Marketing Secret #24 The Path of Least Resistance
This next topic, which is related to getting leads, involves the issue of working the hardest way possible versus the easiest way possible. What do I mean by that? And what does that have to do with getting leads?
Well, let’s back up a second, and talk about the silliest thing I see every day. What I’m referring to is that almost every business, markets exactly backwards, and then is surprised to learn that hardly anyone is responding!
See, just about everyone does this:
They create, or have, services or products from their company…and they expect to go out and find people to sell their products or services to!
This is a mistake of monumental proportions! This typical method of trying to make money can work, if you have an unlimited capacity for spending money, wasting time, and have no concern for risk.
But, if you’re like most of us who want to do things, shall we say, a little more safety and cheaply, then I’m going to try to change your thinking. See, the reverse of the mistake I just told you about, is absolutely, positively the best way there is to make big, gigantically big, money:
Find the Market First, Find Out What The People Want, And Then…Let Them Buy What They’ve Told You They Want!
Make sense? I hope so, because you must not spend any time thinking about the product or service you will render until you’ve discovered the market!
As I’ve discussed before, a tightly matched message to the right market is the best and safest way to go! Now, notice here that I keep stressing the market, not the product or the service! See you have to decide what market either you, or someone else you choose to work with, knows stone cold.
You have to find markets that really, really want things...really, really, really!
There are literally thousands of potential tightly-niched markets out there. Your first job is to find them; find what people want…before you even begin to think about what kind of products or services they might buy from you!
If you could only have one asset, one tool, one advantage... What would it be?
Gary Halbert, Marketing Guru, uses the following in-seminar exercise to answer that:
Imagine you have a new food product or a great new fast food restaurant. You’re convinced it’s the best fast food operation ever devised. Now, if you could add just one thing to put you over the top, what would you choose? People usually say: a famous celebrity spokesperson…”secret sauce”…a clever name…and on and on and on. All “product or service-focused” answers.
Gary says: “I’ll give you all that and still whip you…if I can have just one thing”:
A STARVING CROWD!
Now that’s being “market focused”.
The fact is you can make money with bad products or services, if there’s a starving crowd! The “roach coach” lunch wagons that come to factory parking lots and sell junk food prove this point. The food is bad and over-priced. But the business is lucrative, because of the starving, and in this case, captive crowd.
FIND THE STARVING CROWD FIRST!
Try thinking of yourself as a “Need-And-Wish Fulfilment Product or Service Architect.” An architect doesn’t invest months designing a new house from scratch, creating blueprints, assembling costs and then finds a client. Instead, he gets a client/customer/patient finds out what they need, want, will pay for and afford, then he designs a blueprint to meet that criterial. He gets his client/customer/patient first.
Pick a crowd you deeply thoroughly understand, share passions with, share experiences with, share a language with, and have empathy and credibility with!
Finding a target market, one you understand completely, will allow you to know people’s wants; then, build your business around those wants!
Let’s look at your business in this light and see how it costs so many people a fortune in lost and non-existent business!
Here’s what usually happens: you have your basic product or service, or some sort of cool program that integrates both in a new way, or whatever…and you get all excited about it. Now you’re all excited because this is the best thing since the invention of colour TV! Everyone is going to jump all over this! But, you’ve got a small problem.
What is it? Well how about answering a dumb question like:
“Who The Hell Are You Going To Sell It To?”
I know that’s an annoying question, but it has to be addressed.
So, let’s follow the brilliant leaders in business. The sales and marketing geniuses. Or the traveling medicine shows. Or the cold prospecting gurus. Or…whoever. And they all basically tell you the same thing:
“Go out and extol the virtues of your company and products and services, and everyone in the world will line up to do business with you!”
If that was all it took to succeed, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. The “success formula” taught in marketing books, etc. is the reason the majority of people in their own businesses don’t last two years!
It is the surest path of greatest resistance!
The opposite is the path of least resistance…finding a market of interested prospective customers who respond to you! Listen to them tell you what they want, and then…let them buy whatever the hell they want to buy!
Is this all making sense?
In the next secret, we’ll be discussing what your real mission is and how it affects getting customers. We’ll talk about the secret of making an emotional connection as an “advisor” or “counsellor” or “helper”. But let’s look at some other key issues about following the path of least resistance!
See, everyone teaches us that selling “image” is the path of least resistance.
All you do is present your “professionalism” and make the sale!
No bothersome counselling. No product samples. No taste testing. No pain-in-the-ass advising. Just good old hit-and-run selling! You show them the product or service and they buy it.
Then, once they are sold, you get them to refer friends and family and you go out and sell some more! What could be easier?
After all, the clients/customers/patients don’t want a sales counsellor, they just want a house, care, or machine, or piece of equipment, or a financial plan, or printing, or decent meal or whatever!
In my opinion, being a pushy salesperson is the greatest, toughest challenge there is!
No one believes anyone’s sales pitch. No one cares about your “professionalism” or how long your company has been in business. No one wants to hear how your company will solve all their problems and make their hands smoother, too!
Pushy selling is the most depressing, sickening way to make money.
You have to constantly look for the one out of a million people who actually want what you’re selling or want to invest in your services!
You have to fight everyone by being an adversary! You have to “handle objections.” (Translation: pressure the hell out of them till they relent and do what you want them to do. Mostly, just to get rid of you).
You’re in a battle with prospects and customers when you should be their best friend!
And until you rearrange your thinking about finding the market first, you’ll always be in this needless war!
This thought process also carries over to other areas of our prospecting that fall in the category of the path of greatest resistance:
Why do so many of us have to swim upstream in mud, with no arms or legs, when we could be sliding down a slippery slope into the pot of gold?
I, as you may have guessed, have all kinds of comments to make about the approach of fighting people. Let’s start with considering why we are in business in the first place.
When we go out in the cold, dark angry world to have a career, what are we really trying to accomplish?
Are we trying to impress our peers or others? Are we trying to achieve difficult goals and prevail upon major challenges? Are we attempting to climb Mt Everest because it’s there?
Unfortunately, many of us are trying some or all of these things. At first, as I said, I fell into the trap of confusing my real purpose.
Which is quite simple, when you get right down to it:
To make as much money as possible, in as little time as possible, without any hassles, always being 100% client/customer/patient focused and 100% ethical!
Yes, I am a slave to my hedonistic self. When I followed the conventional wisdom and went solely after the big ticket, I discovered a lot about myself. I found that I truly hate:
- Wasting time
- Having to wait months or even years to get paid
- Having countless hours of work blown up by some deal killing “professional”
- Dividing the money I made into the actual time spent and finding I was working for peanuts on an hourly basis
- Wasting time (yes! I said it twice)
It took me a long time to realise that I was in business for the highest hourly rate, period. Or, to put it another way, maximising my hourly income is the best use of my life.
You only have so many hours you can work in a year. If you spend them only on big accounts, and you win every one, great. However, if you lose only a small portion of them (and you will), your hourly rate plummets into the black hole of wasted time.
If, for example, you were in sales and you worked on a potential customer for six months and end up with $30k in profits, and you spent 100 hours of total time, you were working for $300 per hour. Not bad. However what happens if you lose a big chunk of the case to another competitor. And you make nothing
We hear this a lot:
“Well, I am so tired of hearing you talk about not going after the bigger customers, as if there is something wrong with that. I, for example, only work with big hitters, and would never lower myself to work with the small potatoes. I mean, why would I want to work with someone who has only dollars to spend, when I can work with a company that’s budgeted ten times that amount?”
Hold on. I never said NOT to work on bigger customers. I want to make the following points perfectly clear:
- Go after whatever you want, but why fight battles?
I don’t know about you, but I am not here to win challenges. I get no pleasure out of overcoming enormous odds to get a big customers that everyone else wants. Climbing mountains is for adventurers.
I’m here to make money, not beat the odds.
- Diversify, diversify, diversify
I don’t believe it is smart to go after only one type of prospect. You all know that already. If you want to get to the larger customers, that is fine.
But DIVERSIFY! Yes, you heard me.
Go out after other types of less time consuming customers, as well. Spread out your risk, so that if one financial range starts petering out, you’ll always have other ranges that will be buying.
Most people don’t understand that it is a certainty that diversifying into different level markets is the safest and most profitable thing you can do. You can market to anyone you choose. That is your decision. But please consider spreading your targets out and keep that cash coming in.
- Deal with pleasure people, instead of pain-in-the-ass people
I still won’t work with know-it-all or otherwise obnoxious, types. Working with sour, negative abrasive customers doesn’t fit into my definition of path of least of resistance either.
Working with them is analogous to stepping on shards of broken glass barefoot. The pain is severe and constant. Why dispense all my concern and assistance on someone who make me cringe?
Those folks can ruin your day and in turn, make work a struggle instead of a joy. Why take the abuse?
I know…because they have a lot of money and want to buy a lot of products, you will put up with them. You want that cashola in your money market account. And, if they make the same hourly wage for me, who cares?
I do and so should you. For several reasons. They usually don’t generate the same hourly wage, because these energy suckers take lots more of your time. (Don’t believe it? Keep track of who bugs you the most. Of who challenges you the most. Of who asks the stupidest questions. Of who wastes your time with picky, picky meaningless hassles. And so on!)
Also, there wonderful folks drain you. They sap your strength to chase other prospects. They take more than you need to give and that is very, very bad for you and your business.
Take the easy path and blow them off!
It’s a lot easier to work with appreciative, pleasant, grateful people. Remember, leave the challenges to your competitors!
Now, one of the things we hear a lot is, “Well, that’s so easy for you to say, because you have a constant flow of prospective customers. I just can’t afford to walk out on them, not when I have a limited base. What do you have to say to that?”
I don’t think I have to say much, because you’ve given yourself the answer!
When you use the marketing techniques you’re learning here, the ones we use to run our own business, you’ll see that you will never accept an asshole as a customer because you will have so many people to work with you couldn’t care less if you blow someone off.
See what I mean?
- Marketing empathy instead of “professionalism”
I still here this, every day:
“How would I put together an ad (or something) to sell.” Fill in the blank: homes, insurance, network services, tax preparation, printing, equipment, etc.
“You know, why waste all that time with FREE reports and so forth? Why not just tell them how much they need me?”
NO! NO! NO!
While it may seem that going for the quick sale is the path of least resistance, it is definitely not.
Even though you may get some response to the ad or whatever, once people see it’s another sales pitch, they will ignore it.
A sales pitch is threatening. Period. It turns people off.
This approach is not the path of least resistance. As a matter of fact, it is the path of most resistance!
Remember, your job is to find out what people want and get them to respond. That’s it. Product and service sales will flow like honey, once prospective customers sense your empathy. But, you can’t communicate empathy if people don’t respond to you!
Forget traditional marketing and getting a stone wall in your face. Get your responses with non-threatening empathy!
Getting a response is the whole game. The path of least resistance is to get the response. In order to get the most responses, you need to have the pitch that creates the least resistance.
For now, I want you to always think in terms of the market, what your prospective customers want and who your prospective customers are!
No more beating your head against the wall just to make your car payment? Ok?
Follow the path of least resistance, and your marketing will be fun instead of torture!