Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The 10 Biggest Offer Blunders

Why don’t other people love your business as much as you do?

Why don’t you get the kind of response you’d like to your emails, ads or mailings?

Why do you get only mild interest or blank looks from people when they ask you what you do?

I want to make two bold claims. Here’s the first:

As it stands right now, your offer is - almost certainly - resistible. It’s easy to say ‘no’ to. When you tell people in your target market what you do, when you place ads or try to market your services - you’re met with either confusion, blank faces, mild (read: polite) interest, ‘That’s nice,” followed by a change of topic or . . . absolutely no response at all.

Here’s the second:

Radically (not moderately) improving the irresistibility of your offers is the simplest and most powerful action you can take to grow your business - pretty much at any pace you want. Literally like a faucet you can turn on or off at will.

That sounds like hype.

And of course there’s more to it.

Having an offer won’t do everything.

You still need to know where to find your target market.

And you still need to have a plan on how exactly you plan to introduce your offer to them.

It’s important to make sure you have the business systems in place to make sure you can consistently deliver on what you promise.

You still need to think about the mechanisms, incentives and excuses to make it easy (and desirable) for people to talk about what you do.

All true - but consider this:

What good is it to know where to find your target market if you have nothing to offer them. Or - more to the point - nothing they are excited to buy?

How can you possibly create a strategy around introducing your offer - when the offer isn’t that good?

What’s the point of creating some really whizbang word of mouth strategy if all it’s going to do is let people know that what you’re offering is actually pretty mediocre?

But let’s go back to the first . . .

People just aren’t that excited about what you have to offer. Let me tell you exactly why your offer hasn’t been pulling even a fraction of the response you secretly know it could.

You don’t want confused faces when you tell people what you do.

You don’t want polite interest.

No, you want them to say, “Hell yeah!” or “Wow! How do I get one?”

Your offer must - at the very least - get their attention and engage them to want to know more. It must at least strike the chord of relevance.

Your offer must be crystal clear. It must give easily understandable answers to the following questions:

1. What are you offering me? (in plain english)

2. What’s the return on investment (ROI)? If I give you my hard earned money - what do I get back? Why is this worth it to me?

I’d be willing to be that you aren’t answering these questions as well as you might think you are.

In fact, let me tell you the logical reasons why people aren’t as excited about your offer as you wish they were. There’s 10 likely culprits to the disinterest you’re getting from the marketplace. I think they’ll make a lot of sense to you.

Big picture: It’s because there are certain core elements of your offer that aren’t ‘right’. You can look for all the bells and whistles and fancy new marketing tactics but - at the end of the day - if you’re missing these things your offer is much more likely to fail.

In fact, if you are suffering from too many of the following the problem may not be that you have a ‘bad’ offer - but that you have NO offer.

The 10 Biggest Offer Blunders

1. Unclear or Non-Existent Target Market: I’d say that I see this in about 90% of the cases of resistible, moribund offers. When I ask “who is this for?” I get answer that translates as “everyone. this product/service can help everyone.” But targeting everyone doesn’t work. You can’t do it. When you narrow your focus to just the communities you most love and are best able to helps you will be shocked at how the floodgates of creativity open up. You will find yourself in a place to create offers that pull many times the response of our current ‘do-nothing’ offers.

2. No clear problem being solved. This is directly related to #1. Your inability to articulate - with crystal clarity and profound empathy - the experience, problems and needs of the person your marketing too stops everything dead in its tracks. The first filter that your product and service has to make it through is the filter of relevance. People look at everything product or service and silently ask themselves, “can this help someone like me?” And if they don’t get an immediate answer of yes - the game is over - no matter how great your product is. Hard but true. They must see themselves in the product. It must be immediately apparent - with no need for guess work - that this can help them with a problem they are currently experiencing.

3. No clear results being promised. This is the flip side or mirror image of #2. You can’t just give empathy for the problem they experience - you need to paint a picture of what life would be like without the problem. You need to tell them exactly what sorts of results, benefits or changes this product will bring. You need to articulate the experience they’ll have once they own it. Most businesses don’t do this - instead, they drone on ad nauseum about how great they are.

4. Wrong Package: If you’re really clear about the three above (and I can tell you that you probably aren’t even if you think you are) and there’s no response still - then it could be a few things - almost certainly you haven’t identified the right mix of products and services. If you have a core product and service - that product or service can be made far more relevant by choosing a target market and far more valuable by adding other products and services to it. It can be made more valuable by thinking through the whole experience people will have with you from booking the appointment to the appointment itself to them leaving. From them buying the product to using it. With a few simple tweaks and additions your offer can likely be twice as attractive. What to add? What to tweak? This depends 100% on who your target market is and what problems they’re dealing with.

5. Wrong articulation: To correct that - people just aren’t that excited about what they understand of what you’re offering. You’re using a lot of confusing jargon. You’re speaking in platitudes.

6. Too much too soon: You’re trying to sell them on the whole farm on their first visit. You aren’t taking the time to build a relationship. It’s as if they come into your ice cream shop and ask to try a taste of the pistachio gelato and you try to sell them a quadruple scoop waffle cone. You haven’t thought through you marketing strategy from meeting to buying.

7. Selling your methodology before promising a result:
When people ask what you do - what do you tell them? What is it that you highlight in your ads or on your website? For most people it’s their company name and logo. This is the first thing that people see. Hard truth moment: no one cares. But the next place a lot of people go to is straight to how they do what they do. The classic example is someone at a cocktail party saying, “Oh, I do a unique combination of trager, shiatsu, the reconnection, quantum healing and rebirthing.” Eyes glaze over. Awkward silence ensues. No business occurs. What just happened? They jumped to far ahead. People don’t actually care how you do what you do until they know what you do and who you do it for. I don’t tell people, “I do workshops and one on one consulting.” That’s how I do my work - but it’s not what I do. What do I do? I work with green, community minded and holistic entrepreneurs who are struggling with their cashflow and not attracting enough clients and what I help them do is to craft strategies that allow them to attract more of the kinds of clients they’re looking for.

8. No empathy for or understanding of ‘industry frustrations’: In every industry there are certain things that piss people off. Cell phones? The way they lock you into unbreakable contracts. Plumbers? The show up late, don’t fix it right the first time and charge you more than the initial quote. Web designers? You always have to go to them to make updates on our site, which they charge you for, and you have to wait til they get around to it. Make sense? The point is that it’s not just one company that does these things. It’s the whole industry. And here’s the golden question - do you know what these are for your industry?

9. Not understanding why people are really buying what you’re selling and not speaking directly to those needs and desires: This one is shockingly difficult to wrap one’s mind around. We spend years becoming experts in articulating the features and benefits of our products and services - but we’re still novices at articulating the experiences, problems and needs of our target market. Remember, they aren’t buying your product per se. In their minds, they’re buying relief from pain. They’re buying a solution to a problem. But what is that problem or pain? Can you articulate it better than they can?

10. No case being made: credibility. It’s not enough to make wonderful, huge claims about what you can do. You must be seen as a credible source of the solution they need. They must trust that you can produce the results you say you can. You must, in short, make your case before the jury of your target market. You must show them the steps you would take them through, give them evidence (e.g. testimonials, case studies, certifications, articles written etc). Without credibility - they will not buy. Period.

Before you add any bells and whistles you must have your core information figured out. You must know what it is that you’re offering to whom - and why exactly they would find it irresistible.

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