Are You Making an Indecent Proposal?

Imagine you are single, and you are in typical watering hole establishment just hanging out. You see another person of the opposite gender and you feel drawn to him or her. There is genuine interest; you see great possibilities in the future you both could have together.

So you approach this person, briefly introduce yourself, and on bended knee, you propose marriage. 

It sounds odd, I admit. And yet in business, it’s what happens so often, every day.

You see, too often, in both the B2B as well as B2C environments, sales professionals want to begin the relationship by proposing marriage. In other words, they go in and after a short introduction, they propose a long-term, big ticket service, purchase or transaction of some kind that requires a level of trust that just hasn’t been fostered yet.

Ask your clients: “There are many people who can provide you with what I offer—why do you do business with me?” Most of them will respond with answers such as:

  • “I know you.”
  • “I like you.”
  • “I feel comfortable with you.”
  • “I feel as though you understand my needs and care.”
  • “I trust you.”

Ask yourself this question: have you ever done business with another person because you liked and trusted them better than other, even less costly alternatives?

Your answer is likely “Yes!” Most of us have. The reason is simple. When we like another person, we enjoy being around her. If that person were to become overtly negative, we will not be drawn to her. This isn’t exactly rocket science, is it?

But this level of trust didn’t occur overnight. It took time. So what’s the solution in sales?

It’s quite simple: rather than proposing marriage to business prospects, invite them out for a cup of coffee (both literally and figuratively).

Don’t go in for the big purchase. Rather, suggest a small, low-cost, low-risk offer that brings tremendous value. This offer is referred to in marketing circles as the tripwire. 

You’ve seen tripwires everywhere. It’s the low-cost introductory offers that usually lead to an upsell of some kind. People use them because, when deployed correctly, they work! Remember getting twelve records or tapes for just a penny? That was a tripwire!

Why would you do this? It’s about making it easy for your prospect to “become your customer first” with a simple, no-brainer offer. Bring them in, deliver compelling value, and nurture them forward. Statistically speaking, they will be ten times more likely to buy from you again–even if they started with a low-dollar purchase.

It also takes tremendous stress off your shoulders. After all, an invitation to a cup of coffee is a LOT easier to suggest than marriage. Is it not?

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