If It Bleeds It Leads

I do like to find the occasional directive easing the dilemma in our core pitching.

Do we major on the pain to be nixed, or the joy to behold once fixed?

Solution Sales is a calling riddled with this apparent contradiction.

A kind of ‘we stop you haemorrhaging cash’ versus ‘we’ll make you so much money’ conundrum.

One upon which my perennial favourite, Prospect Theory, sheds light on the ideal path ahead.

From an interview with US cognitive science professor, Steven Pinker, I gladly learn how news programming has long determined its running order;

if it bleeds, it leads.

When it comes to Sales, we’re often recommended to be more in-line with the above truism, as spoke by ye olde news editors, rather than the search for good news. The description of sun-lit uplands with unicorns dancing around glistening pots o’ gold under rainbows in the main can be thought ineffective in making buyers act. (The example given was the peace treaty signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea shamefully garnering little, if any airtime in The West.)

Its etymology appears attributed to Eric Pooley in 1989.

Those hardened souls gloss over the proverb that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Interestingly, a couple of months back I discovered Time Berners-Lee had found something not dissimilar through his experience of twitter.

Prof Pinker offered some delicious soundbites;

Negativity distorts rather than enriches a vision of the world

Good things aren’t built in a day and can creep up by stealth, so you can miss huge events

World poverty has seen a huge reduction – fallen by 75% over last 30yrs – but you wouldn’t know it. A billion have escaped from extreme poverty but as it didn’t happen on a specific Thursday in September no-one knows about it.

Appetite for witnessing mayhem and carnage is what media plays to

Only bad news is deemed worthy of serious, responsible journalism

Anything good is pr, advertising, propaganda – not worth talking of, but this is irrational

Systematic bias means that any good news must have a downside

The goal should be “accuracy”

Powerful thoughts. Ones I learn are shared elsewhere. Such as by Deborah Serani and others who published If It Bleeds, It Leads: The Clinical Implications of Fear-Based Programming in News Media.

Despite my yearning for the kinds of journalistic re-alignment outlined here, we live in a buyer’s world.

Corporate Procurement execs do strike me as those for whom anything ‘good’ can certainly be seen as blatant pr. To be treated with not just caution, but often, outright disdain.

Many a wizened solution seller will advise you to wallow in the prospect’s pain. So what about this angle as an objection handle? Buyers could be said to be sceptical of any upside you describe. The winning stats, the gushing client, the indisputable proof.

How about saying you are not like mainstream media? You do not live in a vacuum of leading bleedings. Your goal is indeed, accuracy. And theirs can be too.

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