Sunday, April 10, 2011

Two Months or Two Years

"You make more friends in 2 mo's by becoming interested in other people than in 2 yrs trying to get them interested in you. - Dale Carnegie" -- @JeffreyHayzlett

On April 2, my most righteous co organizers and I hosted ProductCamp Chicago at Orbitz.  It was well attended by a whole bunch of engaging and engaged Product Managers and Marketers with a great keynote by Ross Kimbarovsky, co founder of Crowdspring.  I was lucky enough to have my topic "How to Win the Hearts and Minds of Decision Makers" voted into a presentation slot -- a tremendous honor!

And yet, procrastination and a little bit of anxiety got in the way so I turned to Twitter for some assistance and I was not disappointed!  Right when I went to Tweetdeck, that lovely tweet quoting Dale Carnegie flew by.  Whew!  Thanks, Jeffrey Hayzlett!  

We spend a lot of time convincing people every day to buy our services, hire us outright, buy our products, buy our client's products, not buy our competitor's products, not buy our client's competitor's products, etc.  It's a never ending odyssey of facts, figures, illustrations.  Some even believe that overwhelming people with information will get them to cry out for only the help that we can provide... not unlike a lifeline from "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

We've got it wrong.

I submit to you that it's a recipe for tepid short term success and, come to think of it, tepid long term success with a healthy dose of frustration to boot.  Oh sure, what we say matters.  What I'm suggesting is that how we say it and to whom we say what we say differs by time of day, where we are in the sales cycle, where we are with internal projects that need cross functional support, to which business function we're presenting, etc.  We keep making the same sales presentation without bothering to think who might be in the audience and what specific things may be hot buttons for them.  We're selfish.

And what do people say when we make our typical self interested pitches?  It's often things like:

  • "Thanks, I'll think it over."
  • "Gosh, I'd love to meet with you but I'm tied up the next four weeks.  I'll call you then."
  • "We've had to put that project on hold for a while."
At 678 Partners, we often say that we treat every business situation like a fingerprint -- no two are alike. And it's because each person has his or her own emotional lens through which the business issue is viewed. At the core of it, our positive and not so positive emotional drivers are the ones that make us gravitate one way or the other. Our decisions are often ostensibly based on discrete facts and figures but if we peel back the layers enough, we see that how we feel about something or someone plays the largest role in how we make decisions.

It's not that our emotions justify the rational decisions (discrete facts and figures) we make. It's that our emotions color how we value discrete facts and figures and then drive what we buy.

Let's use the iPhone as an example. Verizon's announcement that it would start selling the iPhone probably caused ATT no small amount of worry. ATT's differentiator is that with its iPhone, you can talk and surf at the same time unlike Verizon. By telling it to you straight (discrete fact) just as I am here, the best reaction one could hope for is a shrug and maybe a yawn. But, ATT made this commercial which brings the point home in a very real and easy to relate to kind of way.

What this commercial does is transform the boring "browse and surf" feature and turns it into a life saving (and maybe relationship saving) device. We can all imagine scenarios similar to this one -- actually I was locked out recently and was able to browse and call for a locksmith at the same time. That got me out of a jam and now, I see this feature as critical and necessary as opposed to just another gizmo on this phone. And... get this... I feel that ATT is a more secure choice for me than Verizon despite the known issues with ATT. That's emotion right there.

Dale Carnegie had it exactly right. Of course, the quote was in general terms but if we think about it in the marketing and/or business development process, it 100% applies. If we just took a little bit of care to find what emotionally motivates our audience (e.g., job security, ego, financial security, image, etc.), then we will make much more headway in building a strong relationship and, ultimately, a business transaction than by just selling something on its discrete features alone.

What say you? Please give me your two cents and, if you've liked this post, please share it with others!

Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef


  1. Great reminder Parissa. A related tidbit is that our emotions also impact an otherwise rational decision. Even if the mind says A is a better option, I submit that a "predisposition" to company B will turn you to their product.... once you "justify" to yourself all the reasons to pick B over A.

  2. Hello and thank you for your comment - yes, that's exactly right. If your emotions direct you to B, there is nothing about A that will compare. It's not unlike the affiliations that people have with car companies or a favorite laundry detergent.

    The net net: we'll have longer long term success if we first focus on what drives people emotionally and then create a solution or prioritize the features of a solution that match to the emotional drivers.

  3. Solid post Parissa: As a service business I do remind myself that no two clients are the same, but more importantly when I am working with a clients, I make them feel like they are the only clients which facilitates long term working relationships.

    Re: time of day. Here is a new Kellogg integrated campaign I picked up on today that is customized by day and location I thought you like: