Should You Appeal To The Prospect’s Pleasure Or Pain?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

angel and the devil on mans shouldersVery often, we ask companies to give us their marketing stance on their products and services and wait to see if they are appealing to us on a rational or emotional basis.

By that, I mean do they highlight the reasons we should buy in a logical sense (our cars deliver 20% more fuel economy than competitors), or an emotional sense (our home security systems offer you more peace of mind when you are out at work).

Mostly, the marketing will focus on the product (we sell the best products, so come and buy them now) and hence is inwardly-focused.

This is known as tactical marketing because the tactics are to increase awareness of the product and more often than not requires a transactional sale.

It works up to a point, because many of us are driven by the law of scarcity, which drives us to make a decision based on the thought that if we don’t get it, we will miss out and lose something as a result.

But it’s not as effective as making an offer that gets you in front of the prospect in some way that serves their interests first, not yours.

Buyers know when they are being manipulated and it’s a fine line between persuading someone you’re the best provider and pushing them to make a decision that simply gets you a sale. 

It may be you are selling to businesses and the ultimate goal with your marketing is to get the customer to see you; in other words, you’re selling the appointment not your product.

Saying simply ‘I have a great product, you’ve got to see it, when can I show it to you?’ might work on some occasions, but there must be a better way, surely?

Well, yes there is, and it turns your marketing or appointment-making process into responsive rather than tactical.

Let me give you an example.

A few weeks ago we had the following letter hit my inbox. I’ve changed the product details, but the gist is all there:

“Dear Mr McPheat

Every minute that goes by where you don’t download our free newsletter on ‘The seven biggest threats to the training industry today’, you are losing money and opportunities. 

The newsletter contains over £1 million worth of time and money saving research that will make your business either fail in the coming years or thrive immediately. 

Why are we giving this away rather than sell it? Because we believe that a strong training industry will provide businesses with the skills and talents they need to make British industry the most envied in the world. 

We want your company to be part of that strategy, so click on the link below to download your free report and see how you can increase your training effectiveness in the short and long-term. 

Do it now. Every minute you delay means your competitors are stealing a march on you. 


It was a short, punchy, personalised email that will get read very quickly. Guess what I did? Yes, I clicked on the link because it was free and offered value. It’s called long-range bombing in marketing circles, and went to probably every training and development company in the country.

Was the newsletter valuable?

Actually, yes it was, and the company who did the research now has my email address, my company details, and knows more about my business than many other companies trying to sell me their stuff. 

You’ll notice that they gave something away in return for my details.

That means they can pinpoint their responsive marketing to me in areas that will grab my attention.

I liken this to laser-beam marketing rather than blunderbuss marketing; the first pinpoints information specifically to me and my business, the second tries to throw products out there and hope it might hit one in a hundred.

So remember; if you are aiming to get an appointment with a prospect, make your connection in a way that pinpoints the very challenges their businesses will be facing now and in the near future.

Making it responsive rather than tactical may help you gain more appointments and hence raise your opportunities to provide services that will fit the bill. Want to learn more? Try out one of our Sales Training Courses

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 11 February, 2016

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