Promotional Perspective

This week I was thinking about the current Medallion promotion and found myself wondering: How would I approach a client when a promotion is available and more specifically how could I use the promotion to gain a client? Now, of course, timing is everything. If a client is not ready to start their project for any of a variety of reasons, it is unlikely that a promotion is going to change their mind. On the flip side, what if they have a general plan to start soon? Assuming the latter scenario, let’s dig into another way of thinking about using a promotion to get a project rolling.

I’ve mentioned before how much I detest being sold something. Like when you walk through a mall and a man or woman steps up and says, “free sample?” Seems harmless, but bam! That’s the hook! You feel obligated to say “sure” and just as you reach for the free sample, you suddenly find yourself in the hot seat being told how much younger and more gorgeous you’ll be with this miracle cream or hair extension, or eyelash magnets…yes, (for those of you who aren’t aware, there are magnetic eyelashes out there.) All while you’re wondering: What just happened? Then as you leave you say to yourself “This will never happen again”.

Have you ever found that approaching a potential client with a promotion can feel like that mall experience? That it lacks authenticity? That it doesn’t take their precious time and personal life into consideration? That promotions feel pushy?

If you answered yes, maybe, or nodded yes-ish to any of these questions, I’d like to offer a different perspective and approach to promotions.

Loss Aversion

If you’re familiar with Robb Best, CKD, then you may have read about this on his blog,, or heard him speak on the science of decision making.  As a matter of interest, Robb’s blog covers a great deal of content regarding decision-making, and loss aversion is just one of the many topics. I talked with Robb to understand how it could help with gaining a sale based on a promotion. From our conversation, I got the following almost verbatim (slightly Suzanne-ified) explanation:

Loss aversion is a human bias that we all are prone to. Namely, losing feels twice as bad as winning feels positive. Las Vegas exists largely because of this bias. What do you when you start to lose at the roulette table, walk away? That would make sense, but the feeling of losing drives you to keep playing until you win. We all know how that works out.

Loss aversion basically sells the Medallion promotion all by itself. When time runs out on the promotion if your client fails to take advantage––you guessed it, they’re likely to experience loss. Your job as a good sales person is to keep this from happening. Keeping them up to date on the status of a promotion is your duty, if your goal is to create the ultimate customer experience for your client. And I bet it is.

If your goal is to create the ultimate customer experience, then presenting opportunities is key.

Now transfer this concept to the current promotion and let’s walk through an example client conversation:

  1. Call your client. Be authentic, be in a good mood and smile! You are an expert providing a tailored service and this is the reason you are smiling!
  2. Tell them the reason you’re calling. For example:
    “Paula, I’m calling today to let you know that Medallion is offering a promotion that I know would be a huge benefit if you were considering taking the next step on starting your project soon.”
  3. If they are interested, explain the promotion and be prepared to give them detailed specifics on the cost savings. Relating this to a tangible item is often more effective. For instance, try: “This amount of savings would pay for a new dishwasher!”
  4. Protect them from a lost opportunity“Don’t forget the promotion ends at midnight on Friday the 16th.”
  5. This is a great time to highlight the benefits of your services (especially against competitors) and what a privilege it would be to work on their project.

Your goal is not to put pressure on the client but to keep them from experiencing the unpleasantness of losing out on a great promotion. It puts the promotion into perspective. In this light, you are not giving your client a sales pitch, you’re providing specialized services and simply facilitating the opportunity to realize their remodeling dream!

CupPractice makes Perfect

If you feel like the call you’re going to make might seem awkward, write down a few versions of your ideal narrative. Then, similar to the suggestion in my article The Persona Approach, ask a colleague to role play as the client and ask them for feedback. For the most realistic scenario, call your colleague, rather than talking in person. (Ask if they could hear you smile!) For me, windshield time is a good chance to practice and to listen to myself verbalize what I’m thinking. Saying it out loud allows me to hear hesitation and improve the intended delivery.

Last but not least, if your method of communication tends to be via email, that works, but keep in mind that a phone call is more effective because it is more personal!

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