Sell the experience. I mean, what brings you more compelling memories? The five star hotel you stayed in or the treatment you got while there? The house you grew up in or the playful noises (or painful abuses) in it? The Caterpillar hiking boots, or the tiring yet exhilarating Mt Kenya hike? I’m willing to bet that in all cases the latter is what is vividly etched in memory; the experience. Selling the compelling experience of the drive with the family to a holiday destination, is more likely to tug at the heartstrings (and get a purchase). Than merely selling the aesthetics of the vehicle. Experience sells because we derive much more pleasure buying experiences than we do buying goods
The paradox of purchase
Paradoxically, we tend to be drawn to products for their material attraction yet we love them for the experiences they bring us. The BMW X5 you so yearned for, very soon becomes the tool that takes you from one point to another. Interestingly, the beauty that drew you to it is now consumed by those you pass in traffic. You cannot do so when you are in it. Electronics manufacturers are most stumped by this. Clients want phones with the latest gizmos when purchasing but when they get home, what they want is a gadget that’s easy to use-again, experience.
And now you know why some dingy joints in Nairobi have the fierce loyalty of well to do individuals who are happy to double park their fuel guzzlers there. Research shows that we adapt quickly to material things but experiences linger forever; it is experiences that we share in conversation and what our stories (and tall tales) are made of -not material products. And when we share we connect and deepen relationships and feel better (more experience) about ourselves and those we interact with.
Ways to capture experience and sell the experience
One of the ways of capturing experience is the use of a mood board. Before establishing, say a coffee shop, the businessperson develops a mood board capturing the mood in competing coffee shops. To help you get a better understanding of this, hop over to Mama Ngina and Lonrho Streets in Nairobi. There are short and parallel to each other and house 3 coffee shops. Notice how the mood in each is different. That mood (experience) is what keeps the patrons there. After all, the coffee is the same. Capturing the different moods will assist the business person cut his niche (different mood altogether) or copy one. Either way mapping the different moods on the mood board helps inform his business model.
Learn from advertisers
Advertisers caught on to this ahead of salespeople. They sell the experience. “Value “is added to the brand beer of beer when the ad shows friends having unbridled fun in a bar while holding the brand; and the SUV advert , has a camping setting in the back ground.
What all this tells us about sales is this. Framing the pitch in terms of experiential satisfaction as opposed to material possession is more likely to close the sale, a happy customer and repeat purchases. So go easy on the mosquito net being for preventing malaria; that’s cliché. Tell more of the peaceful sleep (experience) the parent and child will enjoy (experience) having been a responsible enough parent (experience) to buy a mosquito net for his son (material).
We relate faster to experiences than we do material things though it is the latter that attracts us. Keeping this in mind allows you connect and move faster along the sales cycle.
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