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What’s In It For Me?

By Marilyne Woodsmall, Ph.M.


Me, Me, Me

All sales, all persuasion and, in fact, most things in life, depending on one’s values, revolve around one basic question. The question that lies at the basis of all sales and influence is the following:

What’s in it for me?

Most people ask this question subconsciously to one degree or another. Interestingly, it also happens to be a question that many people disregard. (As we shall soon see, this basic question is directly connected to a behavioral pattern that is our motivational trigger which we call the Motivation People Pattern™.) In our everyday interactions with people, whether in sales, in negotiations, or in general life situations, notice how often people do things because there is some benefit to them.
There is a common reframe that people use when it comes to this question and it is that they do things out of so-called “enlightened self-interest.” One cannot really say that this has anything to do with enlightenment anyway, so for all practical purposes, the word “enlightened” with self-interest is basically an oxymoron more than anything else.

The reality is that, in general, people do things that are in their self-interest. The bottom line is that people do things because there is something in it for them. This being the case, there is an important question that arises. It is the following:

If a person doesn’t do things that aren’t in his or her own self-interest, then why should one expect other people to do things that are not in their self-interest?

Let’s take sales. It would be naïve to believe that people will buy things simply because you would like them to do so. If you want customers to buy something, then you have to provide them with something that they want. In fact, all sales and influence boils down to this very point. So, if you want your customers to buy from you then there are two things that you have to do:

1)Figure out from their perspective what it is that they want or need or what they want to avoid.

2)You have to determine what it is that you have which they want and be willing to give it up.

In other words, determine what is in it for your customers from their perspective and not from yours. Remember that you don’t get something for nothing. In order to receive, you have to give something to your customers. This is the golden rule upon which all human interaction is based.

It is amazing how many people in the world continue to believe that they can get something for nothing. They think that by flattering or pleading with people, that these individuals will simply give them things for nothing. If you happen to force someone to give you something without a reciprocal exchange, then the person will feel cheated and may lash out at you with what we call “The Three Dragons”: Remorse, Recrimination and Revenge, each to different degrees.

The essence of sales is to provide your customers with one of two things: either provide them with something that they want or else help them to avoid what they don’t want. The Motivation People Pattern™ reveals this very powerful secret of human behavior. From our previous articles, remember that the Motivation People Pattern™ identifies two different motivational mindsets: 1) move toward and 2) move away from. Either you are going to give your customers something they want (move toward people) or else you are going to help them to avoid something that they don’t want (move away from people).

As we have explained in previous articles, once you know the motivational trigger of your customers, then you will know whether they are move toward in orientation or move away from in orientation. If they are move toward, this means that you offer them carrots, or incentives and things that they want. If they are move away from, then you offer them sticks, or things that they don’t want or offer them things that they want to eliminate or to avoid.

So a knowledge of the Motivation People Pattern™ will enable you to understand and to satisfy the “What’s in it for me?” principle of human behavior of your customers and of anyone for that matter. And the Motivation People Pattern™ is just one of the People Patterns™ that make up what we call “Personality Language”™. It will enable you to cater your sales copy or sales presentation to your respective customers’ motivational triggers, and, thus, increase your sales, as well as create trust, the key to all interaction.

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