Are You Missing Out On Sales Through Fear of Pain? Improve the Persuasive Power of Your Words!
Education plus Motivation is a powerful formula. But how do you ensure the motivation level in your prospective customers or yourself, for that matter, is really as high as it could be? Easy. You make sure to build pain into your motivation strategy. Our basic survival instincts mean that given a choice between finding pleasure or avoiding pain - we'll usually opt to avoid pain.
Once you've persuaded someone to move away from something, it becomes much easier to provide them with something desirable to move towards.
7 Tips For Using Pain To Build Motivation
This "pain" approach can add extra power to everything from sales letters, motivating self talk, sales meetings, presentations and proposals. It is powerful though, so use it with caution and always be aware of the positive outcome you're after for you and your prospect.
Just a little safety warning before I begin... Make sure you have something positive to move towards once you've encouraged someone (or yourself) to move away from something. Motivation without direction can be destructive.
1. What's Up?
Find out or describe the current situation to set up the big picture and to provide a starting point for investigating the problems and pain.
In a sales letter, opener's such as "Have you ever..." or questions that presuppose a problem/opportunity (eg "Are you making the most of...") are perfect for this.
"Have You Ever Lost Weight With A Diet Only To Put It Straight Back On Again As Soon As You Stop?"
"Are You Making The Most of Your Talents?"
When having a conversation the question "What?" is powerful too...
"WHAT's your biggest/most immediate challenge right now?"
"If you could change one thing about your current business situation then WHAT would it be?"
"WHAT are you currently doing to get new customers?"
"In solving problem X WHAT have you tried so far?"
"WHAT's going on for you right now?"
The "Situation" is a foundation for exploration. Listen carefully when talking with someone or describe the situation in vivid detail when presenting/writing.
2. What's The Story?
Once you have enough data you need to summarise it as a story. In a conversation this can be repeated back to the person you're talking with. In a sales message this story will be your framework to embellish. It's always good to do this for your own reference anyway.
Let's use an example: Say I was trying to sell Lean Marketing training courses to coaches.
I've worked with enough of them to know that a common situation they'll find themselves in is as follows...
They seem to be doing lots of things to promote their business but new clients don't seem to be forthcoming. They've perhaps employed the support of another coach who used to do marketing for a big blue chip company but none of the suggestions they made seemed to work either. This story gives me lots of starting points for building their pain...
* things that work for bigger firms aren't working for your small coaching business...
* doing lots of things with no positive results...
* clients are scarce...
But in essence, they have too few clients and have run out of ideas for attracting new ones... This is what I'll use as my starting point.
3. Build The Consequences Using So What?
Once you've got a problem/situation story you can pick a pain theme to work from to magnify the potential seriousness of the problem. Asking the simple question, "So What?", works here.
Here's an example of how to use it in conversation...
Q: "So what could 'too few clients' lead to?"
A: "Too few clients could lead to less profit"
Q: "And what could 'less profit' lead to?"
A: "Less profit could lead to less personal income"
Q: "And what could 'less personal income' mean?"
A: "Less personal income could mean I won't have enough money to stay in business as a coach."
Q: "And what could 'losing your business' lead to?"
A: "Losing my business could lead to me losing my house!"
Now you've turned a mundane "marketing problem" into a seriously "scary life problem" all you need to do is direct their attention to the solution...
Q: "Ow! Losing your house would be awful. So what are you going to do to make sure it doesn't come to that?"
Here's how it may look in print or as a presentation. You don't necessarily have to spell everything out because you can ask questions in print too.
"Many coaches today find it hard to attract new clients. While this is a common problem the consequences can be devastating as I'll tell you shortly...
If you're serious about being successful you may already be doing lots of things to try and get clients in. Perhaps you've been taking advice from someone who's done marketing for bluechips but the results still aren't coming. You're probably at a loss as to what to do next...
If you're already working this hard and getting small results your coaching business is probably at risk. How much longer can you continue to pay bills or your mortgage before things get really critical?
You don't need me to tell you what would happen if you went out of business - I wonder what could happen..."
4. Lay It On Thick
You could lay on the pain all day long using the above approach. This is simply chunking up to an emotional level in the same way we did when turning features into benefits a few issues earlier. But this time, we're using the process to investigate negative consequences.
Your personal style will dictate when "enough is enough" and I personally believe it's crude to rely entirely on pain to persuade someone. Remember this: "A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still."
Also your goal is to "wake people up" not depress them.
5. Light At The End of The Tunnel
Once you've used pain to set the wheels in motion you need to build motivation and raise their energy level. Let them know there is an answer to all their problems and when you look at all the pain involved with not taking action, you can see that a small investment now will be worthwhile.
This will make them want a solution (which if you're selling something you should have) and you haven't even told them what it is yet. At this point they will be very eager to know the answer... In print this means they'll read on and when speaking they'll listen carefully.
6. Most Wanted Response
Once you've got momentum (using pain) and enthusiasm (by alluding to gain) you're ready to request your Most Wanted Response.
Either tell them what they can get and how (eg conversation with us, download ebook etc.) or tell them what they need to do next to learn more (eg call now, read x, email y, buy z)
7. Is All Manipulation Bad?
If you think the above is manipulative then you're right. But manipulation, just like fire can be used constructively as well as destructively. I'm sharing this because I trust you to use the information for the benefit of your prospects, contacts and yourself. This means you MUST have a positive intention and that you know EXACTLY that where you're leading someone is going to be good for them.
It's how you use manipulation that is either good or bad. If you use it to create a win-lose situation then in my opinion your behaviour is bad. If you use it to create a positive win-win situation then you are acting with honour and dignity.
If you still don't buy it then consider this...
Lies Are Painkillers
As I've already said, us humans will do almost anything to avoid pain. One of the most effective ways we do this is to delude ourselves and others with lies...
If I lose my job and house it's not the end of the world?"
"There's more to life than X, Y, Z"
"Yeah, I've only got a handful of clients but that's all I really wanted anyway."
And think about this. What do most people say when a casual friend asks, "How's Business?" when it's really awful.
Do they say, "Oh it's awful, if things carry on like this I'm going to be homeless. If only I knew what to do about it."
Of course they don't. Most people will lie (to themselves and the person asking) and say something like, "Oh business is fine, thanks for asking."
A lie is little more than a very dangerous pain killer. You must magnify the pain if you want to help people out of a rut. By showing them the negative consequences of inaction you're simply showing people the REAL (if somewhat unnerving) reality of their current situation.
'Dangerous' Debbie Jenkins
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