Recently I was having a conversation with a client of mine who had reduced their pricing in order to increase sales. When they didn’t see the expected bump in results, they came to me for help (and I was thankful they did). While creating a solution turned out to be more nuanced than a quick fix (when crossing advertising copy, social media, call centre, and face-to-face sales scenarios, there is always complexity), there was one part of their puzzle that not only made a big difference, but was simple enough that I’d like to share it with you. Making this simple change, and rolling it out across a variety of their customer touch-points, directly contributed to a significant increase in sales. It’s also a technique that is fundamental to human conversation, and one I would suggest you mastered by the time you were 4 years old, but potentially have forgotten (as my client had).
My niece hasn’t forgotten though. She’s 5. Here’s what a recent conversation went like: “Guess what?” She says. “What?” I ask. “You’ll never believe me if I tell you,” She says. “What? Tell me!” I say, now on the edge of my seat. Only then did she tell me her news (Don’t worry, I’ll tell you her news at the end of this piece).
Turns out that by applying this simple technique my niece used so expertly, my client was able to realize their bump in sales that had eluded them months before. Here’s what it is:
Rather than simply stating what you want your customers to know, the trick is to build so much curiosity in your audience that they absolutely need to know what the change is and demand that you tell them. This requires a little self-control, because the rule is that if they don’t ask, you don’t get to tell. And if they never ask, you know you need to revise your approach of building curiosity. The challenge is placing that need to know in your customer’s mind.
Back in the heyday of door-to-door sales, this technique was called “sizzling.” To illustrate, let’s think about what sizzles. Bacon for example. Sure, you may not want bacon right now. But if you hear it, sizzling noisily on the pan, smoke wafting into the air, carrying with it delicious bacon-y aromas, you suddenly want bacon (I even bet you kinda want bacon now!). It’s the same with your important piece of news. Turn it onto bacon and sizzle it.
Putting It Into Action
There are literally hundreds of ways to do this. One example I hear on occasion goes something like, “I was talking to someone just the other day who was able to solve that problem and they were amazed at how easy it was.” (You’ll find the approach that works for you.) Then wait for them to ask. Sometimes the waiting can feel like an eternity, but just like bacon, it may take a few moments for your message to cook. You’ll find it’s worth it.
Here’s a recent poster from Westjet (part of a series), that uses the sizzle technique to create curiosity about their fares to London. Notice what they don’t tell you:
My Niece’s Big News
As promised, here’s my niece’s news. Her Pokemon had evolved from Weedle to Kakuna. Did learning it change my life? Nope. But because she sizzled the news as hard as she did, I knew it was a big deal for her and I replied enthusiastically. Your customers may do the same (just don’t make it about Pokemon).
If This Was Helpful…
If this was helpful, just think what a live conversation would do. We help select companies of all sizes (from 1 employee to thousands) fine tune their messaging to ensure it delivers the intended results.