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Creating a Customer Feeding Frenzy

By Jeff Mowatt |

I swore to myself that I would not buy anything as I walked into the carpet factory in Deli, India. The only reason I was entering at all was because I was part of a tour group and this was the last stop. By the time I left the factory however, our busload of worn-out tourists had been transformed. We were energized, laughing and most importantly, laden with purchases. I, having sworn to myself that I wouldn't buy anything, walked out with carpet in hand and had spent over six hundred dollars. The salesman in the factory had successfully created a customer feeding frenzy.

When I speak at conventions and for organizations on how to boost sales, I often find that customer contact employees lose potential business because of one major factor. They spend too much time trying to sell and not enough time stimulating the customer's natural urge to buy. Customers hate to be sold to but they love to buy. Like the salesperson in the Delhi carpet factory, you can spark a buying frenzy when you use the right approach.

Emotions are the key. You must stimulate an emotional need for your products or services. Even a customer who's buying a cheap car is making an emotional decision. Though the low cost makes it seem like they're making a logical decision, in fact, it's an emotional one. Perhaps they're buying it so they can have money left over to go to school. In this case, their passion for further education makes this purchase an emotional decision. Buying this inexpensive car helps them pursue that passion. The sooner you can tap into that emotional need, the easier it will be to create a buying frenzy.

Four ways to stimulate this emotional demand are through personal stories, benefits, demonstration, and tapping into fear.

1. Share Personal Stories
Stories about your personal experiences with your products or services give you tremendous credibility. When I bought a mountain bike at Ridley's Cycle in Calgary, it wasn't because of a brochure that described the bicycle's features. It was because the employee told me about his personal experience in test-riding a similar bike. He described his experience with such exuberance that I couldn't help but get caught-up in his enthusiasm. I ended up buying two bikes – the second for a friend who I knew would love it. No brochure can create real life excitement that stimulates an emotional buying demand the way personal stories can.

That doesn't mean that you, the salesperson, had to actually have the experience yourself. The experience could have happened to another customer or co-worker. The key is that you know the other person personally and they told you about their experience themselves. That gives you the "inside information" that enhances your credibility.

"Employees spend too much time trying to sell and not enough time stimulating the customer's natural urge to buy."

2. Emphasize the Benefits
The only reason people buy anything is because of what the purchase will do for them – in other words, its benefits. Benefits refer to what the features or characteristics of a product or service will do for the customer. Features are meaningless to the customer unless they are translated into benefits. An easy way to do this is utter 6 magic words to the customer: "What that mean's to you is…"

Consider an example of an automatic garage door opener. The features of this door opener are that you can push a button and the garage door opens and the light turns on. The benefits are, in other words, "What this means to you is - you don't have to get out of you car to open the door, so you stay warm, safe, and comfortable." Too often, salespeople try to sell features. Instead, they should allow the customer to buy benefits.

3. Prove with Demonstration
Live demonstrations stimulate excitement and feelings of trust (the emotions associated with buying). Customers love to be entertained and they generally believe what they see - especially if they're involved in the demonstration.

Before you demonstrate your product or service to your customer, first ask them if they'd like to see it in action. When they customer agrees, it's no longer a case of you selling to them, but of them buying from you. 'Nuff said.

4. Tap into Fear
Fear is another powerful emotion that can result in a feeding frenzy. Tap into the customer's fears by pointing out the risks associated with not buying the particular product or service. A customer, for example, who is considering investing in a specific car repair, should be made aware of the negative consequences of not fixing the problem. Use this tactic sparingly and ethically, however, or it will backfire.

Combine Techniques
The carpet salesman in Delhi talked about the families he knew who took months to make each carpet (personal stories). He pointed out the investment value of carpets (benefits). He asked if we wanted to see his favorite carpet, and then he made a show of it (demonstration). He explained that with current exchange rates his carpets were the best deal in the world (fear). With these irresistible persuasion tools being used – it's no wonder so many of us joined into the buying blitz. The good news is, with just a little professional training, you and your employees can create the same feeding frenzy for your business. Bon Appetite!

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