It’s curious that the following Steve Jobs quote is one of the less quoted ideas, in business and marketing:
“People don’t buy products – they buy different versions of themselves”
Yet it’s one of the most powerful notions in business, so if you take away anything from today’s missive, let it be this:
A purchase – even a small one – always relates to identity, or: self-view.
It says something about a change in identity for the buyer, most often on a subconscious level.
And the bigger the price tag, the more impactful and meaningful the change in identity.
This gives us as sellers a massive clue, especially when we find that our prospect isn’t buying in.
So when you encounter objections, or resistance or fears, there’s a couple of things you need to do.
First: back down. I know it’s tempting to push on, argument more persuasively, highlight the benefits and so on, but don’t.
If someone resists, you’ll do better playing judo than playing force.
That other person has a reason for their resistance, and your working against it will only make it stronger.
So give them space.
Have them explain the why of their doubts or objections.
Next, put yourself in their shoes.
As in: how do they see themselves?
What vision of themselves, and their world, and their place in it, have they formed?
What story about who they are, do they tell themselves?
And once you have a bit of an idea of that, ask yourself:
“What version of themselves am I asking them to buy into?”
And, finally, the ultimate question:
Can they identify with that vision, that future version of themselves that you have in mind for them?
More often than not, you’ll discover that there’s discord, some lack of alignment for them.
You see an outcome-focused ‘next’, where they have bought from you and experienced the benefits (the famous before/after concept).
They however, also see problems, complications, and a bunch of unknowns.
Even though they might trust that they’ll get the outcome you promise, they also need to see their lives as fundamentally better, and themselves as significantly upgraded by having bought from you.
When someone isn’t buying in, it’s very likely you’ve been trying to sell them a version of themselves they don’t really want – or, a version that they’re not aware they want.
You as a seller, you’re asking a buyer to become someone different.
And instead of asking them to become who you think they should become, figure out who they want to become, and invite them to become that.
As for you, my dear reader: who would you like to become?
If you were to work with me, what next version of you would you want to become?
If the answer is “I want to become someone who sells with more ease, while staying true to my values”, then maybe we ought to have a conversation on how I could help?
Let me know…