If your customers keep asking you for a better price, I am going to show you how to get the price that you deserve and close more sales.
We now know there are 3 distinct parts of the brain and each one of them has a different function. However, only 1 of them is responsible for decision making and it fires up around 8 seconds before you are consciously aware that you have even made a decision. The research and information I am about to share with you hasn’t come from psychology, the personal development industry or even a marketing agency – these findings were made by neuroscientists studying brain wave activity with fMRI, EEG and retinal tracking devices. They were looking to find out which part of your brain lights up when it is presented with different stimuli and the findings have been documented and published in respected publications like the Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Medical Journal.
The biggest part of the brain is the neo cortex. We are the only species on the planet that has developed this part of the brain. It is the last thing that forms in the womb and it lights up when we listen to music, look at colours, speak, read and process numbers. If you ever hear people talking about right vs. left brain thinking, they are talking about the neo cortex. In a nutshell – IT THINKS.
Similarly, when your customer says “I need to think about it” or “is this the best price I can get?” this part of the brain is firing up and looking for data. This uses up tons of your brain energy and prolongs the decision making process. If you want to drag out the process of getting your customer to decide or compete on price, you want to make sure that your customer has to us this part of his brain. Make sure you give your customer lots of BIG words, numbers, graphs, lists of features and benefits, talk about your competitors and how you stack up next to them – and your customer will NOT decide BUT he will do a whole lot of thinking and take up more of your valuable time and energy in the process.
Let’s move on to the middle or mammalian brain – this is the part of the brain that we share will every warm blooded creature on the planet. This is where you process emotions and feel. But this is not where you make decisions.
At the top of your spinal cord, there is a collection of neurons – which are commonly referred to as the old or reptilian brain. This is the first part of your brain that is formed in the womb and it is the part that keeps you alive – all bodily functions that take place below the level of consciousness, are controlled by this part of your brain.
It is your fight or flight brain – and its sole responsibility is to ensure your safety and survival. It houses the amgydala – which is the chemical factory in your brain that regulates all bodily functions. And it is the part of the brain that lights up when you DECIDE.
It lights up even before you have conscious awareness that you have made a decision. Now, while it is very true that this is the most primitive part of your brain, the good news is that it is very predictable. By understanding how this part of your brain works, you will never again bore and overwhelm your customers AND you will never again be lured into the trap of competing based on price.
How will you do this? By understanding how this part of your customer’s brain works, you can help him to use the least amount of mental energy in processing your message which means that he will make quicker decisions. It is important to remember that unlike the neo-cortex up here (the thinking part of your brain), this part right of your brain is automatic – it does not think, it only DECIDES and ACTS. It is always at work scanning your environment looking for information of value to your survival.
So you might be wondering how does this apply to the price that you charge for your product/service?
Just for a moment, I want you to imagine that you are in the business of selling pizzas. Now, it doesn’t matter whether your business is called Pizza Hut, Dominos, Boston Pizza or Pizza World… you are basically selling an undifferentiated product and the market that you find yourself in looks price conscious, doesn’t it? The reason for that is simple – the consumer finds it hard to distinguish between your pizza and the next guy.
Now if you happen to BE the owners of a Chicago Deep dish pizza shop you might argue that your pizza is better because your crust is thicker and you provide more toppings and value. But in the eyes of the consumer, your pizza is still not really worth much more than the next guy’s pizza. You might be charging $20 and your competitor is charging $18.50. Why is that?
It’s because even though you think there is a difference, in the eyes of your customer, there isn’t. 95% of what you and the next guy offer are essentially the exact same thing. And as long as you keep operating in that zone with a marketing message that doesn’t stand out and stake a claim, you will continue to compete on prize because your customer is up in his neo-cortex trying to figure out which pizza is the best one to order.
So knowing this, what could you do differently? Well one company in 1973 identified a way to stand out and grab market share. It didn’t claim to have the best, the thickest or even the cheapest pizza, it just made you a promise that if you ordered from them, you would get it in 30 minutes or your pizza was free. It was the most successful campaign in the history of the industry – for good reason.
Think about it, when you order a pizza, what is the one question that you have in the back of your mind? I wonder when the pizza will get here?
Dominos answered that question for you. They stopped making you need to think about it and they triggered the part of your brain that decides and dials.
This is the power of Sales Seduction – understanding why your customer says YES and knowing what to say in order to close more sales. Can you see now how knowing this information can help you accelerate your sales process, close more sales, trigger decisions and allow you to charge a fair price for your product/service?
Great – so your homework today is to go back through one of your sales or marketing messages and identify all the ways that you are boring or overwhelming your prospects. The key to NOT competing on price ever again, lies in doing your homework to help you close more sales.
To prove my point, I’m going to share with you two examples of what NOT to do.
I saw a billboard recently on a major freeway. It read “Texting While Driving KILLS”. Then down below in fine print were the words “For more driving tips, text ‘SAFETY’ to 79191.” Now I’m sure you are probably laughing or at least smiling right now because this is an obvious case of sending a mixed message. And you’re right, I’m sure it is very clear to you why this message is ineffective. But the sad part is – this type of miscommunication or presentation of conflicting ideas is seeping in and polluting your sales and marketing materials every day. To get more customers to your business, you have to stop making this costly mistake.
Take for example your website, your eNewsletter or your brochure/catalog. What exactly are you asking your prospect or customer to do? Did you make the mistake of trying to cram 3 or 4 competing requests onto one page? Did you ask them to buy your product, join your database, visit your blog and watch your latest video? Chances are, you got really excited about what you do and you wanted to share everything you could on just that one tiny page. And I can understand why you got excited but you confused your audience and most of them walked away because what you wanted them to do wasn’t clear.
Now what you did may not have been as blatant as “For more driving tips, text ‘SAFETY’ to 79191.” However, the end result was the same.
If you want to get more customers and prospects to your business, you need to focus on communicating one clear message. If your message is clear and there is only one action that they could take, you will find that the number of people who step forward and take that desired action will go up dramatically.
Now that brings me to my second point.
The second mistake I don’t want you make is to use words or sentences that are confusing. Take for example this sign I saw outside a motel – “Free Wifi Starting at $59.99”. I think the motel owner who put up this sign was either in a rush or ran out of space because he forgot a few important words. What he probably meant to say was “Free Wifi. Rooms starting from $59.99”. He only forgot two small words but those simple words made the difference between a message that was clear and one that made absolutely no sense at all.
Now you may not be offering free wifi but I bet you may have used or at least seen terms like “scalable architecture”, “a customer-centric model”, “ holistic approach” or “results-based focus”. These words mean nothing to the reptilian brain (the part of your customer’s brain that decides and takes action). That part of the brain is 45million years old and it struggles to process and understand complex words, numbers, unfamiliar symbols and graphs that contain too much information. If you want to speed up the decoding process and make it easier to get more customers to your business, you need to make your message simple. Choose words that are clear and easy to understand. Complete your thoughts and sentences – don’t make it difficult and give your customer the excuse – “I need to think about it”. If your customer has too think too hard to decode your message, he simply won’t make a decision
Now I want you to be honest with yourself – is there a chance you might be sending mixed messages to your potential customers? Are your sales/marketing messages clear and succinct? If not, now is the best time to go back and re-write your materials. If you want to get more customers to your business, you need to simplify what you are asking them to do and use language that is easy to interpret.
16 Aug 2012
Lily Allen may not be an authority on business, but she hit the nail on the head with her honest, irreverent spin on a timeless mystery – “how to know what to do when you have no idea and you’re not prepared”. In her platinum selling song, she sings:
I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore,
And I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore,
When do you think it will all become clear?
Everyone knows that we have been conditioned NOT to admit that we don’t know all of the right answers. Even though we know it’s not true, our teachers, bosses, politicians and even the media have modeled this “fake it until you make it” mentality. Since the mind doesn’t know the difference between a real or imagined event, acting ‘as if’ seems like the logical solution to temporary uncertainty, or does it?
“I don’t know” is a simple phrase. Simple and powerful at the same time. While there can be no doubt that to use it denotes uncertainty and the risk of embarrassment, with it comes an attribute that is far more rare and influential…authenticity!
Over the course of my life, I have been asked some difficult questions both personally and professionally – I’ve been put on the spot, caught unprepared and left exposed and vulnerable. Many times, I racked my brain to come up with the answer – a plausible response that hit the nail on the head or got me out of jail [metaphorically speaking] for free! Other times, I just got lucky.
But occasionally I must admit, “I just don’t know!” I simply cannot say for sure. I just don’t have the answer right now.
Sometimes admitting you don’t know can be the most empowering, intelligent, authentic and liberating response that you can offer. Compared to stumbling through a half baked idea, outright lying or trying to pull a cohesive response out of thin air, admitting you don’t know is a sane solution to this diabolical dilemma.
To be honest, none of us has “The Answer” to everything. If you think you do, chances are you know even less than you thought! If someone has taken the time to ask a question, seek your business advice, and placed their trust in your expertise, they deserve pearls of wisdom not propaganda.
In fact, in order to be a true leader and to earn authority, which is the foundation of your ability to influence others, it is simply not enough to be knowledgeable. You also need to be truthful. Therefore, in order to master the power of influence, you must establish yourself as both honest and powerful in your communications.
When in doubt, “I don’t know but I will find out” is the best answer.
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.
“With great exposure comes great responsibility.”
Without a doubt, social media marketing is the great equalizer. Until the arrival of WordPress, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, big business had an unfair advantage. Any business could of course create a website but few had the resources and knowledge to capture global exposure and sales.
Most SMEs had to settle for direct mail, local newspapers, networking, pay-per-clicks etc. because they simply could not compete with the big budgets of the big brands. In most cases, the advertising mediums with the biggest reach and frequency – TV, radio, online banner and outdoor – were out of the grasp of the average small business.
Social media marketing changed all of that.
With social media marketing, anyone can create an online presence and broadcast their uncensored views or talent worldwide, for less than $500. People like Justin Bieber and Lily Allen went from middle class obscurity to millions of fans and multi-million dollar careers virtually overnight due to social media.
Neilson published stats show that the world now spends over 110 billion minutes on social networks and blogs. What this means is that you, I and your prospects now spend 25% of our time (around 12-15 hours a month) visiting these types of sites. And unlike the consumption of other types of media, social media is doubling year on year, it’s inexpensive and it’s now available 24/7 on mobile devices.
And therein lies the problem.
Good and bad news, whether true or untrue, can spread online like an epidemic. As opposed to advertising (which is initiated by you), a large percentage of what is said in social networks (and social media marketing) is contributed by people outside of your organization. How do you keep track of every single thing that is said or written about you? It’s almost impossible to monitor and control where and how your brand is mentioned online.
That’s why social media marketing has the potential to boost your reach and sales exponentially, but it could also easily bring out the worst in your company. With this in mind, what do you need to consider and do in your business to mitigate the risks?
1. Social media marketing is for social interaction
The focus of traditional marketing and advertising is on lead generation and sales. However, in social media marketing, it’s all about engaging with others, exchanging information and creating relationships. In order to excel in the realm of social networks, you will need to offer value upfront (to gain followers) and then focus on getting to know them and understanding their needs.
Prospects and customers are more interested in the interaction they have with you than they are on the deals or special offers. If you don’t engage with your followers on their terms, you risk doing more harm to your brand than good. Think of how many people and businesses have asked you to “like” their brand, re-tweet a message or join their mailing list in the past 24 hours? We are inundated with brands talking at us in social media and it is getting harder to create an impression and persuade us to act.
2. Look for opportunities to turn around customer experiences
You will discover more in one week about your brand in social media marketing circles than you will find in a year of traditional research. People don’t censor their opinions when they share with their friends and you are likely to hear a lot of stories of how you have fallen short of expectations. All of this is a very good thing because it means that you have a direct opportunity to make it right. Of course, you have to be listening and you need to have a strategy on how you will deal with it. In the absence of these 2 things, you are actually worse off because the story will spread like wildfire and it will carry a much greater weight since it is shared among friends.
Most will mistakenly view social media marketing as a great place to sell more stuff. It is actually a far better place to listen to what your customers are saying and take action to turn bad experiences into positive ones.
3. What is it really costing you?
On the face of it, social media marketing appears practically free. However, when you factor in the time it takes to produce content across various mediums, cross- promote it, reply to followers etc., it could easily turn into a full time job. Your time (or the time of a team member) is valuable and needs to be measured against the returns generated by the online activity. Return on investment online is a function of both tangible and intangible factors.
In my experience, far too many small businesses are getting caught up in the hype of social media marketing without a clear understanding of the real cost or return. Why spend hours a day posting and interacting online if you can generate a better response by speaking directly to your customers or asking for a referral? Social media marketing only promises you can talk to more people for less money, it doesn’t guarantee that anyone will listen or that you will earn the same return on investment that you could receive elsewhere.
4. Be clear about your brand and branding strategy
Prospects often need to see the same message many times before they will decide to take action. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to overload your audience with too many messages because you are trying to be all things to all people. Repetition is the key to retention. In order to be remembered and acted upon, your message should be consistent across all channels including your social media marketing. This means that wherever your prospects and customers see you, they have to experience your brand and your message in the exact same way. This can become difficult when you are trying to manage multiple platforms and respond to what is happening in real time.
It pays to have a very clear strategy before you embark on social media. Social media marketing is not like traditional advertising channels – it is very fluid and dynamic. As such, circumstances can change on a daily basis and you need to outline ahead of time what your key messages are and how they should be communicated consistently to your audience.
5. Social media marketing is not for everyone
Who manages your social media marketing? If it is not you personally, does that employee or part-time contractor understand what your plan and overall strategy is? In many cases they may be the most direct links to your target market and everything that is said by them on your behalf will have far reaching implications for your brand and company.
If they are responding to a disgruntled customer or worse, an insane person who is just trying to create trouble, do they know exactly what to do to diffuse the situation? If the situation gets out of hand, at what point do you find out and become involved? Do you have the means to take action and protect your brand if matters get out of hand or you become the target of defamation?
The reach and potential of social media are great – so are the risks. While it may seem harmless and fun on the surface, the capacity to do irreparable harm to your brand is very real. Social media marketing needs to be entered into with a very clear plan. It’s not something that you should delegate freely or allow to run unmanaged.
Start first by monitoring what is said about you and your brand online. There are many free services online which can assist you to do this. Take some time to investigate what your competitors and other well known brands are doing in this space. Then, once you understand the key platforms and what you hope to gain on each by participating, you can begin to create a community of followers with confidence, control and safeguards.