Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

December 12, 2008

Use a Burning Platform to Overcome Recession Fears and Close More Profitable Business!

Use a Burning Platform to
Overcome Recession Fears and
Close More Profitable Business

 

 

 

Most of our clients, and many others that we talk to lately, report that prospects are taking longer to make decisions than before the credit crunch began. Are you finding that? There are many reasons for it, but we’re going to focus on just one right now – the phenomenon of inertia. The principle of inertia states that a body will resist efforts to change it’s ‘state’ (whether a state of rest or of uniform motion).

 

 

How does this apply to our prospects? Well, they are no more immune from the laws of nature than anything else, so they will tend to resist a change (especially a change which involves their time, their money or both)! This manifests itself in the ubiquitous ‘Let me think about it’ and other delaying tactics, even if you’re sure that they realise they should be doing business with you. Yes, they may be convinced that agreeing to work with you will significantly benefit their business or their life, but that darned inertia will cause them to procrastinate and delay – sometimes indefinitely.

 

 

Of course, if that’s true at all times, it is especially true now, as we stare a recession in the face.  (As a side note: you might be ignoring the recession talk and getting on with your business – as you should be – but please be aware that your prospects may not be as successful at positive thinking as you are.)  So a prospect has even more reason now to remain inert, perhaps thinking that ‘now is not the time to be committing to new expenditure’, or ‘it would be wise to wait and see how the economy pulls through the first quarter of next year before deciding’.

 

 

So what can we do about it? How can we overcome prospect inertia and get them moving toward that aspirational outcome we will help them achieve if they only get off the fence and commit to working with us?

 

 

Create a ‘Burning Platform’

 

 

 

I heard a fascinating anecdote once. There is a brave bunch of people who choose to make a living by working on oilrigs – platforms floating way out in the North Sea off Northern Europe. Now, you may not be aware that sea temperatures in the North Sea rarely get more than a few degrees above freezing, so a person falling off one of those platforms into the sea has a life expectancy measured in seconds or minutes if they are not rescued. It would be safe to say that, under normal circumstances, nobody would choose to jump off the rig platform!

 

 

There is, however, one circumstance under which the normal pattern of behaviour is reversed – fire on the rig! Oil fires are fantastically hot and virtually impossible to extinguish, so if one breaks out on the rig it becomes a very unhealthy place to be – so unhealthy, in fact, that the few minutes of life to be found in the freezing waters below could make the difference between rescue and death.

 

 

Do you see how this might apply to your prospect’s buying decision? If you can create a ‘burning platform’ in the mind of the prospect they will have little alternative but to take the plunge and commit to your proposal. Now, let me hasten to add that I’m not talking about bullying or high-pressure sales tactics here – I’m talking about sound principles of marketing. Let’s explore them together, shall we?

 

 

If you’ve been following Zee2A’s marketing methodology for a while, you’ll understand that when we go prospecting we make a powerful promise to our prospects based on our ability to overcome their key challenges and create an aspirational outcome for them. We sincerely believe that we will be able to create that outcome, don’t we? We honestly believe that our prospect’s life and business will be the better for having worked with us, not so? And we base this conviction on our experiences with others we have worked with, for whom we have created aspirational outcomes, agreed? So we are not selling snake-oil – we really believe that our prospects are on a burning platform! All we need to do is help them to see that too.

 

 

The Cost of Inertia

 

 

 

What is the best way to accomplish that? Not by bullying of applying undue pressure! Rather, while exploring the prospect’s challenges and ‘matching’ your service offerings to those challenges, take some time to help the prospect understand the cost of inertia to them. Remember, if they delay a buying decision they are in effect delaying the achievement of that aspirational outcome you promise.

 

 

For example, if a prospect wants to grow their business but are having a hard time getting above a revenue ‘ceiling’, and we can help them to break through that ceiling and get on the way to their goals, the cost of inertia can be measured in lost revenues. You could (for example) demonstrate that if they delay by three months they will lose up to £250,000 in revenue growth over the next financial year. Quantifiable costs are always more powerful than nebulous risks, so take the time to work back to reasonable, measurable, agreed projections.

 

 

Does the prospect clearly see and understand that quantifiable ‘cost of inertia’? If so, they will begin to appreciate that they are on a burning platform and haste is needed! If not – why take the risk? That sea looks even colder than usual!

 

 

©David Deakin and Zee2A Limited 2008. Would you like to reprint this article? You may do so as long as you include the copyright notice and the following paragraph: David Deakin, CEO of Zee2A, is a marketing mentor who works with Professional services Executives yearning to take their business to the next level. Through one-on-one and group mentoring programmes he helps them to create sustainable marketing strategies that attract more clients at profitable rates. To learn more, sign up for his e-zine, or make an enquiry please visit www.zee2a.com.

 

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