Sales using inspiration or manipulation? Which works better?

Article by Kevin Wingert
President and Founder of American Retirement Systems, LLC

Added on: January 8, 2019
There’s barely a product or service on the market today that customers can’t buy from someone else for about the same price, about the same quality, about the same level of service and about the same features. If you truly have a First-mover’s advantage, it’s probably lost in a matter of months. If you offer something truly novel, someone else will soon come up with something similar and maybe even better.

So where does that leave us? There are two ways to influence consumer behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. Many of us have been using manipulation since we were kids. “I’ll be your best friend” is a highly effective negotiating tactic employed by generations of children to obtain something they want from a peer. And as any child who has ever handed over candy hoping for a new best friend will tell you, it works.

Manipulations run rampant in all forms of sales and marketing in the financial services industry. Typical manipulations include: dropping the price; running a promotion; using fear, peer pressure, or aspirational messages; and promising innovation to influence behavior. When advisors do not have a clear sense of why their clients are their clients they tend to use a disproportionate amount of manipulations to get what they need. And for good reason. Manipulations work.

But what if I told you there was another way? There is a wonderful story of a group of American car executives who went to Japan to see a Japanese assembly line. At the end of the line, the doors were put on the hinges, the same as in America. But something was missing. In the United States, a line worker would take a rubber mallet and tap the edges of the door to ensure that it fit perfectly. Their Japanese guide looked at them and smiled sheepishly. “We make sure it fits when we design it.” In the Japanese auto plant, they didn’t examine the problem and accumulate data to figure out the best solution-they engineered the outcome they wanted from the beginning.

The story is a metaphor for how we work with agents so they can become people who hit their goals at American Retirement Systems. We engineer the outcome of what you want from the beginning. The agents who achieve more, the ones that get more out of fewer people, the ones with an outsized amount of influence, build messages and brands that all fit based on the original intention.

Every instruction we give, every course of action we set, every result we desire, starts with the same thing: a decision. There are those who decide to manipulate the door to fit to achieve the desired result and there are those who start from somewhere very different. Though both courses of action may yield similar short term results, it is what we can’t see that makes long-term success more predictable for only one. The one that understood why the doors need to fit by design and not by default.

Please call us at 888-969-7384 to learn how our advisors have been able to achieve and sustain long term growth by investing in our 401K/IRA seminar program.