Lessons from Fiji Water, Late Night Television, My Wife
Every Book is
Judged By its Cover
I took a bottle of Fiji water and I asked you how much somebody would
pay for the water, you would have to answer somewhere between $2 and
$3. If I took the same water, poured it into a generic, Styrofoam cup
and asked you, “How much would somebody pay for this water?”, the
answer now shifts, likely to free.
Here is the critical
question: What determines the value? Is it the content or the packaging
of the content — the context — that determines the “perceived value” of
the water? This is a big picture lesson on influence that I apply to
every type of communication.
As a leader or manager, for
example, the end value of every important conversation you want to have
will be determined not only by the content of the conversation, but by
the context that you set, as you bring somebody into the conversation.
you prepare ahead of time? Are you sending out an agenda before the
meeting? Do you have your critical points in writing to hand out during
the meeting? Do you take interruptions during the meeting? Do you
acknowledge the thoughts, feelings, experiences of your audience before
you start the meeting?
Your answers to these questions are all
about the kind of context you set. Everything you do and/or communicate
before and at the beginning of every conversation sets up the context
for the rest of the conversation. Being prepared, not allowing
interruptions, looking somebody in the eyes, creating ways for ideas to
be documented and tracked, are all examples of strengthening the value
of your conversations.
You sell an expensive, high dollar
service or product. Are you waiting until your prospect objects or are
you conscientiously building into your conversation – at the very
beginning – why your price is actually appreciated by your current
customers? Are you allowing your prospect to mention your competitors,
or do you intentionally bring up your competitors – before the prospect
– and talk about why they are great, and also why your customers
appreciate you above your competitors. Do you see the difference when
you set the right context? This is influence in action.
selling situation, look at every objection as a learning experience. A
consistent objection is a symptom of a presentation that should be
adjusted. View the adjustment as a way of setting the context, through
which your customer will see the content – your product – a little
differently. Dan Casetta does a fantastic job in his chapter of talking
about “framing,” which is an example of setting the context.
you bring somebody into a conversation — regardless of setting
— determines the value of and perception of the rest of the
conversation. Think carefully about the way you package your every
communication. People do judge books by their covers.
Why People Buy
Turn on the television late at night; what do you see?
right, you’ll see infomercials. Often these infomercials fall into one
of two categories: health products or money-making schemes.
You know the ones I’m talking about.
Let’s talk about the money-making schemes.
seen them. Bob the plumber comes on to give a testimonial about how he
went from rags to riches. Photos of fancy cars, swimming pools and
people with great tans rotate in the background. This is a billion
dollar industry. But what is the industry?
When you look at the
money-making schemes, do you actually know what it is that they are
selling? No, you don’t. They rarely, if ever, actually reveal what it
is that they are selling. So what is the lesson here? People don’t buy
because they understand what the infomercials are selling. They buy
because they feel understood.
Think about it. Whether you are
selling insurance, cleaning products, homes, technology, ideas, an
opportunity, lemonade or companies — people and businesses are the
same. Th ey want to be understood. Some questions to consider:
Do you understand your prospects? What do they really want? Do they
want your product or do they want all the benefits that come with your
product? Do they want the features of your product or the emotional
benefits? Do you really know your prospects, your target market, inside
Th is is a critical lesson in influence. Know more
about your prospects than anybody else. Read what they read, eat what
they eat, talk the way they talk, hang out where they hang out. Enter
their world, both mentally, and physically, and you’re ability to sell
2. Are you proving to your prospects that you
know what it is like to be them? Just knowing them is only half the
battle. Now you must prove that you know them. It is okay if you can
articulate, even better than your prospect, what it is like to be them.
They will appreciate it.
Bottom line: Begin every conversation,
relationship, presentation by making sure those in front of you feel
understood. Acknowledge what they are thinking, how they feel, what
they fear, believe, get frustrated by and what they deeply want.
have studied the highest paid public speakers and trainers in the
world. Their ability to acknowledge their audience, align with them,
and show they understand them is always their first priority.
when President Obama was in a heated race with Hillary Clinton for the
Democratic nomination, I was standing in line at a local pizza place,
watching the television screen during the opening of one of their
debates. At the time, they were practically neck and neck and John
Edwards had just bowed out of the race.
Obama made a single
comment and I immediately sent an email to my buddy Hal and my wife
Mara, reading, “Barack is our next president.”
I saw him implementing, with perfection, the topic we just talked
about. Here is what happened:
opened his comments by first acknowledging the supporters of John
Edwards. This was brilliant because Obama knew that with Edwards out of
the race, many of his supporters would now be up for grabs. It was his
very first public comment since Edwards ducked out and it was aimed
directly at those supporters.
They were acknowledged. They were
understood. They were respected. Barack knew Edward’s supporters wanted
to be understood before they needed to understand him. He won the
nomination, and ultimately a historic bid for presidency.
Lessons from My Wife
wife Mara, who also worked for Cutco, is one of the greatest developers
of people I have ever met. She is a great leader, and an incredible
person of influence.
Mara was known in the company for her
magical ability to lead, inspire and attract great people and it is no
surprise she is a member of the Cutco Hall of Fame as a manager. The
value in what Mara knows about influence transcends sales management
and applies to any and every area of influence.
So, what is Mara’s secret?
I ask Mara why was she able to attract, retain and develop leaders at
the highest levels of performance, she always replies with one simple
answer, “People want to feel good.”
Do people feel good around
you? Do you make others smile? Do others want to be around you? This
might sound like a step backward from “high level” sales training, but
at the very core, this is as important as it gets.
At the end of
the day, people don’t buy products, they buy people. They buy you. They
buy how they feel around you People are starving for recognition, a
compliment, a laugh or somebody who can sincerely make them feel good.
Don’t overlook the power of this. I would go as far as saying that
whether you sell a product, service, idea or opportunity, your mission
should revolve around making others feel good. Thank people in as many
ways as possible. Do it verbally, in writing, in private and in public.
It sounds simple, but it isn’t always easy.
What is the secret? It starts with making sure that you feel good
influence is the process of transformation. You can only transform
others to the degree that you can transform yourself. You can’t give
what you don’t have. They will only feel good about you, what you are
selling or just life, to the degree they see you feel good about
yourself, your product or even life in general.
If you find
yourself in a winter of life, ask what you can be grateful for. What
you appreciate appreciates. As you focus on what you do have, instead
of what you don’t have, you will find a joy that will end up reflecting
in those around you. ###
Cutting Edge Sales website
Praise for Jon Berghoff and Cutting
“Look at what Jon Berghoff
has done here. This is magnificent. Your sales will explode. The sales
world will change because of Cutting
Misner, Ph.D., Founder of BNI and NY Times Bestselling Author of Masters
started in direct sales: nothing taught me more about the sales process
and the importance of continuous learning than that experience.
Everybody needs the practical wisdom contained in Cutting Edge Sales:
it is a historic, revolutionary memoir!”
Tracy, Chairman and CEO Brian Tracy International, Bestselling Author
of over 45 books, including 21
Success Secrets of Self Made Millionaires