LESS… What Customers Really Want
The Invaluable $1.80 Beer Lesson on Selling Products and Buying Habits
“The great bear experiment
People were offered two beers–a premium one at $2.50 and a bargain beer for $1.80. … About 80 percent chose the more expensive one.
In the next experiment, an even cheaper option joined the first two–a beer for just $1.60. … 80 percent of people nabbed what became the middle option–at $1.80–and the rest bought the $2.50 offering.
Then the third take happened: the $1.60 beer was switched out for one of those ultra-premium offerings at a cool $3.40. … most people chose the $2.50 option, relatively few chose the low-cost $1.80 option, and about 10 percent nabbed the most expensive option.
… Shifting the options influenced buyer behavior. The experiment confirms an old sales heuristic: if you offer different price points, people will choose between the plans rather than whether to buy the product or not. …
… The most obvious application would be to incorporate the three-way price-plan into your product … use the strategy on your friends and colleagues. … say you want to grab lunch with your work BFF but you don’t want to boss them into going to your favorite Cuban place–you’d rather allow them to arrive to that decision on their own.
… suggest three lunch spots: cheap and average Italian, reasonably priced and conveniently located Cuban, or distant and expensive Chinese. So instead of contemplating the worthiness of Cuban in and of itself, your BFF is comparing it to the crap Italian and the too-fancy Chinese, which should tip the lunch-scales in your favor–if that beer experiment was any indication.”
By Douglas Van Praet via Co.Create Article
Research – You’re Doing It Wrong. How Uncovering the Unconscious is Key to Creativity
“Businesses invest billions of dollars annually in market research studies developing and testing new ideas by asking consumers questions they simply can’t answer. Asking consumers what they want, or why they do what they do, is like asking the political affiliation of a tuna fish sandwich. That’s because neuroscience is now telling us that consumers, i.e., humans, make the vast majority of their decisions unconsciously.
Steve Jobs didn’t believe in market research. When a reporter once asked him how much research he conducted to develop the iPad, he quipped, “None. It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.” And according to some measures, the iPad became the most successful consumer product launch ever and Apple went on to become the most valuable company of all-time. …
Einstein once said: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Creativity, the indispensable fuel of economic growth, is being killed by a corporate culture of wrongheadedness. It’s time to stop the violence! It’s time to honor the gift of the unconscious mind! …
My frustration with the tools of my trade led me to search for a more enlightening message. ….”
Marketers don’t convince. Engineers convince. Marketers persuade. Persuasion appeals to the emotions and to fear and to the imagination. Convincing requires a spreadsheet or some other rational device.
It’s much easier to persuade someone if they’re already convinced, if they already know the facts. But it’s impossible to change someone’s mind merely byconvincing them of your point.
If you’re spending a lot of your time trying to convince people, it’s no wonder it’s not working.”
By Stephen Shapiro from 24/7 Innovation Blog Article
“Back in 1995 … I traveled the world helping companies downsize. … While working on one particular project, I knew that 10,000 people were going to lose their jobs as a result of our work. Somehow I was able to rationalize away the impact on the lives of so many people.
Three is More than 10,000
That is, until I was watching a television show about three executives from that very company who were laid-off a year earlier. One person cried the entire interview. Another was optimistic even though he had not yet found a suitable job. And the third person committed suicide. The next day, while at the client site, I confirmed that the stories were true. I immediately dismissed myself and never returned to the project. After watching that TV show, I could no longer be a contributor to even one lost job.
Stalin once said, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” As I discovered personally, 10,000 lost jobs was a statistic; one lost job was unbearable. …
Big data is driving the decision-making process in many organizations. But numbers cannot address the subtleties of human desire. Statistics only capture what we see on the surface, and can rarely tap into deeper needs.”
7 Things Customers Want Most From You
“1. Independent Thinking Customers want to know that you’ll represent their interests, even it’s not in your own financial interest–and particularly when the proverbial chips are down. …
2. Courage … They expect you to tell them if buying what you’re selling is a mistake, or not truly in their interests. That takes real guts.
3. Pride The best customers don’t want you to truckle and beg. … they want to work with proud, successful people who can handle even the most difficult tasks.
4. Creativity Customers don’t have the time to sit and listen to cookie-cutter sales presentations. … they always have time for somebody who can redefine problems and devise workable solutions.
5. Confidence … They both need and expect you to exude the kind of confidence that assures them you’ll do what it takes to make them happy.
6. Empathy Customers … want you to understand where they are, how their business works, and the challenges that they face–not just intellectually, but in your gut.
7. Honesty Above all, customers want you to be honest with them. In fact, the previous six values are built upon a foundation of honesty. Without honesty, you have absolutely nothing to offer any customer.”
“1. Exclusivity. “…elite real estate training program” When something seems unique and prestigious, customers are more likely to participate. Consumers will spend more and be more loyal to your brand if you give them the feeling of exclusivity.
2. Comparison. “…not $10,000, not $1,000, not even $300″ … $183 seems inexpensive when compared with $10,000. But when $183 stands alone, compared to nothing, it actually sounds kind of expensive.
3. Urgency. “Today only you can get” Info-marketers do everything they can to entice consumers to place the order ASAP, because the more time they give customers the less likely the customer is to buy. …
4. Specificity. “…get it all for only $183″ Round numbers make consumers think that a price is potentially arbitrary. In other words, it is up for negotiation. Specific numbers give the perception that there is a “reason” behind the number, and that it is justified. …
5. Free. “A $500 value for free” All consumers like to get something for free. Marketers, who throw in a bonus for their clients, get a lot of something in return—more sales! …
6. Pleasure Sensation. “How will you spend your millions?” The technique of invoking a pleasure sensation is commonly used in infomercials. …
7. Pain Relief. “…break free of the grind and you’re on your way” To motivate consumers, marketers have to first make them “feel the pain,” and then show them how to get relief. …
8. Scarcity. “…only 5 spots left” When there is less of something, consumers want it more. …
9. Social Proof. “…expert advisers are taking calls right now” Info-marketers will show operators busily answering phones and smiling during the commercial. This is social proof. When consumers see others taking an action, they feel more comfortable doing the same.”
“Many firms assume that customers can do just one thing of real significance: buy their products and services. It’s time to seriously challenge that assumption, as many companies are doing by looking to customers to fuel their growth engines. …
Customers know more about each other than you know about them. That’s the source of much of the stratospheric value placed on Facebook by investors. Imagine a traditional company that tried to generate the kind of information Facebook generates: real time data on what movies people are watching, where they travel, the books they’re reading, the restaurants they’ve tried. Facebook dispensed with all the research most companies would have tried to dig up, and instead focused on letting customers provide it. …
Customers are more credible than you are. That means they make better marketers for a firm than agencies or internal employees. …
Customers are more persuasive than you are. That means they make better sales people. Marc Benioff … relied instead on face-to-face meetings with prospects and customers in major city markets. He found, to his surprise, that prospects at such events were much more interested in talking with SFDC customers than with him and his executive team, and found to his delight that 80% of prospects who attended the events wound up becoming customers themselves — an amazing close rate for any offering. …
Customers often understand buyer needs better than you do. One of the great misconceptions still floating around is that customers can’t articulate their needs, much less develop ideas for products to satisfy them. A substantial body of well-established research has shown that many if not most successful innovations are customer-originated. In one compilation of studies of 1193 commercially successful innovations across nine industries by MIT’s Eric von Hippel, 737 (60%) came from customers. …
Prospects in your market would rather affiliate with their peers (your customers) than with you. …”
“Increase Positivity: To increase your positivity score and enrich your life, here are some thoughts by the author[s]:
- Study positive psychology: Coined by Marty Seligman in 1998, this movement has had a profound effect on the field of psychology and on the author herself.
- Sincerity: An insincere smile or gesture can have an even more negative effect than doing nothing at all. Slowing down to be in the moment and be sincere about our responses can make a huge difference.
- Find Positive Meaning: Reframing an experience can make a big difference in not only how you react but also how you remember an event.
- Savor Goodness: Find ways to remember and re-remember good things.
- Celebrate Team Wins: Celebration boosts teams’ overall positivity state and allows you to savor the good memories together.
- Count Your Blessings: Being grateful for everything you have broadens and de-stresses your life. Keeping a gratitude journal [which I do] and listing 5 things (no matter how small…like water and electricity) a day that you’re grateful for can reframe your day and your life over time.
- Apply Your Strengths: People who work on and improve in their areas of strength are happier and more productive than those who work constantly on removing weaknesses. So, play life to your strengths and watch happiness abound.
- Connect with Others: We are pack animals, social animals. We need people to thrive. When in a tailspin, the tendency is to isolate ourselves to lick our wounds. In fact, that’s the worst thing…better to stay connected to those who keep us nurtured.”
“DO put connection before content. Clients don’t want you to sell to them; they want you to genuinely care about them. Take the time to build a personal connection before you start talking business.
DON’T badmouth the competition. Only people who are insecure try to build themselves up at the expense of others. Show your competitors the same respect you’d want if the positions were reversed.
DO focus on individuals, not companies. You may be selling to an organization, but you’re doing it through an individual. Remember: ABC Inc. is not going to buy your offering; but Joe might.
DON’T give a sales pitch. Pitches are a great way to shut people down and pigeonhole you as a hustler. Even when speaking to a group, make the interchange a conversation, not a lecture. …
DO engage with customers as equals. The client conversation should contain a feeling of mutuality rather than talking down to or being subservient to your clients.
DON’T attempt an “end run.” Bypassing a client or customer contact who is ambivalent or hostile will create an enemy for life. That person will constantly work against you … from the inside. You don’t want that.
DO keep the conversation mutual. Your goal is to earn your client’s trust by connecting with them, thereby creating a sense of safety. You can’t do that if you’re yakking away.
DON’T pull your punches. Never be afraid to tell clients what they need to know if you feel they might be making a mistake–especially if that mistake involves buying your product.
DO be willing to play “little league.” Even if you know there’s a huge (i.e. big league) opportunity, shove your own agenda aside and focus on whatever game this client wants to play right now.
DON’T play negotiation games. That stuff you read in the “How to Negotiate” books? Forget it. You’re trying to forge a relationship, not win a zero-sum competition.
DO self-disclose when appropriate. Human beings buy from human beings. Rather than talking purely business, it’s OK to occasionally bring up family, hobbies, or whatever will be of real interest to you and your clients.
DON’T mistake apathy for loyalty. The surest sign that a client is about to switch to another vendor is a lack of enthusiasm for you and your offering.”
“Here are the five dumbest beliefs that people have about “how to sell”:
1. The Customer Is Always Right
… In fact, though, customers are frequently unreasonable and overly demanding. A big part of selling is educating such customers so that they have more realistic expectations. This means telling the customer he’s wrong when he actually is.
2. Customers Know What They Want
In fact, customers frequently often have bizarre ideas about what they want and need–and, consequently, about what they ought to buy. Don’t cater to these whims. It’s up to you, as a responsible seller, to figure out what’s actually needed and provide your best opinion about how to satisfy that need.
3. Every Prospect Is a Potential Sale
If you think that everyone is a customer, you’ll end up pursuing fictional opportunities. (This is called “chasing garbage trucks, not Brinks trucks.”) If you’re selling something, your No. 1 job is to eliminate prospects that don’t have enough money to buy your offering or don’t have enough need to justify the purchase. …
4. You Should Never Take ‘No’ for an Answer
When prospects have all sorts of objections to buying, you’re probably wasting your time trying to sell to them. … Don’t obsess on any one deal–and always remember that if you hear “no” more than once, it means “no.”
5. The Best Salespeople Are Extroverts
Many (even most) of today’s sales situations are best suited for people who are a little bit introverted, and better at listening than talking. In fact, some of the best and most effective sales training programs available today are based on listening techniques originally developed for psychologists and counselors–who aren’t known for being extroverted.”
By Tom French, Laura LaBerge, and Paul Magill Article
“More pervasive marketing
To engage customers whenever and wherever they interact with a company—in a store; on the phone; responding to an e-mail, a blog post, or an online review—marketing must pervade the entire organization. Companies such as Starbucks and Zappos, for which superior engagement has been a critical source of competitive advantage from the beginning, already exhibit some of these traits. But these companies aren’t our focus, which instead is the kinds of actions everyone else can take as they strive for world-class customer engagement.
The starting point is a mind-set shift around customer interaction touch points. Companies typically think of them as being “owned” by a given function: for instance, marketing owns brand management; sales owns customer relationships; merchandising or retail operations own the in-store experience. In today’s marketing environment, companies will be better off if they stop viewing customer engagement as a series of discrete interactions and instead think about it as customers do: a set of related interactions that, added together, make up the customer experience. That perspective should stimulate fresh dialogue among members of the senior team about who should design the overall system of touch points to create compelling customer engagement, and who then builds, operates, and renews each touch point consistent with that overall vision. There’s no need to worry about traditional functional or business unit ownership: whoever is best placed to tackle an activity should do so.
Designing a great customer-engagement strategy and experience depends on understanding exactly how people interact with a company throughout their decision journey. That interaction could be with the product itself or with service, marketing, sales, public relations, or any other element of the business. ….”
“A friend told me recently that if she listened to her lawyers on a new product launch, the packaging would be blank. Marketing and legal are often the functions with the greatest friction. A legal review of an idea is akin to running the gauntlet. There is inevitably risk in any idea. Removing the risk entirely can sand the edges off the idea. Yet much of this tension is a result of how the relationship is set up. I recently talked to a brand manager for Axe…
read the rest…”
From Branding Strategy Insider Blog Article
More Marketers Embracing Brandverbing
““Google it.” “Did you Xerox the report?” “Please FedEx it.” Once upon a time, using a brand name as a verb was verboten. It was behavior that would drive a trademark lawyer crazy.
But more and more marketers are deciding that the grand slam of branding is to become part of the language – in effect, having your trademark substitute in everyday usage for the type of action or service that your mark identifies. Could there be, they argue, any clearer expression of a brand’s leadership? …
Allow the use of your brand name generically, barristers would warn, and you lose – over time – your trademark rights. ’Tis true. Look up common words such as “aspirin” or “escalator” in the dictionary and you’ll realize they were once registered trademarks.
But in today’s hyperactive world, marketers are more concerned about getting known now, today, immediately – more so than weakening their naming rights later on. Marketing author and gadfly Seth Godin likes to say, “Nouns just sit there, inanimate lumps. Verbs are about wants and desires and wishes.” Which is why so many marketers encourage the verbifying of their precious brand names – and why so many consumers are so comfortable using them as everyday words.”
By Tom Fisburne Article
“Kathy Sierra wrote a wonderful post recently called, “Pixie Dust and the Mountain of Mediocrity“. It includes these insights:
“We’re always searching for that secret formula, that magic pixie dust to sprinkle over our products, services, books, causes, brands, blogs to bring them to life and make them Super Successful … why are so many so convinced that [insert favorite buzzword] is the answer vs. just making a product that helps people kick ass in a way they find meaningful?”
Marketing is too often seen as something that happens at the perimeter of a business. Once everything is defined, marketing steps in to magically drive consumers to take products from the shelf. Even if the product experience is undifferentiated and unremarkable.
The most important marketing is indirect and long-term. It’s the hardest to measure, but the most meaningful when done well. This is the marketing that is baked into the entire organization. This is the marketing that makes meaningfully unique products and engaging consumer interactions.
The best marketing breaks the marketing silo. We all work in marketing, no matter what our functional expertise may be. We all impact our products and services and touch consumers in some way or another.”
By Derrick Daye Article
Are You Left-Brained Or Right-Brained?
“Marketing and management are at war in today’s boardrooms.
The reason for the war is that marketing and management don’t understand each other. The reason they don’t understand each other is that their brains are different.
Management people tend to be left-brain thinkers: they are verbal, logical and analytical.
Marketing people tend to be right-brain thinkers: they are visual, intuitive and holistic. Which one are you? Are you Left-Brained or Right-Brained?
This short quiz will reveal the answer, giving you a better sense of ‘where you are’ in the room.”
It pays to flatten the pyramid
““Boss-zilla,” as Salzberg calls his first manager, taught him all he needed to know about leadership done wrong. “Right then I knew the kind of leader I never want to be, the kind who gives orders, not encouragement.” Today, he says, “You never know where the best ideas will come from. If you build a supportive environment where everyone is expected to contribute, you’ll get synergies and creative ideas you never imagined were possible.”
How do you create an environment of innovation, collaboration and trust? You must turn the org chart upside down and recognize that senior management exists to help their staff become more successful – not the other way round. And that consultation, delegation and admitting you don’t know everything are powerful development tools for leaders to use every day – not signs of personal weakness.
Here are a few ways to flatten your pyramid to create a more dynamic, effective organization: ….”
By Liz Wendling Article
Sales process = sales success
“Closing sales is essential to building any successful business. Every sale – and I mean every sale – involves a process of defined steps, and skipping a step or going out of order typically results in a lost sale. The word “process” comes from the Latin word “procedure” meaning to proceed, and is a series of operations or stages that lead to an end product or outcome.
Regardless of what you sell, the sales process is like a production line and it must follow a specific sequence. No sequence + no process = no sale. Always! If you are using that formula, you can guarantee your sales efforts will be a big waste of precious time, money and energy.
There are many moving parts to the sales process: creating rapport, creating trust, asking impactful questions, talking about budgets, handling objections, gaining commitment, all the way to closing the sale. To be successful in selling you should be able to move through each step with precision; any diversion from the process will result in a lost sale.
Think about it – everything is a process. Lifting an airplane off the ground, driving a car, baking cookies, brushing your teeth, getting ready in the morning, learning a foreign language…you get the point. All involve a process of steps that lead to the desired goal. Why would anyone set out to sell anything without a formal process that could almost guarantee increased sales? It is like trying to build your dream house without blueprints.
When businesses and salespeople use a sales process, they have more consistent success with their sales performance. Why so many fail to develop or identify their process is a mystery. The evidence is so compelling for having one.”
New keys to mastering consumer perception and behavior
“Recently, it has been scientifically proven that certainty, probability, and possibility are the three most fundamental thoughts humans can conceive. These three cognitive forces determine how we think, what we believe, what will motivate us, and how we make decisions. Although human cognition includes all three thinking perspectives, individuals differ in the degree to which they utilize each — differences that can now be measured and quantified. This is the basis for all communication, learning, and relationship building. It is the blend of these three forces that drive individual needs, perception, and behavior (source: MindTime Inc.).
As a species, we’ve evolved the ability to imagine future possibilities and outcomes, to recall past experiences and learn from them, or to come up with strategies for managing things in the present. This is known as a person’s time perspective. …
Some people are past thinkers — they want verification, they place a high value on customer testimonials, a proven track record, credentials, or the research that went into creating something. As a result of the ability to conceptualize a historical past, people are able to reference, consciously or unconsciously, the storehouse of information that exists in their memories, and collect and analyze new information as needed in order to inform behavior and decision-making.
Other people are present thinkers — they’re interested in how a product or service can help them solve or manage a problem they’re dealing with now. The ability to conceptualize what we think of as the present, individuals are able to develop action plans, structure our environment, and organize resources to execute those plans.
Some people tend to be future thinkers — they look at a product or service and imagine the possibilities it opens up, and how it might impact their life moving forward. As a result of the ability to conceptualize a future that has yet to occur, people are able to imagine an infinite set of future possibilities and engage in creative and innovative speculation that allows them to adapt to ever-changing environmental circumstances.”
By Seth Godin Article
“Your brand is your favorite. After all, it’s yours. You understand it, you helped build it, you’re obsessed with the nuance behind it. Your organization’s actions make sense to you, you sat in the room as they were being argued about… you might even have helped make some of the decisions. …
When your brand starts falling behind a competitor (Dell vs. Apple, Microsoft vs. Google, Washington Mutual vs. Everyone and then Apple vs. Android, Google vs. Facebook)… you say it’s not fair, nor expected.
The problem with brand exceptionalism is that once you believe it, it’s almost impossible to innovate. Innovation involves failure, which an exceptional brand shouldn’t do, and the only reason to endure failure is to get ahead, which you don’t need to do. Because you’re exceptional. …
Brand humility is the only response to a fast-changing and competitive marketplace. The humble brand understands that it needs to re-earn attention, re-earn loyalty and reconnect with its audience as if every day is the first day.”
by Patrick Lefler Article
Winning or Losing – Which is more powerful?
“Loss aversion refers to the tendency of people to strongly prefer avoiding losses as opposed to acquiring gains. And this difference between gains and losses is so strong that some studies suggest that the emotions provoked by losses can be twice as powerful an as those for gains. …
Take the case of investors who prematurely sell stocks that have gained in value because they simply don’t want to lose what they’ve already gained. … I don’t think there isn’t one of us who hasn’t said over the past few years “Even though I hate the market, I’m not selling my “xyz” stock until it reaches my break-even level.” In other words, I refuse to take a loss on the stock. …
Insurance is another area where the concept of loss aversion hits home. Insurance companies don’t frame their marketing message in terms of what customers have to gain by buying their product, but rather they focus their message strictly on what will happen (the loss) if you don’t buy the policy.
… most businesses today fail to incorporate loss aversion techniques into their sales and marketing messages. Most are really good at crafting messages that highlight what prospects have to gain from buying their product. Far fewer take that next powerful step and also highlight the losses that could occur if that same product is not purchased.”
“”While farmers’ markets and Prius sales are humming along now, household product makers like Clorox just can’t seem to persuade mainstream customers to buy green again.”
Good news about farmer markets. Bad about those green products…or is it, really? Could part of the problem be that we “mainstream customers” suspect that the companies slapped green labels on slightly tweaked products (Nature’s Source Scrubbing Bubbles?! What? What?) and are charging premiums? Nahh, that’d never happen.
ybe we don’t really trustthose big corporate brands.
“According to the American Marketing Association, green marketing is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe. Thus green marketing incorporates a broad range of activities, including product modification, changes to the production process, packaging changes, as well as modifying advertising.”
On the other hand, the companies that have always been green – different story.”
“For decades, the decision to be an environmentally and socially responsible company has been based on the bottom line: Would it be profitable? In general, companies have crunched the numbers and chosen shareholder profits over a sufficient commitment to invest in greater social responsibility. In terms of traditional accounting and the legal requirements of corporations, costs always outweighed benefits.
But it now seems that this equation is starting to lean the other way as brands recognize the potential financial and reputational advantages they can gain by engaging with consumers around the shared ambition of building a better world. We can see this already happening among some leading brands such as Pepsi, Google, Nike, Patagonia and Starbucks, who have all earned consumer respect for their involvement in some area of environmental or social responsibility related to their business.
How did this come about? In large part, it is because the payoff for corporate engagement with customers has risen dramatically as a result of social media. The new dynamics between brands and consumers, driven by social media, are proving to be a powerful impetus for change. …
The process of becoming a brand leader in the next decades will be an evolutionary one involving at least seven stages. Each stage is defined by its unique leadership style, brand vision, social media commitment and level of engagement with the brand’s customer base: ….”
By Terry Starbucker Article
The Absolutely, Positively, No Doubt About It Way To Keep Customers – In A Nutshell
“I’ve seen a lot of books out there lately that have taken a lot of pages to explain how to get and keep customers, but it’s really pretty simple:
- Thank your customers for their business, preferably with a smile
- Follow the Golden Rule in all your communications with customers, no matter the form
- If you mess up with a customer, own up to it and apologize
- Repeat 1-3, replacing “customers” with “employees“, and “business” with “service“
That’s it, in a nutshell.
This is exactly what we did at the last company I worked for, and it worked beautifully.
(By the way, ever wonder how the expression “in a nutshell” came to be? Check this out - fascinating……)”