Sent by Jonathan Stark on March 16th, 2018
Imagine that you are in the market for a sports car. You email a couple friends asking for recommendations and you get the following two messages back:
This one’s easy for me. Favorite car: Porsche 997 GT3 RS in Signal Green.
So you’re looking for a sports car, eh? But, not just any sports car, something special? After all, anyone with a couple hundred bucks can cruse around in a Miata. Well, since it is about the experience, not the money or what people think, then I would have to recommend a Porsche 911. Whether you are looking for something that will allow you to just get lost in the moment on a long windy road through the back-country, or test your manhood on the race-track (or both), this is the car to have. It is absolutely true what they say: “There is no substitute”. A Porsche really does bring something quite, well zen-like to the driving experience. A joy. A one-ness with the car, with the road and with the gravity that keeps the tires glued to the earth. Yeah, sure, there’s a stigma associated with Porsche. But that comes from people who do not know any better. And is quite false. Besides, you never really struck me as someone who would let the opinions of a few uninformed dissuade you from enjoying the best in life. On top of all that, life is just way to short to drive boring cars. Hope that helps!
Based on these two messages, which car would you be more inclined to buy?
The author of message 1 helpfully provides a very specific answer (i.e., Porsche 997), but he doesn’t really explain why it’s his favorite car. It’s left to the reader to do the research.
The author of message 2 also gives a very specific answer (i.e., Porsche 911), but uses extremely evocative language to describe the experience of driving the car:
I actually received these exact two recommendations yesterday. The difference in my reaction to each was startling.
My reaction to message 1—I thought, “Huh... I guess I do think Porsches are kinda cool. Signal green sounds kinda cool...”
That was about it.
My reaction to message 2—When I got to the part about “long windy road through the back-country” something happened to me.
In that split second, I pictured myself cruising through the woods on a perfect early autumn day. Still warm enough for the top to be down, but cool enough for the leaves to be changing. I would’ve sworn I could feel the wind in my hair.
A desire to own a Porsche 911 was born in me in that moment. I’ll almost certainly never buy one (I hate driving) but that desire will probably never completely go away.
Why is that?
Because my desire is not really for the car. It’s for the picture in my head. And the 911 - not the 997 - is the car in the picture.
All this begs the question:
What pictures are you painting in the heads of your clients?
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