Sell Me A Pen

How to ensure your new coaching business promotes what your clients really want

You may remember this classic sales statement as it has recently enjoyed a major renaissance in the hit movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. Just to jog your memory, the main character Jordan Belfont, a colourful nineties stock broker played by Leanardo De Caprio, asks delegates at his sales seminar to ‘sell me a pen’. The answers he receives are along the lines of….’it’s a lovely pen’, ‘it’s well made’, ‘it writes real good’, ‘it comes in a number different colours’ …and so on.  So what is the point he is making?  Every answers tells you something about the pen, but nothing about why anyone would buy it!

This is the classic trap that not only newbie sales executives make, but also people who are starting in business for the first time. They develop their marketing material, website content and social media campaigns around the features of their service, but often fail to promote the real benefits they offer to prospective clients. The problem with this is that more often than not, your prospects may not know how your service can help them, unless of course they are specifically looking for it.

So what’s the solution? You have to create a need based on a problem your service solves and then build value around this need. Or to put into NLP speak, you need to elicit the ‘presenting problem’, then discover the ‘root cause’, only then can you really add value and create a win/win situation for both the seller and the buyer.

For example, let’s assume you are setting up an NLP business and you want to promote phobia cures and you focus your message around ‘fear of flying’.

So in the words of Jordan Belfont – ‘sell me a phobia cure…’

Possible answers based on the service rather than the benefit might be along the lines of:

‘By using NLP I can cure your phobia in less time than with other methods’

‘NLP changes the way your mind processes thoughts, therefore by using this technique you can rid yourself of your phobia for ever’

‘NLP uses associative and dissociative techniques to re-program your mind to let go of the phobia’

I appreciate that I have contrived these answers and they may not be representative of how you might market your business, however, like the pen example they are focusing on the service, not the benefit. To get to the benefit you have to place yourself in the shoes of your client. The phobia isn’t the real problem; the real problem is they are restricted in their travel plans, they miss out on cheap flights abroad so holidays are more expensive, and what makes them unhappy about this (the root cause if you will) is they feel they are missing out on fun experiences and conversations with family and friends who go on these trips without them.

Design your sales and marketing messages so that they associate with this, and it will motivate them to contact you far more than a description of your service offering.

Of course like Jordan Belfont, you may wish to begin every morning with a tribal chant and beat your chest, or possibly use a more subtle anchor. However, whatever method motivates you to build your business, it is better to always aim for win/win. You will achieve everything thing you want in your business if you help everyone else achieve what they want.

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