Don’t Sell the Future, Sell the Here and Now


Don’t Sell the Future, Sell the Here and Now

You see it everywhere, companies selling a glowing, perfect future for their customers. 

A company that sells personal finance services will often talk about a rich retirement and passing wealth down to children. A fitness company will often talk about a healthy, fit, energy-packed future self. Colleges will sell a vibrant career with endless opportunities and fulfillment.

It seems logical to paint a picture of what life could be like if a customer said yes. And when you run a company, it’s easy to see the future value of the work you provide.

The problem with this approach is that customers have busy minds. And, the farther something is in the future, the more variables will affect it. Customers know that a rich retirement account is dependent on many things: they have to be diligent about setting aside money, and they have to make sacrifices in order to ever get that cushy future. 

Someone looking to get a college degree knows that there are about a thousand steps in between where they are today and having their dream career. They know the process is complex and time-consuming. When they see that beautiful future, their mind starts coming up with all the things that could go wrong.

So, the marketing message doesn’t pack the kind of punch that you imagine it will. People don’t immediately say yes to this beautiful, glowing future. They hesitate, overthink, and put off the decision.

Instead of selling the future, shift to the here and now. People don’t feel comfortable buying a potential future scenario, they’re far more comfortable saying yes to something that delivers value today. 

Instead of asking people to invest and (possibly) get their ideal future 6 months from now, speak about your work in terms of what can be done now. What can they pay for and receive immediately? How can you create an easy and significant first step? Of course the future could be bright and wonderful, but what will they walk away with today?

Maybe instead of selling a fitness program by talking about a healthy, glowing future self, you talk about a done-for-you meal plan that they can use this week, starting with dinner tonight. 

Or, maybe instead of a fat retirement account 20 years in the future, you talk about an automated, easy investing plan, something simple that they can start using in just 30 minutes. 

The future is hard to sell because it’s hard to see with any degree of clarity. It’s an estimation, at best. It’s not real, it’s a fantasy. And, everyone has spent time dreaming up a future that eventually fizzled and didn’t come to fruition in the way they’d hoped. And, nobody wants to invest money in a product or service and end up disappointed again. The more immediate and tangible you can make your work, the more comfortable customers will be in saying yes today.

Find ways to bring the future into the present moment and sell from there. This way, you bypass all of the mental noise that goes along with a bright, glowing future. The mind can argue with a potential scenario, but it’s harder to raise objections to a purchase in-hand today.

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