With all the noise of everyday advertisement, how do Movies, TV, and journalists achieve success and persuade you to see the movie, watch the program, and listen to or read an article? They quickly capture your attention and reach your emotionally with an exciting movie trailer, a sound bite or what newsmen call a “teaser” comment. These techniques can be elegantly incorporated into your sales calls to capture the attention of your prospect and help you stand out in the crowd. Let’s take each one and provide examples and how to instructions.
- Movie Trailers – Think how exciting most movie trailers are. The trailer shows exciting scenes from the movie, especially those with special effects. There are screen shots or short clips showing the leading characters in some dramatic or exciting situation. The trailer includes music from other films or the advertised film to set the mood and add to the excitement. Trailers have the typical three-act format of a story. It is delivered in a very condensed form yet it still conveys the meaning of the story. The purpose of the trailer is two-fold. Its first responsibility is to persuade you to see the movie. Its second responsibility is to bring back memories of what you have seen in hopes you’ll recommend it to other people or see other films with the same writer, director, or stars.
Opening your sales call with a short story can perform similar functions, it can create excitement about your solution, your company, or working with you. If you create an engaging story the prospect will want to hear more from you. You want to share the promise you deliver, the problems you solve, or teach them something new. You want to focus the story on the value to the prospect. Even if it’s about you, you can still focus the purpose and outcome for the prospect.
- Sound Bites – A sound bite serves a similar role. Famous sound bites have lived on through the ages. Think of sound bites like the following:
- “I came, I saw, I conquered” – Julius Caesar
- “Give me liberty or give me death” – Patrick Henry
- “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – John F. Kennedy
- “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – Neil Armstrong
- “Show me the money” – from the movie Jerry Maguire
- “May the Force be with you” – from Star Wars
- “It’s the real thing” – Coca Cola advertisements
A good sound bite will serve as a constant reminder of you and what you have to offer. That’s why TV shows, movies, news articles, and politicians all strive to create memorable sound bites and good stories. You want something that they will remember after you have ended the conversation. So make it short and punchy. Eliminate any extra words. Keep it simple, credible, emotional, and to the point. It will stick!
- Teasers – In television and radio, there are two types of teasers. In the news programs, the reporter will mention a fact that will hook you into staying tuned to find out the whole story in the next segment. This technique is often employed just before the commercial break and it involves what may be big news or related to something that affects everyone. This week some of the teasers are about how hackers are getting your tax refunds or getting your identify information from tax related documents to make purchases.
The other type of teaser is used in entertainment programs. It’s also called a “cold start”. The technique is to jump right into the story before the program introduction with title or credits. The idea is to get you hooked on the story so you won’t change the channel. Programs like Saturday Night Live, Law and Order, and CSI use this method effectively. I read that Star Trek was an early adopter using a “hook” of the teaser that was some unexplained plot element. I have also seen it used in some video games.
You can use a similar strategy by telling a little bit about a great solution that was successful at another company – but don’t tell all of the details. Tell enough for it to be a story and to be interesting but leave enough out that the prospect wants to hear more.
Work at creating and using these techniques as they will not only lead to success but you may find the right one for the message for your or your company which will add to your personal presence. Both you and the message will stick!
About the Author: Phyllis Mikolaitis is a sales coach, author and speaker with over 30 years’ global experience. She is dedicated to taking you beyond the typical “how to” courses to the heart of persuasion techniques incorporating insights and stories to win the sale. Visit Phyllis and her business partner John Switzer at www.salestrainingsolutions.com where you can learn more about storytelling and sales skills. You can get our free eBook on Storytelling, the Secret to Success when you sign up for our by-monthly newsletter.