Click on video to learn what the golden rule is and avoid falling into the fatal trap of breaking it!
Each and every one of you made 1 fatal error today in your marketing message. Now that 1 thing might have slipped through or gone unnoticed because it wasn’t an obvious thing – like a spelling error, using a word incorrectly or not having a compelling call to action. In fact that 1 thing – the fatal error that you made today – wasn’t anything you said at all.
That’s why no one brought it to your attention… until now.
But you know deep down (or at least you probably suspect) that something happened because a large percentage of your audience, who saw your message today, didn’t get it and they didn’t purchase your product or service.
Let’s take a look at the science of neuromarketing to find out why – so that you can take action now and turn your message into one that your leads and customers are dying to say “Yes” to.
You may not know this but your brain sees and interprets images first and makes decisions quickly based on what it sees. And after all of this activity has occurred, much later it pays attention to and tries to process what it hears and the words and numbers you have read.
Somewhere between 80-90% of your brain activity (and what is going on in the minds of your prospects) is a result of trying to make sense of visual stimuli. The optic nerve is physically connected to your old brain (which you already know is the decision making part of your brain) and it processes visual cues 40 times faster than auditory ones.
What happens is your retina captures images and sends that data on 2 distinct paths – one goes up to neo cortex (the thinking part of your brain) and the other goes straight to the reptilian brain. Here’s the interesting part – this second pathway, to the decision making part of your brain is much faster. In fact, it is about 500 times faster. If it takes 1-2 milliseconds for the old brain to process a visual cue, it could take your neo cortex at least 500 milliseconds. This makes that part of your brain that decides dangerously fast and hasty.
Since you and I cannot rely for our survival on the speed at which the new brain processes information, we are hard wired to make decisions at the old brain level – and as you can SEE, those decisions are primarily based on visual input. And your new brain will only kick in much later to help you find data to support your gut reaction (the decision your old brain already made). Your eyes control your brain – and this is also true for your customers. That’s how important visual cues are to your survival and to your sales and marketing messages.
Let’s take a look at a very good example of what not to do. I saw this sign of the front window of a veterinary clinic in my neighbourhood this week. In big orange letters, it took up almost 70% of the front window.
“Pet Laser Treatment.”
Now, if you were a potential customer driving by, would that sign mean anything to the part of your brain that decides? No, of course not.
The average person driving by would have no idea what pet laser means or WHY it would be a good reason to choose that clinic over the next one down the street. To your reptilian brain, that sign means nothing.
If you are a pet owner – what do you care about? What’s important to you in the context of finding a good vet? If you are like most pet owners, you want to know that when you take your animal in for surgery the pain is minimized, the surgery is safe and the healing happens quickly. If you owned a pet those things would be important to you, wouldn’t they?
Yes, now surprisingly pet laser does achieve all of those outcomes – less pain, less risk and quicker recovery – but that sign didn’t help you to know and decide, did it? As you are driving by, that vet has 2-3 seconds to grab your attention and convey his message…and you now know that the best way to do that would be a picture, not a bunch of words, right? What he needed to do was show you a photo of a dog or cat, fit and healthy – with a message like, “we guarantee less risk and a faster recovery for your pet, ask us how?” Or “want Fido’s next surgery to be virtually pain-free, ask us how?”
Now you may not be a veterinarian yourself but I am sure you can see exactly how this applies to your business. How visual are your sales and marketing assets? Take a look at the very last email, brochure or presentation that you made. Was it loaded up with words and stuff that only means something to you? Did you even have any pictures and did they serve a purpose or were they just there to fill space?
Each and every day I see business owners just like you making this fatal mistake. The part of your prospect’s brain that decides is a visual beast. It’s relying on pictures to make a decision and you are trying to convey everything with words and numbers, aren’t you? Your audience can’t tell you exactly why your message is not appealing to them…but I just did.
Your customer’s brain sees images first and words second. In order to get your audience to pay attention and remember your message, you need to quickly deliver a clear picture to the old brain. This is the golden rule of marketing and Sales Seduction – a picture is worth a thousand words. And if you continue to break this golden rule, you will fail to close sales and help customers who really need your product or service.
21 Feb 2012
Botox is either a miracle cure for migraines and worry lines or a toxic scam – it all depends who you speak to. Fuelled by our obsession with youth and beauty, it is estimated that more than a quarter of a million injections were given in Australia last year alone.
When did we decide that older does not mean wiser, and in fact, now means unattractive and unwanted?
Somewhere along the line it has become unappealing to let others see our emotions. The smile and frown lines we have come to expect and rely upon, are disappearing. If a person’s appearance is frozen and expressionless, how do we know what they are thinking and feeling? And more interestingly, does anybody even care? Are we trying to mask the facial clues or cover up the underlying emotions?
We now have infinitely more tools to articulate ourselves but do we really have better communication and relationships? More and more we find ourselves relying on highly impersonal means – SMS, Facebook, Twitter and email – to keep in touch, convey information and build relationships.
It seems like we are talking to everyone but not really connecting with anyone.
Only 7% of your communication is attributable to your words and 93% is conveyed by non-verbal means. Even though it is largely unconscious, you rely heavily on body language to discern what is (and is not) being said. Without these vital clues, you must make assumptions to fill in the gaps and hope that you are right. Oftentimes, you may find that you have missed the mark completely.
In essence text messaging, social media and email are the communication equivalent to Botox.
They allow you to defy time and distance by reaching MORE people but connecting with and accomplishing far LESS. What happened to the good old days when you picked up the phone and spoke to the person you needed to be in touch with or met them in person?
Perhaps we’ve all just become far too busy for such primitive means?
Technology does have its place in our personal and business lives – but when is the last time you shot someone an email in order to avoid speaking with them? Have you ever sent a message and later discovered that the person on the other end took it the wrong way? I would bet you can think of a handful of examples where you have used technology in order to sidestep a difficult situation.
My point is this – if you want to build effective relationships and influence others you need to take responsibility for the effectiveness of your communication. While it may be easier to cut corners, inject fillers or hide behind technology, the wrinkles it creates will eventually come to the surface and bite you on the cheeks. Not only is it cheaper to grow old and communicate directly, it is also more beautiful and less addictive.
Today, I’ve got a major challenge for you. I want you to take a look at what you are currently spending on marketing – whether it’s on brochures, your website, pay per clicks, PR, newspaper, direct mail, social media etc. – and I want you to slash the total budget by 20%. No matter what you are selling and where you are selling it, I guarantee that you won’t miss that 20%. And there is a very good reason for that. 96% of the people who see your message right now, don’t get it anyway. You are spending thousands of dollars each year on sales and marketing materials to increase your sales and the vast majority of your prospects don’t understand your message – so they can’t possibly recall it and buy from you.
So with the money you just saved in your pocket, we are going to take a few minutes right now to re-engineer your message and give you a much better chance of getting through and being understood. The good news is this – it is not going to cost you much to take the time right now to create a message that helps more of your prospects to say “yes”. And if more leads say “yes”, the money you do spend on sales and marketing is going to increase your sales.
To prove my point, I’d like to make you an interesting offer – I can either give you $50 cash right now or a piece of paper where I will write the net present value of a five year annuity at a compound annual interest rate of 10%, adjusted for CPI. Which of these sounds more appealing to you? Which would you rather take right now? Which of these can you take now, put in your wallet or spend it at the shopping centre?
Unless you are one of those very rare individuals who can calculate in your head the value of my second offer, I’m willing to bet you’d rather just take the $50. And that makes a whole lot of sense, because everyone knows what $50 is and what it is worth. There’s nothing confusing about it, is there?
The part of your brain that makes decisions is not interested in working hard to figure out what my message means and what it’s worth. That part of your brain is looking for something that is tangible. And if you’re unsure about whether a message is tangible or not – ask yourself “would a 6 year old understand it?”
Think about it – if I offer you a $50 note or an orange, you don’t have to think very hard about it to figure out what I am offering you, do you? Both of them are equally easy to understand. As soon as you see it, you know what it is and you know exactly what you can do with it. $50 will buy you enough food to cook a meal and the orange is good for you – it’s tasty and you can eat it. There are no directions and no heavy thinking required to make sense of what I am offering you. Your new brain doesn’t have to do any thinking (and wasting time) to get my message.
So what does this mean for you, your message and your customers? If you are making it hard for your customers to understand what you do and whether they are getting a good deal, you need to spend some time right now making your offer more tangible. Ask yourself “does my message include a bunch of big words, fluff and jargon?” Could it be boiled down to something that a 6 year old could understand? What do you need to do to communicate it more clearly to increase your sales – t0 help your prospects to be able to say “yes”? Can you simplify the words that you use or introduce photos or props to get your message across faster?
Now, I think you can guess that coming up with a simple, succinct message is a lot harder than being lazy and throwing together an ad full of useless, complicated information. A good rule of thumb here is to remember that you should be working harder to craft and simplify your message than your prospect has to in order to decipher it. Someone has to do the hard work – either you are committed to doing it before hand or your customer will need to think about it.
Now if you are serious about saving money and you want to increase your sales, you won’t spend another cent until you stop, take a good hard look at your materials and do whatever it takes to make your message tangible. You don’t have to spend more money to chase find customers. What you really need to do is take the complication and confusion out of your message so that more of your prospects can say “yes” now.
In 1949, thirteen (out of a highly skilled team of sixteen men) died battling a relatively small blaze that turned deadly in Mann Gulch, Montana. Upon investigating the circumstances of why thirteen of the “smoke jumpers” died while only three lived, Norman Maclean wrote a book entitled “Young Men and Fire”, which is the true story account of that fateful expedition of the “smoke jumpers” – fire fighters who parachute into the back country to fight fires.
Maclean found some startling and interesting facts. Mann Gulch is surrounded by steep canyon walls with the northern slope at a 75% incline. When the wind turned suddenly on the smoke jumpers, they were in a race with the fire up those steep walls. Unexpectedly, the fire started to spread much faster than anticipated.
One of the amazing and notable things that Maclean discovered was that the thirteen who died had carried their tools – heavy poleaxes, saws, shovels and heavy back packs – while attempting to out run the fire up those steep walls. In other words, the thirteen had run as far as they could with all their equipment, even though that equipment was worse than useless in a race with the fire. Their inability to drop their heavy tools and packs ultimately prevented them from being able to outrun the fire. To these seasoned fire fighters, their tools were more than simple objects – they represented who they were, why they were there and what they were trained to do. Dropping their tools would have meant abandoning their knowledge, beliefs, training and experience.
This might not seem like a hard choice to make to you, but because these specialized fire fighters hadn’t been trained for such an unpredictable moment, they had no alternative models or maps for behaviour. In moments of uncertainty and imminent danger, clinging to the old “right” way might seem like a good idea… but more often than not, it is actually deadly.
The three survivors of the blaze were forced to think outside the box and develop alternative methods of escaping the fire. Once they figured out they were no longer “fighting the fire” but were instead “trying to escape from it”, they realized they had to drop all of their useless equipment. One survivor used an innovative technique called the ‘escape fire’ where he took a match and lit a ring around him so that the fire would “jump” over him. When he tried to suggest it to the other men, they continued running up the steep slope because the ‘escape fire’ technique had not been part of their extensive training. Their inability to drop the tools and equipment that weren’t working and seek new methods to escape is what ultimately led to them being engulfed by flames and smoke.
My question to you is this: What are the poleaxes, shovels and backpacks you’re currently running with?
What are the tired, worn out strategies and tools which you are lugging around? What existing beliefs and models of behaviour do you need to drop in order for you to survive and prosper (even thrive in a recession)? What training, attitudes, decisions or experience needs to be abandoned in favour of a new, innovative approach?
It has often been said that “the thinking that got you to here, won’t get you to there”. Never has the simplicity and wisdom of this statement been more poignant, than it is today. Those of you who adopt and learn the critical skills, tools and mind-set necessary to survive and even thrive in a recession (or despite any challenge you face) will be the winners in all this. But, this has always been true. Survivors and successful people triumph because they are flexible and willing to do whatever it takes to get the results they desire. New or changing circumstances always necessitate a new perspective or approach: The alternative, “doing the same thing over and over again” is the definition of insanity and can only lead to suffering, disappointment, frustration and pain.
The events of the past few years have clearly shown that there is fire raging out of control in our global economy – the markets are extremely volatile, banks and corporations are in trouble, credit is tightening, our personal debt is far too high and property values are threatened. Change is upon us and we all must examine what we have chosen to carry on our backs to thrive in a recession. Burying your head in the sand and “doing more of what you have always done” are no longer viable options.
No matter where you are at right now…I have a belief that it is impossible for you not to become even more successful NOW. Take some time today to assess your approach to date – what is working and what is not. Write an action plan and take 3 steps today towards achieving the life that you imagine in your mind. After all, success is not by chance or circumstance, it is by choice! Choose wisely.
09 Nov 2011
As a business owner, I’ll bet you’re incredibly busy and find that there never seems to be enough hours in the day to complete all your work.
Have you ever noticed that some of your everyday activities are just deeply ingrained habits – driving your car, putting on your watch, brushing your teeth or taking a shower? You wouldn’t dream of not doing them, they are part of your routine and they just seem to happen automatically. In your business you also have habits such as checking your website, opening the mail, reading emails, grabbing a coffee and glancing at your diary. You do them without conscious “thought” and they seem to fill up hours in your day…
But what about all the actions you need to take in order to build a more profitable and efficient business? Like following up with your best customers, asking for referrals, strategic planning and goal setting to grow your business? When do you do these activities? Do they often get relegated to “tomorrow” or “sometime soon”?
If you’ve ever spent your day stuck in back to back meetings, answering routine questions from your team, responding to emails, helping other people, doing paperwork or tidying your office – you already know that these are “make busy” activities, and they will keep you trapped where you already are – just simply maintaining, not growing your business. By filling your days with these tasks, you are in effect avoiding the very activities that you know will really move your business forward and produce tangible results.
Your “make busy” work or habits create the magnificent illusion that you are hard at work, simply because you feel “flat out” and your day is full of tasks. Let’s be honest, you would actually rather do anything than face the activities you know would radically accelerate your business success NOW! In fact, you often get to the end of the day and say to yourself “It’s OK, I was really busy, I’ll just get to that marketing plan tomorrow.” Or “I just couldn’t find the time today to make that seminar on leadership or customer loyalty.”
If you are waiting for the right or best time to do these critical activities in your business, it will simply never come! There will always be other “busy work” to fill all of your available time. You need to find a way to make your business building activities an ingrained habit too, if you want to grow your bottom line and live the lifestyle of your dreams.
Do you relate to or identify with any of these common sabotage habits?
1. Perfectionism – this tactic is insidious. It often immobilizes us from making a decision, starting a project or activity and signing off on a piece of important work. Most tasks don’t have to be 100% perfect, they just need to be good enough. The other way that this can show up is when you deceive yourself into believing that no-one else can do the job (even simple routine tasks) to your exacting standard, so you must do it ALL yourself. Follow the 80/20 rule, delegate what you do not have to do yourself and give yourself permission to be human!
2. Refusing to Let Go of The Past – Have you ever heard yourself say “last time I tried that, it didn’t work”? Or have you ever simply avoided doing something that you know you should or need to do but were afraid to do because “last time it didn’t work out the way you wanted it to”? Even though it’s a good idea to stop doing what clearly doesn’t work, it’s important to remember that the past does not necessarily equal the future. If you catch yourself finding reasons from the past to justify why you are not moving ahead toward your compelling future, stop NOW and take a good hard look at whether these are just cleverly disguised forms of self-sabotage.
3. Lack of Accountability – who is holding you accountable to the decisions you make and the actions you take in your own company? Isn’t that why you went into business for yourself in the first place – so that you could be the boss and do things your way? Find someone outside your business – a coach, mentor or trusted advisor that can act as a sounding board and hold you accountable to staying on track.
4. Lack of vision, planning and specificity – if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? Enough said. If you don’t have a 90 day, 1 year and 3 year business plan, you need to make this your number one priority in your business. Set a weekend aside and find a place where you will not be disturbed by anyone or anything. Set down your goals clearly and succinctly – get clear about the specifics (who, what, where, when and why) and set realistic deadlines for completion. Goals need to be written down in detail to allow your mind – which is a goal seeking mechanism – to do its magic.
5. Lack of focus – stay focused on the important task you are currently working on and only allow yourself to be diverted by real emergencies.
6. Fear of Financials – you cannot have a truly successful business if you don’t know your numbers. Not knowing your numbers has already cost you time and money. Find someone who can explain your financials to you in plain English – learn the key drivers and indexes in your business (such as break even, productivity ratios, inventory turns, gross profit margins etc.) and track them daily.
7. No USP – the greatest product or service in the world will not sell if you have not clearly defined why someone should buy from you instead of your competitors. “Build it and they will come is a fallacy.” If you have not yet figured out what is unique about your product or service and found a compelling and cost effective way to communicate it in everything you do, you are literally flushing your marketing budget down the toilette.
8. No Testing and Measuring – this is the most-often overlooked activity by small business owners. The simple act of testing and measuring everything in your business…and I mean everything…will save you thousands of dollars this year. No matter what “it” is, if you haven’t tested and measured “it”, you don’t really know if “it” works. And until you know if it works, you don’t have a reliable, predictable business that will run without out.
Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. As you already know or suspect, some of the most common forms of self-sabotage are habits because they are deeply ingrained behaviours that take time to establish or eliminate. In the 1960’s a highly regarded plastic surgeon, Dr. Maxwell Maltz discovered that it took 21 days for amputees to cease feeling phantom sensations in their amputated limb. From further observations and significant research he established that it takes 21 days to create a new habit.
Brain circuits take engrams (which are essentially “memory traces”) and produce neuroconnections and neuropathways only if they are bombarded for 21 days in a row. This means that our brain does not accept new data or information for a change of habit unless it is repeated each day (without fail) for at least 21 days. Changing habits (whether positive or negative) can be done but it takes time and consistent effort.
Do yourself a favour and identify today which form of self-sabotage is the primary one that is holding you back from having the business and lifestyle of your dreams. Make a plan on paper – specific decisions and actions that you can take to move forward in this aspect every single day for the next month. It is imperative to track your progress each day and I highly recommend finding an objective person outside of your business to hold you accountable to your plan, actions and results.