Category Archives: 7 Levers

Should McDonald’s Kill The Pickle?

Has anyone ever bought a McDonald’s hamburger because they wanted the pickle?

According to McDonald’s – the company sells 225,000,000 burgers worldwide each year. 75 per second!

At 10 seconds per pickle per burger for producing, transporting, managing and serving the pickle – that’s up to 71 years of peoples lives wasted (per year) on McDonald’s pickle habit. (A lifetime wasted every year!)

At 5 cents per pickle to produce, transport, manage and serve – that’s $11.25m of pickle expenses per year.

And why?

All so picky-eating pickle-flickers and flick their floppy pickles onto McDonalds’ clean windows.

If McDonald’s removed the pickle – I doubt there’d be protests in the street, with millions of pickle-munchers shouting “Bring back The Pickle!”

In fact, I doubt McDonald’s would see their sales suffer at all.

I reckon those pickle-munchers are fickle-pickle-munchers. They’d still buy the burgers anyway – pickle or not.

And McDonald’s would save millions of dollars – and decades of wasted time – each year.

The Price To Be Paid is Bigger Than We Often Think

Every feature you offer comes at a cost.

Not just a financial cost – but a cost of effort, a cost of attention, and a cost of positioning too.

It’s easy to ignore the cost of providing a feature when you’re so focussed on marketing and sales.

After all, it’s always a great idea to “value-stack” and “over-deliver” and offer your customers more and more if you’re concentrating solely on the sale!

But at some point, it pays to look at your products and offerings under the harsh light of their cost.

And this could lead you to retire entire products – or product offerings.

Burning Money with Jet-Fuel

The Priceless Antique

Have you seen Antiques Roadshow.

Every episode, some little old lady brings in a old trinket that has been in their attic for decades gathering dust, and an expert in tweed reveals:

“This is no ordinary dusty old trinket. It’s actually a priceless historical artifact”

The Priceless Historical Artifacts in Your Business

By far, the most valuable asset most businesses own is their past leads and customers.

But most of the time, your most valuable asset is stored in the attic – gathering dust.

Today – it’s time to climb up to the attic, dust off this priceless trinket, and put it in pride-of-place in your business. Because we’re going to make this asset shine!

The Irony of Advertising

How much should you charge?

How much should you charge for your products and services?

  • A little more than you are now – and perhaps you’ll make bigger margins, and increase your profits?
  • A little less than you are now – and perhaps you’ll make more sales, and increase your profits?

Whole PhDs have been dedicated to finding the best and most profitable price to sell an item for.

  • Economists have scratched their heads, and decided it’s about “supply and demand” – although there continues to be debate around even that!
  • Psychologists have developed theories on utility, and needs, and desire, and perceived value to explain how prices are driven.
  • Mathematicians have developed entire fields of study – like ‘game theory’ – to predict and measure the effect and impact of actions in a market.

Forget about the meaning of life!…

…It seems like more of the worlds’ smart people have dedicated their lives to unlocking the mysteries of pricing strategy than almost any other mystery.

I can understand why…

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:

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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