Ah, the occupational hazard of being a pushy New Yorker--I am always trying to evangelize my point of view or lobby for position. Of course, I used to do it the hard way. Overwhelm my opponents until they cowered or gave up from exhaustion. See, I had always thought all buyers were similar, and I would try and sell products, services and ideas to all these buyers the same way with the same approach.
But several years ago, I figured out there was an easier and more individual way to close buyers. I didn't have to sell them. I just needed to communicate the right things to the right people in the right way. I wrote about it in my book ROAR! Get Heard in the Sales and Marketing Jungle. The title is actually an acronym for the method. Here is what it stands for:
Recognize the buyer type with whom you are dealing
Observe from their perspective
Acknowledge who they are
Resolve their need
Empathy! Of course! Acknowledging other people's position and then approaching the discussion from their perspective allows them to be more open to seeing the benefits of my offering. And looking through their eyes helps clearly identify when I am serving them little or no value. That way I don't have to waste time and effort trying to sell to someone who will never buy.
But how could I recognize the buyer type? Little did I realize, I was already taught a method for that since early childhood. A way my ancestors had shared for more than 3,500 years.
Every year around this time, like most Jewish people, I sit down for a Passover Seder and am exposed to a 3,500-year-old method of persuasive communication. Every Spring in our culture, we sit down to amazing food and tell... no, sell the story of Exodus from the Old Testament, to our kids. The story book we use, called a Haggadah makes it clear about the types of buyers to whom we are imposing our ideas about Pharaoh, Moses, parting waters, golden calves, burning bushes, Charleton Heston, and 40 years of bread-less wandering. This is all told in this one night. (Well actually there are traditionally two nights if you are doing it right.)
In the Haggadah there is a specific phrase about communicating the story to children: "Concerning four sons does the Torah speak: a wise one, a wicked one, a simple one, and one who does not know to ask."
This made perfect sense! These were the four buyers with which I could now ROAR!:
Wise Buyers focus on making an unemotional decision based upon facts so they can be assured they did not make a foolish purchase.
Wise Buyers ask many questions because they seek truth and need a lot of information to be comfortable. They want you to be their guide and help them make an educated decision.
(They're not actually wicked, just reticent and crafty.)
Cynical Buyers know they have been taken advantage of before, and believe they will be again. They appear skeptical and cringe at being sold because they are fearful and don't trust easily.
Cynical Buyers will try and gain advantage in self-defense. They want you to earn their trust with truth and sacrifice. Then they will shower you with their loyalty and referrals.
Simple Buyers are straightforward and direct. They want something specific and that's all they want, be it pricing, some kind of quid pro quo, or some other specific need, and will not waste their time with you if you don't correctly address their immediate desire.
Simple Buyers are specific and to-the-point. They want what they want and don't want their time wasted with up-sell or hyperbole. They just need to know if you can give them what they ask. If you can't, disengage and move on.
The Buyer Unwilling To Ask or Disinterested Buyer is a potential customer who is not aware of how your offering impacts them. Once you get their attention they will convert to the Wise Buyer, Simple Buyer, or Cynical Buyer.
Don't confuse disinterested buyers with people who will never be your buyers at all. Disinterested buyers actually want what you have to offer, they just don't know what you can deliver. Be creative to get their attention in a way that is meaningful and respectful to them.
Since publishing the book, there has yet to be a buyer identified that doesn't fit into one of these four categories. And the ROAR method has been successfully applied to sales collateral, websites and yes, even social media and videos like the one below. So go for it. ROAR! your way to success. No need to wait another 3,500 years.
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