As you well know, we are bombarded by an immense number of calls for our attention. The average person lingers on the typical website less than 10 seconds and this is about the extent of our human attention span. During this short window of opportunity you must become relevant in order for others to invest another 10 seconds to find out more about you.

Tom Sant introduced a tool called N.O.S.E. that can help you make the most use of every opportunity for engagement, even on the phone or in a social setting. This general outline has been used in proposals that exceed 100 pages and sold services worth millions of dollars.

N.O.S.E. stands for:

  • Need
  • Outcome
  • Strategy
  • Evidence

The first two items here engage the feeling right side of the brain and the second two elements provide justification to the rational side of the brain.

Let me summarize it like this: “If you are able to express my need and my true desire in words then just maybe you might understand me.” “What you are offering sounds really good and I need to know precisely how you think you can achieve this wish: the fulfillment of which may have already eluded me.”

Let’s try a couple of examples here:

You are a tutor. You chit chat with a lady who has kids.  Need: “I work with kids who have trouble reading.” Outcome: “after 6 months of working with me they are able to join the regular class instead of being stuck in the remedial group at school.” Pause for a response and indication of interest. “How do you make that happen?” Strategy “I find that many kids who have trouble with reading are more body centered. So once I connect the sounds and letters to their sensations by touching their hand, for example they immediately begin to ‘Get it’ and become excellent readers in no time. Their confidence and self esteem also improve greatly.” Seeing the impressed look on the mother’s face you proceed to the evidence. “I have been a teacher with the school system for 15 years.”

You sell Real Estate. You get the classic “so what do you do?” at the local Chamber mixer. Instead of answering “oh I’m a Real Estate agent,”  You first focus on the primary targeted need you serve. “I help families who have outgrown their current home to upgrade to a larger home and simultaneously sell their old home.” Here we rolled the need and the outcome into one statement. “Do you know anyone who is in that situation where they barely have time to handle their work and parenting responsibilities but desperately need a bigger place?” “I take care all the legwork so it’s a smooth and easy process.” This is the strategy. And now for some evidence “I’ve been with [insert brokerage name] for 12 years.”


One thing that most sales people forget is to ask the right questions during opportunity interactions.  Instead they do nothing but talk about themselves.  Asking the right questions leads to bonding by letting the potential client INVEST in telling you their story.  It also lets you know where they are coming from so you can frame the “N” or Need and Outcome parts of your response to precisely fit their situation.

The Power of Need

Wealth Coach David Neagle shares an example of trying to sell a fine cloth napkin.  If you begin to tell your potential prospect about the fine Egyptian cloth and embroidery they will rapidly tune you out.  However if you come up to them and say quietly “hey I noticed you have something on your face” and then hand them the napkin – they will be eternally grateful.

Other Applications

This N.O.S.E. process can also guide your landing page design on your website and improve the quality of leads you get from you Adwords clicks.

We will discuss this further in our article on keys to Adwords Success.