Hundreds of thousands of things pass us on a day to day basis without even noticing. We don’t notice because our experience tells us it’s normal, it’s how things behave or how it’s supposed to be. It’s true for our private lives as well as for our business lives. We start noticing things when they are outside our pattern of expectation. It’s the unusual that makes us stop, pay attention, and think. That’s the magic moment in marketing and sales: The ability to shift the frame of reference – the ability to change the way people see things.
Big Wave surfing vs Business Software
Changing the way people see things – it’s an art, but I’ve learned that, once you master it, it will bring you so much value. There are dozens of ways to approach this though, so creativity is king here.
In my upcoming book, ‘The Remarkable Effect,’ I connect many of my examples to Big Wave surfing. It became the thread throughout my book to tell the full story about the how lining up the ten traits of remarkable software companies creates leverage that’s far larger than the sum of its components. Various forces are bundled to create your very own big wave that drives your momentum.
On first notice, Big Wave surfing has nothing to do with business software – but still, it embodies all the key elements to land the critical points. And that’s what you’re looking for – shifting perspectives around something radically different to change the frame of reference.
It’s the aspect of ‘Unusual’ that does the trick. It’s the element of ‘surprise’ that takes something average to something that stands out. Steve Jobs was a master doing this: Everyone still remembers the moment he unveiled the Macbook Air from a simple envelope. The story that instantly told: It’s super thin and super light. ‘It almost flies.’ That created an instant level of desire, and the rest is history.
Was the Macbook air technically different from other notebooks? Not necessarily. But it wasn’t about the specs. Specs are table stakes. Every product you buy needs to meet basic requirements – it’s a knock-out criterion. Once you are beyond that, something else drives the decision. Steve Jobs changed the way people saw the new MacBook Air, and with his unusual gesture, the sold ‘Convenience’ and ‘Status,’ not specs.
Wants vs Needs
Marketing and selling business software becomes so much easier if you change the way people see things. But to do that effectively, it requires you to understand what motivates your ideal customer: What are they hoping to buy from you. What do they want (beyond what they need)? What story do they tell themselves without telling you? Once you understand that, you can get creative and find the metaphor, anecdote, or trigger to make people sit up, shift their frame of reference and turn them into buyers.
So question to you: What’s your ‘envelope’?
Please share your experiences.