Hope is a projection of our past fears or regrets onto the future with the expectation of a better outcome. It is characteristically human. The ability to imagine different future outcomes has elevated the human species and driven us to our current position on the food chain. Hope is also one of the few things that trumps fear.
In today’s marketing and sales, consumption-based, media world, a lot of messaging seems driven by fear. Tune in at 10 PM to see why soccer moms are selling crack. The president is destroying America. Does your computer have a virus?
In sales and marketing, we often have the opportunity to create fear as a buying cause. But fear, by itself, is not sufficient to create a sale. You also need to create hope.
Without hope we would be trapped in a set of automatic responses. So we hope for better lives for our children. We hope we beat cancer. We hope we find the right partner. We even hope to win the lottery.
We think rather than hope if we buy your service or product that you will solve our problem. This is because hope is intensely personal. What we really hope for is that our lives will be better.
It’s difficult to have “hope” for a solution to a business problem. Rather, in sales and marketing, it’s easier to create a “vision” of a solution to a problem. The two are different. Hope, is based on a feeling and a projection of what that solution will mean personally. A vision for a solution is based on thinking about the technical results, and it’s very rational.
Successful marketers and sales people need to ask, “What is the “hope” driving my prospect, and how can I help them achieve it?” Is it to be respected, or to earn the love of their families by being successful? It’s not just to provide a “left-handed crenznut” in order to improve the output of you sales force automation system that will lead to increased sales.
I am impressed by one simple example but elegant example of hope-based messaging. An outsourced printing center moved onsite to corporate campus in order to provide that companies reproduction services. In the copy rooms of the company they placed a sign above each copier. It said, “Let us help you go home on time.”
In eight words they accomplished the following things: 1) They acknowledged the hard work people were doing, 2) they connected it to the services they provided 3) they offered help 4) the message was positive and 5) they made it personal by tying it to seeing one’s family. They provided hope. They could have said, “Are you going to be late again tonight? Call 1-800-WePrint.”
So what hope are you delivering in your messages? Besides just providing a “solution” or creating a “vision,” can you get your customer to personally imagine what their lives will be like after doing business with you?
It’s hard work, but just imagine how you will be admired if….
Do Great Things!
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