Borrowing from Peter to Pay Paul

Upsells, add-ons, cross-sells, support packages, insurance – they can all substantially increase your revenue and profit.

And that’s what we’re trying to do in this email series – increase your profits!

But improving the Items-Per-Sale lever is perhaps the hardest of all of the 7 Levers to improve.

Not because it’s physically difficult (it’s not); or that it takes a big investment of money or time (it doesn’t – it only requires you to change how you interact with existing clients).

It’s difficult because it requires a lot of thinking.

And unless you’ve done it 100’s of times before (or have the help of someone who has), it’s hard to do it effectively.

When upselling Items-per-Sale is done poorly:

  • It doesn’t actually increase sales at all;
  • It “feels dirty”;
  • It takes a lot of effort – and doesn’t work effectively;
  • And you burn your most valuable asset – existing customers.

This first point is where I’m going to focus today. Because when some people think they’re increasing sales – what they’re actually doing is very different.

When Upselling ISN’T Upselling:

Here’s why my stuff sells:

Today, let’s get right down to brass tacks.

In the next 3-5 minutes (depending on how fast you read), I’m going to give you the distilled essence of an incredibly powerful sales formula.

This sales formula is the the reason I’m able to go into a business and immediately help even the most experienced and knowledgeable sales team to get better sales…

Let’s Get Some Big Sales Results – Fast!

If you want to increase sales, there are three key strategies

  • Improve your offer.
  • Increase your frequency of offering it.
  • Improve your base product.

The latter two steps – increasing the frequency that you make your offer, and improving your product – take time and effort to implement.

But an improvement to your offer can be planned-out in an afternoon, implemented the next day, and result in a lifetime of increased sales.

Note: It’s worth coming back to the this process again when – and working on improving the percentage of “Prospects” who turn into “Converts” using the other two strategies I’ve outlined above – improving your product, and offer frequency.

(This is a big reason to repeat the entire 7 Levers process several times – to keep improving your profits.)

But for today, focussing on improving your sales offer is typically the fastest and most effective action to take.

The Keys to Effective Sales Offers

There are 3 elements to an incredibly effective sales offer:

Smelly Cheese

Have you seen Jeremy Piven in the TV series – Mr Selfridge?

It follows the story of Harry Gordon Selfridge – the revolutionary retail magnate who changed the face of shopping, and ushered in the era of department stores.

The Red Gloves Scene

There’s a great scene in the series involving a red pair of womens’ gloves – with Jeremy Piven’s character firmly-yet-politely demanding that they remain on-display and accessible to all customers.

It was a battle of wills – between a well-meaning shop clerk, and the owner himself.

But Selfridge had a good reason for making this demand.

Before Selfridge, conventional retail wisdom was to put items behind counters, in display cases, or in boxes – only to be reached on-request.

Selfridge wanted to turn shopping from a chore into a leisure activity – building his department store in a model somewhat more like a theme park for consumer goods, than a traditional high-street shop.

And part of the theme park model was making goods visible and accessible.

This one “tweak” to the way retail worked had an unintended side-benefit…

Any time a consumer picked up an item, they immediately revealed their interest in purchasing. Salespeople quickly learned this was the signal to go in for the kill – with the words “Can I help you”.

Aim For The Bullseye, Not The Target

Every business owner wants to make more sales.

And the logical way to do this is to run more ads – to bring more people in the door of your business (the first of the 7 Levers – “Suspects”).

Running more ads makes sense – to an extent.

But Advertising Takes an Investment

While advertising can make you more money (which can be spent to increase your capacity: time and effort) – ads take attention (time and effort) and money in order to be effective.

There are only so many hours in the day to run more ads – only so much attention you can give your ads over other business activities – and only so much money that you can redirect into your advertising budget.

So – at any point in time – there’s a limit to how much advertising you can run.

You might want to achieve 10x your existing sales – but investing 10x more time, effort or money into advertising is a whole different kettle of fish!

(If you’re reached a plateau in your business, you’ll understand this limitation most acutely. You might WANT to be spending more on ads, and investing more effort into sales, but you simply can’t find the capacity to do more.)

And then there’s the problem of FOCUS!

The Domino Experiment: From One to Two Billion

I love weird science experiments…

And Professor Stephen Morris is a Canadian physicist with a weird collection of dominoes.

The first domino is smaller than a Tic Tac – just 5mm by 1mm.

(This domino is so small that Dr Morris has to place it with tweezers.)

The rest of Professor Morris’s dominoes increase in size – with the 13th sitting as high as his chest – and weighing around 100lbs (45kgs).

An Increase of Two Billion Times The Force…

Lining the dominoes up in order, he lets the tiny Tic Tac domino tip gently over – pushing down the larger second, then even larger third domino – all the way to the largest 13th – which comes thundering down with a crash!

It’s an impressive demonstration of “domino magnification” – the compounding effect of physical force you can achieve with different sized dominoes.

In fact, the force from the 13th domino falling is TWO BILLION TIMES the initial force from the first domino!

“If we had 29 dominoes, the last domino would be as tall as the Empire State Building!” Dr Morris reveals with a grin.

Einstein was right.

The most powerful force in the universe IS compounding.

We see it in physics – and the example above, where force can be multiplied 2 billion times over a series of 13 steps.

And we see it in finance – where a bank can receive back more than double the initial capital loaned in the form of interest, when interest is charged regularly.

But Compounding Isn’t Just For Bankers and Physicists

It’s possible to achieve compounding effects in business too.

You just need to look for these 3 traits:

Could you lift the entire Earth?

Archimedes – one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived – once proclaimed:

“Give me a large enough lever, and a place to stand, and I can lift the entire Earth.”

At the time, he must have sounded like a crazy person…

…An old bearded dude claiming that – with nothing more than a stick and a hill – he could be as strong as Atlas.

But he proved all his naysayers wrong.

How?

By single-handedly using leverage to launch a huge ship into the ocean – a feat that would have taken hundreds of men without leverage.

It Was An Idea That Changed The World

Archimedes had discovered that – through leverage – a little focussed effort could get many times the typical result.

This is where the term “business leverage” comes from. While we don’t see physical poles or “levers” in business leverage, the principles are the same…

…A little bit of time, effort, or money invested today provides more than its value back – in saved time, saved effort, saved costs, or gained profits.

The key is to find a point of leverage.

Who Was Smarter: Al Gore, or George W. Bush?

How To Run A $20bn Airline

Beside a hotel pool in Bali recently, I read Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton.

I highly recommend it. (The book, and the poolside reading location.) But to save you the trip, let me give you Brent’s 30-second summary:

There’s an underlying anxiety about “who we are”, and how valuable we are as members of society.

And everyone has it. You have it. I have it. Bill Gates has it.

In the past, people didn’t have to worry about their status and role in the world. Royalty and peasants were set into their roles at birth. If you were born into the aristocracy, you’d be an aristocrat for life. If you were born a peasant, you’re a peasant for life.

But today, we live in a society where we can be whoever we want to be.

The possibilities for achievement (sexual, financial, professional) are higher and more varied than ever. But with so much variety in who we can be and what we can do – there are also unlimited ways we can compare ourselves to others, and judge ourselves to be “losers”.

The truth is, we can’t “have it all”.

We can have a lot – but not everything – and once we decide what is most valuable to us, we can live more healthily, and more happily.

The Same is True of Business

There are endless opportunities we COULD pursue in business – a seemingly endless list of things we SHOULD be doing – and an almost endless stream of interruptions in our day (from clients, staff, sales prospects, etc).

But not all of these opportunities, task and interruptions are valuable to us.

And by maximising the amount of focus we give to what’s important, we can have a happier and more healthy business.

What Should You Focus On – If You Want A Happy, Healthy Business?

Consider the following activities within your business:

The Lies They Tell You About “Hustle”…

The big temptation as a business owner is to keep “doing more”.

We hear about “Hustle” – you’ve gotta hustle to get ahead.

  • Your business isn’t growing? – Hustle more – until it grows.
  • A big paying client comes your way? – Hustle more – to take on the extra work.
  • You’re not advertising in every marketing channel? – You’re should be hustling more.

It’s all about the hustle.

Because no matter what the problem is, everything can be solved by hustling a little more.

It’s “The Cult of the Hustle”

Don’t get me wrong.

Hustling can be OK – and I’m not suggesting you develop an allergy to hard work.

But there’s smart hustling, and dumb cult-like hustling.

Fairy Godmother with a Briefcase?

One night, as you’re working late, a strange figure appears in a flash of light and says:

“Billy … I’m your business fairy godmother, here to magically
grant you one wish that will transform your business!”

What’s your one wish?

Most business owners would change the results their business achieves.

  • Progress is never fast enough…
  • Profits are never high (or consistent!) enough…
  • The benefits of being a business owner – for all the time, effort and money you invest – are never big enough.
  • And (for some frustrating reason) the “second-rate” competitor down-the-road… Every time you glance over at him, he’s making more sales than you are – and it drives you insane to see him getting ahead so easily!

You want to achieve more, do more, earn more, enjoy more time, contribute more, build a legacy.

But there are problems holding you back.

Most of these problems can be solved with money.

As the late-great master of marketing, Gary Halbert, once wrote:

A Little April Fools Fun

Over at Infiniti Telecommunications, Pete and the team are always looking for ways to innovate and use technology to make thier customers experience more revolutionary.

The company slogan is ‘Making Communication Easy’ and we’re excited to share their latest customer service development in line with this mantra. #AprilFools

about-pete
Pete Williams is an entrepreneur, author, and marketer from Melbourne, Australia.

Before being honored “Australia’s Richard Branson” in media publications all over the continent, Pete was just 21 years old when he sold Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium, The Melbourne Cricket Ground For Under $500! Don’t believe it? You will! Check out the story in the FAQ section (it really is our most asked question).

Since then, he’s done some cool stuff like write the international smash hit ‘How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality’ (+ the upcoming ‘It’s Not About the Product‘) and he’s created a bunch of companies including Infiniti Telecommunications, On Hold Advertising, Simply Headsets and Preneur Group.

Lots of other people think he’s pretty good too! He’s been announced as the Global Runner-Up in the JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur Awards for 2009, the Southern Region Finalist in the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year, and a member of SmartCompany’s Top 30 Under 30.

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