A congressional hearing on tainted food might be the last place you’d expect to find powerful sales messaging. But, when a congressman recently wanted to elevate the concern over unsafe food on supermarket shelves, he unleashed an emotionally potent presentation technique.
Check out this brief clip:
Your Brain Wants Concrete
A by-product of the information age is that many of the “solutions” being sold today are no longer physical objects. They have no shape, substance or concrete form that can be seen and touched.
Have you noticed that consumer software is sold in very elaborate packaging? It gives you, the buyer, the illusion that you are getting something substantial for your money. In reality, with the advancements in digital storage technology, you could easily sell the entire Microsoft Office Suite on a disposable chip the size of a postage stamp.
Why is it harder to sell intangibles? The answer goes beyond the logic of “getting something for your money.” The reason lies deep in the wiring of your brain.
Behavioral science has taught us that humans are more likely to be motivated to act or to change a behavior based on a stimulus that is concrete. Scientists describe “concrete” as something that can be experienced through one of your five senses (Touch, Taste, Smell, Hearing, or Sight).
Using a prop, a three dimensional physical object, when describing your solution is an effective technique to make your solution appear more “real.” The concept of unsafe food on supermarket shelves, while unsettling, is not as emotionally potent as a plastic jar full of potentially tainted products, and an accused executive having to take his chances by taking a bite.
Here’s One You Can Use
Let’s say that you have a solution that offers greater flexibility to your customers. How do you communicate an intangible concept such as flexibility?
Try this. Hold up a golf ball and say: “This golf ball represents your business. Golfers know there are three types of clubs that are used to drive this ball forward. If you want power to drive great distance you use a driver. If you want a combination of power and accuracy you will use an iron. Lastly, if you want even greater accuracy and finesse you use a wedge or putter.”
Then say: “What’s unique about the solution you are seeing today is that it gives you the flexibility to have everything you need in your bag to ensure you move your company forward the best way possible.”
By using the golf ball as a prop, you take an abstract, sometimes overused concept and make it real and more meaningful to your buyer.
In your next face-to-face customer interaction, bring a prop into the message.
- Make sure it is relative to the needs of your prospect
- Make sure it supports your message rather than steals the show
- Keep the story around the prop very concise and to the point
- Bring the prop onto the scene and then take it off. Don’t continue to hold it once your point is made.
Using this simple messaging technique, you can make whatever you sell seem more real. Plus, you have just made it easier for your prospect to buy.
Have a good example of how you used a prop in a presentation? Email us your story with My Prop Example in the subject and enter to win a wireless PowerPoint remote.