Donald Trump is the new president of the United States of America. What does the future hold for one of the world’s economic super powers? Only time will really tell. If you’re like me, you are probably sick and tired of talking politics. Trump this, Hilary that. I was far more interested in seeing an end to it all than I was the actual result! Having said that, in hindsight I find the outcome itself incredibly interesting. As a business owner looking to connect with my target market Mr Trump may have found the answer I was looking for. It might be time to start Pitching like Donald Trump!
Stop Pitching to Solve a problem
It’s the mantra of every pitching coaching and brand development expert the world over. Work out what problem your target market has, determine how you can fix it and start pitching that solution. By focusing on the customers ‘Pain Points’ we improve engagement and (hopefully) conversion. For years we have taken that advice at face value and run with it. We’ve incorporated the customer’s pain points into every element our business’ development. So much so that we are pitching to their pain points without even realising it most of time.
After watching Donald Trump’s shock victory in the US election I really started to doubt this traditional wisdom. Every politician is great at pitching to solve a problem. The issue they’re promising to fix depends on which key demographic they are trying to appeal to on any given day. Hilary Clinton did a better job of communicating the problems she would fix than Donald Trump and yet we have a Trump White House. How? Why?….
The key to the Trump victory, in my opinion, was shifting his attention away from pain points and focusing on anxiety instead. He looked at what made his target demographics anxious or depressed and started pitching solutions directly at those issues. The difference is subtle but incredibly powerful. Instead of just promising economic growth and new jobs as most politicians would, Mr Trump promised to protect the jobs voters already had. Even Donald’s controversial immigration policies, which really won’t fix any pain points in my opinion, were designed to target the wide spread anxiety in middle America.
It turns out the ‘trump technique’ is supported by recent psychological research. A major study into The Origins of Happiness was released late last year. One of the key findings from the research is a correlation between your happiness and the absence of anxiety (and depression). By alleviating the anticipation of future threats you increase your happiness more so than any other change monitored in the study. What does that mean? A person with a secure income who feels like they are unpaid is still happier than they would be if they were earning a lot of money but had to live with the constant threat of losing their job.
The happiness formula (below) is a mathematical representation of your happiness to a neuro-scientist. The nerdy accountant in me finds that concept incredibly cool!
Let’s ignore all the symbols and focus on what the smart people in white coats are telling us with this formula. Your happiness has as much to do with your expectations as it does with your experiences. In-fact, the more positive your outlook for the future the higher your current level of happiness. This is true even if your life is full of less than positive current day experiences.
Applying this to your business
Obviously this sort of insight could be useful for marketing and sales professionals. However, i’m far more interested in what it means for the rest of your business. Small business owners or constantly looking for new and improved products/services to take to market. Up until now a big focus was on what problem our new services would fix for the customer. Maybe, if our services focused on improving our customers outlook on the future and eliminating fears they have we might improve both our conversion and retention rates.
…just one accountant’s opinion. Do with it what you will!