I know. The headline reads more Enid Blyton than sales story. Perhaps more on writing headlines next week … until then …
Once upon a time, before laser printers were popular, office documents were printed on very noisy daisy wheel printers. Ridiculously noisy, so much so that the most popular add-on purchase was an acoustic hood (google that).
And, when launched, laser printers had a price point around £4,000. At the time my team were selling ‘office solutions’. So this was a challenge for us. Laser printer costs were way higher than daisy wheel printers. Very difficult to justify the purchase.
First we tried features and benefit selling. We extolled the virtues of the laser printer, particularly the added value of 1) multiple fonts and sizes and 2) Quietness. It didn’t work. Buyers argued that documents printed with daisy wheels were as good those from a typewriter, and that noise wasn’t really an issue to them (although it was for the end users).
Our laser printers weren’t selling. We needed a different approach.
We choose the puppy dog strategy. We gave end users a demonstration, and then loaned them a laser printer for a month. We thought that once they’d used the printer they’d fall in love with it and want to keep it.
Sure enough that’s what happened. When we returned to take the trial printer away the end users would insist we left it. They’d put pressure on the buyers and most times we’d walk out of the customer’s office with a signed contract for the printer, maintenance, and consumables.
In a nutshell that’s the puppy dog sale. You find ways too allow the customer to try something out, they become emotionally attached to the benefits it delivers, and they don’t want to give it up.
Someone recently suggested this technique is outdated and manipulative. I pointed out that the closing technique for 1000’s of software apps is basically a puppy dog sale. Nowadays called a free trial, giving prospects risk-free access to something that improves their life.
In fact the idea for this article came because I recently trialled Acuity Scheduling. This in an app that’s already delivered productivity improvements for me. No way I am not going to give it back! And yes, I’ve been “manipulated” into experiencing something. Something I find useful.
So, the question is, how could you use a puppy dog sale to give prospects the opportunity to experience your consultancy. And, then pivot that experience into a high-value project dialogue?
Want to know more, please get in touch.