4 Steps to No-Brainer Status

If your target market had to make an instant decision, without thinking, would they would still pick you?

The mind is always doing something, always focusing on something. We even dream while we’re sleeping. Your brain never really stops working.

My fellow Chicagoan James Ford taught me a very interesting lesson (inadvertently, through the radio). He pointed out that we often look for distractions to give our minds a break. We call that amusement. A-muse-ment is, literally, the act or state of not-thinking.

While I generally discourage the use of funny marketing messages, you should consider being appropriately amusing.

With that in mind, here are some amusing marketing ideas:

1) Make your offer a “no-brainer.” If your offer is just right, the prospect literally doesn’t have to think about it.,
It’s not good enough to have the best product on the market or to be the most logical choice as a service provider. Plenty of outstanding businesses struggle while waiting for the world to beat a path to their door to buy their better “mousetrap.” Marketing is still critically important, and the message it conveys must still engage the motivational drives and desires of the target audience.

There are several factors involved here. No matter how much a prospect wants what you sell, there are obstacles to overcome:

a) You have to be trustworthy. No doubt you’ve heard a lot of talk about getting potential clients to “know, like and trust” you. This is not only because we like to do business with people we like, but because we have a hard time doing business with people we don’t trust.

  • This is part of the reason marketers are enamored with social media, and it’s definitely the driving force behind Facebook Sponsored Stories and Google’s social search. You trust your friends, so when they “like” something, that something inherits some of that trust.

b) Your offer itself has to be credible. I imagine if you got a letter in the mail offering “Buy 1 Mercedes, Get 2 FREE.” It might grab your attention, but you’d dismiss the idea pretty quickly. We instinctively believe the saying, “if it’s too good to be true…” By all means, make the strongest offer possible, but make sure it’s believable.

c) Eliminate as much risk as possible. The plumbing in my house is not great. At one point, we had to call a plumber every few weeks. When we finally found a guy we liked, one of the biggest reasons he got repeat business from us was because his 90-day guarantee. If the toilets clogged up in that time frame, he’d come out and fix it for free.

How strong is your guarantee? Do you provide excellent customer service after the sale? Do you share additional information or resources to ensure customers enjoy every possible benefit from their purchase?

  • Make testimonials prominent. This form of social proof can be effective at communicating the fact that lots of people just like the prospect has had a wonderful experience doing business with you. What more is there to think about?

2) Get to know your audience so well that you can describe their needs better than they can, using words they’d use themselves. When people feel like you know them, trust comes naturally. Add to that a comprehensive understanding of the challenges they’re facing and the dreams they have, there’s no need for them to look to anyone else when they’re ready to buy. Choosing you is a “no-brainer” decision.

3) Find a way to make buying from you habitual, or attach your offering to the habits of your target audience. That which people do habitually, they do unthinkingly. Here are two terrific articles explaining the power of habits and how they apply to marketing and buying decisions:

The Power of Habit
How Companies Learn Your Secrets

4) Your offer must be obviously valuable. The more clearly you describe what the customer will get after he buys, how wonderful his experience will be, the less he has to justify the purchase to himself. The less internal negotiations have to take place.
The longer he argues, the less likely he is to buy. He’s also more likely he is to either ask for a refund or suffer from buyer’s remorse – a serious problem for repeat business and referrals.

Your Action Steps

1) Get to know what you really sell. Builders don’t sell structures; they provide safety, security, a feeling of family, the American dream, etc. Authors don’t sell ink on paper, but wild adventures and escapes from reality in packages that fit in the palm of your hand.

2) Get to know your prospects better than ever. Always remember, marketing is not about you – it’s about your would-be customers.

3) Speak to the soul. Go beyond having rebuttals for objections and answers for questions.

4) Work on ways to clearly communicate that the solution to your prospects innermost drives and desires is within their grasp – if they enter the door you show them. Help them see it.

5) Find effective ways to deliver that message.

This will take some work, but I can guarantee it will pay off in big ways.


What A Wet Floor Sign Can Teach You About Your Business

What’s the purpose of wet floor signs from the perspective of a business owner?

Believe it or not, your answer to that question can tell you a lot about how you run your business. It doesn’t matter if you have a brick-and-mortar retail location or you sell strictly from your website. This exercise is purely hypothetical.

So what do you think? What’s the purpose behind wet floor signs?

If your answer is “to protect the business from legal liability if anyone should happen to slip on on the premises,” you may have uncovered a dangerous mindset that could threaten the vitality and growth of your own business.

What might this sort of response tell you about yourself? To put it plainly, you’re focused on the wrong thing.

What’s at the Center of Your Business?

If you’ve got a “protecting what’s mine” mentality (as indicated by the aforementioned response the the wet floor sign question), you’re exhibiting symptoms of an defensive-minded, self-centered entrepreneur. You place your own interests at the center of everything you do.

On the other hand, if you said that the purpose of the wet floor sign is to protect people in your store from getting hurt, you’re showing that you’re a customer-centered entrepreneur.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with protecting your business or yourself. It would be foolish not to. But when you focus on your business instead of your customers, you’re putting the cart before proverbial horse.

You’ve heard it a hundred times: “The purpose of business is to create a customer.” Not to build a store, invent a product or make a name for itself. If you want to get good at creating customers, you need to make them the most important thing.

Playing It Too Safe

It’s hard to grow your business proactively when you’re playing defense. If you’re too invested in protecting your reputation, image, your perceived upper-hand in relationships, etc., you’re probably playing too safe.

Risk-taking empowers you to make bold promises in your marketing. Playing it safe makes for boring advertisements.

Customer-centric courage frees you to offer strong guarantees, which can often increase sales by 300% even while inviting buyers to ask for their money back if they’re not fully satisfied. When you put your customers first, you’re willing to reverse the risk back on yourself.

Self-centered businesses hesitate before giving value in advance.  They’re worried about getting ripped off by cheapskates or copied by sneaky competitors. Customer-centric businesses know that offering value in advance brings more leads in, develops more trust and establishes more authority in the marketplace. Sure, there’s a little more risk involved, but the upside potential is worth it.

Business isn’t about you. The companies and solo professionals that really make a difference are usually those that make it their priority to take care of their customers. They want to make the world a better place, not just put money in their bank accounts.

Which description sounds more like your business?

This illustration probably seems overly simplistic, but I think it’s also rather instructive. I’d love to hear what you think about it. Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section.

P.S. If you’d like to hear about some of the most courageous marketing and guarantees you can imagine, you might like to listen to my interview with Space Shuttle engineer-turned-consultant Mark Fox.


My Talk with Mark Fox

Yesterday, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mark Fox, CEO of Sly as a Fox, LLC and author of Da Vinci and the 40 Answers. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the subject of purposeful creativity. Oh, and he is former Chief Engineer on the Space Shuttle.

He enlightened me for 35 minutes and let me record the conversation.

Here’s why it matters to you.

We’ve talked about how improving your offer will improve the response you get from your marketing and sales propositions. Mark gives two of the best examples I’ve ever heard of “better than money back” guarantees. One involves a million dollar payout.

You can definitely learn something from these ideas.

The broader context of our discussion was how to become creative on purpose instead of having to wait for your muse to show up. We’re all well-accustomed to accidental creativity. But what if you could reproduce those times of inspiration predictably, on demand?

You’d start to see problems and obstacles dissolve right before your eyes.

On top of all that, I make a total anus out of myself in the first 5 minutes of the recording. I was so embarrassed I almost canceled the rest of the talk. I’m getting over my pride, because there is some really great content that I think you’ll benefit greatly from hearing. It’s worth the shame.

Check out the audio here.

You don’t want to miss this.

P.S. While you’re at it, you should go to Mark’s site. His is one of the only newsletters I haven’t unsubscribed from. He’s also offering the full text of Da Vinci and the 40 Answers in PDF form for free. No opt-in required.