Sitting with a nervous excitement and straining to hold my composure, I was all set to close my first deal as mortgage broker. My prospect looked at me with a sign of hesitation. I picked up on it but ignored it. He was a young guy, around twenty-five with a good job and ready to buy a condo. He paused for a minute before he signed the papers.
“I just finished lunch with my family. I told them I wouldn’t sign anything today and I was intent on shopping around to get the best deal. This is going to be hard to explain.”
Back and forth went the conversation which ultimately led to no deal. He never returned any follow up phone call or email.
Why I Failed To Close The Deal
Little did I realize, my prospect faced cognitive dissonance – discomfort you feel from acting in a way that violates your beliefs, values or image of yourself. He probably boasted to his family about his deal-making skills. He bragged about how he’d grill every broker to eke out whatever advantage he could. Now, he prepared himself to sign a deal with me without shopping around or using those razor-like negotiating skills. He was about to act in a way that didn’t fit his vision of himself.
How did he deal with that discomfort? He walked away from the deal. By walking away he confirmed to himself that he was, in fact, a pitbull negotiator, unwilling to make a deal with the first broker who pitched him.
A wiser salesman would have helped him overcome his dissonance by finding a way to justify his behavior to himself and to those whom he boasted. In sales, you can pick up on these queues from your prospect’s responses, body language and tonality.
Since we lack this feedback in marketing and copywriting, we need to work around this limitation. Anticipating the discomfort our prospect faces at decision time reveals the objections they’ll never tell you. How will she justify this decision to herself, her friends, family and coworkers? How will she deal with the guilt or discomfort of firing her current service provider?
Digging Up Those Invisible Roadblocks
When you conduct your research and ask yourself the question:
How would buying cause them discomfort? Will they have to fire their current provider? Will they renege on a previous commitment? Do they need to act in a way that differs from their self-perception?
You may not realize it, but you probably do this all the time. When your friend stays with a job he hates and you tell him:
“You’re doing the right thing, sticking it out and fighting to make things better”
Or, maybe your friend decides to take a vacation even though she has to put it on her credit card due to lack of funds:
“You need this. Your soul needs this. Don’t worry, you’ll figure out how to pay for it later.”
Just like social situations, selling situations doom your prospect to this same potential discomfort. Your prospect easily avoids the discomfort by NOT buying or putting it off indefinitely. However, If we can provide the right justification in our copy, we remove one of the invisible barriers to closing the deal.
The secret to making this work lies in getting to the decision. Clear the path of invisible barriers they dare not speak:
How do I explain this to my wife?
What will my friends think?
How do I justify it if I don’t get the results I expect?
Once they can justify the decision to themselves and others, your job gets much easier.Read More →