The 5 Questions Your Website Has 60 Seconds To Answer

It’s likely that today you will get a few visitors to your website. Congratulations!

Did you know you have 60 seconds or less to deliver answers to their questions or they will wander off to your competitors?

Here are the top 5 questions your website visitors are wondering.

Does your website answer these 5 questions? How quickly? What improvements could you make?

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1. “What do you do?”

Your website has 5 seconds to answer this question.

Do you have a single sentence in a large font near the top of the page? Continue reading “The 5 Questions Your Website Has 60 Seconds To Answer”

Need To Motivate Someone To Take Action? Will You Email, Phone, or Meet Them Face-to-Face?

Have you noticed that there are only 2 ways to get things done in this world?

There Are Only 2 Ways To Get Things Done

  1. Do it yourself
    • But you have just 24 hours in a day just like everyone else, it’s hard to leverage your time
  2. Get someone to do it for you
    • You might be asking them to buy something from you
    • You might be asking them for help on something small/big
    • You might be asking them to make a small/big change to their normal behaviour, the way they normally do things

Imagine if you could motivate 10 people to do 10 hours of work for you everyday? That’s 100 hours of productivity every day.

So how do you motivate someone?

Money works. Sometimes.

But I think the biggest motivator is attention.

Could Attention Be The Biggest Motivator?

Attention is the new currency of the world.

Actually, this hasn’t changed from when you were 1 year old.

You craved attention then, you crave attention now.

For you, attention could be:

  • Recognition for a job well done
  • Respect for your skills and knowledge
  • The knowledge that people hold you in high esteem
  • Someone wondering how you are
  • Getting lots of emails from people who need your advice or decision making skill

It’s the same for the people you are trying to motivate to get something done for you.

You have 3 primary ways to make your request:

pleading-duckling1. Email: The Lowest Persuasion Power

  • Most people get lots of email so it’s easy to miss your super important message. Or easy to ignore it and leave it for later. Or easy to say they didn’t get a chance to get around to it
  • Even though some emails can take a lot of effort to write, then they are received they feel cheap
  • You can’t help but wonder if part of the message (or the whole thing) was copy/pasted from emails to other people, or sent in bulk with your name automatically swapped out
  • If you want to get someone to take action via email you have to pack in high value and answer the question “What’s in it for me if I take action on this right now?”

pleading-puppy2. Phone Call: Medium Persuasion Power

  • When you ask for what you want in a phone call, the other person has to make a choice: Yes or No.
  • It’s hard to say no straight away because it sounds rude.
  • And it’s hard to say “I’ll think about it and get back to you”
  • You’ve got their attention while they are on the phone with you so that counts for a lot
  • But there could be a few distractions going on in front of them. You are only providing audio but the human brain crazes the visual so we are open to a myriad of distractions

pleading-otter3. Face-to-Face: Highest Persuasion Power

  • There is something about the 2 of you being in the same place, at the same time, that is special
  • You and they could have been anywhere in the world, but instead you have both chosen to share a few precious moments together one-on-one
  • When another person is across the table from you it is human nature to want to help them with whatever they need

Which Method Will You Choose?

The next time you are about to email someone to ask them for something, wonder to yourself “would a phonecall be more persuasive?”.

And then wonder to yourself “would a face-to-face meeting be even better?”.

Your Thoughts?

Have your say in the comments below.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

Here are my notes on the book “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh51oR41Z4zoL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos, which is now wholly owned by Amazon and sells a wide range of items online, but made it’s start selling shoes online.

It’s the classic start-up story many of us dream of: a couple of friends get together and quit their jobs on the back on a single idea, they make it through the good times and bad times and desperate times to somehow scale it up to a billion dollar company within 10 years.

Here’s a collection of my favourite quotes from the book: Continue reading “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh”

Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff

My notes on Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff.

Buy this book now from Amazon

Chapter 1: The Method

The process using the acronym STRONG:

  • Setting the frame
  • Telling the story
  • Revealing the intrigue
  • Offering the prize
  • Nailing the hookpoint
  • Getting a decision

Continue reading “Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff”

Only Prospects In Pain Will Buy: 6 Questions To Ask To Uncover Your Prospects Pain

Did you know that only a prospect in pain will buy a solution from you?

It’s true.

The more pain they feel, the higher the price they will pay, and the more they crave your solution if you can show them that you understand their pain.

If you have a warehouse full of widgets to sell, or a professional service that is hard to change, then the following advice is not going to work for you.

You need a clean slate for the following to work.

So, have you just been made redundant? Or maybe you’re considering a career change?

Great!

Congratulations!

You have the blank slate you need. The world is full of opportunities and you have everything you need to take advantage.

The following 6 steps will show you how to build a software business for yourself, from scratch.

Continue reading “Only Prospects In Pain Will Buy: 6 Questions To Ask To Uncover Your Prospects Pain”

What To Say When You Are Asked “What’s Your Hourly Rate?”

Do you get asked the question “What’s Your Hourly Rate?” by potential clients?

How do you respond?

Do you just throw in one of these number into your response?:

  • $10/hour
  • $20/hour
  • $50/hour
  • $100/hour
  • $200/hour
  • $500/hour

Potential clients often respond in one of these ways:

  1. “That’s too cheap!”
  2. “ooo, that’s too expensive and way out of my budget!”
  3. “ok, sign me up!”

If they say “that’s too cheap!” that’s a disaster because:

  • You’ve set off an alarm in the prospects head. You’ve signalled to them that your quality is low, or you don’t have enough experience, or enough training. If you did have those things you would have said the rate they wanted to hear

If they say “ooo, that’s too expensive and way out of my budget!” that’s a disaster because:

  • You’ve scored a black cross on their list of criteria and if you try and justify it now by jumping in and defending yourself with a list of your previous clients, experience, training you’ve had, years on the job, results you’ve got, whatever, it’s too late, you are on the back foot.

Even if they say “ok, sign me up!” that’s a disaster too because:

  • You could have doubled it and they might have said yes! You’ve just cut yourself off from a huge pay day. Gutted.

So what can you do?

First, watch this 37 second video of how I answer the question “what’s your hourly rate?”, and then keep reading below:

My point is, there is no way to answer the question with the right number.

So don’t do it.

Never say your hourly rate.

Instead, quote for a result or a package.

Here’s how to respond to the question “What’s your hourly rate?” in 4 steps:

  1. Dodge the question completely and say:
    • “I want to check I understand what you need first…”
  2. Then read back to them a summary of their problem/goals and check you’ve got it right:
    • “As I understand it, you want to… [their-problem/goals]”. Is that right?”
  3. Did they say “yes” or “no”?
    • If they say “yes”, move to the step 4
    • If they say “no” then ask them to clarify and read back a new summary
  4. Then you say “I can help you achieve [their-goal]. My price is [your-package-price]”

It’s best to deliver step 4 via email when you’ve had some time to digest the project and crunch some numbers. So you could say:

4. “I can help you achieve [their-goal]. Can I have your email address so I can crunch some numbers and get back to you?”

If they push and push for your hourly rate you can respond with:

  • “I don’t have an hourly rate. I work on a results basis. Tell me what you need to achieve and I’ll tell you what it’ll take”

What do you think?

Agree? Disagree? Say so in the comments below.

Is Your Blog Stale? How Not Updating Your Blog Can Damage Your Business

“When I look at your blog I can almost see the tumbleweed rolling through…”

Are visitors to your website thinking that?

If you have a blog section on your website, at some point you thought it was a good idea to get one.

You might call it your “news section” or your “article section”, they are all the same thing.

You were probably told one, or all, of these reasons.

3 Reasons Why Writing New Articles For Your Blog Is Good For Your Business

  1. “Your blog will get you better Google rankings for your website. Better rankings = more traffic = more sales”
  2. “Your blog will establish your credibility, expertise and leadership in your industry”
  3. “Your blog will keep content flowing to your customers and potential customers and remind them to buy from you”

They are all great reasons.

So why don’t you keep it updated?

How long has it been since your last article?

  • A month?
  • 3 months?
  • A year?
  • More than a year?

The longer it’s been, the worse you look.

In fact, a stale blog can actually damage your business.

4 Reasons Why A Stale Blog Can Damage Your Business

  1. Gives a bad impression: It looks like you start things but don’t finish them. Potential customers might assume you’ll treat them like that too
  2. Lowers trust: Customers might assume that if your articles/news/blog is out of date then other info on your website might be out of date too – this lowers trust
  3. Less Google love: Google loves fresh content, without fresh content, Google will visit your site less often
  4. You are easy to forget: Subscribers will forget about you. It might have taken just one more article to tip a potential customer over the edge to make a sale, but you didn’t write one today, so you’ll never know

If I’m considering purchasing a product or service and I see a blog on their website, I’ll click on it to check when the last article was written.

If it was written months ago, or even years ago, that’s a bad sign, and a huge red mark against them.

So why did you stop updating it?

3 Reasons Why You Stopped Updating Your Blog

  1. Because you are too busy fighting fires every day, you have no time to spend 1 hour, or 2 hours or longer, just sitting there and writing
  2. Because you forgot. You didn’t schedule it in your calendar so it doesn’t exist in your list of work to do
  3. Because the longer it’s been since your last article, the harder it is to write a new article today because it feels like you have the burden of writing all the future articles on your shoulders too

How You Can Have Fresh Blog Articles Written In Just 15 minutes

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a new article on your blog every 2 weeks and it only took you 15 minutes?

You can!

It’s a new service I’m offering and here is how it works:

1. Dan Necklen or I will call you and interview you for 15 minutes

2. From this interview we’ll write a 200 – 400 word article that has the following 4 components:

  • A headline that contains phrases that customers may be searching Google for (this is sooooo important)
  • With content that is interesting and puts concepts in layman’s terms (no jargon allowed!)
  • With content that demonstrates your leadership in the industry and quality of your service/products (hooray!)
  • A call to action (we’ll let your customers know what they must do next)

3. We put the article live once it’s written (crediting you as the author because we interviewed you)

And the coolest thing is, you’ll feel like a rock star being interviewed for e-news!

This is your 15 minutes of fame. Take it.

Awesome! How Much Does It Cost?

The price for this service is $240+gst every 2 weeks. Every 2 weeks you get an new article for your blog.

Imagine if each article could contribute even just one sale worth $2000 sometime over the next 12 months. Imagine getting to the end of a 12 month period with 26 articles that can do that… (that’s like $52k)

Call (07) 575 8799 and we can get started with a 4 session trial.

Cheers,

Sheldon Nesdale
Email: sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz

P.S. Here are 3 examples of articles we’re written:

7 Simple TradeMe Tips: Turn Your Trash Into Treasure

sales-funnel

Ahh TradeMe, we all love it 🙂

(And the recent copy-cat auction sites are hilarious. They have no chance!)

You’ve heard the phrase “one mans trash is another mans treasure”?

On TradeMe, that old saying is certainly true.

Do you want to squeeze every last dollar out of each TradeMe sale?

You are about to find out how.

Think of the process of selling on TradeMe as a funnel

Above the funnel is the entire TradeMe audience. Your task is to push a volume of prospective buyers down your funnel.

You have 4 Goals:

  1. Get as many page views as you can
  2. Get as many people on the watchlist as you can
  3. Get as many bidders as you can
  4. Get a bidding frenzy going in the closing minutes

How do you achieve these goals?

Here are 7 simple but cunning tips about how to turn your junk to gold using TradeMe.

1. Research how your other sellers are selling the item

Spend 10 – 60 mins checking out the competition before you list your item.

What headline are they using? How can you improve on it? What extra keywords are they missing?

What photos have they taken? How can you improve the angles and detail?

What questions have bidders asked?  Avoid annoying your bidders by answering these questions ahead of time in your description.

What do they say in their description? What extra details are they missing? Can you tell a story (about the reasons your selling) or write an interesting story about the item?

You task is to learn from their mistakes.

2. Set the auction close to 9pm Sunday night

What you want is a bidding frenzy in the closing minutes of your auction.

To get this, an auction close at Sunday night will mean all your auction watchers will get an email that morning reminding them to come back that night for the closing minutes.

If your auction ends on a weekday, or too early in the morning, or too late at night, you will miss out on that bidding frenzy.

3. Run your auction for 10 days

Did you know it costs only 25c to run your auction for an extra 3 days? You’ll make that money back many times over.

All you have to do is start your auction after 9pm on Thursday night (or first thing on Friday morning).

(Don’t forget to set the end date manually to 9pm the following Sunday as per the tip above).

4. Be ridiculously honest in the description

I mean over-the-top honest.

When you describe the defects and imperfections in detail, buyers get giddy with trust and bid more and more.

Your natural tendency is to not mention these defects. You think it will scare some people off.  Sure, some people will be scared off. Let them go.  Lot’s more people will be attracted like seagulls to fish n chips. So fight your instinct to hide the defects. This tip will make you money.

It works because on TradeMe we are all strangers. We are strangers buying from each other for the first (and last) time, so we are looking for reasons to trust each other.

We trust shop keepers that we can look in the eye. We trust online ecommerce sites that look professional and legitimate. But it’s hard to trust a stranger.

Do I trust you will pay? Do you trust me that the goods will turn up in the condition you expect?

Revealing defects and imperfections generates trust.

Trust is highly valuable.

People pay more when they trust you.

5. Always sell at $1 No Reserve

What is the number one reason people flock to TradeMe in their millions every day?

To find a bargain.

And nothing screams “BARGAIN!!” more than “$1 No Reserve”.

Put “**$1 NO RES**” at the end of your title and at the top of your description.

This works because it gets bids very early – within minutes or a few hours of listing you should have a few.

And most important of all, each person who places a bid is automatically adding your auction to their watchlist, so they will get emailed next week to say your auction is about to close. That gives them another chance to make another bid, and that’s when you get a last minute bidding frenzy.

I know, I know, it’s a little bit scary selling at $1 No Reserve.  But trust me, this works. (TradeMe will charge you a $3 withdrawal fee if you get scared and cancel the auction).

I do $1 No Reserve on everything I sell on TradeMe.

My biggest success was when I did $1 NO Reserve for my car. (My wife and my dad were freaking out and thought I was crazy).

I’d been offered $2000 cash from Turners Auctions but got $4500 in my TradeMe auction. Probably $1000 above what I thought it was worth.

This works. Do $1 No Reserve.

Let the market decide what your item is worth. It might be worth more than you think (especially when that buying frenzy kicks in).

Another bonus is that your item will sell. You don’t have to muck around re-listing your items and waiting even longer to convert your junk to gold and get that gold in your pocket where it belongs.

6. Pay for extra photos

Yes, yes, it is a bit cheeky that TradeMe charges you an extra 10c for photos these days, but its worth it.

Upload about 5 photos of your item from a variety of angles. Include a few photos of all the items laid out nicely on a table, photos of the packing/box, and most importantly: close-ups of any defects or damage.

This is less about being honest and fair and doing the right thing (although that’s important), and more about boosting your credibility so the bidders trust you more and bid more.

7. Pay the extra $3.95 for Feature Combo

This adds a photo beside your listing, TradeMe says its “twice as likely to sell” (and I believe this claim), the title is bold, and it features your auction first in the categories.

This is a classic Return on Investment decision: ask yourself the question “will I get more than $4.00 extra for my auction with this extra exposure?”

The answer is Yes, yes you will.

What’s Next?

Try these tips for yourself. Come back and write your success story below.

The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

My notes on “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries

I’ve only made notes on the sections I found most interesting, so to get the full benefit of this book I urge you to read a copy for yourself Continue reading “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries”

Quickguide to LinkedIn Part 2: How To Milk LinkedIn – The 8 Most Important Cows

(Missed part 1? Read it first)

Firstly, it’s important to note that “100% completion” is your starting point.

That’s right, spend a few hours and just get all the basics done and out of the way until you score 100% completion.

Then come back here and read the rest of this article.

The 8 Most Important Components (or “Cows”) of LinkedIn For You To Milk

1. Customise your profile address url

2. Join at least 10 groups

  • Join a set of groups that paint a picture of your interests
  • Include several dedicated to your city, several to your country, and a few international ones
  • Don’t bother reading the discussions in those groups. Don’t bother starting discussions yourself.  Just join to get the “badges” on your profile

3. Be creative with your job titles

  • Have some fun with them
  • Poke fun at yourself
  • Be a little outrageous
  • I’ve created a website that lists all of New Zealand hot pools so my job title for that is “Head Hot Hydro Honcho”.
  • Stupid? Yes. Silly? Yes. Entertaining and different that might brighten someones day even for a moment? Yes.

4. Be creative with your job descriptions

  • Use numbers to made things concrete Eg “Developed 47 business plans, created 53 advertising plans, wrote 54,327 words for newspaper ads”
  • Take a guess at the numbers rather than painstakingly count, and don’t round them off
  • The longer ago a role was for you, the more you should simplify your experience there to a single project, or the biggest impact you made, or a long lasting improvement you made. Tell a story
  • Say something controversial
  • Take a stand on an issue
  • Wake people up
  • For example, in one of my roles I say “When clients come to me for a new website, I don’t give a damn about what they want, I only care about what THEIR customers want.”
  • The worst you can do is be boring. The world is full of boring. Don’t add to it.

5. Write your summary last

  • Weave together elements of your past, your attitude in the present, and your plans and ambitions for your future

6. Be the first to connect

  • Every time you meet someone face-to-face (or talk to them for a reasonable time over the phone), find them on LinkedIn and request a connection
  • Do not use the default message which is “I’d like to connect with you”. It requires zero effort and everyone knows it, so it cheapens your effort to connect and looks like spam
  • You could make a reference to how you met, repeat something they said to you, or thank them for a specific piece of advice or an idea they had, or simply say “Hi firstname!

7. Don’t add people you don’t know

  • If you get requests from people you don’t know, don’t add them
  • They are just playing a game to get more connections than other people
  • And worse than that, by adding them you are “vouching for them” and they may use your endorsement to get to others in your network. Not cool

8. Write recommendations for people you want recommendations from

  • Testimonials/recommendations are powerful stuff. They help people trust you and get to know you
  • It’s easy to get them, just write them for others and that creates pressure to reciprocate without you even asking
  • I’m not a big fan of pushing the “ask for a recommendation” button, but do it if things are moving too slow for you in this area

For bonus points (or bonus milk)

There are a few bonus sections that are a little hidden in the navigation that you could try. Like “Projects” and endorsing “Skills”.

For bonus points you could start discussions in the Groups you join (I might write a whole blog article just on that one day). A few ideas to start with:

  • Write an engaging headline. Headlines that ask questions are the best
  • Make it short. Articles on LinkedIn are more about generating discussion than you sharing your wisdom
  • Finish the article by asking people to add their opinion or share their point of view

Do You Use LinkedIn?

  • Did you find this article useful? Say so in the comments below
  • Got value out of other sections I haven’t mentioned? Like the jobs section? Write your ideas in the comments below

“I Think It’s Too Long, Can You Make It Shorter?” A Phrase I Dread

I do quite a bit of copywriting:

  • email proposals
  • email newsletters
  • sales pages on websites
  • blog articles
  • direct response letters
  • and the occasional fax (I’m joking about the fax, it’s not the nineties anymore)

The pieces of work I create are as long as they need to be and often include all of the following components:

  • Headline: A headline dripping with benefits that leaves the reader hungry to read the rest
  • Highly personalised: In email newsletters I like to mention the recipients first name 7 times. In direct mail my record is mentioning their first name 16 times
  • Chatty and friendly: Written in a one-on-one style as if the two of us were sitting down over a coffee and having a chat. This decreases the distance between you and I
  • Compelling content: That tells a story and focuses on what you get out of the deal. It even addresses your objections before they form in your mind
  • A limited time offer: “Respond before 5pm Friday”, and/or a limited number of customers “Only 10 positions available”
  • A call to action: Eg choose between 3 packages with ascending prices and value. “Call 0800 123 123 to secure your position”

I put my heart and soul into this work.

I work on it like it’s a piece of art. It just has to be perfect before I’m happy to release it on the world.

And time and time again this work pays off, because it generates the responses/action/sales goals that I set for those pieces.

But sometimes, a client comes back and says that dreaded phrase “I think it’s too long, can you make it shorter?”

arrrrgghh

There are 2 reasons why clients say “I think it’s too long”:

  1. Because they are not in the target audience (I’m not trying to sell your services back to you, I’m selling them to your prospects. It’s no wonder you aren’t captivated)
  2. They are bored of simple explanations of what they do. This is what prospects that have never heard of you need, but you might be bored of simplifying your story

Because the fact is, if something is interesting to an individual, they will keep reading and keep reading and keep reading.

They are thirsty for the content, and they can’t stop because it tastes like cool water as they read.

Most novels take 4, 6, 8, 10 hours to read, right?

If you had just started a novel by your favourite author that you’d been waiting months to get hold of, and I told you that I had a one page summary in a sealed envelope and I tried to give it to you would you yell at me “Keep that away from me!! Leave me to read my book in peace!”

Sure you would.

Length isn’t important.

It’s the journey.

It’s the story.

So the next time you read an article in a newspaper, or an email newsletter, or draft copy from someone who is helping you write an email newsletter, and your first thought is “I think it’s too long”. Check yourself.

Are you in the target audience?

If not, keep your opinion to yourself.

9 Reasons Why Outsourcing Your Sales Role Would be a Disaster

Can you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions?:

  1. Is your business a one-man-band or husband-and-wife type of business?
  2. Are you a bit shy and find the prospect of networking and meeting people face to face a bit daunting?
  3. Are you thinking about outsourcing the sales role to a sales rep, either hiring him/her as an employee or as a contractor (for a retainer plus commission)?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of those questions, then read the following list before you hire.

9 Reasons Why Outsourcing Your Sales Role Would be a Disaster and Why You Must Be Your Own Salesperson

  1. When that salesperson leaves, you have nothing, and you’ll have to start again
    • A drawer full of business cards of people they met have zero value because they met those people, not you
  2. It is a skill you must develop or you don’t have a business at all, you have a very expensive hobby
  3. If you can’t learn how to sell yourself then you should be an employee in someone elses business, and not have your own
    • Fire yourself today and go and get a “real job”
  4. A hired salesperson will never be as passionate about your business as you are
    • It’s passion and enthusiasm that gets sales
  5. Salespeople don’t stick around. They get bored easily and move on quickly
    • So you’ll be taking the risk on someone new all over again in about 6 months
  6. Realise that you are an interesting person and people are curious about you as soon as you open your mouth
    • Your personality and manner is actually a great advantage and point of difference (compared to a hired salesperson)
    • Your enthusiasm and passion for what you do is contagious and generates sales
  7. Managing employees is a huge undertaking in itself
    • Contracts, PAYE, holiday pay, sick days…
    • And worst of all, they get paid every week and you might not. And they get to switch off at 5pm every day and go home at night, but you stress 24/7 and have sleepless nights
  8. Learning to sell is a skill for life
  9. Talking to customers directly is where you get the most valuable feedback about your business
    • You can’t delegate the collection of feedback to anyone but you
    • This is the fastest way to find out if what your offering is actually of no interest to the marketplace and you need to change what you’re offering (this is called a “pivot”)

So instead of putting your hard earned money into a salespersons pocket in the hope that they’re going to make sales for you one day, invest in yourself and learn how to sell.

3 Ways to Learn How to be a Better Salesperson

  1. You can do it for free by reading every book on sales at your local library
  2. Hire me for coaching sessions in-person if you live in Tauranga, or over the phone if you are elsewhere in NZ (call me on 07 575 8799)
  3. Hire a friend of mine who also does sales coaching (in-person or over the phone): Dan Necklen

How To Make Millions With Your Ideas by Dan S. Kennedy

My notes on “How To Make Millions With Your Ideas” by Dan S. Kennedy5188mtDB8rL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_
  • To win with premium prices, clobber competitors with service
  • Call every customer after the job is completed to verify satisfaction
  • Offer strong guarantees
  • Get crazy publicity & word of mouth with free product to local companies (works if you own a cafe anyway)
  • Stake out a market leader position from the start – define a new niche
  • Break even on the first sale / product to get a mailing list together. Sell to that group long term
  • Repackage the same core product / service in heaps of different ways, different formats, different prices, to different target markets

The Award For The Worst Toll Free Number Goes To 0800 MELANOMA

There’s an ad playing on the radio at the moment about a local skin cancer specialist.

I have a problem with their choice of phone number:

0800 MELANOMA

To me, this is a classic case of being unable to consider the customers perspective, who is looking into the business from the outside.

The business owner must have thought “we deal with melanoma every day, it’s what we do, so if 0800 MELANOMA is available, it’s the right number for us”.

Meanwhile, the customer is thinking “I don’t like the look of this mole on my arm. I think I’ll be ok, but I better get it checked by a professional just to be sure”.

And then you want them to dial 0800 MELANOMA?

No thanks. I don’t want melanoma.

If you had two take-a-way pizza joints to choose from would you call: Continue reading “The Award For The Worst Toll Free Number Goes To 0800 MELANOMA”

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

My notes on “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki

Complete This Sentence

  • If your organisation never existed, the world would be worse off because…

Take Notes To Impress

When you are doing a pitch to an investor and they speak, take notes. The visible act of taking notes says:

Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead

My notes on “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation” by Sally Hogsheadfascinate

Fascination Scale

  • Avoidance
    • You’ll take steps to avoid TV commercials
  • Disinterest
    • You might leave the room during a commercial break to grab a bite
  • Neutrality
    • You don’t really care if you watch the commercial or not. You’re not going to take steps to avoid it, or to watch it
  • Mild Affinity

    • If a commercial happens to pique your curiosity, you’ll watch. Otherwise, eh, whatever
  • Interest
    • Commercials entertain, at least the good ones
  • Engagement
    • You actively enjoy commercials. During Super Bowl, you pay more attention to the commercials than the game
  • Immersion
    • You go out of your way to watch commercials, even going online to search them out
  • Preoccupation
  • Obsession
  • Compulsion

Continue reading “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead”

Money Back Guarantees: Should You Offer None, 30 Days, or 30 Years?

You may have heard that money-back guarantees are a good idea but you are not sure if they are right for your business?

Perhaps you are holding back because you are worried it’s going to cost you money handing out dozens of refunds, right?

Offering any kind of money back guarantee is better than offering none at all because the main two things that customers care about is:

  1. Price
  2. Risk

And a money back guarantee helps with both.

A money back guarantee reduces risk for the customer because:

  • It signals that you are confident about the quality of your product
  • It reduces their nervousness about making a bad purchasing decision
  • It goes beyond the normal offer of replacing the item if something goes wrong, because they can get their money back

A money back guarantee reduces the price for the customer because:

  • There is a cost for returning something for a refund: time. Knowing that you are able to get cash back for your trouble is better compensation than a replacement
  • Customers perception is: Price + money-back-guarantee = Free Trial. Free is a customers favourite price

These are all “up-front” factors that persuade a customer to buy in the first place. Which is great.

In fact, let’s just slap a number on it and say that offering a money back guarantee will generate 20% more sales for you.

But the real magic happens in the “tail-end”, a long time after the sale.

Let’s say you purchased the Ginsu 2000 never-needs-sharpening-can-cut-through-a-can knife with a 30 year money back guarantee.

And it’s year number 29 and you decide it’s crap. Do you ask for your money back? Hell no. For 4 reasons:

  1. You forgot about the 30 year money back guarantee anyway
  2. You can’t be bothered
  3. You feel you got your moneys worth any way
  4. You don’t want to impose or be a nuisance
  5. You’ve had it so long it feels like yours, you feel like the owner. This reduces the obligation of the people you bought it from

Yes, it’s an extreme example but you get the idea. Let’s look at another:

Let’s say you purchased an ebook about Search Engine Optimisation for $19 with a 3 month money back guarantee.

It’s the 2nd month, and you only just got around to reading it and you decide it’s crap. Do you ask for your money back? Hell no. For 3 reasons:

  1. You forgot about the 3 month money back guarantee anyway
  2. You can’t be bothered
  3. You don’t want to impose or be a nuisance
  4. It’s in your possession and so you feel like the owner. This reduces the obligation of the author

Let’s just slap a number on it and say that you get 5% of customers that actually do go ahead and ask for their money back.

So to summarise, you are getting 20% more sales to get out 5% refunds… Ummm, that’s really good isn’t it?

Yes. Yes it is.

4 Ways to Make A Great Money Back Guarantee:

  1. Make the expiry really really long. The longer it is the more chance of the customer forgetting about it, or feeling like they are imposing by asking for their money back
  2. If a customer asks for their money back, provide it the same day. Don’t drag your feet and make them wait. You will impress them with your customer service, and this experience may trigger Word-of-Mouth so you might get new sales from people they talk too!
  3. Tell them up-front how to get one eg “To get your money back, just call us on 0800 xyz xyz and you’ll have your money back within 24 hours”. You could just provide an email form for them to request their money-back, but in this case, I advise putting up a small barrier for them and getting them to talk directly to you
  4. Arrange their refund over the phone, and when it’s finished and approved, at the last minute ask them why they asked for one. Their feedback might be valuable. Don’t ask this question upfront because it will make them feel more uncomfortable than they already are

What about services?

Money back guarantees can also work for services but you’ll have to go overboard with your offer Eg “If you are not happy with our car washing service we’ll redo it for free + give your money back”

What do you think about money back guarantees now?

What do you have to add to this? Will you give it a try for your business? What’s the most outrageous money-back guarantee you’ve ever seen?

2 Vital Elements The “About Us” Page on Your Website May Be Missing

If you pay any attention to your webstats, you may have noticed that your About Us page is one of the least visited webpages on your website.

This doesn’t mean it is unimportant. It is vitally important.

The low traffic means that each prospective customer will visit it only once, so you’ve got one chance to give them what they came for.

So, what are they looking for?

When prospective customers visit your About Us page they are looking for 2 things:

  1. Credibility cues
  2. A story

3 Ways how you can build credibility on your About Us page

  1. They want to know you are legit, with a real physical address (preferably nearby to them, and at least in the same country)
  2. Use real names (not “us” and “we”). Certainly name everybody the customer may be in contact with, and it’s good to name all the support people too. Plus name the founders/managers.
  3. Use official company names (not just your trading-as name) so they know they can check you out with the Companies Office if they wanted to

3 Tips for how you can tell a story on your About Us page

  1. Lots of detail. On most web pages you need to be quite brief and get to your point quickly, but on the About Us page the rules are relaxed a bit because the web visitor is asking for a story so you can write as much detail as you like. Divide your “About Us” content into sub-pages if you need them eg “History”, “Founders”
  2. Define your target customer (don’t try and be all things to all people). The idea is to be specific so your target customer sees themselves in your description and has confidence you will serve them well. And those outside your target will still see elements that match them so you win both ways
  3. Convey your passion for helping people like them, perhaps you have an interesting story of why and how you got into this business that communicates that passion?

What more tips can you suggest for About Us pages? Add them to the comments below.

Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman

My notes on “Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business” by Erik Qualmantélécharger (1)

The story about bacon salt

  • Bacon Salt was an idea that was born out of the minds of two Seattle buddies, Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow, who over a few beers jokingly posed the question – “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a powder that made everything taste like bacon?”
  • They found over 35,000 people that mentioned bacon in their MySpace profile. They began reaching out to these people to gauge their interest in Bacon Salt, and not only did they find interest, they started receiving orders when they didn’t even have a product yet.
  • It went viral.
  • The spice that made everything taste like bacon incredibly sold 600,000 bottles in 18 months. “We didn’t even have a product at the beginning; instead, we bought cheap spice bottles, printed out Bacon Salt logos and scotch them onto the bottles.”
  • Lesson: People are passionate about what they like. Each passion is a niche that can turn into a business.


Continue reading “Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman”

5 Ways Your Potential Clients May Be Reacting To Your Contact Form (And What You Can Do About It)

Do you use a contact form on the “Contact Us” page on your website?

If so, check this list of common mistakes to see if you are making your prospective clients angry or just turning them away.

5 Ways Your Potential Clients May Be Reacting To Your Contact Form (And What You Can Do About It):

1. “That contact form is sooooo long! I feel tired just looking at it!”

  • Does everyone type at 60 Words/Minute like you? No. Most people I know type with one finger. A long form looks like half an hour of work to them
  • It doesn’t matter if some fields are “not required”. Visitors don’t notice the little asterix, and they feel obliged to fill in every field because of “form momentum”

What you can do:

  • Trim back your fields to the absolute bare minimum. Do you really need their postal address, physical address, all their phone numbers and date of birth? No you don’t.

2. “Bah! Another error message: ‘Syntax of field 624 is invald’? WTF?”

  • If prospects take the time filling in your form, click submit and they get an error box in their face they will get angry and hate you
  • It’s worse if your form validation script doesn’t highlight the field in red and provide helpful guidance so the prospect knows exactly what to do next. They will feel lost and confused
  • They will subconsciously ascribe these negative feelings to you. Is that the right way to start a business relationship?

What you can do:

  • Keep the form super short. Less fields = less potential error messages
  • Lighten up on the validation

3. “Does this contact form even work?”

  • This is a fear of the message not being delivered at all
  • Sometimes when you click the “submit” button does it feel like you are launching your message into space and you’ll never see it again? That’s because experience tells us that is exactly what we are doing. Sometimes the contact form is broken and no-one find out for months

What you can do:

  • Regularly test that the contact form is working

4. “How long will I have to wait before I hear back?”

  • Closely related to the fear of the message not being delivered at all is waiting an age for a response
  • Perhaps part of the problem is that most contact forms go to generic email addresses like “info@yourdomain.co.nz”. How motivated is the recipient of emails sent to this generic address to respond fast when the message isn’t even addressed to them? If Bob gets these messages, which will he reply to first: Emails addressed to Bob, or emails addressed to “info”?

What you can do:

  • Send your contact form messages to a real person not just “info” (yes, it may need updating when your staff change)
  • Make a promise in your email receipt “we will respond within 1 normal business day. If you don’t hear from us, please call our tollfree hotline”

5. “What did I say? When? To Who? I can’t remember!”

  • When you send a message from your own email system you can always check your “sent” box later to check:
    • That it was actually sent
    • Who it was sent to
    • The date/time
    • and most importantly: what you said
  • With a contact form you get nothing. Sometimes you might get an email receipt that says “thanks for your message, we’ll contact you soon” – yeah right.

What you can do:

  • Send the prospect a copy of their own message “here’s a copy of your message for your reference”
  • Let them just click on your mailto hyperlink so they can send their message from their own email system

What Else You Can Do To Improve Your Contact Form

Double check that you provide a clear “mailto” link for your email address like this: “sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz“.

If you don’t, you may be forcing your web visitors to use your contact form and face all the problems listed above, or they may just give up and leave, and take their business to your competitors.

Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager

My notes on “Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days” by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager

What is your competitive advantage? Is it enough?61o1gFxYuZL._AC_UL320_SR256,320_

  • Write down every reason you can think of to do business with your company. Now do the same for your top competitors. Scratch off the common ones. Are the remaining reasons good enough to be your competitive advantage? Do you need more?
  • Asking your customers why they do business with you will provide you with your competitive advantages


Continue reading “Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager”

How To Modify Your Advertising Depending On The Customers Usage Level And Loyalty

The next time you are writing an advertisement, or an article, or updating your website, choose your audience along the following grid of “usage” vs “loyalty”.

Choose just one and ask yourself “how can I modify my message to speak just to them?”.

Usage vs Loyalty: Where Are The Opportunities For Your Business?

Let’s look at each sector in more detail:

1. High/Med/Low User + High Loyalty To You = Your Best Customers

  • This is where you are making all your profit.
  • What else can you do today to keep them fiercely loyal? 2 ideas:
    • Keep adding value, keep improving
    • and keep putting your prices up (the best way to maintain or grow your profitability and signal to them that you are working hard to improve the value of your products and services)
  • Don’t waste your money communicating to this bunch with mass-media. Surely you have their email addresses or phone numbers? But more important than a cheesy Christmas card every year is to keep delivering the top quality products and services they have come to expect. Keep up the good work. Nice job.
  • High Volume:
    • If we all had lots of high volume / high loyalty customers we’d all be rich! But unfortunately they are hard to get, hard to keep and there are few of them.  So don’t retire yet
    • It’s a double edged sword: Does having just a few major contracts make your business secure and stable, or does it make you weak and vulnerable?
  • Med/Low Volume:
    • Don’t neglect the little guy. They might never turn into high volume, but they are your bread and butter today. But you already knew that I’m sure.

2. High User + Low Loyalty To You = Your Competitors Best Customers

  • Do you think you can win the most loyal customers of your competitors? You’re dreaming! They’re out of your reach
  • Can you turn a Holden fan into a Ford fan? No, you can’t. So give up and pick a fight you can win
  • But, be ready – wait for the competition to make a huge screw-up and be there with a smile on your face welcoming them home
  • This group is completely blind to your advertisements. They have made their choice of supplier for this category/industry/niche. Life is easy and peaceful for them. Let them be at peace.

3. High User + No Loyalty = Attractive But Deadly

  • This group is super attractive, because there are so many of them
  • Your boss will put enormous pressure on you to do whatever it takes to make this group buy from you this week. Most of the time the only tactic that will work is a super special price (maybe at break-even point!)
  • Sure, you might make the sale this week, but next week you’re playing the same game again and next time they’ll choose a different supplier
  • These guys suck up your advertising budget and contribute little to your profitability
  • They don’t care about the brand you’ve worked so hard to build. They don’t see distinction or differentiation between your brand and your competitors. “Who is cheaper this week? That’s the one for me!”

4. Non-Users + No Loyalty = Untapped Markets

  • This group has never made a purchase
  • They have the same problems and issues that all the other customers are facing, but not know that a solution exists!
  • For example, one of the most popular websites in NZ is called 1-day.co.nz with half a million visits a day, but it seems that 80% of the people I tell about it, have never heard of it! Could the same be true for your business? What are they reading/watching/listening to that you don’t normally advertise in?
  • The only bummer with speaking to the members of this new market is that you are breaking the ice for your whole industry and they may not choose you!

5. Med/Low Users + Low Loyalty To You = Your Competitors Bread and Butter

  • This is where your growth can come from
  • It’s about maintaining your high quality, providing remarkable service (even if only occasionally) and trying to activate Word-of-Mouth
  • What can you do to turn your customers into ambassadors for your brand?

Need Help?

Need help analysing the opportunities for your business?

I’d loooove to help!  Call (07) 575 8799 or email sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz.

Cheers,
Sheldon.

Contacting a WebSite Owner Via Email? An Easy Way to Get Your Email Message Noticed

I’ve just made a discovery that I’d like to share with you.

Firstly, I’m a big fan of email.

5 Reasons Why Email is my Preferred Method of Communication:

  1. It provides me with a permanent record of what was said to who and when
  2. It’s more reliable than my memory for recording facts
  3. It doesn’t interrupt the person I’m sending it to, they can read it in their own time
  4. I can write it at my leisure and send it off anytime day or night when it’s ready
  5. It’s free

But the biggest disadvantage is:

Incoming emails are easy to ignore.

And it’s even easier not take the action that the email message asks for eg “email me back if this of interest to you”.

How often has your response been “Nope! Delete!”?

How to Get Your Email Message Noticed:

If you are contacting a website owner for whatever reason (at the moment I’m contacting a bunch of American website to ask for advertising space), here’s a trick that will get your email message noticed:

If you see something broken on their website, mention it in the email.

Even better, write a second email 5 minutes after the first (forwarding your first email so it’s attached to the bottom), and mention the bug then.

Just about every website has something broken like a spelling mistake or a link that doesn’t work.  The website owners are always keen to hear from someone that took the time to notify them of the bug.

For Extra Impact:

Pick up the phone and call the person you sent the message to (only costs 4c per minute anywhere in the world with a calling card such as Kiaora Card).

You could say “hi, just wanted to check that you received my email, my email system has been acting strangely lately”.

That’s the way to get noticed.

Need More Help?

If you own a small to medium sized business in Tauranga, I love to help you improve your sales, marketing and advertising. Call: (07) 575 8799 or email me.

– Sheldon.

Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson

My Notes on “Ready, Fire, Aim” by Michael Masterson:41XjfgOsASL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_

When Launching A New Business, What Should Consume Your Time?

  • In launching new businesses, many entrepreneurs do the opposite of spending 80% of their time of their time on selling.
  • They spend most of their time, attention, energy and capital on things such as setting up an office, designing logos, printing business cards, filing forms, writing contracts, and refining the product.

  • They have the impression that they are doing things in a logical order – getting everything just right before they open their doors.
  • In fact, they are wasting valuable resources on secondary and tertiary endeavours.
  • It is enough to have the product and customer service just okay at the outset. Perfecting them can be done a little later, after you have gotten feedback from your customers.
  • Sell as soon as you can – if possible before you have spent a lot of time and money making it perfect.

Continue reading “Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson”

“Everyone is Clueless” – Article by Seth Godin

Particularly enjoyed this blog article by Seth Godin entitled “Everyone is clueless“:

The problem with “everyone” is that in order to reach everyone or teach everyone or sell to everyone, you need to so water down what you’ve got you end up with almost nothing.

Everyone doesn’t go to the chiropractor, everyone doesn’t give to charity, everyone has never been to Starbucks. Everyone, in fact, lives a decade behind the times and needs hundreds of impressions and lots of direct experience before they realize something is going on.

You don’t want everyone. You want the right someone.

Someone who cares about what you do. Someone who will make a contribution that matters. Someone who will spread the word.

As soon as you start focusing on finding the right someone, things get better, fast. That’s because you can ignore everyone and settle in and focus on the people you actually want.

Here’s a video that David sent over. I am thrilled at how much this guy loves his job, and I’m inspired by his story of how he turned down Pepsi as a vendor. He turned them down. But everyone wants Pepsi! Exactly. Once he decided he wanted someone, not everyone, his life got a lot better.

The Sad, Sad Story Of The Man With The Worthless US$50 Million Music Collection

Have you heard about this guy, Paul Mawhinney?

He owns The Worlds Greatest Music Collection.

  • 3 Million Records
  • 300,000 Compact Discs
  • More Than 6 Million Song Titles

It’s a sad story (with no happy ending… yet).

He’s trying to sell his collection so he can retire. But no-one will buy it.

What is Paul Mawhinney doing wrong?

On the surface it seems like a reasonable deal. You pay $3M, you sell off the good bits for $3M+ (maybe even US$50!) and you get the profit and throw the rest in the rubbish.

Here’s his story:

So why isn’t it working?

I think there are 3 main reasons:

1. No-one can afford the price tag

Who has $3M to spare? (He refuses to sell the most valuable items separately)

2. He has forgotten the purpose of music

It’s for listening to. Not for archiving on a dusty shelf somewhere.

3. He has miscalculated the value of the collection

The collection isn’t worth US$50M. And US$3M isn’t a bargain either.

It’s only worth what people will pay for it.

And so far, all we know is that that price is less than US$3M.

What is he really selling?

He’s not selling music.  He’s not even selling vinyl records.

He’s selling his problem.

His problem is clutter.

I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to sell the most valuable items separately because once they are gone he’ll still be left with thousands of vinyl records sitting on his shelf that no-one wants.

He’s spent his life collecting them.

He couldn’t bare to see them end up in a rubbish bin.  It would kill him. Literally.

And even a museum wouldn’t want them because the floor space the collection would take up has value.

What should he do?

He only has 2 options:

  1. Nothing. He could continue to sit and wait for a day that might never come.  Everyday the disappointment that no-one will buy his life’s work will eat away at him
  2. Sell the most valuable items on eBay, and call it quits. Let go, and enjoy the rest of his life.

I think he should go with #2.  He could sell the most valuable items one at a time to start with.

He will quickly get an idea of the true value of the collection.

I fear that it will be far, far less than he is hoping for.

Poor bastard.

I really feel sorry for him.

What do you think?

Write your comments below.

8 Tips For Getting Better-Than-Average Results From Your First Tradeshow or Expo in New Zealand

1. All the best booths gone? Only a few right at the back to choose from? Fine!

Don’t worry too much about your location.

You instinctively think that a high traffic area would be better, but don’t make that assumption (most people assume that a #1 position using google Adwords is the best, but you end up attracting “click-happy” people who reduce your conversion rates and burn through your cash)

Most visitors will walk around the entire tradeshow/expo. You’ll get a chance at making a connection wherever you are. So don’t stress about it. (And if you wait until the last minute you can get some really good discounts from the organisers!)

2. Say hi to everyone who walks past. Everyone. (And everytime they walk past)

There’s a fine line between looking desperate, and being friendly and approachable.

But the simple act of saying hi has a profound psychological effect.

It taps in to a basic human need – the need for connection.   In response, most will turn and give your posters and branding a chance to speak to them.

3. Bring your hottest employees

Everyone likes a bit of eye candy at tradeshows and expos. If they know your product inside out, all the better.

4. Minimise your branding, maximise the benefits you are offering

This may be hard to hear, but no-one really cares about your brand.  They only care about themselves and if you can help them.

So don’t make the classic mistake of branding the background of your booth with huge logos. The trick is to write benefit driven headlines and bullet points.

The purpose is to give walkers-by a snapshot of what you do so they can decide if they need your services.  This way, you get  the visitors who want the benefits you state in your headline and bullet points, to stop and talk to you, and everyone else walks away. Good! That’s what you want!

5. Write notes on business cards as you collect them

Write a few notes on the back of prospects business cards to remind you who they are later.

You could record your impressions about how likely they are to become clients.

And for bonus points, write a note about what they told you about their business to jog your memory later, so you can personalise your follow up email to them.

6. Don’t just require a business card for the prize draw, have an entry form

This is a common mistake.

You think that just asking people to pop a business card into the fish bowl or entry box is easy right?

Yes, it’s easy for them, but it’s hard for you.

It’s hard for you to determine if those prospects are real candidates for new business.

It’s hard for you to avoid wasting time on those that aren’t.

So on your entry form (A6 size, in pads bound with plastic coils work really well) have space to staple their business card to the form (and provide a stapler), and ask them filtering questions about their needs.

For example “what brand of accounting software are you currently using?” (if you sell accounting software), “how many employees to you have” (if you are selling HR services), “what’s the #1 annoying thing about xyz?”

There is nothing worse than drawing the winner to find someone completely unsuited to being a client of yours.  What a waste!

In fact, I suggest you go through the entries and throw the unsuitable entries in the bin before you do the draw.

7. What should the prize for the prize draw be?

You could go with a voucher for discounts on your services, or you could go with something with a much wider appeal like an iphone.

I say cast the net wide by offering the later, and let your entry form do the filtering for you.

8. Follow up super-fast

Have a follow-up plan in place before you go.

For example if it’s a 3 day trade show or expo, that night from your hotel, email the new contacts you made, just to say hi (you can sell to them later, this time you just want to stand out from the hundreds of people they met that day).  Or you might email the contact details to a staff member for sending out the next morning (using your email address).

One time I got a text message from an ANZ business banking rep just to say he enjoyed meeting me – within 5 minutes of leaving his booth! That made a huge impression.

What tips do you have to add?

Have you been to tradeshows and expo’s here in New Zealand? As an exhibitor? As a visitor? What have you seen or done that worked?  Write your thoughts in the comments below.

If You Don’t Like The Movie, Can You Get a Refund?

I get very nervous when I go to the movie theatre.

Not about the chance of soiling my pants with explosive diarrhea after eating too much from the all-you-can-eat Chinese smorgasbord from next door.

Not about the possibility of dropping my frozen coke onto my lap and leaving the theatre looking like I pissed my pants.

I’m nervous that the movie will be crap.

If so, I’ve wasted 2.5 hours of my life (including travel time), and more importantly, $24 hard earned dollars (2 tickets).

I did ask for a refund once (and I’ve been too scared to try again). It was for Sudden Death (1995) starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Right in the middle of the climax when the helicopter is falling in slow motion onto the ice hockey rink (sounds exciting? well, it wasn’t!), I got up, stormed back to the ticket window and demanded a refund.

“Sorry, we don’t give out refunds” she replied.

“I’m serious, the movie is crap-tacular, I just walked out during the climax, it really is terrible, I think I should get a refund!”

“Sorry, I can’t help you” she replied.

I stormed back to my seat in the cinema and very grumpily watched the epilogue.

The Movie Theater Business Is Dying, Maybe This Idea Could Save It?

We often hear about how movie piracy and illegal downloading is killing the profitability of the movie industry.  And certainly the ticket price is high (and bigger TV’s are more affordable and convenient), but maybe the movie theatres could change all that by offering a Money Back Guarantee?

Would you go to the movies more often? I would.

Would you get a refund sometimes? Sure.

But if they are getting your butt into the movie theater seats an extra 10 times a year, isn’t it a good investment?

Can you think of one other product or service that doesn’t offer a Money Back Guarantee?

I can’t.

How come we have let the movie theatres get away with it for so long?

If you have an awful restaurant meal do you have to pay? No.

If your plumber screws up your new toilet installation do you have to pay? No.

If your dentist gives you buck-teeth do you have to pay? No.

Sure, give them a chance to put things right before you take it to this extreme.  Same for the movies then.  Give me a voucher so I can come and see another movie.

Your Challenge, and Your Marketing Lesson

First, your challenge: I challenge you, the next time you fork out $25 of more for a crap movie theater experience, demand a refund.

It shouldn’t make any difference whether it is in the middle of the movie, or you waited until the closing credits to see if it would turn around in the closing minutes.  You probably won’t get it, but it’s your right to ask for it!

Second, your lesson: Offering a money-back guarantee is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it works.  So do you offer one? Do you make a big deal about it? Perhaps you should.

2 reasons a Money Back Guarantee works:

  1. It reduces risk for the buyer
  2. Most people are too lazy to ask for it

Good article for more info about Money Back Guarantees

(One more thing: Why is the word guarantee so bloody hard to spell?)

Real Estate Agents Are Annoying But They Sure Know How to Network

Do you get business cards or flyers in your letterbox from Real Estate Agents in your area?

I’m sure you do. Everyone does.

(I’d put a “No Circulars” sign on our letterbox but my wife loves to sift through the junk mail for a bargain).

One of the most common is the postcard with a photo of a house in your neighbourhood with “Just SOLD” emblazoned over the top.

Our local Real Estate agent is a bit different (be sure to tell me below in the comments if she’s not the only one).  She sends us all a personalised newsletter every few weeks.  And over the last few months she has been keeping us all up to date with the story of how she has been fighting with the council to make the intersection just down the road safer for pedestrians.  A worthy cause.

And yesterday, in her latest letter, she told us how she had won the battle and now there were 2 new pedestrian crossings going in this week instead of the planned 1. All thanks to her.

I thought that was pretty neat, so I sent her the following email:

Hi ****

Just wanted to say, thanks for pushing for the dual pedestrian crossings for our community. You’re a gem.

(And before you ask, no I don’t want to sell my house :P)

Cheers,

Sheldon

And her reply:

Thanks for your email and promise not to ask if you want to sell your home, isn’t it a neat community to live in?  Just remember me if you do.
Thanks
****
Property Consultant

She just couldn’t resist!

Wow. I admire their persistence. I admire their networking skills. I admire how they don’t let an opportunity slip by.

But omg they are annoying.

What do you think?  What cunning advertising have you seen a real estate agent use?

How to Turn Your Junk To Gold – 6 Simple Tips for Selling on TradeMe

Read the updated version of this article: Nov 2012

Ahh TradeMe, we all love it 🙂

Don’t you think it’s amazing how much gold people will pay for your junk?

Do you want to squeeze every last dollar out of each TradeMe sale?

You are about to find out how.

sales-funnelThink of the process of selling on TradeMe as a funnel

Above the funnel is the entire TradeMe audience. Your task is to push a volume of prospective buyers down your funnel.

You have 4 Goals:

  1. Get as many page views as you can
  2. Get as many people on the watchlist as you can
  3. Get as many bidders as you can
  4. Get a bidding frenzy going in the closing minutes

How do you achieve these goals?

Here are 6 simple but cunning tips about how to turn your junk to gold using TradeMe.

1. Research how your other sellers are selling the item

For the few days before you list your item, check out the competition.

What headline are they using? How can you improve on it? What extra keywords are they missing?

What photos have they taken? How can you improve the angles and detail?

What questions have bidders asked?  Avoid annoying them by answering these questions ahead of time in your description.

What do they say in their description? What extra details are they missing? Can you tell a story (about the reasons your selling) or write something amusing?

You task is to learn from their mistakes.

2. Start your auction on Sunday afternoon

This catches a lot of people at home in the earlier stages of the auction, and more importantly, they’ll all be back again next Sunday afternoon for the closing minutes.

If your auction ends on a weekday, or too early in the morning, or too late at night, you will miss out on that bidding frenzy in the closing minutes.

3. Be ridiculously honest in the description

I mean over-the-top honest. When you describe the defects and imperfections in detail, buyers get giddy with trust and bid more.

Your natural tendency is to not mention these defects. You think it will scare some people off.  Sure, some people will be scared off. Let them go.  Lot’s more people will be attracted like seagulls to fish n chips. So fight your instinct to hide the defects. This tip will make you money.

4. Always sell at $1 No Reserve

What is the number one reason people flock to TradeMe in their millions every day?

To find a bargain.

And nothing screams “BARGAIN!!” more than “$1 No Reserve”. Put “**$1 NO RES**” at the end of your title.

This works because it gets bids very early – within hours of listing you should have a few.

And most important of all, each person who places a bid is automatically adding your auction to their watchlist, so they will get emailed next week to say your auction is about to close. That gives them another chance to make another bid, and that’s when you get a last minute bidding frenzy.

I know, I know, it’s a little bit scary selling at $1 No Reserve.  But if it really isn’t working out for you, know that you do have the option of withdrawing the auction (TradeMe will charge you a $3 withdrawal fee).

5. Pay for extra photos

Yes, yes, it is a bit cheeky that TradeMe charges you an extra 10c for photos these days, but its worth it.

Upload about 5 photos of your item from a variety of angles. Include a few photos of all the items laid out nicely on a table, photos of the packing/box, and most importantly: close-ups of any defects or damage – this is less about being honest and fair and doing the right thing (although that’s important), and more about boosting your credibility so the bidders trust you more and bid more.

6. Pay the extra $3.95 for Feature Combo

This adds a photo beside your listing, TradeMe says its “twice as likely to sell” (and I believe this claim), the title is bold, and it features your auction first in the categories.

This is a classic Return on Investment decision: ask yourself the question “will I get more than $4.00 extra for my auction with this extra exposure?” Yes, yes you will.

That’s it from me. What other ideas can you think of?

Read the updated version of this article: Nov 2012

How Many Things Can A Restaurant Do Wrong and Still Stay In Business?

It must be 9 because last night the Jasmine Thai Restaurant in Tauranga made 8 screw ups:

  1. The outside signage was so dark and small that half of our party couldn’t find the restaurant when they drove past
  2. The jugs of water that were served when we arrived were at room temperature. No ice. No lemon.
  3. Half of our table wasn’t having wine, but the wine glasses were not cleared from the table (a minor point but we needed the space later)
  4. Half of our party arrived 10 minutes after the first half, but weren’t offered drinks on their arrival
  5. The waitress took the order of a table that arrived after us
  6. Instead of reprinting the menus, things were crossed out with a black permanent marker or with a tiny piece of paper and sellotape.  For example “fresh” was crossed out for “fresh orange juice”
  7. The list of mains were numbered (which is tacky in itself, who started that anyway?), but each page of the mains menu started at number 1, so if we wanted number 5 we’d have to say “number 5 on the second page”, or “number 14 on page 3”
  8. When the waitress came back with our meals she had to ask who ordered what. Is it that hard to remember who ordered what?

However, the food was delicious, fresh and tasty. I have no problem with the chef. But the service was terrible.

How tight-a-ship do you run?

  • Do you pay attention to detail in your business?
  • Have you let your standards slip over time and hoped that no-one will notice?
  • Maybe it’s time for a spring clean?
  • Maybe it’s time you got a fresh pair of eyes to look over your business?
  • If so, I’m available

Reasons Why Websites Are My Favourite Marketing and Advertising Medium

7 Reasons:

  1. Websites operate 24 hours a day, every day (I love the idea that you can make money or achieve your goals while you sleep!)
  2. Accessible from anywhere in the world
  3. Well written content is like having a team of non-pushy sales people simply providing the information and answering questions that potential customers are asking for
  4. Websites are cheap to build, and cheaper to run
  5. Websites are easy to update (unlike a brochure or a book that is out of date as soon as its finished printing!)
  6. It puts the user/customer in control (so it challenges you to get inside their head and figure out what makes them tick)
  7. It’s easy to get free traffic from Google searches

Are you this excited about your website? Is it time for fresh ideas?

Contact us today or book a free 45min consultation now

The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg

My Notes on “The Secrets of Consulting” by Gerald M. Weinberg:The secrets

  • The first law of consulting: In spite of what your client may tell you, theirs is always a problem.
  • The second law of consulting: No matter how it looks at first, it’s always a people problem
  • Never promise more than 10% improvement (so the client doesn’t get embarrassed about how crap they were)
  • If you happen to achieve more than 10% improvement, make sure it isn’t noticed
  • Whatever the client is doing, advise something else (because what they have been doing hasn’t worked so far)

  • You’ll never accomplish anything if you care who gets the credit
  • If they don’t hire you, don’t solve their problem
  • The Law of Raspberry Jam: The wider you spread it, the thinner it gets. Alternative: “Influence or affluence; take your choice”. One on one advice is very powerful for initiating change, an email newsletter or a book is weaker at influencing chance. But with the latter, with leverage, you can make a lot of money
  • Most of the time, for most of the world, no matter how hard people work at it, nothing of any significance happens
  • Once you eliminate your number one problem, number two gets a promotion
  • The Hard Law: If you can’t accept failure, you’ll never succeed as a consultant
  • Inverse of the Hard Law: Some people do succeed as consultants, so it must be possible to deal with failure
  • The Harder Law: Helping myself is even harder than helping others

Continue reading “The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg”

SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham

My Notes on “SPIN Selling” by Neil Rackham:Spin

The difference between small and large sales

  • Define Small Sale: Is a sale which can normally be completed in a single call and which involves a low dollar value.
  • In selling consumer goods product knowledge makes all the difference.  But in large sales it can prevent success because the customer won’t see enough value to justify so large a decision.
  • Customer hesitation when deciding about a large sales isn’t so much about the product as entering a relationship.  You will have to work with the seller over a period of some months rather than just buy the item and walk out the door.
  • In small sales the customer can afford to take more risks because the consequences of mistakes are relatively small.


Continue reading “SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham”

The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

My Notes on “The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes:Chet holmes

  • You can profoundly improve your company if you absolutely commit one hour a week in which you do nothing else than work on making the business much more effective.
  • We all get good ideas t seminars and from books and business-building gurus. The problem is that most companies do not know how to identify and adapt the best ideas to their businesses. Implementation, not ideas, is the key to real success.
  • To do’s, tasks, and deadlines must be assigned after every meeting. But the key is not to ask for too much to be completed. Make the gains small but constant. If you are having the meeting every week and you are making small incremental gains each and every week, think of the profound transformation you’re going to have in 52 weeks.


Continue reading “The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes”

The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

My Notes on “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris:work week

Different is better when it is more effective or more fun.  If everyone is defining a problem or solving it one way and the results are sub-par, this is the time to ask, What if I did the opposite. Don’t follow a model that doesn’t work.

Most cold calls don’t get to the intended person for one reason: gatekeepers. Make all your calls from 8-8.30am and 6-6.30pm for a total of one hour to avoid secretaries and book twice as many meetings as senior sales executives who call from 9-5. Twice the results in 1/8 of the time.
Continue reading “The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris”

Bargaining for Advantage by G. Richard Shell

So How Do You Ensure You Have The Advantage When Negotiating? My Notes:51C7i36GXbL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_

    • Prepare thoroughly in advance
    • Locate the decision maker
    • Built rapport
    • Discover the other party’s goals – ask questions, obtain information on interests, issues and perceptions. Test for understanding, summarise, probe first then disclose, signal regarding your leverage
    • If you open then you benefit from setting the anchor point.
    • Look for common ground
    • On what issues might the other side say “no”?
    • Search for low-cost options that solve the other party’s problems while advancing your goals
    • Trade issues

  • Leverage
    • Flows to those with the greatest control and comfort with the present situations.
    • Threats must be credible.
    • For whom is time a factor?
    • Create momentum by giving little things.
    • Create a vision that the other side has something to lose from no deal
    • Positive leverage: Is having something the other guy wants, or better, needs, or best, cannot do without
    • Negative Leverage: Threat based, with hints rather than shouts
    • Normative Leverage: Give and take
    • Leverage changes constantly through the negotiation
    • Leverage depends on the other party’s perceptions of the situation, not the facts
  • Closing Technique: Scarcity Effect
    • Competition (many others are interested)
    • Deadlines (we will withdraw the offer soon)
    • Walkouts (I will get up and leave at any time)
  • Closing Technique: Overcommitment
    • eg standing in line at DisneyLand
    • Leverage loss aversion  (“We’ve come so far, don’t let all this time and effort go to waste!”)
  • Softer Closing Technique: Split the difference
  • Beware Rogue Tactics:
    • Lies about bottom lines and alternatives
    • Low-balling
    • Phoney issues / decoy / red herring
    • Fake authority ploys
    • Overcommitment (drags out the negotiation process and raises or lowers the price or terms at the last minute)
    • Good guy / bad guy
    • Consistency traps (The goal of which is to pre-commit you to a seemingly innocent standard. They get you to agree to a statement before telling you why the statement is important)
    • Reciprocity ploys (“I made a concession, now its your turn”. Beware of reciprocity traps – “Here’s a flower, may I have a donation?”)
    • The nibble (just before closing hoping your exhausted)