can and should override our emotional needs, wants, and desires. And when it doesn't, we're held accountable.
The complication is that buyers frequently buy for unexpressed emotional reasons and then justify the purchase with expressed logical reasons. So what appears to be logic is really disguised emotion. Stated another way, buyers rationalize.
In Buyology – Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, Martin Lindstrom says that through science we now know that 90% of consumer buying behavior is unconscious.Accordingly, the majority of what buyers want may lie hidden in subconscious wishes and desires. As Lindstrom puts it: "Our brain makes the decision and most of the time we aren't aware of it."
Marketers have long held that buyers are influenced by external variables like cultures, subcultures, social classes, reference groups, and families. Marketers further hold that buyers are also influenced by internal psychological variables like drives, attitudes, perception, learning, personality, and lifestyle. Abraham H. Maslow asserts that people seek to gratify their need for affection, belonging, acceptance, recognition, and status, among others needs. Our hopes and insecurities also assert influence.
Scientists are just beginning to understand how brain chemistry influences buying behavior.
In Buyology, Lindstrom talks about how dopamine - the addictive chemical in our brains - is stimulated by the buying process. And the more the dopamine in the brain, the more buyers want to buy.
While it is impossible to know each of the open and hidden factors that influence buying behavior, we now know that buying behavior is influenced by a blend of logic, emotion, and brain chemistry.
Is this bad? No. If buyers bought only for logical reasons our economy would come to a screeching halt. We’re economically co-dependent on emotional and chemical buying supported by logical reasoning.
That being the case, it is important to be aware that these variables do influence buying decisions and will not necessarily be stated during a “needs analysis” meeting. Therefore, the objective is to understand both the expressed and unexpressed reasons to identify the underlying need or want in the buyer that will influence the purchase decision for your mutual benefit.
Show buyers how to get what they want
"The only way on earth to influence people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.” - Dale Carnegie
How do you do this where buyers are influenced by so many hidden wants and desires? Simple: all buyers have an emotional need to believe that they follow a rational buying process. And, non-impulse buying follows a predictable and repeatable pattern: 1) recognize need, 2) gather information, 3) consider alternatives, 4) decide to buy, and 5) like or regret the decision.
Obviously a buyer doesn’t go through this process for routine consumer purchases, at least not consciously. But for all purchases that require limited or extensive problem solving, this process is followed. And, this process satisfies an emotional need to be perceived as being smart and rational for buying what they want and for their reasons. Not coincidentally, this process mirrors the repeatable sales system that will predictably convert prospects into season ticket holders.
Step One: Prospect Recognizes Need. Most prospects don’t know that they need your media, seats, and sponsorship inventory until you raise their awareness. Dale Carnegie says that you need to "arouse in the other person an eager want." This can be done directly through cold calling, canvassing, networking, or emailing but can also be done using advertising, promotions, or public relations. It is best done through questions like: “Can I ask you a few questions about your goals for the year and how we might be able to help you achieve those goals?” You follow with carefully drafted needs analysis questions intended to raise awareness about a previously unknown need. For example: “What type of client entertainment does your company do?” Or, “What types of reward or incentive programs do you have in place for your employees?”
Step Two: Prospect Gathers Information. This is where you make it easy for the prospect by proposing solutions. In short, you teach the prospect what he wants and show him how to get it. Remember, some items you propose will resolve unexpressed emotional drives like the need for recognition and status while appearing to resolve expressed needs like the need to entertain clients. Following are reasons that will satisfy many of the prospects perceived needs and wants.
Season Tickets – Families
• Unique and lasting memories captured in the family photo album
• Affordable family entertainment (comparable to a season pass at theme parks like Disney World, Busch Gardens, Six Flags, or Sea World)
• Added value from benefits like additional entertainment events, exclusive access to VIPs, and gifts
Season Tickets – Fans
• Quality games at an affordable price
Season Tickets – Businesses
• Add and retain clients and customers using the “Major Bang/Minor Buck” strategy
• Generate new and fresh leads
• Entertain clients and prospects
• Reward and incentivize employees
• Build team camaraderie through group outings
• Raise money and awareness for a cause
• Best value in the industry, often comparable to a discount of 50% or more
• Being perceived as "cool" and “fun”
• Provide perk to recruit and retain employees
• Build group camaraderie and loyalty
• Reward loyalty and commitment
• Recruit new members to the group or cause
• Spread group message
• Add value for group leaders through benefits like additional entertainment events, exclusive access to VIPs, and gifts
• Unique opportunities to participate in the event through “Fan Experience Packages,” such as performing, competing, or practicing in a large, professional venue
• Increase cause and brand awareness
• Recruit volunteers
• Raise funds
• Authenticate a brand (advertising promises, sponsorships demonstrate the promise)
• Increase brand credibility through brand transference (i.e. because brand is associated with NBA brand, it must be good)
• Reach the target market with a message that informs, persuades, and reminds the market about the product or service
• Reach target market with appropriate frequency
• Integrates other promotions like social media, outdoor, television, radio, and print around the sponsorship hub
• Get away with “having what the people want” while getting rid of “what you have”
• Reward and retain loyal customers using packaged hospitality
• Unique opportunity to offer exclusive access
• Increase brand awareness
• Promote a product or service through in-venue presence, coupon distribution, sampling, and giveaways
• Drive traffic to retail outlet through in-game entitlements like "free chicken sandwich if team scores 100 points"
• Reach the target market with a message that informs, persuades, and reminds the market about the product or service through TV, radio, digital, social media, and outdoor platforms
Step Three: Prospect Reviews Alternatives. This is where the prospect considers alternatives to spending money on your proposed solution. This is the point in the buyer’s process that you need to anticipate objections and be prepared to overcome them. Most prospects raise the same objections over and over again. Accordingly, the objections can be anticipated and handled professionally.
Step Four: Prospect Decides to Buy. This is the moment of truth where the prospect stares across the chasm. You make the "ask" and invite the prospect to become an owner. The prospect may be concerned about the risks that the product will not achieve the desired result, that he will pay too much, that the package will not be compatible with the his self-image, or that the purchase will not meet with peer approval. This is where you use testimonials from satisfied customers to overcome any remaining reluctance.
Step Five: Prospect Likes or Regrets Decision. Satisfied buyers are much more likely to recommend, refer, and renew while dissatisfied buyers are more likely to complain to family and friends in person, on the phone, or through social media channels. Accordingly, it is important to reinforce the buying decision as soon as possible after the purchase is made. This can be done with thank you notes, phone calls from management, and gifts. And it is critical to get the buyer enjoying the tickets and sponsorship inventory immediately.
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” - Zig Ziglar
You now know the unexpressed emotional and the expressed logical reasons that buyers buy and the things that buyers want – and that those wants you can satisfy. You also know that buyers follow a predictable buying process that repeats itself over and over again. Everything you need to arouse a want and influence purchase decisions for mutual benefit is in your arsenal. So, go become a DJ on WIIFM and talk about what your prospect wants and how he can get it.