Power of Weakness

by Roy H. Williams


Features and benefits, features and benefits, features and benefits. We've polished our pitches to such a degree that we've dimmed our abilities to persuade. The customer is only half listening because the inner self is asking, "What are they not telling me?"

Those who have heard my 90-minute presentation about the ongoing evolution of Western communication style are familiar with the problem:

  1. The fine art of Hype has been perfected and refined.
  2. Western culture has been submerged in it, held under until every last pore of our souls has been saturated.
  3. Consequently, we've developed an immunity to "ad-speak," the language of hype.
  4. But we don't rage against it. We see the half-truth of hype as a fact of life.
  5. That's why we're ignoring it.
  6. And we're ignoring it in greater numbers every day.

Do you want to surprise Broca, gain the attention of your customer and win back your credibility? Learn to name features, benefits, and downside. Trust me, the customer is already trying to figure out the downside. Why not just tell them? It's the best possible way to insulate yourself from the backlash when they finally figure it out for themselves.

This powerful "tell the truth" technique is easily perverted into just another oily sales trick when the downside you name isn't the real one. As Francois Duc de La Rochefoucauld observed 350 years ago, "We only confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no big ones."

I'm saying confess the big ones. Knock your customers flat with your candor. Yes, it will cost you a few sales you might otherwise have made. But it will make you far more sales than it costs you.

People aren't as stupid as you think.

Used with permission.

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