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Build the Perfect Sales Pitch
"Build the Perfect Sales Pitch" talks to the four keys of selling, whether face-to-face or in writing and how you can lever innate human responses to drive acceptance. If you can't sell you cannot succeed in getting your message out on the web.
The Pain! Do you remember the first time you were scammed on the web? I do! Was I bitter!? The amount of money wasn't large, under $50 if I remember rightly, but the humiliation of being taken for a ride was really galling – I can feel myself getting steamed up all over again… But, there was a second lesson in that experience. I'd been sucked in by a pro. A pro who could REALLY write! I remember the feeling. Reading the sales pitch was like sliding at ever-increasing speed down a greasy chute. My hand became a blur as it reached for my wallet and whammy…I was hooked! Now that's real skill and almost worth the cost of the lesson. We've all read letters like that. Nearly all of us have fallen for them. Snake-oil salesmen sometimes sold genuine products, but their place in folklore is based on their ability to charm your hard-earned money out of your pocket. So how do they do it? Well, there are four ingredients: One: A sequence to the pitch A sequence that herds you to the endpoint – the sale. The classic sequence goes: ** Identify a PROBLEM or a YEARNING or delivers on a DREAM (to open tight lids on cans that arthritic hands cannot open, a desire to get rich, to get to Heaven, to be loved or desired, not to be lonely….) ** Explore the problem preferably identifying yourself (or some other ‘sympathetic' hero), with the experience of the problem so that you build trust, or by generalizing it to the ‘human condition… ** Show how it can be made to go away and the new world that will open up (by buying a large grip can opener, by finding the best opportunity on the web, by dating local horny housewives, by following a pattern of worship…) ** Recommend your product (quack-medicine, religion, dating service…) emphasizing its BENEFITS and how it solves the PROBLEM ** Lock the solution in place with testimonials and deal with objections (objections are GREAT and you should bring them up yourself so you can knock them down) ** Ask for the sale (lock the door behind the buyer with a cast-iron guarantee.). There are many variants on this pattern, but they all herd the listener into the corral with their wallet open!! And it works, over and over again…! Two: Pick a voice. A ‘voice' is the way you present yourself when you speak to someone. Do you talk about "I" and give witness to personal (almost mystical) experience? Do you "report", telling how others did or their ‘experiences"? Of the two, the personal experience is dramatically more powerful! But, if you can't project personal witness, then bury them in other people's experiences. You can at some level do both. You lead with your experience, then back it up with that of others (the experience is transferable!), but generally you have to chose one or the other as the lead – hence all those ‘rags-to-riches' stories on the web and those stories of ‘personal revelation (if I could do it!!). Three: Ramp up the ‘passion meter" Unless you become hysterical and grating, sincerely expressed passion ALWAYS invokes a magnetic attraction in others. Go too far and they are revolted. Get it right and they are entranced. If you can't get passionate then you won't sell much! Whatever you get passionate about, it has to have one ingredient – it has to benefit THEM. If your passion is all about YOU and your salvation then who cares? If it's about your driving need to help them to THEIR salvation then that's something else. They may not want your version of heaven but they will listen. Four: Always try to tell a story. People relate to stories. They don't relate to lists and cold logic except under certain conditions – like a text book. But if you're trying to sell and it has to ‘touch' them, then the name of the game is a story, a parable, a neat little vignette, a case study. This works because people KNOW the structures of the classic tales in advance and you are tapping into deep folk memory. Lever that human reality to sell! Here's an example of the structure of a classic tale - fill in the blanks. "Jack was sick (insert details and tragic consequences if his illness got worse. Ramp up the passion with weeping relatives and pictures of the poorhouse). Jack's weeping wife – or family friend, or pastor or whoever – hears about a miracle cure. But Jack is resistant ("I've heard about these before", or no one wants to get his hopes up, or the evil uncle wants the 40 acre field…well you get the idea). Somehow Jack is given a dose (slipped into his milk by his brave young daughter?). Jack gets well and praises his good fortune. The daughter reveals…etc, etc." We all know the story with its well-known variants, (Jack doesn't get the cure and dies…etc) Even though they know the story they love it. And its very familiarity makes it easy to absorb and memorable. Also these parables touch deep emotions in us; they are part of the very fabric of our lives. How do you build the skills? Start by surfing the web and looking at the sales pitches on the better sites. See if you can dissect their sales letters. What is the sequence, the voice, how do they drive up the passion, do they tell stories? The more you read, with your eyes opened, the more the patterns of selling will sink in and the easier you will find it to write your own. Copyright (c) 2006 Michael Kay