Contrast: A Not So Hidden Secret

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Contrast. You know, contrast, like up/down, in/out, day/night/ black/white. Contrast gets our attention. In fact, contrast is what separates one salesperson from another.

I’ve read two books recently that focus on the importance of contrast in sales (although neither were necessarily focusing on sales),  Neuromarketing by Patrick Renvoise and Resonate by Nancy Duarte.

In Neuromarketing, Renvoise discusses the brain and how people make decisions. He says that only six stimuli speak to this part of the brain and one of them is contrast. Duarte’s book is about presentations, but in the bigger picture it is about contrast. She says that the goal of the presentation is getting people to see the difference between what is and what will be.

This has unending ramifications in the sales business. It is useful, obviously, in presentations. But it is equally effective in developing a negotiating strategy or explaining the virtues of a contract.

Anytime a person has a sales experience, it is an opportunity for the sales person to have them experience the difference, the CONTRAST, between what life is like right at this moment and what it will be like after the experience.

Examples? Okay: 1) The difference (contrast) between renting and buying for a first time homebuyer. 2) The contrast that comes from effective staging, you know, before and after. 3) Then of course having people understand how the world is today and how it will be tomorrow if they choose you to be their agent.

The importance of contrast can be seen most vividly in another realm: weight-loss commercials. You never see a weight loss commercial without what? Yep, the before and after shot. Why do you think that is? The answer: because it works. Advertisers get that contrast is a huge cog in the decision-making process for human beings.

Herman Melville said, “There is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.”

So, how do you use contrast in your business? Are you able to clearly differentiate your value from that other person? Can you have me see how tomorrow will be better than today if I choose you?