CLARKMORGAN TEACHES SIX WAYS TO PERSUADE. One of those six is the use of analogies, and it’s one of my favourites. And I’d like to demonstrate the technique in action, by using the experience of going to the doctor with sales. It goes like this:
You’re a doctor, and that morning you see three patients:
- Patient 1 sits down and tells you that they know the specific cause of the problem. “Doc,” he says. “I’ve pulled my back. Last year, when I pulled my back muscle and you gave me Progenericsil and it worked a treat.”
- Patient 2 sits down and tells you the gist of the problem only. “Doc,” he says, “I dunno what’s wrong with me, but I can barely walk. I’ve got this incredible pain between my shoulders and hip.”
- Patient 3 sits down and tells you bluntly, “Give me Progenericsil!” These are the words of a drug addict.
In sales, these three patients also exist. I’ll also put it in the context of my business – corporate training:
- Client 1 on the phone says, “Our senior directors from HQ came to the Shanghai office last week and were appalled at the presentations that they witnessed. Our senior managers have no key message, have no logical flow and can’t handle difficult questions. We need presentation skills training.” This client knows the problem.
- Client 2 on the phone says, “Our senior managers are having trouble communicating the strategy to their subordinates. Our staff are not aware of what is expected of them, and I think there is a communication breakdown.” This client has the ‘gist’ of the problem.
- Client 3 on the phone says, “How much is your presentation training.”
As with Patient 3, Client 3 is a drug addict. Their request is not driven by the ultimate goal – to improve the presentation and communication skills of their staff. Rather it is simply form filling – a tick in the box. Worse still, they might be calling you to simply provide an alternative in their procurement process. They’ve already chosen the vendor – you’re just helping fulfil their due diligence.
So the next time you receive a call from a ‘Client 3-type’, be sure to hold your ground, and funnel for more information. Ten minutes of your time spent at this early stage will ensure that you’re not wasting your time later on – and feeding your client’s addiction.