Marketing Bootcamp

You Can Use Vicarious Experiences That Never Happened to Make Real Deals Happen

You Can Use Vicarious Experiences That Never Happened to Make Real Deals Happen
Image credit: Afflac | Facebook
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We each have unique experiences in our lives that shaped the way we act going forward.

Have you ever missed a flight? (Confession: I have. 15 years ago, from some old Soviet airport to France, the day before Hanukkah. All the people before me in line made the flight. When it was my turn, the surly agent told me "come back next week. Plane full.") Ended up getting a one way ticket with British Airways, who held the plane for us. No duty free shopping for me, escorted through a dark airport to catch a waiting plane.

Since then, I make it my business to always be early for flights -- and if a flight is early morning, to be up all night, just in case. Because, I don't want a repeat of that very expensive trip home.

Someone can tell you a hundred times to show up early for flights -- but if you are a ‎more laid back person, it doesn't help all that much. After all, you've flown before and made your flight every time.But as soon as you miss a flight yourself, suddenly, you've had an experience that involves extra costs, unexpected delays, costs, and perhaps caused you to miss the very event you were traveling for. And now, you are that much more in tune with"be on time for flights, especially if they are from airports where there may not be seven flights a day to your destination. The experience that is jarring is the one that makes you change a behavior.

Related: 4 Steps to Ensuring Customer Experience Comes First

The challenge in marketing is really this same effect. What every entrepreneur and organization tries to achieve with marketing is no more than...

"How can I give a potential customer the jarring experience that happened to another... without them having to go through it themselves... so that they see the value in my product or service offering?"

The oft quoted ‎saying "a stitch in time saves nine." is very true. But, we don't want to make a stick because "it's okay the way it is!"

Medicine manufacturers have a much easier time then vitamin companies selling their wares. Why? Because once a person is ill, they take medicine to deal with their issue. But a preventative? "Why should I spend the money, and why should I put a fishy smelling, oily brown huge pill in mouth? I hate pills, especially huge ones!" is the mental thought that crosses the mind, preventing one from stopping the possible onset of a disease for a few cents instead of paying a lot more later on.

(Admit it. Did you eat your veggies and take your vitamin supplements today? You know they are good for you, right? And yet, most of us don’t do what we should!)

The ultimate strategy to properly marketing what you are selling is to allow the client to experience the result of your product very powerfully, which clinches the sale mentally for them as soon as possible (before even meeting you, when possible -- convincing themselves that they want to buy and making your interacting with them more of formalizing a transaction then needing to convince them to make the decision to purchase); and doing it though others, vicariously. 

So they sort of feel that this happened to them -- even though it did not. They feel so similar to someone who did have that experience, that they can project that same experience onto themselves; and thus, knowing that your product or service is the missing link between them and the experience they want to have or avoid -- make the transaction close with as close to zero hesitation as possible.

Related: 6 Tips, From Anticipation to Afterglow, to Enhance the Whole Customer Experience

When you get testimonials from clients, you should have them in a mix that allows each prospective client to feel‎ "that's me!" this goes by having people of the same age, gender, social standing, city, career... and sometimes several.

At least one of my testimonials is from a New York Times Best-selling author. While she may be female and the potential client reading that testimonial a male, if this potential client is also a New York Times bestselling author, then they feel mirrored by that other author. "He advises people just like me, so why not me as well? I's also like to be even more successful then I already am! “ They think.

They can tantalizingly see themselves already being clients and already see, in a sense their own success based on the action they are contemplating. Once they experience the benefits to your offering, even vicariously, the only thing left is the human hesitation. "OK, so buying insurance is a good idea, but who said this agent knows what he is doing? Perhaps I should buy, but buy elsewhere?"

Which makes the only step left between you and closing the deal, eliminating the hesitation.

Imagine this scenario:

Man goes into suit store, and tries on a suit. "Fits you perfectly, sir," the salesman gushes.

Hesitation? You bet. Since the suit store salesperson is selling a product, you don't fully trust his opinion. (He’s on commission, you remind yourself.)

You'll look at the suit and notice on the lapel a tiny crease or thread that looks out of place. In fact, you'll probably notice something somehow -- even if it is really perfect in all respects, and the salesman was actually being perfectly honest.

Why is this?

Because being humans with brains of our own, we want to come to our own conclusions. 

When we see something (like a tiny crease needing to be pressed, or a thread that the salesman expertly snips with a little scissor tool) we feel that we have now used our own sense and come to a conclusion that we are happy with on our very own -- which makes us feel happy with ourselves and with our decisions.

Related: Get Personal to Close the Customer Experience Gap

You want to eliminate those hang-ups. How?

Well, most of those hang-up hesitations are actually the same in your business. There are two or three main hang-ups that account for a majority of the business you don't close.

For example:

  • Your product is perceived as too expensive
  • Your product is perceived as being shoddy quality
  • Your product is considered old technology
  • Your product is not appreciated (yet) in your marketplace
  • Your opening hours are not as convenient as your competitors

By asking those who did not buy from you why they did not, you will be able to come up with the reasons why they did not. ‎And then you can address those reasons and hesitations.

Say you are more expensive than the competition. That doesn't mean you have to lower your price, necessarily; it does mean that you need to do a better job explaining why you are charging more. (Porsches do cost more than a ‎Ford Taurus!) But as long as the reason why is understood, it doesn't hurt sales- on the contrary, it may even help you sell more!

How can you help your client envision themselves already better off because of your product or service-- before they even reach out? And once they decide to reach out, how many obstacles can you eliminate‎ as soon as possible? (Testimonials are amazing for this as well. "I tried fourteen different ads before this one, and this one outperformed them all. Yes, it cost more, but was worth it by a factor of several," would work well to eliminate hesitation of why to spend more than they otherwise might, for example.

‎When you see an ad, article, or any other form of interaction with a new brand or business that triggers an emotional response from you, pause for a second and try to figure out how they did that to you.

It's those triggers, set off among your own potential clients, which can help you close a whole lot more sales, to a whole lot more people, a whole lot more often.