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B2B business leaders don't make buying decisions lightly. When they purchase a new product or service, it's because the offering lines up with strategic goals and promises to take the organization to new heights. They don't want the same old results that prompted the purchase in the first place -- they want to achieve totally new targets that will put distance between the organization and its competitors. 

What one word appeared three times in that paragraph? "New." Much meaning is contained within this short syllable, and sellers should use it to their advantage.

"Things that are 'new' are typically perceived as being different and, therefore, better. As a result, 'new' has a powerful cachet," Don Cooper, aka "The Sales Heretic" writes in this blog post. "Many people will even pay a hefty premium to be among the first to acquire a new product, as the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Toyota Prius, Microsoft Xbox and Apple iPhone have demonstrated."

But as noted above, B2B buyers don't throw money around just for the sake of it. While consumers will rush to the Apple store to buy the latest iPhone with a slightly larger screen or a few additional benefits, B2B decision makers are unlikely to be swayed by "new" if the word merely signifies an incremental improvement or updated product feature. B2B salespeople will have better luck using "new" to suggest a completely different way of solving problems than in the past. 

One circumstance where this meaning becomes particularly persuasive is with a newly hired decision maker. Craig Elias, creator of Trigger Event Selling™ and CEO of SHiFT Selling, Inc., points out that "a new decision maker is up to 10 times more likely to switch vendors than their predecessor." Why? Because they want to establish that their administration will be different than that of the person who formerly held the role. A salesperson who can pepper their presentation with instances of "new" to mean "different" will boost their chances of winning the business in most sales scenarios. 

However, salespeople should be honest and consultative before all else, and so they should not use "new" in any sense of the word if the solution they're presenting is just a rehashing of what the prospect already has. Making promises during the sales process that the vendor can't keep is a recipe for an unsatisfied customer. And in the age of social media, negative experiences aren't just resolved between seller and customer -- they can be broadcast for the entire world to see. 

Verdict: recommended.

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Originally published Feb 17, 2015 9:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

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Persuasion in Sales