Focus on the Suspect

The Benefit Play is the third play of the Case Open Routine. It marks a change in focus from the sales person and the company they represent to the needs and want of the suspect. The Benefit Play rivets the interest of the suspect. It is the bait that keeps the suspect’s attention focused on what you have to say. After putting your suspect at ease by introducing yourself and positioning your company, the benefit play shifts the focus of the conversation away from you and onto the suspect.

Changing the focus from you and onto the suspect is important, but changing focus to the suspect by itself is inadequate to keep them interested in your conversation. For this reason the Benefit Play also has to make an offer of something desirable – it has to suggest the suspect can get something they want. Let’s use a fishing trip to illustrate the point.

Imagine that you hunger for some relaxation, and lying beside a large body of water while dangling a fishing line sounds ideal. If your idea of rest and relaxation is lying in the sun while drowning a worm you would be interested in a mountain retreat even if the fish are not biting, but you may not be interested in hiking several hours to a secret fishing hole just to catch a limit of tasty trout only to turn right around and hike back home.

On the other hand if you enjoy searching out and finding the most likely hiding place for a hungry school of fish, a rigorous hike to a secret fishing hole might be tempting. If the strategy of selecting the bait that will tempt even the most experienced fish in the school and the exhilaration of that first hit on your line and the battle that ensues motivates you, perhaps fly fishing would be more interesting.

The key to each scenario is to offer the fisher something desirable to him. If it is rest and relaxation that is wanted, the fishing trip has to focus on the escape from rigor and the daily grind. If catching a lot of fish is most compelling, the trip should offer access to the little known hole full of fish waiting to jump into the frying pan. In any case the offer must be clear and compelling.

Once you have made a clear offer of something desirable, the final purpose of the Benefit Play is to inspire the suspect to want to meet with you. It is still too early to make a direct offer, plopping the bait right in front of the fish is often enough to scare it away. Instead the offer you make in the Benefit Play demonstrates vicarious value. You demonstrate vicarious value by sharing the benefits you give to your existing customers. It is easy for a suspect to see that since you provide this benefit to your current customers, it is likely that you can provide the same benefit to them.