How to Sell and Explain Your Product to Anyone in Less Time
Newsflash: Not everybody knows what you know! Therefore, in order for others to understand something, you sometimes have to give them a frame of reference that they are likely familiar with. For example: Have you ever tried to tell someone a story about an actor, whom you were describing by their real name, and the person you were speaking to looked at you like you were crazy?
How did you cope?
Well, the problem was probably that the person didn’t know the actor by his or her real name. So, if you’re like most people, you thought of the actor’s most popular or memorable role. If you were tying to tell the person something about actor Larry Thomas, you might have said something like, “You know who I’m talking about. He’s the guy who played the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld.” Know what happens then? The person you were speaking with says, “Oh! That guy. Man! So what happened with him?” And then you move on with your story, “Yeah. So I heard that the Soup Nazi, Larry Thomas, is…”
You’ve done that before, right?
Of course, you have. Making that comparison is what’s called “anchoring.” It’s a term often used by bestselling author Tony Robbins. According to Robbins, an anchor “is a trigger, a sensory stimulus already linked to a specific set of emotional states of mind.” More simply, anchoring is a natural process that the mind does; it’s how the brain puts two or more things together. Therefore, any tool that you can use to make that connection—an anecdote, a metaphor, a story, etc.—could be an anchor.
Sounds like this “anchoring” thing might be useful in other aspects of life beyond entertainment—business, perhaps—doesn’t it? You’re 100% right. Using an anchor is a perfect tactic for businesspeople for two reasons: (1) Anchoring is easier than explaining from scratch. (2) Anchoring is a fast way to make someone connect one thing to another. Our brains are really good at putting things together and even predicting that something that has happened before, will happen again. Your brain anchors for you. Most of the time, there’s nothing that needs to happen for anchoring to happen. I’ll prove it to you.
I recently went to the eye doctor in Orlando, Florida. I went to inquire about LASIK surgery but was disappointed to learn I am not a candidate for LASIK. I really do not like wearing glasses or contacts. Anyway, my disappointment didn’t last long because the doctor had an alternative for me.
He completely sold me on the idea of the new procedure by using LASIK, which I was completely familiar with, as an anchor to help me to understand the alternative procedure. He told me, “This is a new procedure that’s like LASIK except it is less invasive; it doesn’t require peeling back the cornea to allow you to see better.” That was a perfect use of anchoring. The doctor took something that I was familiar with, and emotionally connected to, and used that to introduce me to something new. You can, and should, use the same technique anytime you’re trying to sway your boss, a potential client, or business partner your way.
Here are a few tips to help you anchor your way to success:
- Choose an anchor that is already widely known in the marketplace. The more popular the product or service is to your target audience, the easier it will be to make a connection.
- Think before you anchor to be sure it’s the best anchor for what you’re pitching.
- Make sure the customer benefit of the product you’re pitching is clear and distinctly different from the benefits associated with the anchor.
Once you start to see, hear and sense what triggers the positive emotions to your product and service, the more you can repeat these. For example, I conducted a speaking coaching seminar for Long Term –Short Term, Inc., one of the largest stock market education companies in North America. I trained the leaders who present their subscription based web portal that helps clients find great stock candidates. Part of that training was to brainstorm on the anchors they could use to explain the portal to others.
What we came up with is that the web portal is like having a:
- Financial coach in your living room, finding potential trades for you
- Metal detector… because it helps you find hidden treasures
- Microscope that examines trades down to the core to see if it’s made of profit
- GPS that helps you find the exact types of trades you’re looking for
Isn’t this a lot easier than going into the umpteen details of the web portal? You bet.
Though using an anchor may seem simple, it does have a potential downside that makes it complex: The entire concept of anchoring relies on comparing your product or idea to something similar… and selling is all about showing how your product or service is different from and better than similar products! It’s a conundrum, I know. The way you get around it, however, is by using an anchor and adding a twist. In my eye doctor example above, the twist was that the alternative procedure was less invasive than LASIK.
Anchors are a surefire way to open doors and make connections with anyone. They’re great for business pitches and can certainly create common ground for business introductions when you’re networking. Plus, if you choose your anchor right, you’ll find that you can use them with any product, service, or concept. So, what are you waiting for? Anchor away!