But we already have a way of doing that
But we don’t have the time or money to train our staff to use your product
But no one else is doing it this way
Yes, I’ve heard all the “buts” a million times. So how do you, as an entrepreneur or change maker, go from a “but” to a “hell yes!”?
Tell a great story.
Every purchase you’ve ever made had a story attached to it. And it is not the functionality or the feature set of the product or service which you bought. You bought the story you told yourself about the product or service.
If I gave you a spec sheet of two cars and they were identical, you would pay the same for both cars. But if at the end I revealed that one is a Jaguar and one is a Ford car, suddenly the value of the Jaguar car goes way up.
Because of the story we tell ourselves.
When you drive a Jaguar you’re buying the story of “I’m successful, I am rich, I am one of the big boys now”.
You can create the story you want for your business!
I know this sounds lofty and as a small time entrepreneur you may think it’s not relevant or applicable, but it is, and if you don’t get this then it will stop you from getting to the next stage in your business.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford
So how the hell did Henry Ford sell his cars?
I played a game with my dad a few days ago. I was playing the part of a farmer from 150 years ago and my dad was playing the part of an inventor who had just invented a car. Here’s how it went:
Dad: Hello, I was wondering I could interest you in buying a car.
Me: Oh, what’s that?
Dad: It’s something I invented. It can take you from A to B in no time at all!
Me: Hmmmm, I already use my horse to get around. I don’t think I need anything else.
Dad: But, this is quicker!
Me: I’m just a simple farmer. I’m not in a rush to get anywhere.
Dad: This car can hold luggage! You’ll be able to move more crops!
Me: My horse’s saddle holds everything I need.
And on and on it went.
Notice what happened here – my dad was trying to sell me features! The car has a roof, it has a boot, it can go this fast, it has an engine etc etc
NO ONE CARES ABOUT FEATURES!
YOU NEED A BETTER STORY!
We all know how much better the car is than a horse in getting jobs done today, but no doubt Henry Ford and the other innovators of his time faced the same dilemma that entrepreneurs today face.
My dad would have been better off telling a story about his car. A story so powerful that it would strike the prospect right in his heart:
Innovator: “Mr farmer, do you have a family?”
Farmer: “Why yes, as a matter of fact I do.”
Innovator: “Mr Farmer, this car which I’ve built will allow you to take your beautiful wife out to Capital City during the day and allow you to come back home by evening time. Imagine taking her out to a nice dinner and showing her the bright lights of the city. You will finally have the freedom to explore this beautiful country. The only limitation is how far you want to go!”
Do you see the difference? And here’s the thing! You can make up any story you want. If you tell a good story then you won’t have to convince people about features, you’ll just have a conversation about how the features will allow you to deliver on your story.
You see, if you can tell a story about where you want to take the prospect then you can explain how you will get the prospect there.
I am in the healthcare sector. If I were the one who came up with the idea of an electronic healthcare record, if I were to plainly describe what it does, I would not be able to sell it. Take my word that electronic health records have dramatically improved the healthcare provided in England.
But again, if you try to sell features you get the following conversation:
Salesman: Would I be able to interest you in purchasing an electronic health record?
Clinician: Erm, what’s that?
Salesman: It’s a computerised system that allows you to create records.
Clinician: Well, we already have paper notes. Why would we change?
Salesman: Well paper notes go missing!
Clinician: We have never misplaced a patients record in this clinic!
Salesman: ….well this also does prescriptions and can help you prescribe.
Clinician: I don’t need any assistance from you or your software!
Again, no one cares about features!!! Tell a great story!
Salesman: Would I be able to interest you in trying out an electronic health record?
Clinician: Erm…what’s that?
Salesman: Dr Smith, in an ideal world we would work closer with our colleagues both in the hospital and with other healthcare providers in the community. In an ideal world we would know exactly what medications a patient is already on so that you can prescribe safely. In an ideal world you would always know what allergies a patient has so that you don’t risk harming them instead of helping. If these issues are things which you truly care about, then we should have a discussion.
Tell a great story!