Buying Dad a car for his birthday

My birthday present for Dad this year was buying him a new car. Here it is:


OK, so he still paid for it … but I did all the running around, finding the car, negotiating etc. (And how good is the number plate by the way. Ask and you shall receive. Completely irrational how happy that little detail makes me.) 

I’ve been telling Dad for over a year that he should get a new car. The old Suburu had done 150,000km, the radio didn’t work, things were starting to go wrong … and I figured it was time to put her out to pasture. 

I also figured that Dad has one more car before driverless cars, so we may as well get onto it. 

I thought I’d made a pretty compelling argument, but nothing was happening. So eventually I asked Dad what the story was. Turns out he was putting it off because of an underlying anxiety about getting ripped off with the new car, and likewise with selling the old one. 

Something that I think is extremely common when we make big purchases. 

And it wasn’t at all about the money. If I had gotten taken for a ride and he ended up spending a bit too much he wouldn’t care. 

Hence I was the one who bought the car, and everyone’s happy.

Nice story Pete, but what’s the point?

When you’re selling programs, as well as thinking about the value you’ll provide, put yourself in your clients shoes and think about the risks they’re taking. In this case, the risk for Dad was getting ripped off, and it was enough to stop him buying.  

If I’m being booked to speak at a conference the risk is that I suck. But the real risk for the person booking me is that they lose face, lose standing, don’t get the promotion they want, lose their job etc. The risk isn’t just that the audience doesn’t last. So if I’m selling a keynote I need to understand and mitigate this risk, as well as sell the benefits. 

With Thought Leaders Business School the risk is someone spends $25k and then the program isn’t a fit. Or the story we tell is different than the experience. But the underlying risk might be how do I explain to my spouse that I’ve wasted our money on something that didn’t work. So we mitigate this risk for students by taking a $1500 deposit, and then “dating for a while”. Spending anywhere between 3 months and a year teaching the methodology and getting to know each other before more money is due. Makes it safe to buy and takes out the risk. 

What is the real risk for your clients? And how do you mitigate it?