Suffice it to say that you can never know your prospect too well—especially his thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. Consequently, many marketers and sales people fail to spend the necessary time and effort to study and understand their prospects at the level that’s needed to “enter the running conversation” in their mind.
But what is that level of understanding? It means being fully knowledgeable and aware of the key factors that influence him making a buying decision. Here are four keys to developing a better understanding of your prospect from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Philadelphia:
Your prospect’s desires — What he wants and doesn’t want must be known and understood if you’re going to persuade him to buy the product. The easiest most practical way of attaining this is to think in terms of the problem that he wants solved. Problems cause pain—be it physical, emotional or otherwise—and as human beings we’re motivated by the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure…not to mention the fact that we want to do both as soon as possible! This means that the prospect’s level of desire will always be directly related to the level of urgency found in the problem.
Your prospect’s beliefs — His beliefs will affect his thoughts and determine how open he is to the claims you make, including whether or not he believes the product can help him improve his life. Keep in mind that your prospect’s beliefs affect what he thinks and how he perceives everything you say. This is critical because you never want to present anything that directly conflicts with your prospect’s relevant beliefs, or else you’re going to lose him.
Your prospect’s emotions — Remember that a prospect will buy because he feels a certain way; wants to feel a certain way; or wants to avoid an unpleasant feeling. Your job is to figure out what the prospect is currently feeling, and identify the emotions he or she has relevant to your product and subject matter. Once you’ve done that, you can then begin to work with him or her in more advanced ways in satisfying the emotional need.
Your prospect’s behavior — The culmination of the above three disciplines dictates your prospect’s behavior, which lies at the root of all persuasion. The clearer you are on desires, beliefs, and emotions, the more you’ll understand your prospect’s behavior, and thus, the better you’ll be at matching up your promotion accordingly.
Marketers and sales people too often fail to see a potential customer as anything more than a nameless prospect. This type of rationale can be deadly to your sales efforts. Always keep in mind that your prospect is a living, breathing human being just like yourself, with the same basic desires, fears, and insecurities as you experience. Like you, he or she is just trying to do their best, avoid any kind of pain, make their life a little easier, provide for their loved ones, and have a little fun once in a while. Drill down on his or her desires, beliefs, and emotions…identify his or her likely behavior based on what you find…and you’ll end up with a crystal clear image of whom you’re talking to.
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Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/David Castillo Dominici