If you had to pick 1 thing – 1 strategy or change that you could implement in your business that would allow you thrive despite tough economic times, what would it be?
Let’s make a list of the top 5 things that I hear most business owners (like you) say when I ask them the same question…
- Spend money on marketing – attract new customers
- Have a sale
- Ask for referrals or help
- Tighten your belt – cut costs
- Do more networking
Now what do all of these have in common?
They all involve you doing more of the same thing that you have always done. None of these involve a radical shift in the way that you do business, do they? None of these involve you taking a step back and re-examining what you do and whether it’s actually working. And none of these involve you changing the way that you communicate what you do to your customers.
And that is precisely why none of them will work to recession proof your business.
So why is that important?
Because consumer sentiment and spending has changed dramatically in the past few years and those changes are being felt across every industry and by both big and small businesses. Everything you thought you knew about your customer and why she was buying from you has probably changed. And if you don’t take the time now to re-discover your prospect’s main source of pain – the reason why she needs your product or service – you risk losing more sales and more ground to your competition.
Now some of you are probably sitting there thinking “but MY industry is different. You may think that you’ve been hit especially hard and that everyone in your niche has lost sales. But that’s not the case for 99% of you. Even some of the most competitive and vulnerable industries have companies who have continued to perform well and who have even stole market share.
Just for a moment, I want you to cast your mind back to the first few months after the GFC. A lot of people lost their life savings during the stock market crash and many lost their jobs immediately after that. It was a horrific few months and few industries felt the wrath of the crash more so than the automotive sector. If you remember, new car sales dropped by almost 20% in a short period of time and stayed that way for almost a year. That’s a huge drop in an industry that is vital to the health of the national economy.
Now sales of new cars were down 20% for the industry. Despite the massive drop in sales, 1 manufacturer actually managed to gain market share and outperform all other companies in sales growth. Do you remember who that was and why?
Only 1 company stopped and took a good hard look at the pain their customers were in at the time. They didn’t do what all the others did – which was spend more money on newspaper ads, lay off salespeople and slash new car prices.
Only 1 company examined the change in the market, correctly diagnosed the pain of their prospects and came up with a solution. “If you lose your job and can’t make the payments, no problem – we will take it back free of charge”.
Do you remember who that was? That’s right Hyundai.
With one simple change to their focus and strategy they stole market share from every other manufacturer because they correctly identified the shift in their customer’s pain. They didn’t keep going on with the same old strategy and approach that clearly wasn’t working. Yes, there had been a major downturn and the whole industry was hit hard, but there were still lots of customers who wanted to buy a new car but were afraid to do so because they might lose their jobs.
So how can you apply this to your market right now? First and foremost, your customers are not thinking about you, your brand and your features and benefits – they are thinking about their own survival and whether or not you can cure their pain. If you are able to correctly diagnose the pain, you will trigger the part of their brain that makes decisions and you will stand apart from your competition. That’s the power of Sales Seduction.
Think about one of your customers right now and her pain? What do you need to do in order to get more clarity around that? What questions do you need to ask her about how it is affecting her financially, personally and strategically? To the extent you can diagnose her pain, get her to acknowledge it and put forward the solution that cures it, she will listen to anything that you have to say.
Take a look around you… businesses are closing their doors everyday – which means more potential customers for the businesses like you that DO survive. And in times like these, it’s going to take more than just doing more of what you have always done to recession proof your business. Uncertain times call for deliberate decisions and proven practices. In order to recession proof your business you need to shift your thinking around the way you do business and start providing THE solution to the #1 pain or challenge that your customers have. And if you need some diagnoistic questions and a step-by-step framework to help you do this…I highly recommend that you check out Chapter 8 of Sales Seduction.
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.