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The Power of Video

Picture this:

Close up of ocean waves washing over rocks. Howard Shore’s “Lord of the Rings” score wafting in the background.  Fade to laundry hanging on clothesline, seagull flying over house perched on cliff. Fade to fishing boat, man petting dog nearby. Fade to family photo, voiceover: “You will give the people an idea to strive toward.” Fade to boy running through field, hint of red cape trailing behind. Fade to hitchhiker on a mountain road. Fade to birds-eye view of a farm field. Voiceover: “In time, they will join you in the sun.” Fade to butterfly on chain. Voiceover: “In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.” Fade to boy with red cape. Fade to text, “Man of Steel.” Fade to caped man flying at mach-speed through the clouds.

Most of you probably started skimming by the third line of that paragraph.  Ninety percent of you didn’t make it to the end. We’re lucky if you’re even reading this.

We’ve just described a trailer for the yet-to-be-released Superman movie.  Now watch this…


That’s the power of video. Stimulate the senses and the decision-making part of the brain by using video or visual storytelling in your marketing content.

Learn more…

Thanks to Corporate Visions Global Accounts Manager Ted Ergo for the idea for this post.


Do You Take the Stairs?

Fun theory shows once again that human decision-making isn’t rational.

I always like to think that logic and rational thought rule when my prospects make a decision.  But, time and again I’m proven wrong.  That’s why you always hear us say in Power Messaging – “people decide on emotion and justify with facts.”

When I ran across this video it showed once again how emotional decision-making can be.  You and I know that taking the stairs instead of an escalator will provide more exercise.  And, we are fully aware that exercise is good for us.  (There’s plenty of research and data to prove that.)  So, it would be logical to assume that if we know what’s good for us, we’d always take the stairs instead of the escalator.  But, we don’t.

Watch this less than 2-minute video to see an interesting social experiment on getting more people to take the stairs.  It proves once again how we underestimate the power of emotions to impact a decision.


It’s the same when you go into a sales pitch with too much information.  Too much data.  Too many rational arguments.  You leave wondering why your prospect has paralysis by analysis.  It’s because you put her there.  And, as a result, she can’t clearly see enough reason to change from the status quo.

In fact, recent research indicates that 40% of sales cycles end in no decision.  Meaning your biggest competitive enemy is no longer an arch rival competitor, but prospects doing nothing.  In truth, however, this could be your biggest opportunity.  Taking market share from tough competitors is always difficult.  Getting a prospect to make a decision vs. waiting may be your next big growth opportunity.

Loosen the status quo with emotion
Just like the stairs were transformed into a piano, you need to create some emotion and excitement in your sales message.  If you want to loosen the status quo, you need a story that inspires your prospect to see the need for change.  Think about the video.  They were still stairs.  Weren’t they? They were still healthier for you than taking the escalator.  Right?  The “product” called stairs and the benefits of using them didn’t change.

Only the brand new story and the experience created around the stairs changed.  In fact, the stairs themselves became a giant prop to help sell the concept of stairs.  It engaged people’s body and mind in the product called stairs.  It made people want to try the stairs in a way that rationally explaining the benefits never did.

Where can you inject emotion?
You need a great story for your products and services.  The greatest stories are facts, wrapped in emotion.  For example, “the King died.  The Queen died.”  Those are the facts.  But, when you add emotion saying, “the King died, and the Queen died of a broken heart,” then you have a story.  You have a story that pulls people in, engages them and connects in a way that just the facts can’t.

We worked with a corporate, after-hours cleaning services company that offered a unique approach to cleaning.  It was a multi-color, microfiber cloth system that eliminated 90% of bacteria compared to just 33% with traditional cotton cloths.  You would think that fact would be enough to get prospects to bite.  It wasn’t until the company added a mini-story (drama and props) about how the multi-color cloths helped make sure your cleaners weren’t using the same cloth to clean your bathrooms as they did to clean your office telephone that they really got people’s attention.

Don’t be afraid to make your sales messages connect emotionally with your customers.  Help them see the need for change.  Help them see change is coming fast.  Help them see the impact of not dealing with the change vs. the impact of successfully adapting to the change. Creating enough emotional contrast between their current pain and the potential gain they can achieve by working with you.  And, then make your solution critical to their survival.


Making it Real: Using 3D Props to Help You Sell

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?

golfTry 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.


What Does Messaging Have in Common With Your Life?

Since Power Messaging® impacts emotion, it is not surprising to hear stories where personal value is enhanced outside of the business world when people use the Power Messaging techniques in their everyday life.
A few highlights…

“Focusing on traits that were unique to me and important to my fiancé shortened my engagement and helps our marriage.”

“Grabbers and making the value interactive has given my Sunday school class a richer experience.”

“I use these messaging skills to help my girlfriend edit her Yoga magazine.”

“You-Phrasing has improved my relationship with my children in transferring ownership of chores and goals.”

“My Sunday sermons no longer put people to sleep. I focus on three key points and make them come alive.”


Anticipatory Emotions

Coke or Pepsi?  It’s an age old question, and now, in a world that’s run amuck with choices, it never seems to stop:  GM or Ford, Honda or Toyota, Nike or Reebok, tea or coffee, your company or your competitors?  We are all faced with so many choices everyday that it’s a wonder we are able to get anything accomplished.

Now, imagine having the ability to look into your brain and understand why you make the choices you do. Even better – imagine having the ability to understand why your customers make the choices they do and understand how to influence those choices before the purchasing decision is made!

The emerging world of neuroscience and its somewhat controversial application to the world of marketing (neuromarketing – marketing to your mind) offers some fascinating insights.

Through his research, Stanford neuroscientist Brian Knutson has zeroed in on some primitive aspects of decision making.  As he states, “We come equipped to assess potentially good things and potentially bad things…”  Knutson calls this ability “anticipatory emotions.”  He believes, “…that these anticipatory emotions – the intuitive or more emotional regions of your brain are already priming the decision making process…and foreshadowing outcomes…well in advance of when your cognitive areas are brought in to evaluate options….”

It’s one of the challenges you face every time you go on a sales call or presentation.  The anticipatory emotions that your customers experience when accepting a sales meeting appointment run the gamut from:  this is going to be a waste of time (#1 fear of executives); they’re going to pressure me into making a commitment that I don’t want to make; it’s not going to be informative; they are going to bore me, and so on.  Have you ever received that last minute call canceling your meeting because “something urgent just came up!”?

The anticipatory emotions of your customers, the ones that are already priming your customer’s decision making process and foreshadowing outcomes well before you even walk through the door, are often times anticipating the worst outcome.  So, when you start the meeting by turning down the lights and firing-up your laptop (or sitting across the table from your customer and pulling out a color copy of your slide deck) so that you can talk about yourself and your company for the next 60 minutes, you have just validated their worst fear and expectations.

What if you were able to grab your customer’s attention right out of the gate?
What if your customers were on the edge of their seats, riveted by your message?
Imagine creating a different type of anticipation – the desire to listen to how you can help their company?

Do something different! Change your audience’s expectations!

Use ‘What If’ questions to highlight how you’ll solve their problems using a solution that only you can uniquely provide.  Create positive anticipation in their mind.

Use ‘Mini-Dramas’ to help them visualize the challenges they are faced with.  Through the use of ‘Mini-Dramas,’ you will also show them that you listened during discovery; you heard their pains and challenges. Doing this will create some positive anticipation for them to see how they can do it different.

Illustrate your uniqueness and differentiation through compelling ‘Word Plays’ and ‘Number Plays’ that are relevant to your customer, creating excitement and anticipation with what they’ll be able to accomplish with you.

Use ‘Grabbers’ to create positive anticipation in your customer’s minds. You’ll not only change their emotional state around your sales call, but also their expectations around you, your company and the solution you can provide.

-Mike Miller, Corporate Visions’ Consultant