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.

Sell is not a four letter word (even though it is)…

In my last blog post, I asked the question “Why do massage therapists hate marketing?” and I made an important distinction that you can check out.

Marketing isn’t the only bad word in a massage therapist’s vocabulary. There’s an actual four letter word… “sell”!

Massage therapist hate… HATE… to sell. They’d rather have a toaster thrown in their bathtub!

But here’s the thing… we actually like selling and we like when people are selling to us. It’s true!

What we hate is BAD selling. The pushy, aggressive, in  your face, used car salesman type of sales. (No offense to used car salesmen intended.) 

I interviewed Tony Robbins sales manager, Debra Russell. Talk about selling! She had to sell stadium sized numbers of people on the idea of attending Tony’s live events. Her take on selling was interesting.

She used to be a hair stylist. In fact she used to cut Tony Robbins hair. That’s how they first met. So she likes talking about hair. And she pointed out that you never really notice good hair color. You only notice hair color when the stylist (or colorist) does it wrong. Likewise, she said, we only see bad selling and never see good selling. 

When someone is really selling the right way, we are completely unaware that it is happening. It’s invisible. When someone does sales the right way we walk away saying, “Wow. That person was really helpful and informative!”

It’s not because they are trying to manipulate you or deceive you into thinking they are helpful and informative. They actually are helpful and informative. They act as your personal consultant, giving you the best advice they can as they try to find the solution that’s best for you.

So how do we get past our fear of selling. We simply need to make a little mind-shift and recognize that…

Selling = Consulting

When you are a consultant you bring your expertise to the table. You look at the various options that are available to your client and give them the best recommendations possible. If you don’t give them the benefit of your knowledge and experience by telling them what they need to benefit from using your services, then you are simply failing to do your duty and are not looking out for the best interests of your client.

The next time you see a client, recognize that it’s your responsibility to tell them how often and for how long they need to see you. You have an obligation to make sure you do whatever possible to help them get the result they came to see you for in the first place. And if that means you need to refer them to someone else who has the needed expertise to help them, so be it.

Given that perspective, how do you feel about selling? If you like this idea, please like or share.