Anyone who has tried selling a truly useful, quality product has encountered it. You know why a person should buy this amazing thing, but he doesn’t quite get it. You can see that the person you’re talking to is interested in your product, but in the end, she doesn’t buy it. Why?
We have stumbled across a very interesting gentleman by the name of Derek Halpern. You may know him from his successful site socialtriggers.com. In describing himself, he says this: “As the New York Times best-selling author Dan Pink said, ‘there’s a gap between what science knows, and what business does.’ I’m here to bridge that gap.” Halpern focuses on persuasion, productivity, and success in business. He presented the answers to the above questions in his video titled, “How To Double Your Sales On Your Next Launch (Without Doubling Your Traffic.)”
Halpern describes four types of psychological barriers that your potential clients have – each of them being a separate reason not to buy your product. A person can have one or even up to all four of the barriers. When you’re pitching a product or service, and you’re doing everything right, but your conversions are not where they should be, this information applies to you.
This barrier is apparent when the person you’re pitching to doesn’t believe he or she has a problem to solve right now. This person doesn’t see that there is a need for your product/service or that it’s relevant. People with this barrier are the furthest from saying “yes.”
To combat this barrier, you need to find something that person already cares about and show how your product/service will help with that particular thing.
For example, Halpern refers to the fantastic example of The Book of Etiquette. This book had been on the shelf for something like 100 years when another person decided to sell it. While the nation wasn’t suddenly swept with inspiration to use proper etiquette, the book flew off the shelves. The seller accomplished this by telling stories like, “Why They All Laughed At Me,” and “Why She Blushed With Shame.” He focused on something people care about: avoiding embarrassment. It was then that the wholly indifferent audience perked up and bought the book.
This one is pretty obvious, and you probably encounter it a lot. People with this barrier question your personal credibility. They question a reason to trust you. Combating this one is simple so long as you understand all the reasons the skeptic will question you. You just openly say what they have to be skeptical about before they do, and address it.
A comical example of this is the 1986 Vicks 44 commercial “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” While no one today would buy over-the-counter cold medication because Dr. Shepherd said so, the commercial attempted to establish credibility. A more realistic example might be someone who has started a new line of eco-friendly cleaning products. This person doesn’t only need to address questions about the product, but also questions about her own personal credibility. She might say, “I’m not a chemist, but I’ve been following research for a decade in order to find my own solution to harsh chemicals. My motivation is to provide a healthy environment for my children, and I didn’t stop until I found answers that were good for me and my family.”
While the skeptic questions you and your credibility, the worrier questions himself. He believes in your product but worries he can’t afford it, it won’t work for him, he doesn’t have time to do it, etc. I’m sure many of us have been faced with this when looking at a new diet book or piece of exercise equipment. “It’s great and all, but when would I have time to do this? Would I spend all this money and then fail?”
Combating the worry barrier revolves around identifying the stressor and removing it. The more stressors you’re aware of, the better equipped you are to list off solutions. If your product is exercise equipment, you can offer a time management guide or work through a “time budget” with the person. If it’s money, talk about the ROI (compared to a gym, let’s say) or a payment plan. Ease the worry before it surfaces.
We’ve all encountered this barrier, right? The person wants what you have, but he or she just won’t pull the trigger. Procrastinators feel a little of all three of the above barriers and just never feel convinced. Some people try to combat this with false scarcity – “There’s only two left;” “I’ve got another buyer on the line – take it now or lose it forever.” While this tactic has worked for some people, if you get busted lying, your credibility can suffer irreversible damages.
A better, more effective way to get the procrastinator on board is to give her a little taste of what she’ll have when she buys from you. Halpern used a personal example here. He was at his dentist who asked him if he wanted his tooth fixed. Surely seeing dollar signs, Halpern asked himself if he really needed his tooth fixed, and opted against it. The dentist offered to give him a temporary fix so he could see what the tooth would look and feel like if it was fixed. Right then and there, in his mouth – not on a computer or tablet – that dentist “fixed” the tooth. Halpern made the appointment for the permanent fix.
Halpern tested this psychological barrier theory with one of his product launches. He had 2 separate launches – one at a discount and another after the discount ended. For the first launch, he did nothing out of the ordinary. For the second launch, he sent out several emails leading up to the launch. Each contained information relevant to a different barrier. What he saw at the second launch – where he charged 40% more, was a 55% increase in his conversion rate and a 117% increase in revenue.
Be it insurance, hunting equipment, televisions, cleaning services, or online courses, if you sell something, you’re likely to encounter one of these 4 psychological barriers. Your plan of attack can be verbal additions to your presentation, separate pieces of information sent out to your prospective customers ahead of time, text on a website, or pages in a portfolio. If you truly focus on these barriers and your solutions to them, you will enjoy a boost in sales and profit. (Unless, of course, your product and sales abilities are terrible. In this case, we sure hope you find what makes you happy.)
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