Create experiences that confirm promisesWritten by Tom Richard | | email@example.com
As a child, I remember putting my hand on a hot stove and hearing my father laugh as he said, “Ha! I bet you won’t do that again, will you?”
Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson, and I’m reminded of this every time I go out to dinner and the waitress puts a hot plate in front of me. As she sets the plate down, she cautions, “Don’t touch the plate. It’s very hot.”
Invariably, what do I do? I slowly move one finger toward the plate and give it a little nudge, just to see how hot it really is. Over the years I have noticed that I’m not alone with my insatiable need to touch the hot plate that I was told not to touch. Everybody feels the need to touch the plate, including you.
If I were asked to diagnose the cause of the hot-plate-touching epidemic, I would conclude that we are all either idiots or we have an uncontrollable curiosity-killed-the-cat type of syndrome. While I cannot disprove the former, my gut says the latter is probably closer to the truth.
The easiest explanation is that we not only need to experience things for ourselves, but we value our experiences far more than we value the words of others.
If we are able to draw in our prospective customers the way a hot plate calls to a finger, on that experiential level, we would be able to get them to a place where they would do more than just hear the words we speak — they would understand them.
For a moment, imagine a restaurant selling expediency, quality and overall experience the same way you sell the things that are important to your product. If the restaurant sold the way an average business does, it would start with the waitresses bringing large trays of plates to the table. Before they put any of the plates down in front of the hungry patrons, they would stand at the front of the table and explain all of the wonderful efforts that went into making the gourmet meals. They would then try to reassure you that a wise choice was made in choosing to dine in their fine establishment. After a few well-aimed jabs at the aging competition, they would try to make small talk. Noting that the table is drooling and wanting its food, they would end their polite chit-chat and become serious.
Serving the first dish, they would place it on the table and then tout the benefits and features of the meal, sharing that the chef prepared it just for them, and that they and the restaurant where they are happily employed take their ability to prepare food with only the freshest ingredients very seriously. As they continue serving, they start to work in some rehearsed facts about the quality of their ingredients and the process of food preparation. As they finish with plate distribution, they work in some testimonials from previous restaurant patrons.
We can all be thankful that instead of going through that ridiculous process, most excellent restaurants take a more effective and simple approach to serving. They allow us to experience their excellent service, quality meals and enjoyable experience instead of telling us about it.
Now, there are two parts to creating an effective experience. First, you must have the energy and passion behind your words in order to set up the experience and create a desire to touch that hot plate. Secondly, you need to create an experience that confirms that what you said is, in fact, as hot as you said it was going to be.
“Ouch! You’re right! That is hot!” Bingo. You now have a customer who just downloaded your entire unique selling proposition and not only heard what you are saying but, by allowing them to have an actual experience, it is locked into their brain with the potency that only comes with clean understanding. Now you have a customer who truly gets what you are talking about; now you have a customer who is ready to buy what you are selling.
Tom Richard is a Toledo-based sales trainer, gives seminars, runs sales meetings and provides coaching for salespeople. For more information, visit www.TomRichard.com, call (419) 441-1005 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.