Building a solid email list of people who want to hear from you regularly is the single most important thing you can do as a small business owner. A targeted, responsive email list makes everything else so much easier. Wouldn’t you agree? Yet many of us struggle with how to get this done, so I want to give you a specific example from my own business.
What People Want to Hear vs What They Need to Hear
As a sales trainer, I’ve always had to tell people what they NEED to hear. If I spent all my time with clients telling them what they WANT to hear, we’d never make any progress. When it comes to getting results you simply have to do what it takes. Short cuts don’t work. We all know this, right?
I’ve spent the last few months sharing on this blog what I’ve learned about how to produce results for real. I know how to sell…been doing it online and offline for over 10 years. But importantly, the fact that I know this topic isn’t what causes people to sign up for my list. They only sign up when I tell them what they WANT to hear first. That’s how we get started. I can only tell people what they need to hear after I first tell them what they want to hear.
Here’s an interesting tidbit…I changed my opt-in forms a while back and promised a quick, simple solution to starting a profitable business blog (the most common request from my paying consulting clients so far)…my opt in rates immediately rose between 200%-1000%. Overall, an average 400% increase across the site. Consider the impact of this. I changed NOTHING about the blog or myself. I’m selling the exact same stuff I was before. All I changed was the packaging! Here are some questions to consider:
- Can you see the value in this?
- Would you be willing to repackage yourself as well?
- Do you feel this would somehow diminish the value you offer people?
- Do you believe telling people what they want to hear is dishonest?
Current Perception (NOT actual value) = Value
Would you like to see a 400% increase in your results as well? Then carefully criticize your marketing message, your headlines, your tweets, etc. Are you simply “giving valuable information”? Or are you “telling people what they want to hear”? Go back and look at what you’ve done so far, and you might be surprised at how often you’re failing to CONNECT with your audience. It’s an honest mistake. We all do it.
See…information is only valuable if it’s acted upon. And no one acts on information just because YOU know it to be effective. This is really important: they have to PERCEIVE it to be effective. Put another way…you can’t sell what’s actually going to be helpful to people. It’s silly, but it’s true. People only buy what they PERCEIVE to be valuable. See the difference? It’s huge.
So, the buyer’s CURRENT PERCEPTION is what you need to connect with. That’s why people keep buying crappy get-rich-quick products. They promise to deliver what the buyer PERCEIVES is a solution for them. But you are different. YOU are going to sell them something that actually helps them, right? But first you need to realize that your headlines and sales messages should not attempt to communicate the ACTUAL VALUE of what you’re selling! Your sales process, in order to be effective, must actually engage the buyer’s current perceptions of value.
…as a marketer you need to realize that purchases (or opt-ins to your email list) are made at the point of intersection between perceived value and communicated value…
What do your buyers want?
They want a quick fix. You don’t even need to research this. Trust me; every market is the same in this regard. They want to make more money…NOW. They want six pack abs…NOW. They want to find their dream home…NOW. And they don’t want to have to come up with a down payment (of course). You get the idea.
In other words, they want something completely ridiculous, and it’s your job to engage that desire. Notice I didn’t say it’s your job to give them what they want. This is a very important distinction. It’s simply your job to ENGAGE their current perceptions of value. You’re not selling them a piece of junk, because you’re not a scam artist, but as a marketer you need to realize that purchases (or opt-ins to your email list) are made at the point of intersection between perceived value and communicated value. In other words, your message must intersect with what they’re looking for…which is a quick fix. Unless that occurs, the buyer is not engaged, and no sale…no opt-in takes place.
Conversely, if your message DOES engage their perceived value, they can hardly help themselves. Your offer becomes so much more compelling, because you’re speaking to them directly. You’re meeting them on their turf. You’re making the extra effort to communicate to them that you actually understand what they want.
- How does your marketing hold up to this criteria so far?
- Are you going to go back and figure out a way to increase your conversions by 400%?
- Does this “repackaging” concept not sit well with you; do you feel it’s dishonest?
- Can you think of an example where you really felt you had a great offer, but it failed to connect or get the result you had hoped for?
- Is there anything I can do to clarify or help you implement this concept in your business?
I honestly feel this one single concept can completely change the course of your business. I’ve seen it happen again and again. One tweak, and everything changes. I hope this article gives you some fuel for improving your marketing dramatically. As always, comment or email with your questions or concerns:-)