The Carrot or the Stick?

By Adriana Puckett

You spend weeks preparing a knockout presentation that you’re sure your prospect will love, but after delivering this dynamite presentation nothing happens. Your client’s interest isn’t piqued at all. What went wrong? Maybe your prospect needs to see a bigger picture than the one you painted.

“While some people are motivated to run fast toward gold medals, many others will run even faster from German Shepherds,” says Thomas A  Freese, author of Secrets of Question Based Selling (Sourcebooks, 2000). In the case of your presentation, you have been presenting only the gold medal, or the benefits of your product. But in many cases, your prospects will be more motivated by knowing what potential problems or issues your product can help to avoid. This is the German Shepherd, and Freese says it’s important to include both to successfully motivate your clients, sales team, spouse or kids. In other words, Freese asserts this is a fundamental of human behavior that advertising has been capitalizing on for a long time.

Just look at some of today’s well-known slogans: Miller Lite’s “tastes great” (gold medal)/ “less filling” (German Shepherd) and Johnson’s baby shampoo’s “gentle on the hair” (gold medal) / “no more tears” (German Shepherd). When Freese applied the same approach to selling computers, he learned that “while some prospects were interested in positive benefits like better performance…other prospects were more interested in protecting themselves against negative issues like downtime…” Needless to say, his sales increased.

So, instead of jumping up and down about your product’s cutting-edge features, address its safety record too. If your product will increase your prospect’s productivity, perhaps it will also decrease interruptions. Once you position your product to address both the gold medals and the German Shepherds, you may find your presentation brings home the gold as well.

For more great tips to help you close sales click here.