The #1 Most Underrated Sales Strategy you can use. And you can only save the people who do this.
The United States Coast Guard prefers to save people who swim toward them. They have a hard time saving people who do not want to be saved, if physically or even metaphorically swimming away from them in their minds. Yes, some people actually swim away from help. Why? They don’t want to be saved — even if they scream for help. Their scream for help is really a scream for attention. And it is bad to scream for attention. That’s what 2 year olds do.
Not everyone is your prospect. Not everyone wants your help. Not everyone wants your product. Not everyone wants your coaching. Not everyone wants your consulting. Markets, groups of people with needs and desires, are for things, are for certain people, are for certain services. Markets, like people, shift.
You can only serve people who literally or metaphorically raise their hand and ask for your help. These are very specific people, say, 1 in 15. These very specific people have very specific needs for which you may be of service. It is hard to know until you have a discussion with these people, letting them know what you stand for and what you stand against. After talking with them and/or after their having seen you and what you have to offer, you either will or will not do business with one another. Thus, is the game. Still, just because they do not buy right now doesn’t mean they’ll never buy. Any good, seasoned salesperson knows that a no is simply a “not now.” Be there when the competition drops the ball.
Who is flailing in the water, seemingly unable to help themselves, yet may swim to you for saving? Who are these people? They are your market. Why are they drowning? What are they drowning in? Sorrow? Self-pity? Too much work? Lack of skill? How can you help? Can you help? Are you willing to help?
This is all about fit, product-market fit or service-market fit. When there is good fit, the market pulls product out of the firm. Like, a lot of product. It keeps going and going and going. It is an exciting time at the company to be a part of this perfect fit. Everyone’s happy. The executives are happy because they feel like wizards. Sales is happy because they, too, feel like wizards. Marketing is happy because, clearly, their marketing campaigns are working. And product is happy because, well, this is their baby. Note the common denominator here: sales revenues. The market pulling product out of the firm means fabulous sales revenues. Money hitting the company’s coffers again and again and again. Sales cure all. It is a sign that you’re clearly onto something as a founder, as someone who likes to create things and solve problems for these people.
And yet your product is not for everyone. Apple products, as ubiquitous as they are, are not for everyone. Tesla is clearly not for everyone. Microsoft Outlook is not for everyone. WorkDay, thankfully, is not for everyone. We must accept this, and act accordingly. Say this aloud a few times, It isn’t for you. Say it again. Please understand: it is perfectly acceptable to say this to people. You’re the merchant on the sell side. You can say no to people. You can say, “No, it isn’t for you.” And then walk away.
The irony here is we just performed the Take-Away Sale and we didn’t even know it. By making your product for these people, you’re excluding others by design. This is powerful. This is a sales and marketing statement. Our product is only for people who enjoy creating. Or, our product is only for those concerned about the status of high speed, zero environmental impact, bleeding-edge tech, and Ludicrous mode for those desiring to occasionally be out of their minds. Or, our product is only for people too afraid to try any other office productivity software and so they get our product by default. See, not for everyone. We’re being specific. The more specific with our market we can be, the better off we all are.
The #1 Most Underrated Sales Strategy you can use: the Take-Away Sale.
The Take-Away Sale works because it flips a fundamental human nature switch: desiring what we cannot have. If someone presents something to us and we seem uninterested in it at first, and then the savvy presenter takes it away from us or tell us we cannot have it right now, this flips a switch — in all of us. Like attraction, we never had a choice to feel this. This desire to immediately possess it simply shows up. Sure, we can deny it, that it isn’t us, that no, not me. But it is there. It is a fundamental law of human nature and persuasion. If I present to you the coolest product on the planet and you’ve got the money, and are willing and able to pay for it and take possession right now, and then I tell you that you cannot have it, and that you have to wait 90 days before you can have it, you will be driven mad with desire. You might even begin foaming at the mouth for my product.