Sales technique: Hope floats, fear sinks

By Bob Wilgus


Have you ever considered using a "hope-based" sales technique instead of using fear?

There's no doubt that showing a grieving spouse next to a casket is an effective way to motivate a prospect or client to buy life insurance, or showing a 70-year-old woman working at a grocery store to make the case for having a solid retirement income plan. But consider the impact of using these tactics to justify your financial solutions. Do you really want the relationship you have with a client to be based on — and mentally linked to — fear?

I would argue that for every fear-based scenario, there's a hope-based image or scenario that will work just as effectively. Think about it. When you’re meeting with a new prospect, instead of scaring them with statistics about how inflation can turn their retirement dreams into a nightmare, place in their mind images of being with their grandkids for their soccer games, dance recitals and holidays.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

— Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

Ultimately, isn't the goal of every well-drafted financial and retirement plan to give your clients peace of mind? Hope-based marketing — give it a try.

See also:

Fear: the closing technique of losers

Why positive thinking is like crack cocaine and how you can get hooked

9 cognitive biases that impede your sales — and how to overcome them