In 1986 the great Freddie Mercury penned the lyrics to the Queen track entitled ‘Pain is so close to Pleasure.‘ As you might expect the track appeared to revolve around love and flawed relationships. More recently though my own mentor introduced me to the concept of pain and pleasure being the ONLY two motivators that cause customers to purchase any product or service – either to move away from a position of pain or towards a position of increased pleasure or satisfaction. These are, of course, often two sides of the same coin.
Recently I have been working with a client and specifically around the correlation between motivation and sales performance. We started to explore the concept of fear as a ‘pain’ motivator and it lead me to refer to an article written by Larry Winget in which fear was explored in detail. In his article Winget suggests that fear may well be our biggest motivator and essentially what encourages us to do anything.
Think about it. Why do people start to smoke? Because they are afraid of not fitting in. And why do people stop smoking? Because that fear of fitting in is overtaken by the fear of contracting a life-threatening illness. Indeed it could easily be argued that the whole vaping industry has formed as a direct result of both those fears.
Equally the success of the beauty and cosmetics industries could very easily be attributed to the fear of growing old, or at least the aesthetic symptoms of doing so. And on a much wider scale think about how many events, gatherings or parties you have reluctantly attended for fear of not being liked or the reaction that non-attendance would cause.
In business of course the biggest fear of all is that of failure and ultimately going out of business – which, by implication makes it the biggest motivator.
So with this particular client we started to discuss how such fear can be harnessed. On an individual level Winget promotes understanding and embracing that fear – and it’s hard to argue. One will always take action to move away from what one fears the most. When the fear/pain of failure is greater than the pleasure/attraction of inactivity you will be motivated to get up and take action. When the fear of failure outweighs the fear of making that business development call, guess what you’ll do!!
In terms of sales performance the concept requires understanding your customers’ fears. What are they afraid of happening/not happening that drives them to your business? Once this is understood you can deliver what the customer WANTS rather than what they NEED. Because, after all, people always buy what they want rather than what they need – if that weren’t true my wife would only have one pair of shoes!!! She’s clearly afraid of ever wearing the same pair as somebody else!!!!
So when somebody tells you “don’t be frightened” take that advice with a very large pinch of salt.