If you've been reading this blog, or if you've done any sales training, you know that benefits are the answer to the customer's question - "what's in it for me?" A pencil has an eraser - that's a feature. Not having to worry about making mistakes when you write - that's a benefit.
But what the heck are negative benefits? I'll get to that...
If you've read this, you understand that people only do thing for one reason - it makes them feel better. By extension we also know that people do things to avoid what they perceive as future displeasure. In fact, for many people, anticipated regret is a prime motivator for buying anything.
Negative benefits are those things that people are going to avoid buy buying your product or using your service. For example, if there was no risk that we'd ever go to jail or have to pay a fine, how many of us would actually do our taxes? We do our taxes, not because it's fun, but usually to avoid the negative repercussions.
One way to motivate people to buy is to make them aware of the consequences of not buying. You have to be really careful here, and here are some tips:
- The negative repercussions must be realistic to the customer.
- They should be as near in the future as possible
- They should be things that people care a great deal about.
- If they are too over-the-top you can scare customers away.
Part of the reason the original youth anti-smoking campaigns didn't work well is because they focused on long-term health repercussions. What 16 year old kid thinks he's going to die from lung cancer?
Many commercials for senior citizen life insurance policies focus on the burden of burial expenses left behind to family. Seniors realistically know they are close to the end of their lifespan and being a burden is generally something they want to avoid. Their families are important to them.
Some people are more motivated to move towards a reward while others are more motivated to move away from loss. The best way to determine what's going to work for you is to test as best you can. Certain products and services lend themselves to positive or negative benefits.
Insurance - particularly life insurance, usually doesn't have a strong positive "towards" motivator. However, there is a strong positive feeling associated with taking care of ones family, being responsible, and ensuring your children thrive.
Look at the benefits of your own products or services. What motivators influence people's buying decisions. Look at both the rewards and the avoidance of loss. See which motivators are strongest, perhaps you can use a combination in your marketing.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet