You may be young and vulnerable and are probably unaware of sophisticated Sales and Marketing techniques being on you by the Adoption Industry. Let’s talk about that….
MARKETING TECHNIQUES BEING USED BY ADOPTION PROFESSIONALS
All of these Marketing Techniques can be found in any Marketing Textbook, Handbook or online.
Pro Adoption Websites use soft colours, with images of cute happy babies and happy mothers to make adoption look like a happy, wonderful experience.
USE OF IMAGES
They show images of pregnant bellies with no faces.
Images of babies wrapped as gifts.
USE OF TERMS AND LANGUAGE
They use the term “birthmother” – you are just a pregnant girl…how did you become a “birthmother” all of a sudden? This is a subtle yet, very powerful way to lure you into adoption. You have been labeled as a “birthmother” and now have a role to fulfill. You will now read “Dear Birthmother” letters from prospective adopters, and next thing you know, they will give you the option of “choosing” one of these adopters, and now they have you!
They will make you think you have made a “choice”, and that you are in control because you are making all the “choices”, but instead you have been tricked by a very clever marketing technique which labeled you a “birthmother”.
Most adoption websites “soften” the truth of many things that will happen:
Long Lasting Psychological Effects of Adoption: Softened Version…..
They tell you that all mothers experience the “baby blues” after a birth, and you will feel it too, but maybe a bit more than the usual (they forget to tell you about the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the severe long lasting psychological damage you and your baby will suffer). One Canadian site actually states that: “As for how you’ll feel, after all those months of discussing the placement, you may feel relieved that it’s finally over. But your relief will be tinged with sadness. Some woman who give birth experience post-partum depression and you may, too — but for different reasons.”
This is a very softened version of the lifelong suffering you will actually have. In fact, it is so “softened” that it is irresponsible and wrong to give this interpretation of what you and your child will actually suffer in your lifetime.
Open Adoption: Softened Version….
Many adoption websites/government/and government adoption agencies will try to make you believe that Open Adoption means contact with your child.
Mothers Beware: Open Adoption means you know the names of the adopters and they know yours. Nothing more, nothing less.
JOINING A GREAT TEAM
Many websites give you lists of famous adopters and tell you what a great “club/team” you will be joining!
Objective: Obtain the “buy in” of the mother by having her plan vows and an event with the objective of obtaining an agreement from the mother that she feels she cannot break when her baby actually arrives.
This is a marketing technique used on mothers before their babies are born in order to get them to “make an agreement”. At a Covenant Agreement, mothers are coerced to take vows,(like in a wedding) regarding the agreement regarding future contact with their child. Mothers may “choose” where the Covenant Agreement is held and may be encouraged to make the arrangement, choose the decorations, and be in charge of how the Agreement and Ceremony looks, and where it takes place. She will think she is “in charge”, but in fact, she has just been used to create a marketing event with the objective of getting an agreement from her which she feels she cannot break once her baby arrives.
Mothers Beware: Covenant Agreements are not legally binding to adopters, and more than 50% break these agreements within the first year of a child’s life.
Objective: Get the Baby and Get the Consent Signed – (and do it as soon after the birth as possible in case she changes her mind.)
This is another ceremony that the mother “gets to plan”. These ceremonies are most often done at the time when a child is placed for adoption. The mother actually hands her baby over to the adopters at this ceremony which may include readings, prayers, special music, and may include gifts and letters to the child, and even photos! Everyone can attend – even the child’s grandparents. This is a marketing event with the objective of Getting the Baby and Getting the Consent signed. Sometimes these ceremonies are held right in the hospital after a birth!
Mothers Beware: Entrustment Ceremonies are a disguise for you “handing over your baby” and signing the Consent. This is the objective of this ceremony, and you now have no legal rights at all. If the parents left this ceremony and never saw you or spoke to you again, that would be their right, and if you went to their house, they could get a restraining order against you after the Consent is signed. These are just the sad facts.
SALES TECHNIQUES BEING USED BY ADOPTION PROFESSIONALS
STEPS OF A SALE AND HOW THIS IS BEING USED ON YOU
*(Found in any basic Marketing or Sales book or online)
Finding someone to sell to who may want your product or service. Your “target market”.
(Eg. The “target market” for Wrinkle cream would be older women)
Did you know that Adoption Agencies actually tell adopters that they aggressively try to find mothers (babies) for them? You have been what they call “targeted”. You are the Target Market.
Approach in Sales means how you come across to your new Prospect (you)…how you gain their trust and the first impression that you make.
Using cleverly designed websites and making you feel like “you are in the right place to get the help you need” is one of the specialties of the Adoption Industry. They know how to prey upon the fears, vulnerabilities and insecurities of young pregnant women. Mothers Beware: If they are already calling you a “Birthmother” or use this term on their website…be very wary…this is a powerful marketing tool.
(See Language of Adoption and Legal and Ethical Protection)
QUALIFY THE CUSTOMER
Here is where it is determined if the customer “qualifies” for your product or service. E.g. if someone wants to buy a house, but has no money they do not “qualify” to go forward in the sales cycle. The salesperson will not continue with this client. The salesperson also has to “qualify” that he or she is working the with actual decision maker – the person who can sign on the dotted line.
Someone will speak to you to initially “qualify” you. They will find out if you have been to a doctor, and if you are actually pregnant and may suggest using their due date calculator on their website. If they determine you are actually pregnant and are unsure what to do, then you “qualify” to move forward in the sales cycle.
As part of the qualification, they will also make sure they are speaking to the “Decision Maker”. That would be you, but they will also want to know if there is anyone else they need to talk to who will influence your decision, in business, this could be your Manager or Supervisor. Here they will determine if others such as your baby’s father or your parents are involved, and invite them into the process to ensure that the “sale” goes through.
Here is where the talented salesperson or marketer can show his wares and dazzle you with his product, knowledge, and /or service. This is where they will show you the features and benefits using pictures, marketing materials etc. so that you are becoming more interested in buying the product (the product in this case being adoption). Beware, this is the stage of any sale where most misrepresentations are made.
This is where you are sold. You will see pictures and letters from adopters who will give your baby the world. You will see “birthmothers” who are” happy” with their decision. You will see images of bellies with no faces, and babies with ribbons tied around them (gifts to others). You will start being called a “birthmother” which is a very powerful marketing tool.
This is where they will use your natural love for your baby against you. “You want the best for your baby don’t you?”, “If you love your baby you will want to give it a two parent family” etc.
This is where the Agency will get you to “buy in” by making you do an activity such as reading
“Letters to Birthmothers” and profiles of Adopters. Mothers Beware: This is a very dangerous place you are in right now.
They will make you feel like you are in charge, but you are not in charge. Clever marketing is in charge of you now. Yes, it is wrong to use a mother’s natural love for her baby, but do not underestimate that they are doing it. You are smart, and you will voice your concerns, but they will make you think that your concerns area natural and normal part of the process you now find yourself in.
REMEMBER IT IS THEIR JOB TO FIND BABIES FOR INFERTILE COUPLES….THAT IS WHAT THEY DO AND THAT IS HOW THEY MAKE THEIR MONEY. THEIR JOB IS NOT HELPING YOU, THEY DO NOT GET THEIR MONEY FROM YOU.
In the Sales Cycle the salesperson should try a Trial Close. This is where the salesperson obtains some form of commitment from the prospect before the deal closes to get an idea of what objections they may be facing in the future and to solidify their position to ensure a final sale.
In Adoption the Trial Close is insidious. Usually it will take the form of “choosing parents for your child”.
Once you have chosen parents, you have now bought in to the program and you have made some form of early commitment. You may be asked something simple like “have you looked at our parents in waiting, we have so many wonderful parents”. This is a trial close. Remember they do not care which parents you choose, only that you “choose”.
Handling objections is the part of the sale where the salesperson has to overcome resistance to the closing of the deal. This is where the customer is showing hesitancy about the product or the service and has objections that the salesperson has to find out, and overcome. This is done by the use of
Overcoming Objection Techniques.
Here are some techniques used:
Acknowledge and minimize your customers’ position
eg. I understand you are worried about seeing your baby afterward “Is that all that is troubling you?” If your client answers “yes” then reassure them that is not the case and alleviate the fears
and then you have a sale!
When you customer makes a statement about why they won’t buy or what they don’t like or why they feel as they do; this will help you get to the root cause of their concerns so that you can overcomethe objection. e.g “Can you tell me more about what Is bothering you? Get to the root objection, then overcomeit….then you have a sale.
Restate the objection
Say the objection over again and confirm it with the customer so the customer can hear it.
e.g. “So you are saying that you do not like this couple?” This tends to reduce the magnitude of an objection and allows prospects to modify your statement to more accurately express their true objection. “Oh no, I like them” – you have a sale.
There are hundreds of books written on Objection Handling and there are many textbook answers and techniques that Sales and Marketing people use to overcome objections. All these techniques are tailored to individual industries such as the Adoption Industry.
This is where the salesperson obtains your signature on the final order….in this case – The Consent to Adoption. Before this, you may have signed a Covenant Agreement or some other form. None of this is legally binding. You can change your mind at any time, and discontinue talking to this”salesperson” just as you would any other salesperson selling you something
One of the most important stages of selling is closing the deal. This refers to the actions taken by the sales professional to gain your final agreement to the sale. There are many closing techniques in sales, which are prescribed actions that sales people take to persuade the customer to make the necessary commitment. Here are some of these:
Adjournment Close – give them time to think….What is it you would like to think about?
Alternative Close – offering a limited set of choices….Would you like these parents or these ones…
Artesan Close – Showing the skill of the workman………You have chosen the best parents
Assumptive Close – acting as if they are ready to decide…you are making the right decision
Balance-sheet Close – adding up the pros and the cons….Let’s write down all the positives and negatives in order to make a decision…
Best-time Close – emphasize how now is the best time to buy….these parents are going to move on if we don’t act fast
Bonus Close – offer delighter to clinch the deal.
Bracket Close – make three offers – with the target in the middle.
Calendar Close – put it in the diary….Let’s make a date for the Covenant Agreement
Or let’s pick a date for …..…whatever it is they want. Now they have you.
Companion Close – sell to the person with them….They will try to sell your parents or whoever you have with you so that THEY will convince you.
Compliment Close – flatter them into submission…You are one of the smartest girls we have seen…you really know what you want for your baby and that is adoption.
Concession Close – give them a concession in exchange for the close. Pictures of your baby, or something similar
Conditional Close – link closure to resolving objections. If we do such and such, will you do it then?
Courtship Close – woo them to the close.
Customer-care Close – the Customer Care Manager calls later and re-opens the conversation.
Daily Cost Close – reduce cost to daily amount.
Demonstration Close – show them the goods. Introducing you to adoptive families and “birthmothers” who are “happy”. (They may be happy now because they are unaware of what the future holds for them”)
Distraction Close – catch them in a weak moment. Mother is heavily pregnant, unsure
Doubt Close – show you doubt the product and let them disagree.
Embarrassment Close – make not buying embarrassing. Are YOU ready to be a parent?
Emotion Close – trigger identified emotions. Using your love for your baby against you
Empathy Close – empathize with them, then sell to your new friend.
Empty-offer Close – make them an empty offer that the sale fills.
Exclusivity Close – not everyone can buy this.
Extra Information Close – give them more info to tip them into closure.
Fire Sale Close – soiled goods, going cheap.
Future Close – close on a future date.
Give-Take Close – give something, then take it away.
Golden Bridge Close – make the only option attractive.
Handover Close – someone else does the final close.
Handshake Close – offer handshake to trigger automatic reciprocation. …Congratulations!
Humor Close – relax them with humor.
Hurry Close – go fast to stop them thinking too much.
IQ Close – say how this is for intelligent people.
Minor points Close – close first on the small things.
Never-the-best-time Close – for customers who are delaying.
No-hassle Close – make it as easy as possible.
Now-or-never Close – to hurry things up.
Opportunity Cost Close – show cost of not buying.
Ownership Close – act as if they own what you are selling.
Price-promise Close – promise to meet any other price.
Puppy Close – acting cute to invoke sympathy and a nurturing response.
Quality Close – sell on quality, not on price.
Rational Close – use logic and reason.
Repetition Close – repeat a closing action several times.
Retrial Close – go back to square one.
Reversal Close – act as if you do not want them to buy the product.
Save-the-world close – buy now and help save the world.
Selective-deafness Close – respond only to what you want to hear.
Shame Close – make not buying shameful.
Shopping List Close – tick off list of their needs.
Similarity Close – bond them to a person in a story.
Standing-room-only Close – show how others are queuing up to buy.
Summary Close – tell them all the things they are going to receive.
Testimonial Close – use a happy customer to convince the new customer.
Thermometer Close – they score out of ten, you close gap.
Think About It Close – give them time to think about it.
Treat Close – persuade them to ‘give themselves a treat’.
Trial Close – see if they are ready for a close.
Valuable Customer Close – offer them a special ‘valued customer’ deal.
Ultimatum Close – show negative consequences of not buying.
Yes-set Close – get them saying ‘yes’ and they’ll keep saying ‘yes’.
Copyright Valerie Andrews 2009