Reverse Their Risk

Last week we discussed Rule number 3 of our Fourteen Rules of Attraction, The problem is more important than the solution. This week we will examine Rule number 5, Reverse people’s risk in changing.

Often times the reason prospects are hesitant to change suppliers or service powders is because of the inherent risk in changing. Their concern is that if they make a change in favor of your solution, their situation not only may not improve, but also may even become worse. The goal is to reverse their risk so that they feel comfortable making a change. Most importantly we must create a way for them to feel that any “risk” involved in changing is eliminated. There are a few ways that we can do this: 

The more compelling the guarantee, the less risk your customer will perceive. It is important to understand that while you may be offering a strong guarantee, it doesn’t mean that all of your customers will take you up on it. In fact, studies have shown that less that 2%, of all clients cash in on the very guarantee that motivated their buying decision. You probably already have a strong guarantee that you’re not promoting.

Sample Guarantee
Let me tell you about a client that we’ve worked with that has developed an astounding service guarantee. The company is Pelican Products. Their claim: “You break it. We replace it. Forever.” This is not marketing hype. The company manufactures cases and flashlights that are virtually indestructible. The product is sold to the military, law enforcement, fire, and emergency agencies. This guarantee is unmatched in their industry and their competitors are stymied by their inability to match this offer. Even more amazing, Pelican tells me their return rate is less than 1%! How do they do this? By innovating the guarantee right into the product. How big is the market for industrial cases and flashlights? The company will do almost $100,000,000 this year. It helps to have a powerful guarantee.

Results Oriented Guarantee
Providing a guarantee of specific results is the most powerful type of guarantee. This might include a guarantee of timely performance, error free operation, asset depreciation, or financial value. The more specific the benefits or results, the less risk will be perceived. This requires citing some evidence so that prospects can understand precisely how the guarantee ensures the results. Here are a few examples:

A very common guarantee is: “Either you’re completely satisfied or we’ll give you your money back”. The reason this type of guarantee is so popular is that very few people take advantage of it. It’s more inconvenient and time consuming for people to request their money back than it is for them to suck it up and move on. Often times people will be hesitant to admit to themselves that they are dissatisfied with the purchase. Their egos get in the way. If they request their money back, they are admitting to themselves and others that they made a mistake in making the purchase. This kind of guarantee is often constructed using very powerful language such as: 

I’m so convinced that you’ll be absolutely delighted with your purchase, that I’m prepared to give you an ironclad 120 day, totally outrageous take it or leave it guarantee.”

This type of compelling language and commitment often is enough to reverse the inherent risk for the buyer.

Non- Results Oriented Guarantee
Examples of these type of guarantees are “hassle free”, “personal guarantee”, “guaranteed customer satisfaction” and “conditional guarantees” (if you do this, we’ll do that). These type of guarantees are not as strong as “results-based” guarantees, as we discussed above. “Results-based” guarantees therefore do a much better job of reversing risk. I strongly suggest that you make your guarantee based on specific results.

Giveaways are very effective ways to reduce risk and to overcome procrastination. By giving away part of our solution, we build credibility with the buyer and allow them to try out our solution. This leverages two powerful forces in the marketing process. The first is utilizing the word FREE. While it may be overused, the word “free” still carries a powerful effect over those that hear it. The second is when we give something to someone, they automatically feel obligated to give something back. This is human nature. 

Examples of Giveaways
I have seen countless examples of this in action:

  • The auto repair center that gives away free oil changes- these are valued at $69 each, but by giving these away they get an armful of new customers that purchase several thousand dollars in services each year.
  • Consultants or professionals that offer a free introductory assessment.
  • Software companies that offer free trial ware or “shareware”.

Combination Strategies
While guarantees help to reverse risk and giveaways overcome procrastination, imagine how powerful both techniques can be when combined. 

Here is a great example of a guarantee and a giveaway in the same offer for a search engine marketing company:

Join our search engine optimization newsletter and you’re automatically entered in a drawing for a Gold Search Engine Optimization Package valued at over $2,999. We’re giving away one Gold search engine marketing package every month! We guarantee first page ranking on several major search engines. Click here to request a first page ranking proposal.

Regardless of the type of guarantee you often, every product or service should incorporate a risk reversal strategy into their marketing campaign. We spend considerably more time on this in our Attract More Business program, Tele-clinics and in our one-on-one Tele-coaching. Think about how you can reverse the customers risk in changing. Reversing Risk TeleClinicTo help you put the concepts discussed in this article into action, we will be holding a Reversing Risk TeleClinic on Monday, November 22nd at 1 PM.  To register, go to: 
Special news for our Southern California Readers!
Can’t get enough advice on reversing risk?  Be sure to stop by the FM Talk Financial Fest on November 13th.  I will be speaking on the subject of reversing risk in business.  Go to the KLSX website for more details.  You can also see Tom Leykis speak on amassing personal wealth, Doug Fabian speaking about investing through mutual funds, and Gabriel Wisdom sharing his thoughts on the stock market.  If you stop by, please say hi to Matt and Myself. Also be sure to listen for the Small Business Tip of the Day on 97.1 FM KLSX, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the 8 O’clock hour of the Conway and Steckler show.  If you’re out of the listening area, we will soon be posting these segments on our website for everyone to enjoy.   Have a great week! I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Network assists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or email 

Mark Deo

Passion Play

Do what you love and you will be successful.

We’ve all heard that before. But you have to admit there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, what if, the thing that you love is offensive to some people? In that case you may not be all that successful. You will be relegated to serving a very small and select market. But this leaves you without the broad appeal that brings in the big bucks.So how can we leverage “doing what we love” to create success, satisfaction and even wealth?Few, I think would argue the fact that actor-producer-director Mel Gibson has accomplished this with his movie, “The Passion of the Christ.”There’s no doubt that this film is on its way to being a blockbuster. But how could this be? Here’s a movie that depicts the final 12 hours of Jesus Christ’s life in excruciating detail. It is first off, politically incorrect (Christians are less popular than the gay community today), filled with more blood and gore than all Freddy Kruger flicks combined, and scripted in ancient Latin and Aramaic. Not exactly the formula for successful filmmaking.Yet “Passion” opened in over 3,000 theaters, an unusually large release for a religious film with English subtitles and the sparsest of plots. Advance ticket sales hit $10 million and in the first weekend generated over $30 million in sales.You’ve got to wonder with all this gratuitous violence, no dialog or characters to speak of, no advertising and NOT A STAR in sight, how Gibson ended up selling this movie?Regardless of our religious beliefs, there’s no doubt that Mel was passionate about telling this story. He was clearly doing what he loved in making this film. And he was employing that “remarkable marketing” that we talk about all the time in on our weekly radio show, in our classes, seminars, and in our weekly Business Updates. With everything against him he created something exceptional, new, interesting, compelling, worth noticing and worth talking about. He actually built the marketing right into the product itself.Newsweek said of the film, “when all’s said and done he’s made what may be the most watched Passion Pay of all time. Putting his money where his mouth was, Gibson invested $20 million of his own cash in a film so divisive that no Hollywood studio would touch it.”Tom Peters said in his book, “The Pursuit of Wow,” that the only products or services of the future will be those that are created by passionate people. Gibson used the hive mentality to create sneezers (the Christian community) to develop something virus-worthy. He didn’t create an ad campaign catering to the masses. That would be trying to swim upstream. He went with the flow. He previewed the movie to evangelical media and church leaders.Focusing on this small, self-contained hive market was very smart marketing indeed. There’s no better organized subgroup. This was the market segment most influential, most profitable and most likely to sneeze. And sneeze they did – all over each other. Think about it, these religious groups have their own radio stations, TV networks, publications and web sites.Not long after this, Churches from coast to coast reserved entire theaters for opening. According to People magazine, The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 50 denominations and 43,000 congregations, even helped sell tickets on their web sites. The religious community embraced the film as “the best outreach opportunity in 2,000 years,” according to the Rev. Rob Schenck, President of the National Clergy Council. Pope John Paul II seeing the movie said, “It is as it was.” Billy Graham was so moved that he wept and called it a film “equal to a lifetime of sermons.”Now how would you like to enjoy these kinds of accolades for your business, product or service? I would not for a moment reduce Mr. Gibson’s work to one that is aimed only to generate profit or business success. On the contrary, I believe that the film is enjoying the success it is particularly because of his passion and focus on making a product that is a tool for evangelism as opposed to one that needs to be marketed.What about if we could apply these principals to our business? The good news is that we can. Here’s my advice:1. Identify the smallest most influential market that you can possibly find – a powerful, smooth subgroup that will have interest in what you have to offer. 2. Create a premium product or service that is so impressive and compelling and offer it ONLY to this group. 3. Figure out a way to give them a small taste of the product. Do so in advance of everyone else. 4. Empower the leaders of this group to make claims and statements to their community regarding the product that you have created. 5. Build your marketing right into your product or service rather than tagging it on as an afterthought. 6. Inject your own passion in what you do. Do it because you believe it. And if you don’t believe it, don’t do it! 7. Do what you love. Love what you do. Let it show no matter what anyone thinks!Our thanks, Mel. Bet you never thought you’d be giving us a marketing lesson along with the Gospel?I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Network assists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or email mark@markdeo.comMark Deo

Luxury or Necessity

In this difficult economic environment it is becoming more important that we fully understand the needs of our customer. In fact it is critical that we begin to see things from our customer’s viewpoint now, more than ever.

Unfortunately today many marketers are looking closer at their income statement than at their customers. Many are concluding that because they offer a more “optional,” high-ticket product, they are in fact offering what will be perceived by the consumer as a luxury purchase. This perception is the result of fear. This kind of fear is very dangerous to any industry. It has caused many marketers to cut back on their advertising, reduce their marketing expenditure, and even begin to slash the price of their products and services in the marketplace. These kinds of actions only result in lessening the value of our products and services in the eye of the customer. It makes the statement to the consumer that WE OURSELVES do not place a high value of the services we offer.

Webster’s defines luxury as “something that is not necessary.” Think of the telephone. A decade or two ago it was not uncommon to meet someone who did not have a telephone. Now it is unimaginable. Cell phones, pagers and Internet connections are becoming the same way. What were once luxury items are now necessities of life.

Itamar Simonson of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and Ran Kivetz of Columbia University surveyed 3,100 consumers about their attitudes on luxury purchases. The researchers asked participants to rate themselves in terms of how guilty they felt about purchasing luxury items in general. They found that more than 62% of the respondents felt guilt over purchasing luxury items. “Most people need to justify luxuries,” Simonson said. Their findings suggest that people believe luxury purchases should be “earned.” Is this the category that you want your products and services to occupy? Are we deciding for our customers, “what is necessary?”

It’s very important that we do not position our products or services as luxury purchases. They need to be marketed as very necessary solutions to very real problems. People purchase your product or service because they seek solutions to their problems. The more that we can demonstrate our connection to the customers needs, the more valuable we will be to the customer.

Logo Vs. Brand, Part 2

This article is part 2 of 2.

 3. Product or Service Mix 
In a sense the product or service that you sell is meaningless! Are you reading right? You are! The problem is more important than the solution. Too often marketers make broad assumptions when communicating their message to clients. This happens in both the selling interaction (face-to-face and on the phone) as well as the marketing interaction (with ads, brochures and web sites.) This is a natural tendency since as marketers we know far more about our products and services than our customers. In many cases we may know what the customer needs more than they themselves know. The danger, however, is that customers don’t care about the benefits and solutions that our company offers. Let me repeat that: CUSTOMERS DON’T CARE ABOUT OUR BENEFITS AND SOLUTIONS! First off people today make buying decisions more emotionally than ever before. Our prospects and customers care FAR more about their problems than they ever will about our solutions! 

4. Exclusive Selling Proposition 
For years, marketers have learned the way to differentiate their company, product or service was by creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition). I no longer think the USP is effective. We must create an EXCLUSIVE SOLUTION which is specifically tailored to solving the customer’s problem(s). This can only be accomplished by fully understanding the customer’s problem(s). Only then can we design the exclusive solutions to these problems. Ask yourself these questions: What do you do that is so different from your competitors that it makes you the ONLY solution to the problems you’ve identified? How can you use this knowledge to develop marketing language that emotionally speaks in terms of the problems that you have identified? How can you do this in an emotionally charged way that stimulates the right hemisphere of their brain?  Don’t be a better option, become the ONLY solution.

5. Positioning Statement
The position statement allows you to articulate all of these messages in a tight, economical phrase. Often time the right tag-line or Meme is born from the position statement. Mission statements are also developed from well expressed marketing position statements. The position statement is ultimately a summary of the above elements tied-up in a nice little sentence or two. It communicates how you exclusively solve the distinct problems for those in your target audience.

Making the Brand Tangible
Once this strategy is established we can then begin “packaging” to make the branding elements tangible to clients, prospects, affiliates and even members of the team. When we can create visual, pneumonic and auditory branding messages that are overlapping then we have the ability to influence people on more than just a “conscious” level. We can influence them on an “unconscious” level which is far more powerful. Brand packaging is comprised of these typical marketing communication elements:

  • business cards and stationery
  • web presence
  • incoming call reception
  • email delivery
  • advertising and promotional material
  • product ergonomics and packaging
  • brochure or collateral material
  • signage, point-of-sale displays and billboards
  • trade shows presence
  • gifts, premiums and giveaways
  • sales approach and presentation strategy

In the coming weeks I will be talking more about branding and how a synergistic branding program is conceived, strategized, and implemented. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. That’s what I’m here for. My sincere desire is that marketers will begin to look at branding in a more holistic way. It’s not about your logo or tag line, it’s about your heart and identifying with your clients problems in a way that no one else is doing.   

Logo vs. Brand

When people think of a “brand” the first thing that often comes to mind is a logo. 

It is not surprising that someone would view a logo itself as the brand because it is the most identifiable visual element related to the product, service or company. However the logo is only a small part of a branding strategy. We think of the “swoosh” as the Nike brand yet the “swoosh” itself is the Nike logo and just a reminder of the brand, but what a reminder! In fact if you go to the Nike web site you will not even find the Nike name at the top of the site, you will find ONLY the little orange “swoosh!” The Nike brand conjures-up the desire to compete and win. It clearly communicates high attainment, no excuse environment – just do it! When we make a Nike brand selection we are stepping-up to a higher level performance and making a greater commitment to seriously compete. Consequently Nike products are more often perceived as being more valuable than the competition. They are positioned higher in the prospective customer’s mind. They are willing to make a greater investment and pay more for the product.
 HeartshareA well executed brand takes-up residence in the hearts of customers, clients, and prospects. It is the culmination of their experiences and perceptions of the company, product and service. The brand ultimately constitutes the promise to the client. This promise must be packaged in such a way as to accomplish the following goals:

  • Clearly communicate the company, product or service message
  • Strengthen credibility
  • Emotionally motivate the buyer
  • Solidify client loyalty
  • Create a memorable identity
  • Ensure distinctive positioning

By addressing these elements we can build a branding strategy that is more effective to implement. This, far more than developing a cool looking logo, is the true essence of branding. This is similar to one of the rules of attraction that I often talk about in my seminars, books, CDs and classes; “Heartshare is more important than marketshare or even mindshare.” Heartshare is the emotional reason that your company product or service exists. Pre-requisites of BrandingPerhaps now you can see how branding extends far deeper than just a logo. Several aspects of the marketing mix must be addressed in order to develop a branding strategy. I have addressed these in a way that is different than most branding experts. However when implemented faithfully this strategy is extremely effective: 1) Target Audience – practicing “rejection”There are more competitors emerging every day in every industry and profession. Because of this we might find ourselves chasing ANY type of business that we can get. In a highly competitive environment there is a tremendous temptation to take “what ever comes along” until you can find some kind of niche. This strategy is no longer effective because while we are taking whatever comes along, so are the rest of our competitors. This process pushes down the market price of the products and services being offered and ultimately results in price erosion and even creates technology or price wars wherein the weakest players are eliminated. Realizing this, it’s not surprising that U.S. Department of Commerce states that 95% of all new businesses fail in their first year! Far more important than identifying your market niche and the kind of business you “want” is identifying the kind of business that you DO NOT want! This is counter intuitive and difficult to grasp but once implemented it is extraordinarily effective. In short, if we can reject the kind of business that we DON’T want, we will automatically become more attractive to those that we DO want. The first step however is to fully understand the marketplace in which we compete. 2) Competitive LandscapeBy fully understanding the competitive landscape and how our company, product or service integrates into it, we can identify the “GAP” in the marketplace. It is impossible to develop a powerful brand without identifying the GAP. The “GAP” is the area of product, service, quality, selection, application, delivery or price which is NOT being satisfied. When we understand the “GAP” in the market we can find the specialized need or needs which we can EXCLUSIVELY satisfy. If we develop our product to satisfy the “GAP” we have the ability to define a very tightly focused audience profile. This profile should become our exclusive focus.  By doing so we will only accept business that matches the profile of the type of customer we want to deal with. In order to ensure that our product or service matches the specific unmet needs of the target market (or the GAP), it is critical that we invest time in fully understanding our competition. I have devised a very simple way to gather intelligence about the competition.  It is completely ethical and devastatingly effective. The best way to understand your competition is to “become their customer,” at least for a bit.  Few entrepreneurs or business professionals do this, yet it is probably the most effective way to understand what your competition is all about.  Call or visit them and ask them plenty of questions.  Do not tell them you are a competitor; your purpose for becoming their customer is to learn what makes them tick.  I do this for all of my client’s noteworthy competitors.  It works magnificently. In our consulting firm, one tool that we use to understand our client’s competitors is what I call the “Competitive Landscape Profile” or the CLP.  The CLP allows us to plot the proficiency of each of our competitors on a chart that gives us a very clear picture of who they are, what they do, where they fit, and how they are different. When completed the CLP clearly tells us where the GAP is in the marketplace. This article is part 1 of 2.  Read next week’s business update for the conclusion.   

Let Me Entertain You

Have you ever thought about which occupations pay the most?

Is it doctors? No, managed care has taken care of that.How about lawyers? They do OK but it’s no guarantee of fortune.What about CEOs of major companies? You can make a pretty penny when you get to the top, if the stress doesn’t kill you first.Then who?
ENTERTAINERS.Think about it. From sports figures to pop stars to TV personalities to the icons of stage and silver screen, its entertainers that top the charts both in cash and glamour. They are also far more influential than authors, scientists and even Nobel Prize winners. Why?Its quite simple really. Entertainers make us FEEL GOOD!While knowledge is important in the new economy it is just the second step in building enduring relationships. The fact is that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It all boils down to passion. How are you showing passion in your work. I’m not talking about sexual passion here. I talking about using our emotional state to let people know how we feel about them. It is only then that we will have a receptive audienceThink about kids. They do this all the time.Recently Kathy and I were driving with a friend and we had her two six year old children with us. As we drove past the stores and restaurants the kids seemed quiet until those Golden Arches came into view. I nearly jumped out of my skin when the shrill of two squeaky voices in unison yelled out, “McDonald’s.” This caused me to think about McDonalds in a way which I never had. Why are these kids so excited about a fast food place? Is it because McDonald’s has great hamburgers? Do they appreciate the clean, friendly environment? I don’t think so. Six year olds could care less about good food or clean, friendly environments. What they care most about is – – HAVING FUN! Let’s face it, McDonald’s provides a great experience for kids. In fact EVERYTHING that McDonalds does is built around FUN! From the commercials to the menus, to the place mats, to the free gifts, to those giant plastic tubes kids crawl in and out of, it’s all aimed at HAVING FUN! It’s not the food or the service. It’s the McDonalds EXPERIENCE. You’ve got to give McDonalds credit. They know their audience.Other businesses are catching on to this trend — and those that do stand out. I know a pediatric dentist that is tapping into this concept by creating a whole building called Tooth Zone. It, too, will have tubes and slides and other fun stuff. He already has free video games and a cool play area for kids. His practice is thriving because he gives patients an experience — not just a cleaning. Kids in his practice can’t wait to go to the dentist! He’s turned something negative into a positive experience.Adults are not much different than children. We want to have fun too. Maybe more so than the kids. The lesson that these innovative marketers have learned is people want to have fun. And business is about giving people what they want. Often times that’s a special and unique experience. Recently I heard about a unique retailer in Fort Worth, Texas, that had a Mardi Gras Parade through the aisles of the store. They were providing more than shopping. They were providing a fun EXPERIENCE.Creating a “fun experience” can be adapted to just about any business. Consider the most somber of services, like health care. I have a number of medical clients like doctors, hospitals and surgical centers. One of things I do is to try to help them to differentiate themselves. I try to work with the people and the processes within these institutions to help them to create a “fun experience” for their patients. Like the cosmetic surgeon that has a huge library of movies and state-of-the-art video games that patients and their family members can watch and play while they are waiting. I also work with a hospital that maintains a complete game room with pinball machines, video games and all types of fun stuff for adults and kids. This helps patients and guests to pass the time in a comfortable way.How about the construction company that gives every customer a framed two foot by three foot caricature poster of their finished home or office with them standing on front of it. He actually has a book of them that he uses for evidence and shows prospects before and after pictures. They go nuts over the posters because they are personalized and funny. How about the business attorneys that have all types of trains running throughout their office. They have melded their personal life with their business life. Clients can begin to see them as people just like themselves and it removes the austere nature that often pervades the attorney/client relationship. Come into my office and the first thing you will see is a huge leather couch and a regulation size pool table. Clients can relax and entertain themselves by playing pool while waiting for their appointment or waiting for a job to be completed.How are you tapping into the great American desire to not merely consume, but also have an experience at the same time? Look at your business. What can you do to provide an EXPERIENCE for customers? An EXPERIENCE in service. An EXPERIENCE in people’s everyday world. You’ll stand out and be noticed. The opportunity is waiting. E-mail me your about your business, and let’s come up with ways to apply the experience economy to your situation.

Keeping It Fresh

I kept grabbing papers and magazines and stacking them up in the corner. It seemed like the supply was never ending.

Then I bound them up with string and made a nice bundle out of them. The salvage fellow said if I put them in neat bundles he wouldn’t charge me as much to haul them away. Oh boy, aren’t I lucky?

I thought about this for a minute. Here I am willing to pay someone to take away these newspapers when I myself had to pay money to get them in the first place. I calculated that I had collected approximately 75 papers that I had paid more than $100 to acquire. Now, these papers were worth LESS than nothing.

I came to the conclusion that yesterday’s news is worthless. In fact the older the news gets, the less people want it. It ends up costing you money just to store it or remove it! Today’s news is worth about $1.25 (per newspaper). But what about tomorrow’s newspaper? What would tomorrow’s news be worth if it were available TODAY? Everyone knows that. They’d be worth a fortune.

If you think about it, the more timely the information, the more value it holds.

Yet if you look at most web sites, or on-line marketing you will see old, expired, uninspiring and out-of-date information. Even in the brick-and-mortar world current, accurate information is scarce. Brochures and promotional material reflect worn-out ideas and concepts.

Businesses, it seems, will invest uncounted hours and thousands of dollars developing new concepts and ways to communicate them but will give not the least thought as to how to keep fresh these ideas and corresponding marketing mediums.

Are we so arrogant as to think that once we have established our idea in the marketplace that it will not be challenged?

Do we believe that the market that we occupy will be free of change over time? Or that our customers will always want the same thing?

Or are we so ignorant that we expect our competition to remain stationary?

I hope not.

Keeping our ideas fresh requires always improving and tinkering with our products, services and with the way we communicate with our customers and business partners.

Sometimes it’s not about creating a new idea but rather communicating our idea in an entirely new way. This requires constantly re-framing our products or services for the market. Take Apple computers. They went from being the computers made exclusively for geeks to the computers that make a fashion statement.

Or what about the big tobacco companies? They have radically changed their advertising from a message that says: “Oh what a feeling” to “check out our great product stewardship and risk reduction efforts.” They in fact have spent billions on these new communication initiatives and despite that fact, thousands of people die every year from lung cancer you can still buy cigarettes at your local grocery store. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone smoking, I am merely pointing out the fact that they changed their message and this has resulted in continued growth.

Think about your company, product and service. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to ensure that you are communicating fresh ideas, and providing inspiring and up-to-date information. I have also included some examples of what we at the SBA Network are doing to put these principals into practice:

  1. How “newsworthy” are the ideas that you are communicating? Do they reflect the current “thought-trends” in your industry? On our web sites we allow people to listen to our latest radio shows, on demand. They feature some of the leading business experts in the country. This can be done at any time and any place in the world at small business hour
  2. Are you willing to give a little up-front in order to influence your constituents? For example we make our entire library of articles available to visitors by posting hundreds of articles on our web site in the Library of Business Development Articles section. These are completely FREE. In order to view these all someone has to do is give us their email.
  3. How easy is it for people to connect with you? Are you visible enough or are you out-of-sight and therefore out-of-mind? I’m not talking about being pushy and constantly pitching your product or service. This will only push people away. I’m talking about sharing valuable insights, information, applications and FREE offers. One of the things we do to stay connected every week is to send this email that you are reading right now. It is non-pushy, yet informative, sometimes inspiring and often educational for our business partners. What can you do to stay connected?
  4. Can others transfer your ideas in a smooth way? For example we offer site visitors 2 sets of our radio show CDs for FREE if they agree to forward this email to 10 friends. This is strictly on the honor system but people seem to follow suit non-the-less. And when they get their 2 sets of CDs what do you think they do with the second set? That’s right, give it away. You can check out our free coaching cd’s
  5. Can people get small chunks of your solution for FREE? Some consultants and service providers are afraid of giving away too much of their solution. “Don’t tell the customer too much. Then they won’t need you.” I totally disagree with this. Knowing the right thing to do is different than knowing how to do the right thing. Anyone can go to our web site and listen to a 20 minute audio workshop telling them How to Get More Appointments or How To Be More Productive or How to Motivate Their Staff. learning programs I’m not at all afraid of sharing this information with people. In fact I hope it helps them so much they DON’T have to hire me! Then they’ll tell everyone they know about it. Share your information and secret ingredients freely and watch people become your loyal followers.

It’s All About Trust

In the end, it came down to trust.

 The fates of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, former Enron executives, always hung on the question of whether the two men were to be believed. With the guilty verdicts rendered thus past week, 12 Houston jurors said, resoundingly, that Lay and Skilling were not to be believed.
 Clearly, these jurors listened intently to both sides throughout the trial. They heard the judge’s final instructions. They weighed and picked apart the evidence and arguments. But something else fundamentally consequential also went on inside the Enron jury room. In a case without a “smoking gun” — and one that was always a morality play, anyway — it came down to credibility. Who would the jury trust more, the accused or the accusers?
 Isn’t this precisely what happens in sales and marketing? We can have the greatest product or service in the world but if we fail to win trust then we FAIL. It amazes me how little emphasis is placed on trust and credibility today. Marketers can talk all day and night about their company, products and services. They think talking about themselves gets them credibility. They think it wins them trust. Yet in reality all it does is push more people further away!
 How about you? Does your marketing focus on WHAT you do? – Bells and whistles? Or does it make a powerful argument for why YOU and your company is believable. Here are some ways that you can win trust in the credibility game:

  • Be consistent. Nothing is worse than and organization that talks out of both sides of their mouth. Like the company that advertises how they are very customer-centric (now there’s a popular buzz word that make me nauseated) yet when you get a representative on the phone they amaze you with their apathy and unconcern.
  • Focus on values. Values represent the deeply held beliefs within an organization and are demonstrated through the day-to-day behaviors of all employees. An organization’s values make an open proclamation about how it expects everyone to behave. Values should endure over the long-term and provide a constant source of strength for an organization.
  • Remember that integrity is more critical today than ever before because it differentiates us. As I say in the Rules of Attraction, “who we are is more important than WHAT we do.” I guess old Lay and Skilling missed this one.
  • Use evidence when you make your point in your marketing material. It could be a statistic, a testimonial or some kind of analogy but evidence makes us more convincing.
  • Speak in simple terms. Sometimes I read the copy on web site, brochures and even in advertisements and I am amazed at how we marketers make broad assumptions about the knowledge of our customers. Make your self understood to a third-grader. This avoid pretension and increases communication.
  • Understatement is a powerful tool. Under-promise and over-deliver. Don’t make wild claims. This alone will make your message more persuasive and compelling and control the customer’s expectations increasing your opportunity to DELIGHT them at every turn.

I hope that helps you in crafting a believable marketing message. For more information about how to create more convincing and believable check out my Attract More Business program. Thanks to all and I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Network assists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or email  

Have a great week!

Getting Attention

“Are you paying attention?”

This is what my parents always used to say when I was a child. “Yea sure Mom,” I’d answer. But in reality I wasn’t paying them any attention. I was preoccupied in my own little world. This drove my parent’s crazy. Which made me a proud beastie of a son. (Aren’t you glad I wasn’t your kid?)

Do you sometimes find it difficult to GET the attention of others?

Is it a challenge to HOLD people’s attention at times?

Whatever role you are playing in business, getting attention is absolutely critical. In many cases getting the favorable attention of customers, prospects, employees, team members, strategic partners, investors and stockholders can be the difference between winning and losing.

In spite of this, few recognize that attention can be managed like other precious resources. How? Now that I have your attention, I will get to that shortly. In order for us to fully understand this concept, let’s first look at the types of attention:

Front-of-Mind AttentionThis is the kind of attention that is demanded when we are writing a report, engaged in a business discussion, making a purchase or conducting a transaction. It is conscious, focused and explicit attention.

Back-of-Mind Attention
While you may be engaging your conscious through these front-of-mind attentions you are also using your back-of-mind attention to filter through all kinds of thoughts such as a spouse or friend, a shopping list and an upcoming vacation.

Captive AttentionThese are things we MUST give our attention simply because we have no choice. They include cinema advertising, work assignments, poor weather, our boss’s crummy jokes and so on.

Voluntary AttentionThese are things we CHOOSE to pay attention to like TV/print advertising, hobbies, glancing through a magazine. These are typically less explicit stimuli.

Attractive and Adverse AttentionThese are things that stand out among the typical experiences in our day. Attractive attention stimuli includes seeing an attractive women or man pass by, a shooting star, a rainbow or a dolphin frolicking in the waves. Adverse attention stimuli includes seeing a car accident, a highly unattractive person, getting bad news.

The ultimate attention-getter draws on all five types of attention simultaneously. These are experiences that characterize the most intensely rewarding and enjoyable moments of our lives. Think of extreme sports like skydiving, hang gliding, scuba diving, rock climbing. These use all 5 of the areas of attention focused on one activity. It seem that what people really love is to have every area of their attention totally saturated.

How can you saturate your audience’s attention? What can you do to get their “Front-of-mind” working, stimulate their “Back-of-mind” attention, “Captivate” them, get them to “Voluntarily” give you their attention and stimulate both their adverse and attractive attentions?

How to Get and Keep a Person’s Attention
Here are some great tips on how to get and keep a person’s attention regardless of your circumstances:

  1. Make a change – One way to keep attention over time is to make changes. This is true for employee management, advertising, web media, public speaking and even relationships. Make changes to your content, format, tone, and involvement level in order to keep people more interested.
  2. Tell a story – We stay in movies and finish novels because we want to find out what happens to the characters in the story. Give your audience a story and they’ll stay with you.
  3. Keep it real – Informational messages that are lifelike and realistic are more likely to keep attention than those that are not.
  4. Don’t stop – If you have an audience’s attention already you have a good chance of moving to the next topic or location without losing them. Don’t let your written or spoken messages drag.
  5. Alter the flow – The most successful attention- structure tools hold our attention long enough to give a message but also make it easy for us to change the informational context. Look at the most successful web sites for example.

There is no doubt that we live an in age of information overload and attention deficit. This is why relationships are so important today. Use the above guidelines to get more favorable attention in your written and spoken messages, advertising, marketing, personal and business encounters. This will help you to build stronger relationships and offer more value to your clients, team members and personal associates.

Full Day Attraction Workshop

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How Attraction is Different
Imagine that you are a gazelle and you are face-to-face with a bloodthirsty, hungry cheetah. 

What do you do? 

Run like the wind – blood pumping in your veins – lungs nearly exploding. Run faster and harder with fear in your heart. 

You know that the cheetah will chase you until you tire and fall from exhaustion and then you will surely be devoured.

But wait, at the last second the cheetah is distracted by an older, slower, less agile gazelle. You escape as the cheetah is diverted. You live to see another day.

Later you are grazing on the same plain not fifty feet from the very same cheetah and her entire group. The cheetahs lick their chops. They are stuffed and tired from the hunt. But you and your gazelle pals are no longer afraid.



A New Mindset
Let’s face it, no matter who or what you are, when someone is chasing you, your first impulse is to run.

I have found that people often feel like that gazelle. They feel like they are being hunted, stalked, and eventually chased down. It happens in personal relationships as well as in business. I guess that’s because we are taught to act hungry. When we want something, we take it (assuming it’s legal and ethical).

This is particularly true in business. Traditional business practices have, for the most part, remained self-centered and manipulative designed to get someone to do what you want them to do. That could be buying your product or service, performing the tasks you have outlined or taking the actions that you deem important to achieving your ultimate goal. Make no mistake; business today is still about pursuit – the hunter and the hunted. It’s about overcoming obstacles, circumventing roadblocks, and tricking or trapping your prey. There is always a “winner” and a “loser.” This is still the sad reality of our economy. We battle for share of market or share of mind. 
There is Another Way
But what if we were able to break out of this paradigm? What if we were able to present our ideas or solutions in such a way that people sought us out, rather than us having to chase after them? What if we could apply this to marketing and motivate customers and prospects to choose our company, product or service over the competition? What if team members and business partners decided, on their own, that they WANTED to, “Do it the RIGHT way” rather than being told over and over again to correct their behavior?

How valuable would it be to your business if you could ATTRACT the right kind of employees, affiliate relationships and alliances? How about customers? Imagine attracting your ideal prospect without spending a dime on advertising or putting on a big sales pitch?

All business leaders like to believe they have a unique solution. They are confident they are different from the competition. Yet when you get right down to it, most marketing communication says the exact SAME thing. It talks about what the company, product, or service DOES. At best, it may promise some generic group of benefits in which buyers MAY be interested. Even the best marketing materials (web sites, brochure, flyers, ads, radio or TV spots, promotions, interactive CDs or videos) attempt to communicate to the customer why their product, service or company is better than the competition. 

Few focus on the PROBLEM that the customer is having. Few have designed solutions that are so customized to their target audience that they would have to be insane to even think about another option. This is the core of the attraction mindset. So take a step back in your business- stop chasing customers, and start attracting them to you.  

Seeking a way to put this into practice for your business?  Come to our Attraction workshops!  Go to: for more information! Our New Attract More Business Full Day Workshops will be held on:

  • August 27 in the Long Beach area
  • July 23 in the Pasadena area

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