Your business plan must address two primary questions: Who are your customers? and How are you going to persuade them to buy from you? Your business’ customers were defined in Chapter 8. This chapter offers recommendations on how your business plan can document how you sell and distribute to your customers.
A sale is an exchange of goods or services, typically for money. Selling is informing the customer of the features and benefits of the product or service and, as needed, persuading the customer to make the purchase. Persuasion is the skill of guiding people toward making a decision. The job of a seller in any business, then, is to inform and persuade.
What does it take to become a good seller?
Knowledge of competitive products
Knowledge of product features
Knowledge of benefits to customers
Professional skills (presentation skills, recordkeeping, etc.)
Persuasion is a vital component of selling. Whether your business sells homes, widgets, consulting services, or time shares, persuasion can help you get your message across and, possibly, accepted by another—a transaction. You can persuade others by appealing to their reasoning, emotions, or both.
Appeal to Reason
Reason is a description or explanation. It's the facts. When buying a product or service, purchasers want to know what it is, how it works, and what benefits they will derive. You, as a customer, want to know this; your customers do, too. Depending on what you are selling, you can appeal to others by using various types of reasoning, such as logic, rhetoric, and proof. Following are some examples to illustrate:
Logic: “You want something that will clean stubborn stains on enamel, and XYZ has been proven in scientific tests to clean enamel easier and better than any other stain cleaner.”
Rhetoric: “XYZ is the best stain fighter available.”
Proof: “Let's test XYZ on this stubborn stain.”
These simple examples offer three ways you can appeal to a person's reasoning to help you convince them of the validity of your facts. You probably recognize these phrasings from the thousands of ads that bombard you daily. That's because advertising is built upon the foundations of persuasion.
Appeal to Emotion
Emotion is a strong human feeling, such as love, hate, anger, fear, and compassion. Salespeople and other persuaders often use emotional appeals to help make a sale. Should they? That depends on what is being sold. Selling real estate, for example, involves the buyer's reasoning, of course, but it is also an emotional purchase, so it's appropriate to use emotional appeals to help sell a home. It isn't an appropriate tactic for selling industrial control valves.
Emotional appeals are frequently used in advertising, religion, propaganda, and sex. For example:
“Imagine living in the nicest home on the block.”
“Find full acceptance at our church.”
“Immigrants are taking over our country.”
Many consumers still consider appeals to their emotions as primary elements in their decisions to buy. However, a growing number of educated consumers expect salespeople to only use emotional appeals when they are appropriate to the product or service, and they will stop buying if the appeal is inappropriate.