By Daniel Wadleigh
Three basic human drives we all share are the desire for love or approval, the desire for security and the desire for significance. Given the strength and universality of these desires, it is critically important to address them in all of your marketing campaigns and advertising.
The two outcomes people want in relation to each of these areas are enhancement and protection. People want more approval, security and significance than they enjoy now or they want to protect the love, security and significance they currently enjoy - or both.
Three areas where these drives commonly manifest are in health, comfort and economics, which are often intertwined. And people will flock to you if you can save them time, grief or money in the process of fulfilling these basic desires.
No matter what business you are in, all the benefits you offer are wrapped up in these powerful aspects of human character.
If you are selling flowers for a garden, you are really selling the gardener approval from his or her admirers, parents and friends. You are also selling enhancement of that approval.
If you are selling exercise equipment, you are selling approval in terms of better appearance and lifestyle, security through improved health, as well of protection of both of those aspects.
If you are selling payment processing services, you are selling merchants approval from consumers who want a range of payment options, security in the form of increased sales and significance if, for example, your services help a merchant become established as a local business leader or your state-of-the-art system provides a "wow" factor.
Even if you don't specifically name these desires in your marketing collateral or sales pitches, the enhancement and protection of love, security and significance are what your potential customers are seeking; they are what your prospects will pay for. If you find ways to point out how your services benefit them in these ways, prospects will turn into customers time and again.
Think creatively. You can usually find several ways to brand yourself when keeping these basic drives in mind. For example, an auto repair company offers routine services to maintain the status quo, as well as preventive maintenance, which provides customers economic benefits (fewer surprises that drain the pocketbook), comfort (peace of mind) and health (reduced risk of wrecks).
Examine which aspects are affected by your products and services. Ask yourself what your merchants' hot buttons are and look for ways to emphasize the benefits you provide that satisfy their most pressing concerns.
I once worked for a heating and cooling company. We started including system disinfecting with each preventive maintenance agreement.
We created a handout that explained the risks of not disinfecting, and sales went through the roof. And we were getting $59 per tune-up when our competitors were getting only $29.
A printer in Atlanta started handing out a few pages on how to enhance effectiveness of ads. A cleaner asked potential patrons to stop in and learn three ways they could lengthen the life of their clothes. A restaurant offered a free nonalcoholic beverage to first-time customers. All of these were effective because they spoke to the three basic human desires in some way.
So learn to address these drives when promoting the benefits you offer. Find free or low-cost value-added products and services that deliver on the hot buttons. Offering a handout containing useful tips on compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is just one idea that comes to mind.
Remember, don't get lost in all the technical payment bells and whistles; instead, figure out how the amazing array of offerings our industry provides address merchants' universal urge to enhance or protect their approval, security and significance in some way.
The specifics will be unique to each merchant. The more you tailor them to individual hot buttons, the more accounts you'll sign and the more loyalty you'll engender.
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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