Karnak the Magnificent - Johnny Carson
Karnak the Magnificent says… “She will buy!”

(Applause! Applause!)

Karnak had impressive powers of prediction. (Never mind the scripting and the Teleprompter! Humor me for a minute and go along with it.)

Can you predict who will buy your product or services? Like Karnak?

New research shows that if you simply ask a prospect if they will buy something, and the person says, “Yes,” it increases the probability they will follow through on that prediction considerably.

Ask for the Prediction

I don’t know about you, but I get nervous just thinking about actually asking for the sale. (“So Ms. Smith, if I can show you how to better target your market and ensure you’re speaking to a captive audience with that email program, can we schedule a start date on this project for Monday?”) Sound a little snarky? And that’s considered a soft sell!

It is soooooooooooo much easier when the client sells herself on buying the product, yes?

And that’s where this bit of neuroscience marketing comes in. Just imagine: You’re having a bit of difficulty reading a prospective client’s interest in buying your 1-day-bathtub-makeover service. Instead of jumping forth with your soft sell, “Would next Tuesday be a good day to freshen up that 35-year-old, chipped bathtub,” you simply ask, “Do you think you will get your tub refinished?”

Mrs. Jones then ponders the direct question, neurons firing away to determine how badly she wants it. “Yes, yes, I will do it. I’m not sure about next week, but I do want it. I’ll get it done.”

There you have it! The seed has been planted. She KNOWS she wants it. She has TOLD HERSELF she will do it.

In the research study reported in Neuromarketing’s blog post (also shown as the first link in Good Reads at left), the fascinating part is that it is the statement of intent by the prospective buyer that increases the probability of the sale. So if you feel like a deer in headlights when you get to Asking for the Sale, you now know you can work into it more gently by asking for the prediction first.

Making the Synaptic Connection

I’m not advocating abandoning asking for sale; I’m proposing a slight detour so that it’s easier to ask for the sale. Here are few examples of how you might do it:

“Do you think you’ll bring your car in for new tires? …How about the end of this week?”“Do you think you’ll buy that dress? …I can put it on layaway for you to pick up next week?”

“Will you get that massage for your lower back problem? …I’ve got space for an appointment next Tuesday?”

“Will you go ahead with that kitchen remodel? …I can get the paperwork going for permits tomorrow?”

This is a bit different than how we were all taught to close a sale. And it usually requires you to ask your prospect a very direct question and wait, in silence, for a reply. This is often the most difficult part.

Haven’t you already devoted a part of your day (or several) to nurturing this lead? Then you deserve an answer! Even if it’s: “Yes, I WILL buy it, but I can’t budget this new program for four months,” you know where you stand. You know you need to continue nurturing this prospect for upwards of four months.

Furthermore, the probability that she eventually buys is now dramatically higher because she’s used the affirmation that she will do so. The power of intention is everything!

Nudging the Intention May Nudge the Sale

What if you could nudge Mrs. Jones a bit closer to closing the sale? And if the sale seems too distant a goal, perhaps you can nudge the intention, the positive prediction she will buy.

Nudges are about choice architecture. (Huh? Yup, that’s today’s only jargon in this post.)

Example: A woman walks into a department store to buy a dress. If she sees rack after rack of dresses, she’s overwhelmed with choices and turns around to exit. On the other hand, if she spots three mannequins modeling dresses, she immediately wants to buy the dress on the mannequin on the right. She saw three choices and liked one well enough to make her buying decision.

Choice architecture gets quite a bit more complicated than that example. But I’ll cut to the chase!

Nudging Your Foot Through the Door

In a study, one (control) group of students were told about a clinic they could go to for tetanus shots. 3% of them showed up. The second group were told the same information plus given a map and asked to figure out their walking route to the clinic. In addition, they were asked to review their calendars and figure out when they could go. 28% of this group showed up for the shots. They got the nudge.

Imagine how you could apply your newfound knowledge of The Nudge to closing more sales – or closing more predictions of sales:

“Mrs. Jones, that’s great that you think you’ll buy the bathtub refinishing! Will you tell me which color chip you prefer to match your bathroom décor? I see on my calendar I’ll be around the corner at a client’s home in two Thursdays. Would that afternoon be a good date for you?”

Nudge. Nudge. Nudge.

You may still get backpedaling from the Mrs. Joneses. You may still hear she’s checking with her husband or that it’s a bad day. The point is: She’s engaged with you; she’s buying…sometime; and you’ve only got to work out the details.

Ask for the prediction. Nudge closer to the close. Watch your closing rate and revenues soar!