Dropped Jaw Syndrome, Your Fastest, Most Reliable Market Test

Business owners should be more like doctors.

Forget selling and start asking your customers where they hurt. Broken leg? Ulcer? Empty wallet?

Don't sell, diagnose. And what are you as a doctor looking for? Well, of course: that ever-illusive, yet ever- profitable disease called Dropped Jaw Syndrome.

OK, it may not be in any medical book. But Dropped Jaw Syndrome, however rare, is known to anyone who's ever tried to sell something. The customer walks into your store, listens to your pitch and falls into an awestruck trance. "I'll take three of them."

Joking aside, the dropped jaw, or at least its symptoms, are the fuel behind every sale. When a customer is persuaded to buy, their reaction isn't logical. You've connected with the part of their brain that decides if you and your product are believable, the limbic system. Sure, you still need to persuade with facts, but logic is a distant second to their desire to buy, their reflexive dropping jaw.

Diagnosing Dropped Jaw

The key is finding the dropped jaw, tracking the symptoms back to their source. But it's there. And it's quite easy to find once you stop thinking about your product for a moment and focus on the customer... I mean, patient.

Don't believe me? Well, put on a white coat, hang a stethoscope around your neck and do some market tests of your own. But this is a test you have to do face to face. Forget the demographic studies, sales plans and benchmark reports, and get in front of a customer.

Now, take his temperature, make your pitch. And follow it through the customer's reaction.

Did his jaw drop? Hmm. You must have done something wrong. Try again, but listen like a doctor searching for a heart murmur. Ask a question, offer information, and then hear the subtleties of his response. And when you're diagnosing a customer, instead of trying to sell your product, something changes.

You become more attuned to the subtle dropped jaw and related body language. And you ask more accurate questions. You notice which of the claims and benefits penetrate the customer's protective indifference, sparking real interest. Of course, most salespeople already do this to a degree, but it must be done intentionally, consciously.

The true advantage of Dropped Jaw Syndrome comes from changing your role for a moment, from selling and telling to assessing what customers want, even when they can't say it in words. Demand that you live up to their desires. Because if you're not dropping jaws, you're in danger of falling behind the competition. Worse, you're probably overlooking your company's uniqueness.

Diagnosing Your Pitch

In searching for dropped-jaw reactions, some companies have made unbelievable claims central to their promotions. We've all seen the TV commercials where "Crazy Joe" says he's so insane he's practically giving away the furniture in his store.

Better are claims that are striking and stand out from the competition, but don't over-promise. Consider "Have it your way" (Burger King) or "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking" (Timex). In establishing your own unique proposition, the dropped jaw test is quick and reliable.

Customers, whether they know it or not, are very good at distinguishing between businesses they trust and those they don't. Let them tell you how you're doing.

Building Customer Confidence

I discovered the Dropped Jaw Syndrome years ago. It started with my claim that I can assess the health of a business by looking only at its business card. And when I would point out the subtle messages on their cards, most of them unintended, people's jaws would drop.

The value of the dropped jaw test is the perspective it imparts. By listening to the customer or putting yourself in her shoes, you're more likely to notice the "small potatoes" signals you're sending. Such telltale signs aren't based on the business size or age. But once you recognize them they can be easily repaired.

As you play doctor, it's your job to notice what hurts the customer and cure it. When you find ways to make your customers jaws drop, you'll take their pain away. And that will make your business a healthy one.

©2003 Lynella Grant

About The Author

Dr. Lynella Grant is an expert on the signals that make up the body language of a business. Author of The Business Card Book and Stop Looking Like Small Potatoes. Visit http://www.giantpotatoes.com. Off the Page Press (719) 395-9450 mailto:[email protected]

[email protected]

In The News:

Pets and Real Estate Sales  The New York Times
Hon Hai sales hit record high for May  Focus Taiwan News Channel
Why Women Are the Future of B2B Sales  Harvard Business Review
How Sales Data Can Help Non-Sales Teams  Harvard Business Review

How to Give Your Customers a Choice Between You and the Competition and Have Them Choose You

Instead of giving your customers or potential customers a choice... Read More

Selling: an art of a skill?

Selling is as much an art as it is a... Read More

Give Up the Need to Sell

Most business people will tell you that selling is not... Read More

How to Write Testimonials that Sell CDs Like Magic

"Which is your best CD?"Ever get that question? My band... Read More

Secrets to Buying Without Being Sold

Have you ever asked yourself, now how did I let... Read More

Sorry, But Im Not Buying From You!

Former General Electric CEO and legendary manager, Jack Welch, nailed... Read More

The Struggle to Decide: The Paths Customers Take to Solve Problems

Usually my essays discuss the issues that the 'sales' method... Read More

Buying Wholesale Mannequins

Many mannequin manufacturers sell their mannequins in wholesale. This means... Read More

Dont Be Macho Selling Ice to Eskimos

This issue's topic was suggested by a sales rep for... Read More

An Introduction to B2B Lead Generation

It is important that organizations find other companies to do... Read More

Challenge Yourself!!! Evaluate Your Selling Skills!

This evaluation is not for the "weak-kneed". Real questions to... Read More

The Relationship Between Colour & Sales

Make no mistake that emotions are the driving force behind... Read More

Successfully Selling Your Professional Services

As a professional service provider you face special challenges promoting... Read More

How To Take The Right Steps To Increase Your Selling Results

Steps - it is unrealistic for most salespeople to expect... Read More

How Can Fundraising Consulting Help Us Raise Money?

If you need to hold a fundraiser and don't know... Read More

Turn Your Wisdom Into a Workshop

The Technical Revolution has done a lot for us --... Read More

An Introduction to Mannequins

Just about every clothing store uses mannequins. There are many... Read More

What is a Pitch?

I've been training in countries outside the U.S. recently, and... Read More

Know What You Are Selling As If You Were Buying It

Recently I wanted a new lawn mower as we have... Read More

Diverting the Flow of Customers to Your Business

I was a lucky kid when I grew up. Lucky,... Read More

Five Keys to Make Your Cold Calls Sizzle

Do you clam up on the telephone? An advertising rep... Read More

A Little Something Special Goes a Long Way

Keeping the 80/20 rule in mind; that is that 80%... Read More

Dont Call Me

The March, 2004, issue of Psychology Today reports on an... Read More

Are You Scaring Your Customers Away?

"Hello, is (pause) puh-TREE-shuh home?"So started my weekend lesson in... Read More

5 Ways to Encourage Impulse Purchases

I just bought six square pieces of spongy fabric for... Read More