Archive for March, 2014

Do Anything

…that’s what Harry Beckwith reminds us in Selling The Invisible. “Do anything.” Because careful strategy is like a perfectly built castle of sand: it crumbles the second the tide changes.

Better to build in the open. Expose your marketing to audiences and prospects right now. Then keep what works and nix what doesn’t.

Software developers have already embraced this chaos. Their ‘Agile’ method of development emphasizes working prototypes over careful planning and documentation. They turn orders into working programs ASAP. Then collect feedback. Then repeat. Creating successive approximations until the client says ‘okay,’ then tells them to go live.

If the stereotypically starched programmer can be so nimble, why not marketers and entrepreneurs? Don’t let planning, market research, or even reading this blog get in your way of trying something new today.

Make a video. Build a website. Launch something. You’re going to learn from it.


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Who Do You Choose To Hear?

There’s no right answer, but it pays to ask the question: who are you choosing to hear? And why?

Are you only looking to bask in the glow of unconditional praise? Maybe you listen to friends, or to a complimentary (but non-committal) stranger. These folks don’t have a financial stake in what you do. They like you and want you to feel good. They’ll say nice things, but rarely unlimber their wallet.

Then there’s current customers. You can ask what they like or loathe. This is more relevant to the bottom line (assuming your customers know what they like), and can help you improve on doing more of the same. But it’s not going to push you to change much.

The third option is figuring out where you want to be in six months (or a year, or ten), and imagining your ‘ideal’ clients in that future place. Then you go out and find those people right now. Listen to them.

Like we said, there’s no right answer. But who you choose to hear will change how you choose to speak. In your videos and in your sales pitches. Do you want to secure your position or make a change? Or do you just want to feel good about yourself?

Listen wisely. Then choose your words.

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What’s Your Opener?

That’s what our speech teacher wanted to know: what’s your attention grabber? What’s the line you lead with that gets everyone to lean forward and pay attention?

Sometimes the line isn’t a line. Sometimes it’s an attitude. Or mood music. Sometimes it’s a camera angle — a peculiar shot the audience never expected to see — one that holds their interest for the next shot, and the next one, and the next…

Here’s one thing your opener should never be:

“Do you want to buy my product?”

It’s the equivalent of asking every girl (or guy) if she (he) wants to date you. It’s an easy question to say “no” to. Especially when you’ve done nothing to earn the “yes”.

Your initial video or mailing list “welcome message” should focus primarily on generating interest. It should raise questions and create speculations. It should get people excited about interacting with you.

It should not be some boring, overbearing sales message we’ve heard a thousand times before.

Be different. Your initial outreach might actually reach somebody.

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There’s an element of seduction to every sale. It’s not a one-to-one parallel, of course — any probate lawyer playing “flirty and fun” is apt to lose business — but there are elements common to each. And they’re worth learning from.

One of these is feigned disinterest. In the parlance of attraction/affection, it’s “playing hard to get.” We’ve made up a new term for marketing purposes. It’s called “unselling.”

Unselling is everything you do and say that seems to contradict your selling motive. It’s telling people, “our product is not for everyone.” It’s telling yourself, “we’re going to sell a few things to a few people,” instead of “we’re going to sell everything to everyone.” And it’s seductive, because it creates the illusion that you don’t need your prospects. Rather, they need you.

Imagine a recruiter who tells her candidate, “don’t take the job I’m offering. Sure, it pays more, but I don’t want you to have to move across the country. You should stay where you are.” Suddenly, the candidate is chasing her. She’s in a much more powerful position to negotiate.

Stop trying so hard. Let the client fall in love with you.

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