Everyone craves the feeling of having found and acquired something that others can’t. That they are worthy of taking advantage of an offer that would not be made attainable to a lesser person.
They want to be accepted where acceptance is only granted to the finest men and women of the planet. They want to access the inaccessible. To acquire the invaluable.
The more hoops the jump through to get in, the more they value their access.
The seller who’ll just take anyone’s credit card robs his clients the satisfaction of proving their mettle through uniquely qualifying for the offer.
Though you may be emaciated for the funds, resist the urge to make it an cinch for them to get enrolled. Ask them qualifying catechisms that weed out the non-ideal prospects. Then actually weed out those who don’t qualify to your rigorous standards. Soon, word will disseminate and you’ll have hordes of people lining up to do business with you. Or at least, to try their luck.
Woe is the seller who’s ever ready to receive a client. A busy seller is a wanted seller. A wanted seller is seldom randomly available. The thought of you jumping with joy upon their arrival will make them relinquish their confidence in you, and consequently, in your offer.
It’s no longer about what is for sale. Today, it’s all about who’s selling it. A sturdy reputation will do all the selling for you. Your job is to acquire, and harness a reputation that renders selling superfluous.
We bear no freedom to choose whom we place our trust in.
And there is no more significant testament to your competence, reputation and attractiveness to customers than the live presence of a daunting number of other customers.
Your business is the single greatest asset that you will ever own.
It is also the best investment opportunity you have right now. If you don’t lend your business enough credence to regularly make increasingly intensified investments in it, why should anyone else?
Acquire assets of all kinds that enable your business run smoother and more efficiently. Acquire skillsets that empower you to constitute your business machine. Acquire talents who out-innovate, out-market and out-perform your competitors.
And most importantly, acquire clients. If a large chunk of your investment is made in client acquisition processes, then you are on a trail blazed by the deft.
Every industry latches on to a “way in which things are done ‘round ‘ere.” Every single one. Following what everyone else is doing, and doing it the way they are all doing makes you boring.
Being boring is the cardinal sin in the world of marketing.
You can concertedly be wrong, but you can’t be boring. You can conceivably be offensive, but you really can’t be boring. You might even afford to alienate everyone so long as you are not boring, and you’ll do all kosher. But be boring, and you are deceased.
Court Controversy If You Must, But Do Not Be Without Your Market’s Attention
The simplest way to proceed soundly in business is to witness what everyone else is doing, and then executing the exact opposite. So if they are all selling their services at rock-bottom prices, be the contrarian, and charge the heftiest premium thinkable for your services. One that they dare not dream of.
When cigarette companies were all attempting to brand themselves safe, customers actually ceased believing that cigarettes were safe. So what did the smart businessman do? He branded his cigarette “toasted.” He unhinged the playing field. He lapsed a mention of safety in his ads. He transposed the issue to relate to something no one else was talking about.
When everyone else is extolling the virtues of fuel efficiency and speed, associate yourself with prestige. When everyone else is endlessly sprouting the virtues of progressiveness, narrate those of conservativeness.
It goes without saying that this commandment doesn’t apply just to what you are reciting, but also to what you are executing, and the manner in which you are performing it.
If all restaurants and cafés kick patrons out after an hour past the last order, be the first that doesn’t.
If they are all shaving their advertising budgets, triple and quadruple yours. Because now is the time to fervently cast a crater in their market share while fabricating yours.
When everyone is content with employing the cheapest low-wage employees they can find, go out and employ college grads. Then engineer a process to make them ten times more efficient through technology than others can.
When everyone is disbursing a free ebook, chalk out a paperback, and charge a premium for it.
You don’t have to be very astute in business as long as you internalize this – What everyone else is doing is most always fallacious. Just execute the exact opposite, and you’ll be fine.
The average client will convey 250% of their initial sales revenue each year, as long as you have a solid follow up mechanism and system.
One in five buyers will accept a four times more expensive offer in addition to their initial order.
Over half your revenues will be received from less than one percent of your clients, assuming you have enough clients. Disproportionately allocate resources to the top one percent of your clients.
A four times more expensive and four times longer marketing campaign shall produce three times as many sales from the same target audience.
So, if you spend ten thousand dollars on a marketing campaign targeting five thousand people, and receive a hundred sales… you will receive three hundred sales from the same audience should you be willing to spend forty thousand dollars.
These three hundred clients will, over the course of a year purchase at least 250% as much as they do during the initial sale.
Of these three hundred customers, sixty will purchase a four times more expensive product or service at checkout in addition to their original purchase. Of those sixty, twelve will additionally accept an offer sixteen times more expensive than the original purchase.
Incoherent business owners acquire clients so that they may make a sale. Deft business owners make sales in order to acquire clients.
No matter what you sell, there are two businesses you run.
The first one is the client acquisition business. You may not turn a significant profit in this business. You may not even turn a profit at all in this business. Actually, in highly competitive markets, you may have to incur a loss in this business, and you’ll still be swell, as long as your other business functions properly. But before we initiate a slightly more elaborate discussion on that, let’s resume our conversation of client acquisition.
The only reason why you want to sell something to a prospect is to acquire a client. This is the essence of your first business. You do not do it to mint money. Any money you make is immediately reinvested into acquisition of more clients. Should you lose money in the process, you’d be well advised to take a chunk of the profit from the client retention business. Not just to keep the client acquisition business afloat, but thriving.
Most business owners misconstrue this. They assume that they are acquiring a customer to make a sale and to turn a profit. Whereas in actuality, it’s the exact opposite.
You sometimes gladly incur a loss to acquire a new client.
The second business you are running is retention. And that begins with a conversion. Now, I am not just talking about the literal conversion of a prospect into a client here. I am talking about the actual mindset of a person as he invests more and more time and money with you, and travels further along the road you’ve laid out for him.
This business has scantily anything to do with sales. Sales transactions are natural byproducts of retention practices. Sales are what keep you and your employees fed, and what enable you to acquire and retain more customers. That’s all sales do.
So what is this business about?
This business is all about producing fanatic followers of your company. People so immensely fanatic about you or your brand that they will get into an altercation with someone to defend your reputation. Actually, literally, physically fight, in some cases.
This means that the Herculean task of selling commences after the first order is placed, not before, contrary to popular belief. You’ve only just sold them a product or service thus far. That’s relatively easy. Selling and buying are the only sexy aspects of business. Everyone loves cavorting with money. At the conclusion of the first transaction, the selling process ought to have only just begun. The difficult stint is convincing. Convincing them to align their mindset in synchronization with yours.
The first sale is tantamount to them saying, “Alright. I was skeptical, but I am going to give you a shot. Show me what you got.”
Converting them from that mindset to, “I can not believe I have lived my entire life without buying from you. How did I ever get on in life before?” is a rather monumental feat.
You don’t just want customers who pay you money when they must. Worse still are the customers who’ll engage with any seller to get what they want. With absolutely no regard for the brand, the supplier or the seller.
The selling has only just commenced.
What you want are raving fans. People who will send you more clients by way of referrals. People who will assimilate your imbibed mindset so strongly that they’ll concatenate in a queue the night prior to the launch of your latest program. People who will just not cease being amazed by and disseminating their cheer regarding your products. People who’ll brag about possessing them, or being a part of the “tribe”.
What you also want are people who will not have unrealistic expectations of you. People who’ll know that your value and worth is derived from a source very different from the other vendors, and consequently will not (mis)judge you for not providing other features like speed, cheapness, constant 24X7 availability.
I am not saying don’t provide these options, but sometimes it just doesn’t do anything to add perceived value to a product. Eliminate waste when a feature doesn’t raise the perceived value of the offer by skipping the feature in its entirety. This is the place for cost cutting.
Never allow yourself to be an “occupied vendor.” A seller with options is a seller without desperate need. It builds self-confidence in competence and encourages negotiation with a potential client if you have multiple safety nets.
If you already have four more meetings lined up the next week, are you going to be devastated when a potential client is uninterested?
A client knows when he has signed the contract and handed over the check he has abdicated a measure of his power. But when he has started echoing your mindset and philosophy, he’s surrendered nearly all of it.
But mindsets are ephemeral.
With time he may rediscover his power and threaten to hire your competitor. It is his final trump card to get you to accommodate him on terms that do not suit you.
Withdrawing all his cash in an instant will rip a hole in your bank account (and your willpower) if you are faced with having to dent your savings to survive your business as well as yourself. Having to lean on your savings account isn’t going to be salubrious for your personal relationships either.
Having enough clients that your company’s (and your own) financial future is secure, even if your topmost client leaves, will reinforce your will and render the terms of your engagement unbreachable. As long as your terms are fair, you’ll never need to accommodate an unreasonable client.
Should you find yourself in the precarious position of having a lone client – one who parturitates a significant portion of your business, say over twenty percent, then serve them well, of course. Bide your time if you must, and accomodate their unreasonable demands if you must, but do it from a position of power anyway. Do it as if you believe their requests to be the most fair and reasonable trade terms possible.
Silently and swiftly employ a proportion of the profit begotten from their business to acquire more clients. Soon their sway over your business will be reduced.
It’s a politically correct world out there.
If you say or do something that does not go over well with the popular crowd – which you inevitably will sooner or later in your quest to court attention and to reject the conventional wisdom’s many suggestions – then be prepared to be attacked. A lot.
It might sound scary. Controversy is thrilling when it’s shadow transpires over someone else’s heads. But when it happens to you, it becomes unnerving.
Should you trust your axiomatically capricious feelings in such tumultuous times, you’ll find yourself praying on your knees for the storm to blow over and be forgotten. Cast into the obscurity of archived but rarely retrieved pages of history.
If you trust your feelings, you might even feel guilty for having gotten muddled up in the dirty quagmire of politics that seem so far removed from your business that it might all feel pointless.
You will subsequently seriously contemplate adopting a posture of submission to hasten the passage of this storm.
But your feelings belie you.
An apology invariably begets an intensified expectation of another apology. Should your contrition become apparent, not only will you sustain immediate scathing from your detractors, whom you will yourself have branded scrupulous, but also an expeditious expectation by your current clients for all the perceived slights they’ve incurred over the years at your hands. Thus, they’ll summarily lose their respect for you.
This remorse you encounter is not rooted in your conscience. Nor is this controversy vitiating your business, no matter how loudly the purporters of socio-political justice shriek.
If your action or speech was guided by a policy determined during sober conditions, free of maudlin introspection triggered by a heat wave of blame and curses, then rest assured, what you executed was condign.
Now proudly stand by what you did.
Issue a standard-issue statement devoid of the puniest scintilla of apology. Proudly exclaim what you did, and extoll the principle that guided you to do it.
You will find that should you refuse to budge, they will lay down their weapons rather quickly. Or at least move on to wetter pastures, so as to ruddy their hands with the shiniest new controversy. Hopefully one where the subject terrifies readily.
But in this process, they will have administered you the attention of hundreds of thousands, even millions of new prospects.
A small minority, who strongly self-identify with these justice warriors will remember to hate you. These people were never your ideal prospects anyway.
A vast majority will hark your name, and then swiftly glance over what is recounted about you in the media. They will certainly not investigate the facts, and they’ll certainly not decide to side with you. In their docility, they will thoughtlessly opt to dislike you.
Only, their attention span shall prove even more flimsy than that of the knights who brandished their publishing weapons and charged against you. Without delay, they will forget most everything about you.
The only thing that will eventually transpire is this – weeks later when they see your ad, or hear about you in some other context, they’ll recall that they’ve known you. They’ll know that they’ve heard your name somehow. That will ironically make you trustworthier to them, and better established in their minds than a company with no controversial background recall.
And so the media-bashing controversy will actually prove to be a boon in the long run for you.
But that’s not all.
A small minority of the people who hear about the controversy will actually check you out. They’ll perform fact checking, and they’ll weigh arguments from both sides to varying degrees of rigor.
Is you have stood your ground, most of these people will end up siding with you. Not only siding with you, but also enormously respecting you for being a bulwark in the middle of a storm – rooted in principles and unshakeable in structure. Many of them will become not just clients, but also raving fans of the most inexpungible nature.
Set yourself apart from the other sellers. Connect with a buyer’s deepest desires, pains and fears. No matter how well-accomplished and rational a man may seem, his mind is still an unhinged sea lush with the violent turbulence of emotions. Even the most ambitious man has dreams that his logical mind is unwilling to admit real.
Be the oasis of hope in the arid desert of restricting rationality. Employ all his senses. Describe in lush detail the possibilities that steal away his sleep.
Deep influence is possible only through deep knowledge of their unmentioned desires and fears. On the one hand, they have dreams. A banker may dream of being a rockstar. He acquiesces that he’ll never be one. He isn’t aiming for it. But he still dreams of rockstardom in the most vaulted recesses of his mind.
But remember, what he truly craves is the status that rockstars are lavished with. The adoration of screaming nubile fans, the frenzy of the followers, the experience of significance. While you may not have it in your puissance to alchemically transform him into a rockstar, you can certainly create a theatrical shop where he experiences the sheer joy of being one.
A doctor may dream of becoming a wealthy investor who need not work anymore. He may be jaded, for he has tried his hand at far too many investment opportunities of all types, and none have amazed him. His rational mind might be made up – that such a dream is nothing more than a pipe dream.
But his core will never cease yearning for the freedom. Freedom from all the stress he has to endure. Freedom from having to work extremely long hours. Freedom from having to be surrounded by sickness and bad smells.
It’s his own yearning that will convert him. Your greatest pitch will hardly dent the sternum of his rational logic. Therefore you must bypass logic and influence him at his core.
And remember – Your buyer is complicit in the justification of a purchase that he emotionally connects with. Your job is merely to demonstrate to him a possibility. And to show him how other clients are enjoying the results. The hope is made real through demonstration.
Show, don’t tell.
In your acquisition of wealth, you can either go after the minnows, or you can go after the whales.
Whales are often considered difficult to acquire, expectant of extremely high quality services, and fewer in number. Offend one whale, and many other whales will be cognizant of your impasse in short order.
Sellers are also often concerned that their offer may not be good enough for the whales.
Cast away your fears.
No matter what your station in the world, stride through life without apology or excuse.
It matters not if objectively they can have a similar experience for less money with another seller. What matters is your positioning, your repute. Which is largely a function of your confidence. How you think and act reveals your own opinion of yourself. Revelation in an enormous capacity.
Whales, being experienced with a lot of sellers, have finely tuned galvanometers that uncover the tiniest crack in the shield of belief in one’s own offer. Do not make it unavoidable for them to reject you.
Self-confidence will win you whales. Irrational self confidence, backed by constant innovation and investment in upgrading your business, will make the whales line up to sign up for your waiting list.
Besides, whales are fewer in number. So you’ll have less work to do in both reaching them, as well as servicing them. They are conspicuous by virtue of their own magnitude.
And while they may bring a thousand times more revenue than a minnow, they are not a thousand times more inaccessible. The cost of acquiring a whale is certainly not a thousand times higher than that of acquiring a minnow.
If your current offer is inadequate, invest in it until it becomes adequate. Then continue investing in it as long as you live. But do not hesitate to present the best offer you have at any time to a whale.
In your acquisition of whales, you will likely interact with clients who earn, in some cases, tens of thousands of times as much as you do. This can be disconcerting for some sellers.
The possibility of a very large sale, and the mental pictures of the consequent experiences to be gained as a result of the likely highly non-insignificant cash inflow breed excitement. This excitement turns into debilitating nervousness when the seller realizes that, “one wrong word, and the chance is blown.”
The seller who trains his mind to stay in the present moment, and subdue the mental pictures of rewards when interacting with a wealthy prospect will magically transform his power. His nervousness and apprehension will disapparate, leading to more productive and self-respectful interactions with his prospects.
This is how the 80/20 principle works.
Those who get used to dealing with whales, and to treating them as equals, even subordinates in relative status, through numerous past experiences with other whales, appear to be magically confident in the company of any number of whales of any magnitude. Thus converting most of their prospects into clients. While the vast majority of sellers, who have no such fortune, tend to freeze in their presence.
It is helpful to avoid thinking about whales in terms of “successful, powerful, wealthy.” Do not ever compliment a whale on his accomplishments. Compliment him about his work ethic, his creativity, his processes, his thoughts and behaviors. Even his beliefs. But never his success.
Decline one-on-one work with minnows, and work with lots of whales to shatter your awe of them. And to attain a zenith of transcendental clarity in anyone’s presence.
Through developing our business systems, we attract many prospective clients into our world. In order to magnetically attract prospects into your sphere of influence, you must know your strengths and invest your resources accordingly.
If you are a gifted stage speaker, but cannot endure speaking into a camera lens, then conduct a seminar and have that recorded.
If you are gifted with satire and rant, then try not to impress the majesty of your philosophical musings over your readers.
If you are a shining star, but can’t handle all the grunt work that goes into running a business, then either hire people to do it for you, or outsource it all.
The only tasks you ought to be engaging in are the ones you are good at. Constantly practicing what you are good at will lead you towards mastery. Incidentally, whatever you are good at also becomes the core strength of your company.
Everything else can be, and ought to be outsourced to some other company. One that specializes in doing what you do not wish to do.
Inadequate follow up is epidemic for businesses worldwide.
And the single greatest root cause for this lack is a lack of news. Most companies never do anything new. They don’t have anything to say, for they have nothing to display.
The only greater detriment to a business’ prosperity and growth than being forgotten is being bankrupt.
So stay in their sights to stay in their minds. The best businesses I know follow up with their clients and prospects up to 500 times each year.
Decide what your competitive advantage is. This is usually whatever you perform differently from every other player in the marketplace. This is what you do best of all that you do. This is what you do better than anyone else.
Engineer an experience around this competitive advantage. Then innovate to develop it, so that it transcends the realm of the mundane. Your offer then transmutes in a unique and unparalleled offer.
Consequently, your client walks out in an intoxicated stupor of mental and sensual engagement.
Hire highly paid professionals in your company. Especially those who your clients will be interacting with. Then train them extensively and regularly. Create unmatchable standards for your competitive advantage.
Make it impossible for your clients to stop spending. Decipher their code. Discover what their hidden need, desire, fear or frustration is. Then satisfy them.
But do so in a self-constrained manner lest they lose their fervor.
You will be hated. That is the price you pay for being adored by your fans. You will be despised. That is the price for the admiration of your followers. You will be feared. That is the price you must pay for earning the respect of everyone who deals with you.
You will be called names, you will be cursed, and you will be blamed for innumerable events that inexplicably go wrong. The burden of blame belongs squarely to those who wield the glory of victory.
If you let everything everyone says get to you, then you are doomed for a nightmarish existence. Strengthen your boundaries so that no one might ever cause you stress.
Set your sight on your objectives, and never let it wander. Look around to gauge dangers and recognize opportunities if you must, but don’t let your eye wander aimlessly. Not until the objective has been achieved.
Do not take personal offence to anything anyone says. Often by the time you succeed, your critics morph into your greatest allies.
You must never fear. Fear kills your status and destroys your repute. Fear also permeates the strength of the bond between you and your existing clients, and makes them reevaluate their confidence in you.
Your fear will bring about a premature demise of your business relationship with a client.
It stems from anxiety. Anxiety over the notion of losing their business.
So face it. Let it stare you, engulf you, envelope you, and then slowly melt away.
You will kick a client out if he wastes your time, or violates your terms. You will let them leave a project mid-execution if their heart is not in it anymore.
You will constantly work on strengthening your reputation and spreading your fame. This constant investment will consistently yield more and more people in your waiting list.
A client who can scare you with a threat of leaving controls your life. He will, sooner or later, call you late at night with impudence for something that isn’t urgent.
Do not allow anyone to treat you like that. Treat yourself with reverence and act accordingly.
The closer you follow these commandments, the easier you will find selling big ticket items will be for you. Especially ones where one on one communication is necessary.