Connection and Ownership

As a Sales Training Manager for Multiview, I find that one of my biggest challenges in the classroom is teaching our future Rockstars just how to create a sense of ownership for their clients connected to the space that they are selling.  I am always striving to be more effective in teaching this critical element of our pitch.  In my opinion, whether out of necessity or want, the client must really develop a strong sense of ownership before they will really have a desire to make the purchase.  What exactly is a “sense of ownership” you may ask?  One definition is that it is “an attitude of accepting responsibility for something and taking control of how it develops”.   In other words, the client needs to gain a clear idea of not only what they are buying but actually feel the sense that it already belongs to them or is very much within reach.  They should begin to picture their company in the position that the sales rep is pitching.

In my never ending quest to convey and teach this concept in a way that my classes will better understand and relate to,  I pay a lot of attention to advertising that I see or hear either online, TV, radio, billboards, etc.  I spend a significant amount of time considering how particular ads affect me.  Do I feel compelled to buy this product or take some other sort of action?  Do I remember what the ad was for? Did it make me laugh or evoke other emotions?

I think of two ad campaigns that are exceptionally memorable for me.  The first is a commercial for what was (at the time) the newest iPhone model with Siri. Up until this commercial I had always been a “Blackberry girl” and despite best efforts from my friends I had zero desire to make the switch from Blackberry to iPhone.  [youtube=] In this commercial Zooey Deschanel is showing off Siri, showing the viewer how user friendly Siri is.  Up until this point I simply could not find a real benefit to having an iPhone because as far as I was concerned I already had the capability of sending emails, browsing the internet, text messaging, reminders, lists – what else did I really need? In this commercial Zooey is at home in her pajamas while it’s raining and decides to order soup, set a reminder to clean up the next day, and plays music all through Siri. The commercial itself wasn’t exceptionally entertaining or funny or moving – it very simply connected the dots for me.  I was able to actually gain a sense of understanding for how the iPhone could be a part of my daily life.  I immediately felt a sense of ownership which translated into desire because I could picture myself doing all of those things if I had an iPhone of my own.  After this commercial I had completely changed my mind and I soon thereafter made the switch from Blackberry to iPhone.  The most important lesson was how Apple was able to take a product that I had resisted and wanted nothing to do with and sell it to me in 30 seconds, all by creating a true sense of ownership.  Great job Apple!

The second ad campaign was a GEICO commercial that I saw for the first time about a year ago – the GEICO Guinea Pig Electricity Rowing Commercial.[youtube=]Most days I am very easily amused and I found this commercial to be wildly entertaining.  Through almost the whole commercial you see a chubby little guinea pig in the background yelling “Row!” in a squeaky nasally voice to two other guinea pigs. I wish I could tell you what I find so funny in this, but unfortunately I don’t even know myself.  The premise is that the character’s electricity bill was so high that he needed to use rowing guinea pigs to generate electricity in order to save money…or he could just use GEICO to save money on insurance.  The relation between high electricity bills and rowing guinea pigs as a reason to switch insurance companies was lost on me.  So lost, in fact, that when I tried to tell a friend about how funny the commercial was a day or so later I had no idea what insurance company was being advertised.  I could vaguely remember that it was an insurance commercial but nothing more.   Some time later I concluded that it was an ALLSTATE commercial, which should be offensive to GEICO considering that I later got a quote from ALLSTATE based on the fact that I had remembered this commercial.  Months later I realized that I had the company wrong…oops.  The lesson here was that GEICO in no way made me feel any type of connection to the message other than entertainment; on the contrary I was left confused and very convinced that the only value was simple entertainment.  Pull it together GEICO.

While the two ads I’ve discussed are equally memorable, one was very effective and the other completely ineffective.  Apple convinced me to go buy the iPhone by creating a sense of ownership with a very short but relatable demonstration while the GEICO commercial left me laughing at rowing guinea pigs and trying to buy insurance from ALLSTATE.

Just as I’ve examined the Apple and the GEICO commercials and whether or not I chose to make a purchase after each, it is essential as a sales rep to understand how creating a sense of ownership will affect your own sales. Regardless of what it is that you are selling it is important to create that experience in your pitch that your client can connect with.  This is, in essence, creating a “sense of ownership”.  In order to accomplish this you want to gain a perspective of just what it is that they need or want, which is usually achieved through asking questions and engaging the client in conversation.  Once your client understands just how your product offering is relevant to them or how it can truly benefit them then it is very simply, time to close!

I encourage you to spend a minute or two thinking about an ad campaign that you found memorable and what it was specifically that you remember about it.  Do you clearly remember the product or service advertised?  In a lot of cases we may not make an immediate purchase but remember it later when we are ready.  In any case, my final opinion is that regardless of what the product or service is a consumer will always feel a connection or sense of ownership before making the decision to buy.

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