Fear Sells and That’s OK. Here’s Why…


Our home security system is on the fritz.

A sensor on a first-floor door has stopped working so the system thinks door is open — even when its closed tight.

In order to activate the system and secure our house, we have to “bypass” that door which requires pushing keypad buttons in a sequence more complicated than learning Sanskrit.

It usually takes me 17,137 tries (give or take) to bypass that door and arm the system. I’d rather skip the process. But Melissa insists…

We WILL secure the house every night.

We live in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on a beautiful street, in a beautiful house. But you don’t have to go far to find some rough neighborhoods.

Crime happens. Car break-ins. Home burglaries. And so on.

I don’t blame Melissa for worrying. We have the security system and we arm it each night for peace of mind. We sleep better with the system armed.

All of this reminds me of an article I read by an “expert” who preached about the “evils of fear-based marketing.” One of his examples: “In the home security industry, the message is that a home without a security system puts the lives of the family at risk.”

That’s bad marketing, the “expert” claimed: “While fear-based marketing may lead to short-term results, it may not be useful for creating long-lasting relationships with clients and building your brand. A different approach is to draw your audience in by being authentic and offering real value.”

Riddle me this, dear reader…

How would you market a home security system without tapping fear?

That riddle stumps me.

The point of a home security system is to prevent a bad outcome — an outcome prospective customers fear. That’s the case with many (most?) products and services.

If your prospects are anxious, you can speak to the anxiety – honestly and with respect. Meet your prospects where they are. Empathize with them. Show you understand what they’re feeling.

Melissa and countless worry and lose sleep if their house is not protected by a security system.

(Here’s the most important part…)

After you meet them where they are and acknowledge the problem/fear, show how your products or services offer a solution.

If your prospects are in pain, speak to the pain. Then show how you can move them from pain to relief. If your prospects feel stuck, speak to the feeling. Honor the feeling. Then show how you move them from stuck to forward motion. If your prospects are losing sleep and restless, wondering whether their house is secure, speak to their restlessness. Then show them how your home security system can help them sleep well.

Offer real value. Understand your prospects. Meet them where they are. Empathize and envision so you can share meaningful promises and lessons.

Don’t let anyone tell you that’s “evil” or manipulative.

Your audience will value your authenticity. They’ll appreciate how you understand them. And they’ll buy from you.

Don't go away yet..

p.s. Coaches, authors, and consultants hire me to power-up their creative content and storytelling to captivate prospects, stand-out and book more business.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.