A few years ago I spent way too much money on a state of the art grill. Since then, the place that sold it to me sent offers to perform routine maintenance. I ignored every single one. They promised to keep my grill performing well. They promised it wouldn’t break or run into a problem. Their claims were solid. They were believable. But I never took action. Inertia got the better of me.
Yesterday, I started up my grill and nothing happened.
“Hmm. Maybe I’m out of fuel. I’ll go fill up the tank.”
I attached the new tank and tried to start it up. Again, nothing happened. It failed to start.
The obvious thought popped into my head.
“Why didn’t I sign up for the maintenance plan? I need this fixed.”
Later that afternoon, my wife and I spent an hour watching YouTube DIY videos. It was a total waste of time.
Prevention Never Excites Us
My behavior was predictable. Preventive actions are a tough sell. There’s an old saying in marketing:
“People will empty their pockets to fix a problem, but they won’t pay a dime to prevent it.”
That’s exactly what happened with me. I had multiple opportunities to prevent issues with my grill. It would have cost me but a few dollars.
Inertia kept me from taking action. This is a typical human reaction. We avoid taking action on future problems. We’ll go all out on the cure once faced with a problem.
Look no further than healthcare. How many people avoid healthy eating and exercise? Years later they’ll empty their pockets trying to lose weight or fix health issues.
Reframe Your Pitch
Lack of motivation keeps us from taking action to prevent problems. We’re not lazy.
We’re hardwired to act on urgent threats. There’s little urgency to avoid a problem you may face in the future. What’s a seller to do?
What if there is no urgency in your product or service? What’s a seller to do?
Reframe your arguments. Position your solution as a cure to a problem they already have. They may not be aware of their problem so you need to make them aware.
Look at these two headlines and tell me which one compels you to take action.
Keep Your Grill Running Smooth. Get Our Maintenance Plan To Prevent Future Issues.
Sounds logical, right? Compare it to this emotional argument positioning the same service as a cure.
If Your Grill Is Six Months Old, It May Be Leaking Gas. This Routine Maintenance Keeps You Safe
The second example hits you in the gut. It positions the argument as a problem I already have (but not yet aware of).
Selling your prospect on prevention is a logical approach. It’s tough to get them past the inertia on logic. I knew the maintenance plan on my grill would help me. I just couldn’t bring myself to take action.
Positioning the service as a cure to a problem I already had would have motivated me to take action.