Pain Killer Marketing

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A Lesson In Persuasion - From Star Trek

TechTransform, November 26, 2001: In today's issue of his Rapid Results Marketing Newsletter, author Joe Nicassio found a great way to revisit the pleasure/pain principle in marketing.
Read on: it's useful for when you're looking for ways to trigger immediate sales in your prospects.
I was trying to solve a marketing problem, and strangely enough, I arrived at some useful insights from Star Trek.
If you ever watched Star Trek, The Next Generation, you will notice two places on the ship that the crew has occasion to visit...The Holodeck, and Sick Bay.
The Holodeck is a place of pleasure.  It is a place where the crew can enjoy recreation and pleasures of almost anything imaginable.
Sick Bay, on the other hand, is a place of a hospital.
What I noticed, is , even though the holodeck is a place of pleasure, the crew doesn't always go there...of course, they go when they get a chance.  It's always available, but not always used.
Sick Bay, on the other hand, is the place to go at any sign of trouble.  
In other words, when you are in pain, you go to sick bay immediately.  
Any sign of ill health, and the crew acts immediately.
What's my point?  That if you sell positive benefits, it may be appealing to your prospects, but decisions can be delayed indefinitely.
Conversely, when the prospect is in pain, they are more likely to act with a sense of urgency.
Let me give you a nuts and bolts example from my own experience.
About 3 years ago, I created a super efficient referral system for a hair salon.  This process works like gangbusters.  My client gets about 500 new salon clients a year from the system, and she paid for it once, and the process delivers a continuous stream of new clients, every single week.
So, a year ago, I decided that other salons and similar industries would benefit from the marketing system I designed. (There are over 250,000 salons in the country, a nice marketing universe).
Selling the system to salon owners presented a new set of challenges.  Despite the success of the system in multiple salons, many salon owners were resistant to the success stories, and benefit selling strategies.
It's just too easy to say, "That's nice, someday we might do that".
So, we have shifted our approach.  Here are a couple of before and after tactics.  These may be different from your situation, but you can use these examples to get ideas for your situation.
Try our system for 12 months. You will earn 10 times your investment, or we will refund your money.
Look in your check register. Who are you spending ad money on? Yellow Pages?  Newspaper?  
How well does traditional advertising work?
Do they offer you a guarantee?  Why not?
One of our recent clients got 23 new clients in the first 30 days.  You could too.
One of our recent clients got 23 new clients in the first 30 days.  You could too.  If you wait 30 days to buy the system, you'll never get those 23 new clients, and that revenue. You don't want to lose that business, do you?
The main lesson to take away from this article:
Pain creates a sense of urgency.
Pleasure, usually, does not.
By the way, I am in no way suggesting that we should create pain in our prospects.  That would be entirely unethical.
What I am suggesting, is that prospects usually have all kinds of pain, and they tend to hide it.
Our job is to uncover the pain, get the prospect to talk about it, then feel the implications of being in pain.
Once they feel the pain, and admit that they want the pain resolved...we don't have to persuade them at all.
They will check into sick bay, make a decision, and pay the doctor.
I mean, they will consult with you, make a decision, and pay your price.
© 2001, Joe Nicassio

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