In today’s fast paced world, we seem to just drive right past advertisements like billboards and marquis. We’re seemingly oblivious to their messages, as if we’ve been programmed to tune them out.

Is it truly this “ad blindness” that is the culprit for undelivered messages, or is it simply our attention span?

Can you tell me what businesses may be on either side of your favorite grocery store? The same grocery store you’ve been visiting every week for five years?

Not as easy as it sounds, is it?

This is undoubtedly a major culprit, but I believe that in this convenience store, drive through, remote controlled world…somewhere along the line we lost the art of the sale. The art of communicating with people.

In order to sell, you need to understand WHY people buy.

There are two very basic, but absolutely mandatory concepts that you must understand before you can sell anything. Let’s introduce each of them briefly, and then get into some more depth on each as well. Heck…let’s even tie them together at the end!

Those two concepts are:
1) The Rule of Justification
2) The Sales Flow

The rule of justification, although seemingly self explanatory, gets just slightly more complex when you consider the process we go through in our minds. We can all understand that we need to justify a sale, even if it’s as simple as half off. However, what if you were buying a house that was “half off” and you couldn’t even afford THAT?

Suddenly it’s not as simple as justification…so let’s look further into the rule. It consists of three parts:
1) Nobody likes to be SOLD
3) We JUSTIFY that emotion with REASON

Now let’s break it down.
1) Nobody likes to be sold– Obviously we do not like to be sold. Why else do you think Sunday is the most popular day to go car shopping? We want to go on our terms. We want to look up our car online, and go to the dealership prepared. Nobody wants to hear Mr. Snakeyman car guy give his pitch. We immediately shut down when we feel this coming on.

2) We buy on emotion– Why does your Dad tell you to NEVER let on that you love the car? Because Mr. Snakeyman knows he’s got you if you do. This is why they let you test drive it first. Why do you think there’s dressing rooms at the store? Because any good salesman knows that BENEFITS sell, we tell ourselves how many guys we’ll attract in that new dress. Our emotions take over when we think of how many girls will want to ride in our new car. Sell the sizzle.

3) We justify the emotion with reason– As I said…benefits sell, but…we JUSTIFY the sale with “half off” or “50mpg with 500HP”. It’s the convincing kick-in-the-rear that we need to hear to whip out our wallets.

Understanding the rule of justification is only half the battle. There is also the “sales Flow”, and if you don’t get The Flow right, your customer will NEVER even allow himself to justify the sale.

What is “The Flow”?

Good question.

The Flow is another psychological checklist, if you will (because that’s what we do here) that MUST occur in the customer’s mind. Although there’s nothing saying it must occur in this order, I don’t know how it could happen any way else.

The Flow is:
1) Know Me
2) Like Me
3) Trust Me
4) Buy from Me

Again, let’s dive in.
1) Know Me– This is fairly obvious, as we’re just not wired to interact with people we don’t know, much less buy from them. To get to know someone could be as simple as making the connection that “hey, this is the sales lady at the store, so I know her” or maybe even in the internet world, someone who’s list you’re on (who you Know, like and trust) recommends that you try out a cool new software from his pal. We just need to make the association that they’re more than likely not out to scam us.

2) Like Me– Of course, even if you know someone, you sure aren’t going to do business with them if you do not like them. Would you buy tools from the bully that stuck you in the locker at school? Me neither…in fact, in my sales copy (or pitch) I might go ahead and TELL you about how that bully did that to me. This way you may associate with me. Even if it didn’t happen to you, you may have a friend that went through it, or you may just sympathize with me. Either way…odds are that you’ll like me after the story. This is why salesman try to key into personal chatter when selling, and why it’s a good idea to research your customer before writing any copy.

3) Trust Me– Trust is a little more difficult, especially considering all the dirty rotten people out there these days. How many times have you heard of Mr. Snakeyman car guy going into the bosses office to “fight for you” because the boss can be cheap. Very popular tactic. Trust is also why testimonials, or reviews can be very helpful. Be warned, though…these can be faked to gain trust. Very unethical, but it happens. Usually trust is established by some sort of social factor. An introduction, your friends all “like” something, etc. It’s just how we do things in a world where people have less and less personal interaction.

4) Buy from Me– Here it is, the holy grail. This is where they pull out the leather and grab a stack of cash for you. Good job.
When we tie these two together, you can really see that it is just one (maybe even split-second) decision process. It MUST happen in every sales situation, and it must happen successfully.

Unfortunately, we live in a world on the go. This has proven to be a nightmare when competing for people’s attention. Take a bit of time to look at your sales message. If you’re missing either of these two critical pieces, it could be the reason you’re not selling.