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Keep your sales message simple – or your customer switches off

Beware using symbols

If you’re like me, when you get into a lift (or elevator if you’re American) you may have to stop and think (perhaps only for a second) which button to press to open the doors, and which to close.  The problem is the triangle symbol isn’t as intuitive as a simple arrow. I always think the close door sign looks more like the HSBC logo!  The complex button layout (left) means you have to consciously think about which button to press.  The symbols on the right are more intuitive.  We don’t need to think about arrows; their meaning is innate within us.

Lift panel
HSBC Symbol
Open and close buttons

In sales, if your customer has to stop and think in order to decode your message, you are adding an unnecessary barrier. Research shows that buying decisions are made by the non-conscious brain. So if your sales message isn’t clear and simple, you are forcing customer to use their energy-hungry conscious brain rather than their intuitive brain.  This causes them to think rather than act and can put the brakes on sales.

Why have 'a policeman in an automobile' when 'a cop in car will do'?!

With any written sales message, the simpler the better.  All too often we see marketng messages describing features as‚ ‘a next-generation scaleable integrated architecture‘. Nothing about this is intuitive. We have to stop and think about every word, and then what those words mean together. This is hard work for the buyer, and diminishes the likelihood of a successful sale.

The same message could be phrased in simple language‚ ‘it grows with your business needs‘  This doesn’t require us to engage our conscious brain; the meaning is directly and instantly apparent. The result is that your customer is far more likely to engage with you.

Put another way, why have a policeman in an automobile when a cop in car will do!