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:

  1. Value
  2. Uniqueness
  3. Scarcity

Every incredible offer throughout history has taken at least one of these three elements, and pushed it as far as it would go.

1. Value

Value is all about what’s-in-it-for-me (WIIFM).

WIIFM should always relate to some kind of currency: Time, Money or Effort.

You might save time, save money, save effort/stress – or (on the flip-side) find freedom, make money, create impact, or gain peace-of-mind.

The more you gain, the better the offer is.

Some of the best sales offers in history have been value-driven:

  • “Get it first time or get it free” (time + effort + money)
  • “Your pizza delivered in 30 minutes – or it’s free” (time + money)
  • “10 CDs for a cent!” (money)
  • “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” (time + effort)
  • “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” (effort)

The strength of these offers built multi-million, or in come cases multi-billion dollar empires.

And they all worked because they demonstrated a clear return-on-investment for the buyer.

2. Competitive Uniqueness

Driving any distance through the centre of Australia, you see some tiny towns – with a single pub, single fuel station, and single general store – and nothing else around for hundreds of kilometres.

If you’re fortunate to own one of these businesses (perhaps all three), you probably don’t need to worry about marketing. Since there is no competition, the chance of a customer choosing a competitor’s business over yours are extremely low.

But for everyone else, it’s worth carving out a strong and unique competitive offer of your own. A reason for customers to choose your business over competitors.

Eli Goldratt, author of “It’s Not Luck” and “The Theory of Constraints”, refers to this type of competitive uniqueness as a “Mafia Offer”.

Part of a Mafia Offer is “making an offer they can’t refuse”.

But there needs to be something sustainable about your offer too. Something your competitors simply cannot match, or are unwilling to match – at least in the near future.

Ideally it should AVOID competing on price. If your goal is to increase your profitability, creating a price-war is counter-productive.

Instead, focus on magnifying a key feature the customer values most; magnifying a key capability you have (or could have) compared to the competition; magnifying the impact or outcomes you can create for your customers; or reversing the risk or issue that you need to overcome in order to make sales.

Dominos

To take an example from above, Domino’s famous offer – “Your pizza in 30 minutes – or it’s free” – is a great example of an offer Domino’s could make, but competitors were unwilling to match. And it works because it focuses on a key feature the customer values.

Hyundai

In 2009, Hyundai USA’s new-car sales stalled by the Global Financial Crisis. As a result, their finance arm made a risk-reducing offer: “We will buy back your new car if you get laid off in the next two years.”

Hyundai’s offer focussed on reversing the risk of financial stress (a key sales objection car sales people were facing industry-wide). It was a highly successful offer – but because it wasn’t a particularly unique competitive offer, competitors eventually (albeit reluctantly) copied Hyundai.

Even so, it did see Hyundai’s sales up 4.9% in 2009 – compared with a 40% drop in car sales overall.

Tesla

More recently, Tesla is changing the automobile industry by offering a unique and powerful luxury supercar to the environmentally-conscious (a unique set of features that no large carmaker is able to compete with right now).

Their cars have become a mix between an environmental statement, and status symbol – and can sell for more used than new, as sales have outstripped Tesla’s ability to deliver in a timely manner.

3. Scarcity

Most people don’t realise – but there aren’t just two decisions a customer can make when presented with an offer (“Yes”, or “No”).

There are actually three possible decisions: “Yes”, “No”, or “I’m going to delay making a decision”.

The value of a scarce offer is it pushes the “Delay” decision towards “Yes” – through fear-of-missing-out (FOMO).

Because of this, scarcity is one of the most powerful marketing tactics available – especially when working in a B2C market, or a B2B market with fast-acting decision-makers. (Although it’s much harder to create in highly bureaucratic and slower-moving B2B and government-sales markets.)

Price and Trial Scarcity

When launching Market Samurai (my keyword research and SEO analysis software app, and first foray into the startup world), I used a two-step scarcity.

Firstly, scarcity around a special discount offer expiring on Day 7. Secondly, scarcity around the customer’s software trial expiring on Day 14.

These two points of scarcity led to huge influxes of sales – and accounted for the majority of all revenue.

Supply Scarcity

Availability scarcity also helps too. Amazon will advertise “Only 2 left in-stock” against items with limited stock. Booking.com advertises “In high demand – only 3 rooms left at this price!”

And a colleague recently noted that their home-builder informed them “If we get these contracts signed this week, we’ll be able to schedule construction to begin before June.”

Such clever use of scarcity by a big builder that I couldn’t help but wonder whether it was all part of the sales process.

Putting it all in practice

There are 3 elements to an incredibly effective sales offer:

  1. Value
  2. Uniqueness
  3. Scarcity

By amplifying your offer in one – two – or possibly three of these areas, the most likely outcome you’ll experience is a significant increase in sales.

If you can find several ways to frame your offer around these three elements to test, our experience has shown that one of these offers will stand head-and-shoulders above the rest in the sales impact it creates.

This won’t just mean a brief up-tick in the number of sales you create. An afternoon of work today could lead to a lifetime of increased sales starting tomorrow.

What Are You Doing, ~Contact.FirstName~?

If you’re reading this, and aren’t holding a copy of my whitepaper – 7 Levers and the Growth Paradox – it’s time to get a copy.

There’s no point reading these little bits via email – and not getting the full benefit of the whole package from the whitepaper itself.

Check out the download page for more details. It’s the first step to something much bigger and more valuable – and I want you to be a part of it.

See you on the other side!

Brent Hodgson

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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