Imagine yourself in a fine restaurant. Divine table settings, charming atmosphere. Royal Dalton China. Fine crystal stemware. The Maitre d’ offers you the daily special. You uncover the silver cloche… UGH!!! It’s a pile of worms! Grubby – creepy – crawly WORMS!!!
The French may have managed to get us to eat snails under the moniker of “escargots”, but this was beyond ridiculous even if it qualifies as a “Low Carb High Protein” meal! I would never go back to that restaurant, and I believe you wouldn’t either.
I personally love strawberries and cream. However, when I went on a fishing trip once, I did not get much luck when I baited my hook with a delicious strawberry topped with real Chantilly cream. I found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms! So I dangled a worm on my hook and within minutes, landed a beautiful 12 pound Sea bass.
Those who know me better would realize that this pure dramatization. The only way to get me to touch a Sea Bass is if it was pan seared and served with a warm Lemon Dill Beurre Blanc. But the point I am trying to make is this:
Why not use this common sense when fishing for people?
We tend to talk a lot about what we want to sell. Why on earth would people care about what we want to sell? We need to talk to our customers about what they want. When speaking with your customer, you need to stop! Pause and ask yourself, “How do I make this person want what I have to offer?”
I once read an article about when the U.S. Military was trying to sell life insurance to the G.I.’s at war. Most agents had a hard time selling this to the soldiers who figured that their paltry income was better spent on necessities such as beer and cigarettes. Moreover, no one wanted to even consider the prospect of death. Only one agent was able to sell out his quotas and then some. He would have hordes of G.I.’s crowding around begging to sign up. When asked what his secret was, he answered, “I would tell the soldiers that with this insurance, your family will receive a tidy sum of money in the event that you get killed in the line of fire. This payout comes out of the military fund. Who do you suppose the military will choose to send out on their front lines in time of battle?”
Because the name of my agency is Ticket To Travel, many times people will call 411 asking for Ticket Master and inadvertently they will get my phone number. I once had a guy who called looking for tickets to a Jimmy Buffet concert. I told him that I couldn’t get him tickets to the concert but I could get him a cruise to take him to Margaritaville! After laughing and getting into a conversation, I explained that I was a cruise specialist and that there were wonderful cruises that could take him to the land of Jimmy Buffet. It turned out that he and his wife had talked about taking a vacation and I ended up booking a 7-day Caribbean cruise for them.
That, my friends, is called Need-based Selling. For this, you need to follow a three step strategy:
- Understand your product. Every feature, every aspect, every facet.
- Listen to your customer. When they are done talking, probe for more information and continue to listen.
- Match your features to their needs.
Why would customers seeking prestige want to know about the savings of a budget cruise? Paint a Picasso about the formal dinner and shaking hands with the Captain. If your customer is looking to vacation with her three little ones, do not mention the formal dinner. All she will think of is three screaming kids spilling Lobster Bisque on her expensive gown. You will get her attention however, with the soothing Spa on deck and the affordable baby-sitting services.
Our products have a plethora of features. Success lies in highlighting the ones that our customers are looking for.
As for going on a boat for fishing, I am reminded of these words of wisdom: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day”. I personally don’t care much for beer, but if I were to sell a customized fishing cruise to a bunch of men, I would make sure to sell them one that comes with a cooler full of beer rather than strawberries and Chantilly cream.
Anita Pagliasso is the author of “How I Made A Small Fortune as a Home-Based Travel Agent”, From Home-Based to POWERHOUSE!” and “Anita’s Toolbox for Home-Based Agents CD” (www.redticketproductions.com). She is the President of Ticket To Travel-Host Agency (www.travelagentathome.com), President of PATH and an Executive Board Member. You can contact Anita at 408-531-9228.