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But how do you actually do this?
(without falling into the 'give-give-give' trap and enriching other people's lives whilst remaining poor yourself and of course: without having to resort to salesy "persuasion" marketing that destroys your soul)
The essence of Zig Ziglar’s quote is creating genuine win-win situations …
… which you’ve probably found hard to ‘engineer’ with the marketing that's taught today:
even if you have ‘something’ that can truly transform people’s lives …
... it’s super-hard to get them to say “yes, that’s for me, tell me more” and have a genuine conversation to figure out if you can help - especially online, where scepticism is at an all-time high!
Here’s why it’s so hard: The (direct response) marketing methods you’re told to use are inherently ‘win-lose’ and fail to strategically establish environments where trust can flourish.
This article shows you how to give the right kind of value so people actually buy from you!
In marketing, we measure how well an offer resonates with our target audience with something called 'conversion rate'.
Now, in practice, you'll have conversion rates of anywhere between 0.1% and say 1%-3%.
Maybe you're adding some extra layers of sophistication to it.
Perhaps you're doing a lot of 'split-testing' and 'optimizing' ...
... or you're doing webinars to increase the know-like-trust factor.
And now you're proud that you've doubled, heck, tripled your conversion rates ... and you're now converting at 10%.
Here's the problem:
That's still 90% - 99.9% of all your potential prospects who say
to your offer.
And they're not saying 'no' because what you have couldn't potentially be of tremendous value to them.
Instead, they say 'no' because your marketing message didn't get them to say:
"oh, that could be of tremendous value, let me check it out.
Please tell me more"
How to do that, that's what we're covering here!
Just to manage expectations, what you are about to discover isn’t a shortcut. Attracting high-quality clients without being salesy is NOT a surface-level problem, so don't expect a surface-level "quick fix" solution.
in many cases it requires more ‘work’ than what’s currently being taught out there, as you can see in this example of my white-board when I'm in the middle of creating content for my tribe:
but when you go to the extra effort of focusing on building trust with - instead of 'persuading' - your prospective clients, the payoffs are substantial:
You can actually attract high quality clients via ethical marketing that builds trust & long-lasting, mutually beneficial (and transformational) relationships.
Heads-up: the next section covers the real, underlying problem that's actually causing the problems you're facing with your marketing-efforts.
It's shy over 3,500 words. It's tempting to skip over, and jump straight to the solution (the "how to build trust in practice"-section). I appreciate that.
Try to resist that temptation. Instead, make some space in your diary, and go through the content with intent.
Remember: it's not a surface level problem and your business deserves more than a surface-level "paint-over-the-cracks-in-the-wall"-approach!
Here's what Bill Hildebrand of told me after reading it: (note; when Bill refers to 'it', he means 'exploitative, hyped up marketing')
I read every word and was glad to have done so. I think I know most of what you said but I still fall for it way to often.
I certainly don't want to market like that because I agree it does not promote a trusting or long term relationship. In fact, I have unsubscribed from many of the people I bought from because I was really disappointed in the product or the service I got after the sale.
I was a medical sales rep for 30 years but I was never a high pressure sales person. That was not my personality. I was rather soft spoken and just really tried to inform my prospect how my product would solve the issues that they had and that we backed up our product with excellent service.
I had a very successful career. Thank you for all the information. I also like the way you write. I like the fact that you tell it like it is and that was the way I have been all my life and learned that not everyone likes that but the ones who do actually become your best friends. Anyway, keep up the good work.
The Source Of All Your Problems
Today's "Brag, Beg & Bribe" Direct Response Marketing Model
You may not be aware of this, but the thing you’ve been told to do …
… is precisely the thing that’s causing all of your problems in the first place!
You see, in the “good ol’ days” (we’re talking pre-industrial times), when you wanted to buy or sell something, you’d go and talk to another person.
You’d have a discussion, perhaps a negotiation, and you’d come to some conclusion.
Then, along comes industrialization, and suddenly manufacturers were faced with a big problem:
too much product to sell using this ‘old-fashioned’ way of talking to prospects one-to-one.
Well, fortunately for them, there was an easy solution: newspapers.
Now you could reach the masses with a simple ad.
But of course, in a simple ad, you could never really replicate the ‘proper conversation’ you’d have at a one-on-one level.
So, clever marketers started testing different approaches to see how they could make their ads more effective (as in: get more people to respond).
And over time, they developed what is now known as ‘direct response advertising’.
The underlying principles is this:
You present some offer to an audience, you measure the response, you adjust your message until it resonates ‘optimally’ with your audience.
Here’s what they found:
when you do this with large numbers of readers, you find that ‘hardwired responses’ like urgency and scarcity get the ‘best’ results (meaning: the highest number of people respond).
And this is simply because
I’m sure you’ve heard the good old marketing-insight:
Try to appeal to everyone, and you’ll appeal to no one
or as Seth Godin puts it:
And that’s more or less the situation when advertising in newspapers:
you may have a rough idea what the readership is like, but really, you’re trying to appeal to EVERYONE who is reading the newspaper.
So, you resort to the one thing they all have in common:
That’s right: hardwired responses!
and this stuff really works:
I remember to this day, as an 8-year old kid seeing a big banner in our village for some mortgage deal that expired by the 31st of December 1978.
And there's little me running home, bursting to tell mum about this special deal … despite not having the foggiest idea what a ‘mortage’ is.
(and yes, that's me on in that picture - awesome hair, right?;-)
So, the fact that newspaper ads had to appeal to a wide audience and "persuade" them to take action is the reason why so much of today's marketing core ‘tactics’ for getting people to respond to your ads are things like
… and so on.
You’ve probably even noticed this yourself:
almost all ‘launches’ are based on this principle – even the ones that sell you ‘client attraction programs’ use them! (ironic, don't you find?)
As an example:
Just like you, I'm subscribed to tons of 'marketing' lists ...
... and pretty much all of them use bonuses, scarcity, urgency and so on every single day (often enough in combination: "only x bonuses left, only until tonight, limited this, exclusive that, last chance here...").
Here's what I found for just the last few hours in my inbox today (pop-quiz: which 2 are from "client-attraction"-gurus?)
I’m sorry, but there's nothing particularly attractive about exploiting hard-wired responses - even if it's because there's a fundamental lack of understanding of what your audience truly wants.
And that's my key objection to the overuse of the outdated Direct Response Marketing tactics:
Using these 'hardwired response'-tactics simply compensates for
Please understand, I’m not ‘damning’ the use of these methods – they do work extremely well in practice and massive businesses like e.g. Walmart or Amazon use them every single day:
it’s all about maximizing the number of transactions, and then hopefully making a profit on the usually small margin.
Also, please don't confuse all of Direct Response Marketing (DRM) with hardwired responses.
The hardwired responses are just one aspect or tactic of DRM, but sadly, that's the one everybody is focusing on almost exclusively!
The fundamental principle of DRM (measure what you're doing, do more of what gets results, eliminiate what doesn't work) is spot-on, and exactly what you should be doing.
What you should NOT be doing is exploiting the hardwired responses (not even unwittingly!) - and below you'll find the 3 main reasons WHY!
A lot of the 'Direct Response Marketing' as we know it today was developed with one goal in mind:
maximize the response to ads in a newspaper.
(what those ads did NOT have to achieve was what happens in between 'grabbing attention' and the sale:
a considered buying decision process)
The tactics that worked best are 'hardwired responses' like urgency, scarcity etc.
Today, they are used mostly in marketing to compensate for the lack of understanding of what really rocks your ideal audiences' boat!
For you, as a coach, or consultant, who doesn't do mass-one-to-many marketing, but instead wants to get to genuine conversations with the few who are truly qualified, these Direct Response Marketing tactics are simply the wrong tool to use!
And here's why:
Have a look at this diagram and see if this doesn't makes sense to you:
More likely than not, you are aiming to provide a world-class transformational client-experience.
Meaning: you’re at the top right of that diagram.
The ‘exploit-the-hardwired-responses’ tools however were developed for the use in the bottom left quadrant.
And using them in the top right creates a massive disconnect, both for you ‘internally’ (using ‘persuasion’-tools feels yucky), as well as for your clients:
They don’t like being ‘persuaded’ either.
Neither does it add real value to their lives.
Here are then the 3 main reasons why using DRM for high-end client attraction is a really bad idea:
A high-end purchase is usually a ‘considered’ purchase – and DRM is about exactly the opposite! (as in: literally, as you'll discover right now)
You already know this: in the real world, for any real purchase, there are multiple touch-points required before you can make a considered decision.
You don’t just go from:
“hey, I saw your ad"
"here’s $15,000 for your annual coaching programme”
in a single step.
(nor do you walk into a car showroom and buy the first car you see,
nor do you date the first person you see, nor do you … you get the idea)
There are a few ‘connecting dots’ required in this ‘buying decision making cycle’ where you check for yourself things like
Here’s the problem:
DRM is focused on the end-points (Awareness and Purchase) - whereas YOUR biggest leverage point is providing real value in the body of the journey!
if you've ever struggled with the question of
"well, now that I have them on my email-list/webinar/and so on ... what do I actually write?"
... then that's a classic symptom of 'too much direct response marketing' (and in the rest of this article, that's precisely what we're fixing for you TODAY!)
So, here are the 2 'ends' of DRM's attention, and how they lead to problems:
As I've said before: DRM works, and it works because there's literally NOTHING you can do about the hardwired responses.
Your brain WILL react to the right stimulus.
That's after all one of the main functions of our 'primitive brain': pay attention to 'unusual' things, just in case they're a threat.
Of course you then have a choice (to some degree) how you're going to react, but the first automatic reaction is there.
And that's why DRM is absolutely outstanding at grabbing people's attention. (incidentally, you do have to attract people's attention - but you can interrupt others 'firmly, but respectfully', and not in an exploitative way, more on that later)
Sadly, more often than not, it's once more used in a "lack of understanding" way, purely "hitting those hardwired responses":
all of these are deployed to get as much attention as possible.
Here's the problem with this:
precisely because it’s ‘sensationalist’, ‘hypey’ or whatever you want to call it … you’re also attracting a lot of the WRONG prospects.
Again, you’re speaking to EVERYONE, whereas you should be talking to only those who are supremely qualified to benefit from what you’ve got to offer!
Remember: we are in the upper right quadrant! High value, high service! Speaking to a small, select audience, not a mass-market!
In the DRM/newspaper world, they don’t care. It’s all about the numbers (“statistically speaking, 0.37% responded…”) …
… YOU however do care …
... because when you’re trying to have genuine conversations with people …
... every appointment that’s based on completely the wrong expecations (“but hey, your ad said I’d get a free foot-massage and beer for the rest of my life!?”) …
… is a waste of their time, and a waste of your time (because it’s time not helping others get what they want … which, as Zig Ziglar suggests, should be your #1 focus)
A different way of looking at it like this:
DRM is about attention-grabbing …
... whereas what you’re looking to do is attention-keeping
VERY DIFFERENT FOCUS!
Now, this is of course the 'end-point' of the journey, where the 'sale' happens.
And unless you are one of the few select who actually enjoy sales (apparently, around 10% of the population) ...
... then this is the bit where you go "eek, I don't like all that 'salesyness'".
As in: all those lovely things we've touched upon earlier: scarcity, urgency, bonuses and so on.
Pay attention to this: (and yes, that's Comic Sans in a horrid colour, and there's a very specific reason for it as you'll find out later!)
The reason they are needed in the first place is because you're not really doing 'marketing'.
I'm sure you've heard the famous quote by business legend Peter Drucker:
if you did PROPER marketing, there wouldn't be any need for selling, and certainly no need for "salesy'ness" at the end of it all.
Now, instead of bragging, begging and bribing people into your 'funnel', and then doing the same again to 'persuade' them to purchase ...
When you operate in the top right qudrant (high value, high service), you are dealing with clients who make considered decisions, not impulse purchases.
DRM's "persuasion" tactics are mostly focused on the entry-point and the end-point of the decision making cycle, and do 2 things:
All in all: when you find yourself relying on 'persuasion tactics', it's a clear sign that you're not actually marketing, but instead you are focused primarily on 'selling' - and sadly the worst kind: persuasion.
So, let's quickly finish the 2 other reasons why you really, REALLY should not be doing the 'hardwired DRM'-nonsense ...
... and then we'll dive into how to actually do that 'proper marketing' thing Peter Drucker mentions ...
... and how specifically you provide value that's relevant, and still leads to a sale (and doesn't leave you in a situation where you "did the work, the client is happy and you didn't get paid")
(aka: what to actually say 'in the middle' after their entered your world)
Here’s the gist of a conversation I must have had dozens, if not hundreds of times over the years:
“So, why do you want to sign up for [X] course?”
(X being some ‘high-ticket’ course that promises to e.g. “get you clients”, where X could be anything: doing webinars, doing telesummits, publishing a book, speaking live from stage, doing ‘auto-funnels’ and so on…)
“well, because I hope it’s the missing link, the missing piece of the puzzle”
Ever felt like that?
You look at the sales-presentation, and you think:
“I WANT that … that is going to solve all my problems. THAT’s the one”
(btw, been there, done that. Multiple times! You're not alone;-)
In almost all cases, here’s what’s going on:
You don’t have any actual first-hand experience doing [X].
So, your brain must make a decision based on … well, the claims in the sales-presentation.
And it all ‘makes sense’
So, your brain tells you:
“this looks pretty good … any reasons why we should NOT get it?”
And before you have time to really think about it, they’ve just added a whole bunch of bonuses, tell you that the deal expires in about 37 nanoseconds and that there are only 3, hang on, 2, copies left.
Better act now.
And you do.
And guess what, those dozens, if not hundreds of conversations I’ve had over the years … follow up a few weeks, maybe months later, and you get to hear this:
“I don’t know what I was thinking”.
Well, they weren’t thinking.
They had their hardwired responses exploited!
Look, don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting anyone is doing this on purpose, but the sad fact is: if you as a customer or client lack clarity on what specifically you want and need, you are extremely susceptible to ‘hardwired responses’.
It happened (multiple times) to me …
It happens to you …
And it happens to YOUR clients if you don’t help them gain crystal-clarity about what’s really involved, before ever going anywhere near a ‘bonus’, or scarcity and so on.
I've personally bought into a $8,000 online-programme where right in module #1 the instructor told us:
"... ok, and now all you need to do is put up some Facebook™ ads, and get clients into this system"
This was a few years ago before I'd ever done Facebook™ ads, there had been no mention of Facebook™ ads before enrolling, and suddenly I'm looking at a pretty darn big obstacle.
Too big in that case, because let's face it, you don't get up one morning and are successful at getting clients with Facebook™ ads, there's actually quite a bit of a learning curve.
Nothing impossible, but pretty steep - especially when you're left to your own devices.
And thus $8,000 down the drain (they had a very clever 'no refunds' clause ... lesson learned)
Now, I've seen the argument many times before by many 'respected' marketing 'authorities':
"if you don't get at least 10-20% refund requests, you're not selling hard enough"
Whilst there is an aspect of truth in it (in most cases it's our own limiting beliefs of what others may want or need that's stopping us from 'selling harder') ...
... my view is that this once again applies to the lower-left quadrant (the real of the mass-market and the impulse purchase) ...
... whereas in the top right quadrant, if you are getting refund requests because you got clients into your programme simply because they lacked clarity of what's really involved, and then made a decision based on 'hope', then this can have terrible repercussions for your business
Although top right qudrant clients really want to make a considered decision, in many cases they can't, simply because they lack the first-hand experience or knowledge to make that decision.
So it is YOUR job to make sure they get crystal clarity on what's actually required, and what they can realistically expect,
Turns out, this goes way beyond (and a whole lot deeper than) simply listing "what's in your programme", as you'll discover below.
So, $8,000 down the drain - simply because there had been one pretty darn big obstacle that wasn't clear to me up-front.
and that one single event did one thing more so than anything else:
Erode trust in that particular person.
And that right there is crucial for you, and hence, once again, in horrid Comic Sans
Loss of trust kills the foundation of your REAL business growth engine
Basically, you’re now dealing with buyer’s remorse.
And when you have buyer’s remorse, you don’t get
you’re destroying the natural growth-engine of your business:
(and yes. true, that's at least initially an important role), ...
... the real purpose of proper marketing (Drucker-style and beyond) is to:
Here's another personal experience:
When I got started ‘online’, I stumbled upon a product that promised everything I was looking for:
And of course, all without having a list, without having a product, without having any experience, in fact: without having anything.
And precisely because I didn’t not have any of those things I was told I didn’t need …
… my brain had absolutely no way of figuring out if those statements made sense or not …
… and the bonuses, the scarcity, the ‘pressure’ of the launch took care of the rest.
The total life-time-value the vendor (who shall remain unnamed, or 'anonymously shamed') of that product got out of me was precisely $1997.
Because of buyer’s remorse!
After the initial ‘buying-adrenaline-rush’ had subsided, I realized that I did in fact not have the things that I really needed to pull this off.
And as a result, didn’t get any results (I got them a few years later, after I’d figured out all of the ‘missing pieces’, but by now it was too late: I had been burnt)
Now, at around the same time I was exposed to the work of another ‘marketer’, and this one shall be named: Perry Marshall:
Perry takes a very different approach: you have to qualify for his programs.
And I’m not talking about the stupid “take-away-sale”-BS that’s basically just another incarnation of DRM’s exploitative approach (in this case it’s the "fear of loss") …
… but proper qualifying, in the sense of: making sure I can actually benefit from his programs - and if you don't, well, you don't as happened to me last year:
End-result: a life-time spend with Perry that's many, many times that of the other vendor, and there’s no end in sight - as long as Perry keeps providing value, I'll keep buying.
And no marketing required on his part - I already know what I'm getting (plus, oh, look, I've now told YOU about him!)
What's even more ironic is that
Yet, despite all of these drawbacks, DRM is precisely what’s being taught and used excessively in the marketplace.
Your ideal clients want to make a considered decision.
Meaning: their questions are in the middle of the decision making cycle, not the beginning (getting attention) and the end (the sale) - and yet, that's precisely what DRM's strong-arm tactics are focused on.
In practice, your ideal clients simply don't have the background to have total clarity of what's required to succeed.
DRM exploits this by hitting the hardwired responses that lead to "I hope this one is the missing piece"-purchases.
This in turn leads to erosion of trust - and that kills the true underlying growth engine of your business!
So, let me ask you a question:
at this point, do you still think you should (as you're being told) do things like 'study copywriting', 'do a launch', 'put up a squeeze-page', etc?
I hope you're starting to see that they're all based on the same deeply flawed assumption:
"If I don't get results with my current (direct response principle based) marketing, then I just haven't found the right trigger yet, and all I need to do is add more/better direct response marketing to it"
(go on, take another copywriting course so you can improve on your 'hooks', and 'power-words', and 'open-loops' ... and all those other fine tricks of the dog-n-pony-show-circus)
Ok, I'm being facetious, but I hope you get my point:
adding more noise at completely the wrong end, ....
... and ignoring the part where high-end clients REALLY make their decisions ...
... is only adding to the noise & scepticism in the market-place - and it's making YOUR life harder, not easier!
Letting Trust Flourish
You've made it through a 3,500 word deep-dive into the real problems the (over)use of Direct Response Marketing tactics cause to you, your business, and of course your (prospective) clients.
I truly hope it was worth your while - and do feel free and reach out to me! Let me know what you think!
Fortunately, the solution is a little bit more straightfoward and shorter than 3500 words;-)
Let's start with a quick illustration:
The other day I saw a great post by Todd Brown entitled "The Great Tripwire Hoax" ... which was essentially about the fact that the concept of the low-cost 'tripwire' product as an entry point to a 'funnel' no longer worked ...
... simply because the ad-prices are getting too high for this model (and you're losing a lot of money on the front-end).
Now, the real gold was in the comments underneath that post, and I'd like to highlight 3 particular points for you, because they illustrate
Here are the 3 points I'd like to highlight (they're circled in the comments)
That right there goes back to the underlying problem with everything discussed on the previous section:
Conveyed value is very close to perceived value, both of which are at most a shortcut, or a tool to persuade.
They are not in fact real value.
If your objective is to let real trust flourish, you have to provide real value!
And that in a nutshell is what this entire site is about:
How to provide real (and often tremendous) value ... without giving away the farm (as in: working for free)
So, in a moment, you'll see what real value looks like from the perspective of your prospective clients.
What real value is certainly NOT, is what's illustrated by the 2nd comment:
as you can see in that comment - that person is not thinking like Zig Ziglar, it's not really about providing the maximum value to the client ...
... but instead all about extracting the maximum amount of cash from a client - which may be great for your bank-balance in the short-term, ...
... but is NEVER as profitable (win-win-style) as building a long-lasting, mutually beneficial business-relationship (once and never again vs coming back for more, and more, and more as illustrated above)
And that 'extracting' is done by 'persuasion', or of course "conveying" value.
Here's the thing:
True value is ALWAYS in your clients' currency (i.e.: what is valuable to them!) - and making up imaginary values for modules is once again demonstrating a shocking lack of understanding of what's actually valuable to your clients!
And what that 'currency' is, is what we're looking at next!
And the last point I've circled, just because it sums up the situation with today's hyped up and exploitative "direct response marketing" so nicely:
So, there you go, the answer is:
if you want to build trust, the best way of doing it is by providing value - and the real secret is to provide something that's valuable from the perspective of your prospective client.
And that's never the good ol' marketing "features & benefits" ...
... but something that goes MUCH deeper!
Want to see how to do that?
(c) 2018 Dr Veit U.B. Schenk
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