They Are Buying the Destination, Not the Plane

dream-destination-39676I’m listening to a webinar by Lisa Sasevich on making Irresistible Offers. The message is a simple one, but really isn’t understood by 99% of small businesses. In simple, terms the message is: Focus on benefits.

For years I thought I understood this concept. I considered myself pretty good at writing sales materials until I read a book called Make Your Words Sell about 14 years ago. That’s when I had a light bulb moment and finally got it.

As massage therapists our primary interest is in our craft, in our technique, in the processes we use to get a result. That’s reflected in the sales copy that most therapists have in their brochures and on their website as they talk about the training they have and the techniques or modalities they use.

On the other hand, the client’s primary interest is the outcome they are going to get. They are interested the benefit they are going to get; how they are going to be transformed by your hands.

So instead of spending 90% of your time talking about what you do, change your focus and spend 90% of your time talking about to what’s important to the client, which is the outcome they’ll get.

In explaining this concept in workshops, I always said that people don’t buy a drill because they want a tool; they buy a drill because they need a hole.

Lisa’s phrase was: Remember, they are buying the destination, not the plane.

The approach works and I’ve seen it in my own businesses over and over again. The first sales piece I wrote after reading Make Your Words Sell was a sales letter for a chair massage workshop. I was getting something like an 8% conversion rate with my original sales letter. That means that out of every 100 people who requested information, 8 signed up for the workshop.

After re-writing the letter to focus on benefits, my conversion rate shot up to about 13%. That means I got close to twice the sales with no additional expense. (75% more to be precise, but it’s still a big number.) I was charging $1,600 for the workshop so that translated into a lot more sales.

The only thing that changed was that the focus on my sales pitch now focused entirely on the benefit of taking the course rather than the process.

In fact, many months later my assistant said, “Someone’s wondering what we teach.”

“Haven’t they read the sales letter?” I asked.

“I looked at the sales letter,” he informed me. “It doesn’t say anything about what you teach in the classes.”

He was right. The sales material didn’t say a word about what they were going to learn. In focusing on benefits I had completely forgot to include an outline of the curriculum. But the crazy thing was that people been responding and signing up for months based on that information and they really didn’t care what was taught in class. This is the first time in months that anybody actually asked about what was taught. Most people obviously didn’t care about the learning process. They only cared about the freedom, the excitement, the flexibility and the money they would get by learning chair massage. They were sold on the outcome.

So the next time you write any communication, put yourself in your clients’ shoes and ask yourself, “What outcome do my clients really want?” and focus 90% of your attention to making that benefit come alive for them. Remember, they are buying the destination, not the plane.