I don’t mean to be a drama mama, but there is a reason why your prospects will say no to you every single time. They can’t help it. It’s not you, it’s them. But there is a way to get around this tendency towards the negative, while maintaining your core values and sanity.
No time like the present
Ever snoozed your alarm instead of going to the gym? Or suddenly decide to clean the house or adding things to your Amazon wishlist instead of starting that important project?
Our brain has a bias towards short-term pleasure. Most of us would prefer to take £20 today rather than wait and pocket £25 next week. Drink that extra glass of wine, instead of refraining and enjoying a clear head in the morning. Quite often this bias towards short-term gain keeps us from acting in our own best interest.
(While we’re on the subject of procrastination, you might enjoy this podcast with a world-renowned procrastination expert. He’s not an expert procrastinator, but an expert in overcoming it!)
The same bias affects your prospects. They like to think they’re rational thinkers, but they’re not. Sometimes they make silly decisions, like not buying your swag, your brilliant services. Isn’t it annoying when your product or service obviously solves a massive problem, but they fixate on the immediate cost instead of the longer-term gain?
We humans have many biases that cause us to consistently react in certain ways. Since I know you’ve got a busy day ahead, I’ll share one with you right now, one that makes your prospects say no to you every time. I’ll also tell you how to overcome it in an ethical and authentic way.
The world is going to pot…isn’t it?
One of the biases that you, me, and your prospects have is basing judgements on what immediately springs to mind. For example, there’s been a massive increase in reporting of violence in the news. As a result, people might have the tendency to believe that violence and crime is on the rise and the world is in very bad shape.
But if you look at a more comprehensive set of data, the world is more abundant now than it’s ever been. According to World Bank data, absolute poverty has declined and wellness and quality of life has risen exponentially. Yet, people still hold on to “the world is going to hell and it’s a mess” story, based on what’s recently and readily available to them. Not a complete picture, is it?
Do you like moving mountains?
To help your prospect decide to buy from you, you need to understand 1) what they think of your “industry”, your product or your service and 2) their buying habits. Seek to understand their bias, how they recall, what they think, and how they feel about purchasing your kind of service. This includes other people they rely on to make their decisions, a.k.a. influencers, and understanding how they buy.
For example, imagine you sell social media services to small business owners and they don’t get it. Instead of trying to pitch and push the benefits of social media, ask them, “what do you think social media is?” Maybe they think it’s about posting tweets and selfies all the time. Or maybe it’s just for millennials. Who knows. If they have this intrinsic aversion towards your service due to their availability bias, you won’t get past them. They will shut you down before you even start. Instead, understand their bias and help them articulate it. The more they talk about it (and you listen), the more you understand.
Distract them with data
Your prospect’s availability biases stem from the emotional part of the brain, known as the limbic system. What you need to do is trigger the rational part of their brain, so meet them armed with independent stats, stories, and studies demonstrating the value they could gain from your services. Make the information consumable, simple to read, and easy to recall. Refer to happy customers too, if you have any, or happy customers who have trialled your service.
If your product is untested, search for independent industry stats supporting your case. For example one founder I know created a new technology for online advertisers, creating online adverts that unmissable and ensured engagement from readers. Since the product was untested, the founder plucked out known industry pain points, like ad-blindness or the tendency of viewers to quickly close ads, to support his case.
To be clear, you’re not manipulating them. Not at all. I’ve heard countless stories from startups that break my heart. They’re doing great things, not just trying to close deals but making a tangible difference and adding real value. Their product or services are proven to help their customers free up time and capacity to do the most important part of their job. But prospects say no because their availability bias blocks their ability to see the bigger picture. These new companies are not addressing the innate biases of the market they’re serving. Instead, they’re desperately pushing their product.
Get closer to YESYou can’t blame prospects for making short-sighted or ill-informed decisions. Click To Tweet
You can’t blame prospects for making short-sighted or ill-informed decisions. You have to take the responsibility to inform them. Make independent information easily available and effortless to recall, for all stakeholders (influencers and decision-makers), and tell stories of happy customers. Sail pass their biases and get closer to a yes.