Marketing and Our Buyer’s Defense Mechanisms


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Buy Now! Must Have! Today Only! Your Competition is Doing It!

These are examples of imperative statements – those marketing phrases that we’ve been taught will trigger an immediate response.

In today’s market we send our audience running.

We all see our areas of responsibility as our turf. Just like our caveman forefathers saw their caves as their territory and safety zone. Our minds motivate us to defend our turf. Consequently, whenever our turf is threatened we dig in and refuse to budge.

Imperative statements can often trigger a threat response in our audiences. Whether the imperative is about our way of doing things, our beliefs or an idea that doesn’t resonate well with our prospects – we trigger a treat response. Once that trigger occurs – forget about motivating your buyer. They’re dug in and hunkered down in protection mode – whether it’s logical or not.

You Get More Flies with Sugar

We all know what it feels like to be told what we “have” to do. If you’re like me, you feel the urge to dig in and defend. Our buyers are no different.

My mama always taught me you get more flies with sugar than you do with vinegar. That’s especially true in today’s world. So how do you motivate change using sugar vs imperatives? Here are some approaches that work.

1. Instead of striking with the imperative, ask a question or make a suggestion.

By simply shifting the imperative to a question you open your audiences’ mind to new opportunities. The same goes for making suggestions by couching them as rhetorical questions.

For example, instead of “Buy or Die,” statements, lead with “What would happen if…” or “Have you thought about….” Engage your buyers’ minds with positive options as you share your expertise and advice – in a non-threatening manner. >

2. Forget the threats of potential failure. Draw your audience in with relevant upsides.

Who wants to buy from someone who threatens them? Not me and probably not you either. Instead of threatening your audiences with potential failure, use the lure of a positive opportunity to draw them down your path.

For example, use case studies that resonate with their problems and needs, drawing them into a conversation about the upside opportunity they can capture. Or use a “What if?” scenario to paint potential upside. These are simple shifts in focus that create much stronger engagement.

3. Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) be gone.

Lead with expertise instead. FUD was created by vendors who wanted to scare the bejesus out of their customers. In today’s world, it will often backfire. Yet so many feel the need to draw on FUD to diss a competitor or alternative. Why? Because it’s the way we’ve always done it.

We’ll get so much more respect and engagement when we forget the FUD and focus on sharing relevant expertise that educates, guides and supports our audiences in their quest for their best solution. So instead of telling ghost stories about what will happen if they buy from you, share tips and techniques that will help them make the most informed and intelligent decision possible. Teach them about things they don’t already know, show them previously undiscovered options or ways of thinking. You’ll build trust, respect and compel prospects to engage with you. Isn’t that better than using fear to begin a relationship?

The Bottom Line

We live in a world filled with fear triggers. Those triggers drive all of us to unconsciously protect our way of life, our way of doing and our way of believing.

Pushing more of those triggers with imperative or fear-based messages isn’t likely to compel your audiences to engage with you. It is likely to put your audience further into defensive mode concerning you and your offerings. I doubt if that’s what you had in mind.

When we focus on sharing positive and helpful information in a mind-opening and compelling way – we’ll get the engagement we seek. So what would happen if you tried it?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.


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