Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why Sequence is Critical | by @kabaim

The Monk and me (he's of the Thai Buddhist tradition)
I ran into my friend the monk again yesterday, talking to someone else. Happy to have spotted him, I stood from afar, and just watched for a few seconds, as he interacted with a tall twenty-something wearing a hoodie (maybe the next Zuck?).

The short moment that I caught a glimpse of was like the final piece of the puzzle falling into place for me - it was a true A-HA!

Before I get into that, though, I'm reminded of a bit of wisdom and experience from the world of nonprofit fundraising that my wife Kelly shared with me over a decade ago.  Kelly worked in development for 2 top-tier universities as a major gift officer.  'Major Gifts' at these institutions are 6, 7, even 8 figure gifts.

Kelly shared with me that once you've cultivated a relationship with a potential Major Gift donor, you don't just ask for a "gift" because almost certainly, the donor will say "Sure", pull out a checkbook, and write you a check for $100K.

Nothing wrong with a $100K gift, but the thing is, these are donors who have the capacity, to give much much more.  The #1 rule of nonprofit fundraising is ask for a specific amount.

Back to our monk.  I'm watching the young man take out his wallet, and before he has the opportunity to pull out a dollar or two, the monk places his notepad and pen between the young man and his wallet, prompting him to fill out the form.  The young man lowers his wallet, and starts filling out the form.

I finally got it - that in this whole process, taking one element out of sequence can make a monumental diference.  The donor or buyer must first have built up significant perceived value before transacting at a much higher dollar level.

This is what sales and marketing is all about - building up perceived value.  And marketing and sales must follow a carefully crafted sequence and rhythm in order to have their fullest impact.  And the amount a buyer is willing to pay is very closely tied to how good a job you have done building up perceived value through this sequence and some careful positioning.

This is what makes the difference between spending $2,000+ on a MacBook at an Apple Store, and spending only half of that for a technically equivalent or even superior laptop at Best Buy.

We know the rest of the story - the young man ends up giving the monk $10 or $20, instead of $1 or $2.  And we have another satisfied customer, basking in a moment of peace, wondering what just happened, but somehow very happy and settled.


For a little more context for this post, please see How To Sell Like A Buddhist Monk

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