Sales and marketing is my life. I’m in the thick of it, day in and day out…deep in the guts of at least two to three of my client’s businesses at any one time, and watching dozens more at a distance.
Some of these businesses are extremely successful. And success leaves clues. One of the most beneficial things about being involved with these businesses, and helping them to become even more successful are the lessons I learn along the way.
While obviously I can’t name names, or reveal any nitty-gritty specifics that would be deemed proprietary, what I can do here in The Sunday Post is share the advanced success keys that make these businesses tick. And that’s exactly what I’ll be doing over the next couple weeks, beginning today …
Success Key #1 – First Things First
Almost everyone who gets into the expert business initially puts the cart before the horse. They arrive at the erroneous yet logical conclusion that what they do comes first, and that if you simply build a better mousetrap and market it well, the world will beat a path to your door.
This is very dangerous thinking, because people are not looking for better mousetraps. They’re looking to fill an emotional void in their lives. Your first order of business should be getting to know your clients, and identifying those voids.
Only when you understand what remains unfulfilled, will you be in a position to design a program that hits the sweet spot of the market. Remember, happy people make lousy prospects.
The second fundamental sequencing error fledgling coaches, consultants, advisors, agencies, service pros and solution providers often make is to create the product, service, or program first and the copy that sells it second. To the outsider, they appear to be separate, but in reality a successful offer is merely an extension of the marketing that sells it. The offer is born from the copy’s correlation with the emotional vulnerabilities of the market.
Third, there is an overwhelming tendency to try and be too many things to too many people. Your cost of sales, and the amount of money you will be able to spend to attract a new client are impacted greatly by the narrowness of the appeal.
People want things that are created specifically for them, and are willing to pay substantially more for such items. A program on dog training might sell for $1900, while a program on training Doberman’s will sell for two or three times as much — and cost half as much to sell.
Success Key #2 – Make Them Come to You
A spider never wants for food. It finds a harmless looking little corner to build its web, and while busying itself with other tasks, awaits its prey.
Highly effective selling works the same way. You make yourself visible in the places your target prospects are likely to find you, and lure them into your web with free content.
Like the spider, you personally attend only to the very best prospects that have fully ensnared themselves, while automating your interaction with the rest.
Once inside, your systems draw each prospect/client deeper and deeper into your web in a series of graduated steps, each one increasing the level of commitment.
To make them come to you requires a soft sell. You haunt the periphery of their existence, appearing in different places, never approaching them, but continually teasing them to betray their interest by requesting specific information from you.
To them, this information is just what it seems, information. To you, it is sales copy, carefully designed to subtly communicate the various benefits of your solution… install buying criteria… overcome objections… and intensify their desire to fill the emotional void in their lives that attracted them to you in the first place.
Success Key #3 – YOU Are the Product
Your mission — should you choose to rise to the challenge — is to execute continuous and gradual improvements to the stickiness of your web.
At the front end, this means increasing your effectiveness at converting prospects into buyers, lowering your cost of sales, and reinvesting your gains to widen your net.
In the back end, it means continuing to hit the sweet spot of desire, thus keeping your client in a perpetual ascent to ever-higher levels of achievement and spending.
And in the greater scheme of things, making things so tight, systematic, and measurable until you’re spending more than anyone else in your niche to attract and acquire a new client.
Extreme profitability and business equity comes from the small group of clients who remain loyal to you over the long term. This is the elite inner circle that buys everything, sight unseen, no matter what it costs.
Building a core following like that requires more than mere products, programs or services. It demands your clients develop a strong personal identification with you. At a certain point, they stop buying your offers, and they start buying you.
You become the product. And you must be interesting enough as a person to maintain their curiosity.
It is crucial that you reveal your personality, ideals, opinions, and ideologies, and it doesn’t hurt at all if they are extreme, controversial, unpredictable, or even a little paradoxical.
Keep them guessing, and you’ll have them eating out of the palm of your hand.
Success Key #4 – Become an Object of Desire
We are all social creatures, influenced greatly by the people around us. We want what other people want.
Imagine walking down a busy street and looking for a place to dine. On the left is a steakhouse with a long line of people snaking around the building. Why are they waiting to get inside? There must be a reason.
On the other side of the street is a Seafood House. There are just a few cars in the parking lot. Why are there so few people inside at the dinner hour? There must be a reason.
In both cases, there may be no reason at all. Or the reason may have nothing to do with the taste of the food, the quality of the service, or the ambiance of the decor. The Chef and Maitre de may be standing at the ready inside the Seafood House to give you the finest culinary delights you have ever imagined — supposing you were to go inside. But alas, you probably won’t.
Desirability is a social illusion.
Your own reputation may or may not be that alluring. Regardless, you must find ways to suggest that many others, or at the very least those in high places have benefited from your counsel. There’s nothing like a restaurant full of empty tables to persuade us not to go in.
Desire is both imitative, and competitive. Not only do we want what other people want, we want to take it away from them.
Limit the space in your inner circle. Force your clients to compete for your attention. Make them see you as a scarce and sought after commodity, and you will become shrouded in an aura of desirability.
Success Key #5 – Sell Them What They Want, Then Sell Them What They Need
John Maynard Keynes — the father of modern economic theory — formulated his policy recommendations to government upon the idea that as people become richer, they spend smaller and smaller portions of their income.
Keynes believed that people are much more strongly motivated to fulfill their basic needs, such as food, shelter and clothing than they are to purchase luxury items after their basic needs have been met.
Back in the 1930s, Keynes gazed into his crystal ball and foresaw a day when the average American would own a four bedroom home and a car, and warned President Roosevelt of the grave dangers that lay ahead.
He said that once people had seized The American Dream and made it their own, they would become less productive, curtail their spending, and start squirreling away a large portion of their increasing incomes. And naturally when people stop spending, recession or even depression ensues.
Keynes encouraged the introduction of interventionist monetary policies like deficit spending… progressive taxation… and the manipulation of interest rates… all designed to “regulate” the economy by keeping the more productive people in society working, and preventing them from hoarding too much of their excess income as their affluence increased. Indeed, these monetary policies survive to this day.
There’s just one problem with all of this. Keynes was totally wrong. He was a blathering idiot who had no clue about human motivation and the real reasons people spend their money. Even sadder, is the fact that his ideas have been hijacked by political parasites the world over to embezzle the wealth of hard working people. But don’t even get me started.
The simple truth is this …
People do not spend to meet material needs, and therefore do not curtail their spending as their wealth increases. The more they earn, the more they spend, and the more they acquire, the more they want. Upscale consumer demand is insatiable. And the reason is simple…
People buy because they’re looking to fill an emotional void in their lives. All of us hide behind a social mask. We pretend to be surer of ourselves than we really are. We don’t want people to glimpse our doubts, fears, insecurities, and feelings of lack. So we shroud ourselves in symbols that express the identities we wish to portray.
No matter how affluent or satisfied people appear to be on the outside, they are always suffering from a sense of incompleteness at some level on the inside.
All copy should not be a bed of roses. You must identify the dominant emotional weaknesses within your target market and ever so gently bring those doubts, discomforts, and anxieties to the surface of your prospect’s awareness with your sales copy and your marketing.
No one will follow you until you can get them to reflect on themselves first and become aware of their failings. Sometimes it’s necessary to draw their attention to their inadequacies briefly, even twist the knife a little, stirring feelings of tension, anxiety, and dissatisfaction with their circumstances and with themselves.
Everyone deep down is insecure at some level. Bring their fears and insecurities to the surface, then come to the rescue, and people will follow you. Make them feel the pain, and they will appreciate the solution.
To my knowledge, there’s no such thing as a perfectly satisfied person.
God help marketers everywhere if such a person exists.
Stay tuned for part two of Advanced Keys to Sales and Marketing Success next week, where I delve deep into the subtle arts of indirection and soft-suggestion that allow you to glide effortlessly under your prospects’ sales resistance radar.
Until next time, Good Selling!