By Daniel Wadleigh
Whenever two or more people converse, they usually don't agree on all points discussed because people typically have different perspectives and endeavor to convince others of the advantages of their way of seeing things. This can be called convincing others of something new or helping them find a better way of considering what is possible. This is a normal, necessary process if you want worthwhile exchanges of ideas among individuals.
As ISOs and merchant level salespeople, when you are talking up the advantages of your product or services, you are trying to guide your prospective customers' thinking toward what you offer. This guiding is a type of manipulation, and there are two different ways of going about it.
First is the scientifically accurate method of using facts in an understandable, step-by-step way that leads to a rational conclusion. The best technical minds are good at creating an "irrefutable" argument. Technical writers are taught how to do this, and they are usually literate, experienced and intelligent. Second, and more important than the logical approach, is the inclusion of emotional elements. Marketing professionals are usually aware of this approach. They focus on benefits, which can be spoken of in terms of protection, a beneficial increase or emotional comfort. For example, "Protect your business with our anti-fraud software" or "Save yourself time, grief or money with our unique billing service."
I once sold ground source heat pumps in the Washington, D.C., area. I had all the rational arguments and credibility issues covered, but I wasn't making sales even though the product created a positive cash flow. I consulted my sales manager, and his response was, "Is the wife the problem?" I knew that was not a lucky guess. He said my presentation needed to emphasize subjective benefits like health, comfort and protection, and knowledge of these must reach the people most concerned about them.
I spent two days filling in the void in my presentation and then sold three $15,000 packages in one day. I'm not trying to impress you with my selling skills; I'm trying to emphasize that this principal works. Another guy replaced me in that sales job, and he was also successful.
It takes equal parts of both elements to run a maximally successful sales effort. This principal also applies to e-mails, handouts and radio ads.
It is important to be affecting a prospect's emotional nature as well as his or her rational nature. People buy what they want (desire) from people with whom they want to do business (like). So, your job is to have not only a rational approach to interest people in buying your product, but also to communicate the "warm fuzzies" of both you and your product or service to soothe potential customers' senses.
The hard-sell closers incorporate both of these approaches with ease, but you don't have to be a hard-sell closer to get results with this formula. You do not need to stay in control of the process at all times.
The best way to proceed is to ask prospects to tell you what they want and identify what is most important to them. This allows you to tailor your presentation to address what they want to hear. This is not deceptive or negative. It is necessary to gather information about merchants' priorities to determine how your offerings can satisfy their needs and how you can best convey the strengths or exclusives of your products and services.
So, think about how to lead your prospects to a full understanding of what you are offering and a good feeling about doing business with you.
Most people don't know that the reason for singing in church before the sermon is because it reduces fears, creates a communal experience and prepares people to better receive the intelligent or emotional message at the heart of the service. If that isn't manipulation, what is? It's not a bad thing when used appropriately.
Daniel Wadleigh is a veteran marketing consultant in the payments industry. He offers an educational program that is available on a PowerPoint presentation and designed to help ISOs elevate themselves above the competition. For more information, please call him at 512-803-0956.
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