(Now Includes an “Advanced” PR Web Press Release. A $199 value!)
You Can Continue to Regurgitate Corporate Mumbo-Jumbo, Repeat Boring Slogans With Half-Hearted Interest, Trudge It Out At Networking Events & Tradeshows Where You Look and Sound Like Everyone Else Only To End Up Arm Wrestling with Customers Over Price and Delivery Only to Lose The Order to Desperate Competitors At The Last Minute, Which Puts You Farther Behind in the Rat Race.
Dear Business Owner, Entrepreneur, Professional Sales Person and Online Marketing Professional:
As a kid I was quite artistic. So much so, my parents didn’t just put my school art projects on the refrigerator with a magnet, they had them framed and hung on the wall.
I was also musical and was first chair saxophone my first year in band, just like my dad.
In high school I found the power of the written word was in my soul, in my bones, in my heart and could be expressed with by hand with pen and paper. (Us working-class Generation X’ers still didn’t have computers in the early 80′s, but I did get the cute secretaries at my school to type up my school projects. Now how’s THAT for salesmanship!?)
But I was smart. Like really smart and received an appointment to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to play strong side inside linebacker for the Fighting Falcons.
If you know anything about the military academies, they are not known for their arts and crafts and creative writing contests! But creativity is rewarded, which is why all of my freshman classmates came to me to help them with
hazing upperclass-assigned “spirit” projects they assigned to us as part of our 11-month Rites of Passage.
It was 1988 and we were the second class to be issued PCs, but there was no internet, so I wrote to Tammy Sue and Michelle and Patty and Angela and mom and dad on paper, with a pen!
Fast forward to 1992 and my Senior quote in our yearbook was this poem I still know by heart:
*IHTFP was secret code for “I hate this friggin’ place” but in polite company it stood for “I’m here to fly planes.” In my poem, it meant the former.
Fast forward 5 years and I’m out of the Air Force, I’m married less than two years, we have a 5-month old son and another son on the way – but we wouldn’t learn about the second son for 3 more months! (It’s a short, funny story but I don’t have time for it now.)
I jump out of the protective cocoon of being a Captain in the Air Force where I’m the top-rated officer instructor leading 66 new lieutenants through a 90-day OJT program into the world of commission sales as a stockbroker. And it sucked!
The tactics they taught us were high-pressure, cheesy, old-school opening, probing and closing tactics. Since it was the financial services industry everything was regulated to the nth degree.
So I worked on changing things up. I started putting on seminars and workshops that I filled with written invitations. I got picked up by a local radio station to do the daily stock recap. I sent letters to prospects that were referred to me by thankful clients. And everything started to work.
Until, suddenly, I didn’t work there anymore. (That’s a longer, un-funny story I really don’t have time for here and now.) I was on unemployment when my second son was born just 360 days after my first. We were living in a new city where we knew nobody but my dad and step-mother and no employer wanted to hear how I was involved in a lawsuit with my former employer just 6 months after leaving the Air Force.
So I responded to an ad in the local paper and began selling mobile homes in Mobile, AL. I learned retail sales. I learned how to follow their sales system to the letter. I learned how to write and place my own ads to generate my own leads so I wasn’t beholden to the luck of the retail gods…
And I killed it!
I sold 52 trailers in 52 weeks.
It was 1998 and I made exactly $100,000 while living in an apartment paying $365/month rent.
I was a professional salesman and it was the most empowering feeling of my life.
Even though the product I was selling was not mine, I figured out how to tell the story of those great features and benefits my prospects were looking for and I wrote ads that attracted those people to me.
Zoom ahead 12+ years and now I’m helping clients find their own voice, tell their own unique story and attract their ideal clients to them and I do this all day, every day.
But there’s one caveat: you can’t write great ads about mundane products without lying.
How can you tell you have boring, mundane products? After sitting around for hours and even days trying to say something nice and worthy of reading…you can’t.
The product I was selling – mobile homes – were designed, showcased, financed and delivered by someone else. I had no control over the layout of the lot, the inventory we had on hand or which trailers were on sale.
So I sized up what I did have control over and what most of my clients were looking for and where the profit was and what separated my offering from the 7 other trailer lots within three miles of mine.
The answer was three-fold:
Once I understood what my prospects were looking for the ads basically wrote themselves. I didn’t have a cell phone or the internet at work so I setup a private voice mail number. Every time I ran one of those ads I received more messages than I could get to in a day.
I had to actually pass out leads to my co-workers for a split commission, which taught me about affiliate marketing, which is another story for another day.
That year of successful selling put me in the top 1% of all sales people across the nation (out of 2,000+ sales people.) It also created the opportunity for me to be promoted to General Manager of my own retail center. I was the youngest, least-experienced GM in the District.
Most critically, it taught me lessons I’ll never forget:
I applied this thinking and this action to successfully sell recruiting services (#1 salesman within 6 months), telecommunications test equipment ($55,000 one-month commission just 7 months after starting), start-up technology competing against Dell, HP & IBM (top-grossing sales rep in the Western U.S. over three year career) and now Infusionsoft (#1 selling Infusionsoft Consultant globally).
I didn’t own any of those companies but I own my mind, my MacBook Pro and access to the internet. I’ve simply applied creative thinking, a can-do attitude, tireless work ethic and resourcefulness to create taglines and USPs like:
Most clients of The Sales Whisperer® are like was back in the day. Money is tight, your offering is limited, industry rules and regulations are restrictive, but you want to win, you have good ideas, you are open to new ideas, you are coachable and you are flexible. When all is said and done, you probably have a heck of a lot more say so over your destiny than I did when I was reading the Help Wanted section of the newspaper in my wife’s hospital room after she gave birth to our second son in April 1998 in a strange new town without a business connection or key contact I could call.
Maybe you own all or part of your company, partnership, consulting firm, product or service.
Believe it or not, you also have the capability to partner with other quality providers to leverage their expertise to offer to your clients and prospects.
And, if I had to bet money, I’d say your products and services DO scratch an itch that more than a few somebodies are laying awake at night trying to scratch. And I’d bet a lot of moolah that what you offer is more enticing, interesting and even sexier that the MLM I was pushing in 1994 and the trailers I was slinging in 1998.
Odds are way high that what you really lack is just a great Slogan, USP, and/or Tagline.
Your product is probably fine (but it may need to be tweaked a tad.) You’re probably talking to and prospecting to the right people.
And you’re fine, too. Your competitors do not possess some super-human strength, clairvoyance or secret ingredient you can’t compete with. You’re just as solid, honest and reliable as any of your competitors, and probably more so. Believe me when I tell you this.
No, the real issue at hand is that your prospects do not know the distinctive and personal way YOU are going to help them put down their Xanax and Pepto Bismol cocktail and actually get some sleep for a change.
Limp Tagline Warning Sign #1. You brag about your years of experience, family-owned and operated, multiple certifications and accreditation and prospects yawn and ask for a discount. I had a client who was taking over a family-owned and operated day care.
My clients, Kevin & Becky, were extremely frustrated with their inability to fill their 22 vacant student slots despite their history in the community, government certifications and excellent teaching credentials. Their facility was in need of a makeover and they wanted to add capacity, but they were going nuts knowing they were leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table each year by having so many empty seats in their day care.
They retained me for a private consulting project.
After getting to know them, their history and their family story, I could see they had a fantastic offering, wonderful story, solid USP and the potential to reach and surpass all of their sales goals.
It was all just HIDDEN. Parents weren’t convinced their day care was worth more than their competitors.
Kevin and Becky were too close to their own business and “couldn’t read the label from inside the bottle.” They KNEW they were better. They KNEW they were special. But the harder they tried to tell their story and differentiate themselves, the more frustrated they became.
I asked for all of their current sales and marketing material. Becky had compiled a 16-point checklist based on her “secret shopping” of their closest competitors. I asked them if I could write a “lead magnet” based on her research.
“Please do,” they replied.
First I created an FAQ for their website from that research. Then I created a compelling free report covering all 16 points. We gave this away to generate leads on their website. And the leads began coming in. But the sales didn’t.
So I had them walk me through their sales choreography. We left no stone unturned. I wanted to know
After a short review of this process I found the weak links.
When you have a part-time day care teacher making $24,000 a year she is NOT EVER going to be comfortable asking a parent to pay $10,000 per year for day care!
As soon as we choreographed how to address prospects on the phone and set a solid process in place for the Director or one of the owners to conduct all tours at pre-determined times, EVERYBODY went to the newly-created closing table.
When the Director or owners informed the parents they could put down a fully-refundable deposit to secure one of their limited seats while they went home to “think it over,” their 22 seats were filled in under 14 days.
“We gave Wes $4,500 and he returned $250,000 per year to our bottom line.”
With their school at capacity their expansion and refurbishing plans are kicked into high gear and their school has been JAMMING ever since. Their marketing issues are over. Now they are grappling with standby lists, raising prices and adding services such as after-school and tutoring programs.
Was this the work of a creative writer? A little, but not totally. The real “secret” is that I uncovered their true offering, helped them deliver it concisely via captivating tagline and USP, and made them efficient, effective deliverers of that uniqueness.
Once we had these issues resolved, a rookie copywriter could keep the momentum building, easy peesy, lemon squeezey.
Their Tagline and USP were there from the beginning. They were just too close to see them. But the harder they tried to spin and massage and maneuver their Taglines, USP and offerings, the farther away they got from the truth.
As soon as we isolated and dusted off their Taglines and USPs and implemented sales scripts, tour choreography and money-back guarantees, their sales issues disappeared.
Now they had to deal with capacity issues.
Limp Tagline Warning Sign #2: Your offering is sold by the pound and/or its “expected” cost is easily found online and shared by your prospective customers. This is the kiss of death. Our world is flatter than ever and the internet is commoditizing everything and the providers of commodities are circling the drain. If shoppers can promptly and precisely compare what you peddle to promotions on on Amazon (for physical or info products) or Fiverr (for services), you’re a deceased man stumbling.
The Amazon Dilemma: Anyone anywhere in the world can shop, compare, find promotion codes, discount codes and leverage your competitors’ prices and offerings against you with almost no effort. If you can be found and customers can buy what you offer online, with nothing else to offer beyond the commodity sale…all I can say is OUCH! If you can be “neatly ranked, grouped and pigeonholed,” then the noose is being tightened around your neck as you read this.
The Fiverr Problem: Fiverr is a site where you can find people from anywhere to do almost anything for you for just $5. If you’re in need of video introductions, voice over talent, a Twitter background, press release submissions, etc. and you are low on dough, it’s amazing! I’ve had logos created, social media posts made, followers added and more for just $5.
I hired a guy that was an expert in Adobe Illustrator. He made an amazing logo and sent me the JPEG and PNG for the work he created in a day. I’ve paid tons more and waited weeks to get similar work done.
That’s a sweet deal for me. But I’m the beneficiary of this great online, always-on, eager-to-please virtual sweatshop.
Is your product or service easily found on Fiverr and the 20+ competitive sites that have sprung up in the last 12-24 months for just $5 or $10 or $15? Are the Fiverr-SEOClerks-Gigbucks-Fourerr-Zeerk-Tenbux termites chewing away at the very foundation of your livelihood? If so, then you are now in the know, which means your business model must go or face the fate of the dodo.
But there is a SINGLE, SIMPLE cure for this disease:
A better Tagline. A solid Unique Selling Proposition (USP). A Slogan that resonates and sets you apart from the parasites that will ruin you without ever knowing you.
Your positioning is solid when you address these concerns before they ever come up:
If you don’t even think to answer these questions, let alone create solid answers for them all, sales cycles are long, ads are ineffective, stalls are inevitable, negotiation are debilitating and the end is near…if the sales gods are kind and merciful.
Conversely, when you take the time to think through all of these questions and develop solid answers ahead of time prospects find you, your blog posts are interesting, your ads are compelling, your sales cycles are short, you can be the highest-priced provider in your niche and life is good.
Which is most appealing to you?
Unbeknownst to you, February 2010 is when you were given the choice to build your business by proving yourself for $5 with fingers crossed and the hope you’d be deemed worthy of additional business from the customer or becoming the Profitable Prince with a Propensity for Prosperity, who assigns the five dollar gigs to the internet indigents of the digital domain.
The fact the decision was sneakily made for you is why you are here reading this now. What you do with this knowledge is up to you, isn’t it?
If you do not firmly decide to be the Prince, you are leaving the decision – and your future – in the hands of others. Good luck with that.
Limp Tagline Warning Sign #3: You have little to no control over the sale. Your customers make demands on pricing, terms & conditions, quantity breaks, delivery, warranties, setup and support…anything they can, really, and you concede.
Do prospective buyers ambush you with an agenda and demand…
“I want Products A, B & E with free rush delivery and 90 days to pay, same as cash, and I’ll only pay 1% over cost!”
If this is happening, your sleepless nights are outnumbering your peaceful nights and will continue until you make a change.
The web is worse than carbon monoxide. It’s a cold-blooded, heartless, silent killer. But you know who the next victim is going to be. Just look at the vendors and suppliers and business owners who provide generic products, services and information in a vanilla manner with no eyeball-popping Tagline or USP.
You know it’s happening everywhere you look from flat-panel monitors and TVs to eBooks and White Papers to hard drives and memory. In 1995 I bought a Gateway PC with an UPGRADED 1 Gig hard drive (“that’ll NEVER get filled), a 17″ UPGRADED CRT monitor, printer and ergonomic keyboard and mouse for $3,100!!! An equivalent Gateway today is $394.80 on Amazon. And don’t get me started on the price of eBooks thanks to Kindle, Nooks and iBook.
Circuit City is out of business and we’re hearing Best Buy may go away, too, because we can walk right in with our iPhones, pull up a barcode scanning app, zap it and find all the deals both online and nearby for the same product. It’s called “showrooming” and people under 30 think nothing of it. They treat retailers like their personal shopping concierges to provide demonstrations, answer questions, confirm the configurations they need and then buy it with their smartphone from an out-of-state provider offering free delivery, that lets them skip the sales tax and save $17.97.
Welcome to the commoditization age, my friend. Manufacturing jobs went overseas. Now iPhone apps are crushing retail service jobs.
Consumers are saving money.
But are producers making any?
While I haven’t heard of any Fiverr task-doers getting beaten like slaves building the pyramids in Egypt, doing monkey-jobs for a 5-spot is still cruel and unusual punishment.
The good news in all of this commoditization chatter is that “shiny and new” still wells up in the hearts of mankind and drives consumers to seek out “new and improved” before the wrapping from yesterday’s “great deal” is picked up by the janitor. And if Amazon doesn’t sell it and if it’s “not sold in stores” then somebody is gonna want it and be willing to pay for it! If it’s unique.
And if you know how to market it.
Limp Tagline Warning Sign #4: When your ads are literally a waste of money, you can’t increase traffic to your site, you can’t increase opt-ins to your lead magnets and you’re literally running away or clinging onto any advertising sales rep for dear life.
Small businesses struggle with their marketing because they copy big businesses. Big businesses have big money, which is like a “marketing air bag” that saves them from life-threatening, self-inflicted injuries when they run stupid ads.
Big companies don’t know any more about marketing than small companies but they have marketing departments filled with people with marketing degrees that do the same thing their competitors do, which means they won’t get fired because they did “what was expected” of them.
The big companies don’t make better products, they don’t have better service and they can be beaten if you refuse to play the marketing game by their rules. Which means, you write headlines, create offers, deliver eye-popping Taglines and USPs that stand out from the crowd like Kim Kardashian at Goodwill. Without it,…let me know how that works out for ya.
Limp Tagline Warning Sign #5: Your competitors greet you at every turn, they’re in every opportunity, they’re forcing you both to lower prices and agree to concessions that are not in your best interest and they are getting on your last nerve.
As I write this I am the top seller of Infusionsoft in the world. Having worked with them for over four years we had to set our offering apart from the “competitors” because we really do offer something none of the other CRMs or Email blasters or Shopping Cart Vendors offer, and that’s the complete automation and segmentation of every step of the marketing and sales cycle.
Every day I steal business from the multi-billion dollar vendors such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft, NetSuite, ACT! and Constant Contact. These big guys are irked by the way I go right after them but there is nothing they can do about it. In late 2010 I came up with the Tagline “Automate. Integrate. Dominate.” during a copywriting project for Infusionsoft.
They tweaked it to read “Automate. Integrate. Celebrate.”
And those three words have helped set our offering apart from the big “Rolodexes in the sky,” which is how I win.
Now I’m partnering with other copywriters, API developers, website builders and others to offer comprehensive packages for small business owners and the sales just keep coming.
In the beginning we catered to info-marketers and online marketers. But as we redefined the problem we solve a great majority of Infusionsoft buyers over the last couple of years are traditional brick-and-mortar companies with sales teams that are tired of their expensive CRM that just sits there, un-updated, unused and worthless.
This didn’t scare away the info-marketers and we didn’t change the product. This added emphasis just opened up our offering to a broader audience.
The old saying “it’s hard to read the label from inside the bottle” is true. We all take for granted the value of our offerings, which results in us under-charging, getting stagnant with our marketing and struggling to grow.
When an “outsider” with fresh eyes and no biases towards you or your business or your industry looks at what you do and how you position and asks questions you’ve never heard before and pushes you to explain your offering in a new and unique way HUGE breakthroughs can occur.
Limp Tagline Warning Sign #6: Your world is filled with “shoulda, woulda, coulda” names of prospects that should’ve purchased from you, would’ve purchased from you if they knew how to find you and could’ve purchased from you but they either bought from the competition or just didn’t do anything because your offering is so HO-HUM.
As of 2011 the U.S. Gross Domestic Product is $15,090,000,000,000. That’s FIFTEEN TRILLION DOLLARS! People are spending money today and everyday. Your prospective clients are buying and/or will buy sometime between now and 24 months from now.
How can you get them to buy from you? Get noticed. Get their attention.
And credentials and schooling and years in business and family-recipe and number of patents won’t do Jack Diddly Squat for your sales.
When your Tagline and USP are right, entirely new worlds of advertising opportunities open right before your very eyes.
Emails that used to go unread now not only get read, your links get clicked, your free reports get requested, your webinars get attended and your hard-to-reach prospects start calling you!
When I begin working with a new client I ask them, “Why should I buy from you?” and we work backwards from there.
People come to asking about split-testing and analytics and a host of other tactics and tools thinking there is some silver bullet in my marketing gun and I always stop them in their tracks and ask them “What is your offer? Who does it serve? What itch does it scratch?” Once I get them to enter the minds of their clients and view their offering from that perspective, magic happens.
Llewellyn Dalton has developed a personality profile test that is more accurate, more insightful, faster, less expensive and can be taken for another person, which is HUGELY beneficial when a salesperson is attempting to connect with a tough prospect or when a spouse is wanting to better understand their lover.
When we met during a 3-Day Implementation Acceleration I asked him what made him unique. After many hours of round and round we came up with “The 8-Minute Online Personality Type Assessment.” Now we were onto something. We then created separate programs for each of his assessments because an Operations Manager at a factory doesn’t want to take a “relationship test” for people in a struggling marriage. (But it’s the same test. Shhhhh!)
This makes him unique. This makes him standout in a crowded crowd. He then went forward with vim and vigor because he now has a tight, concise Tagline and USP he can rattle off easily, it makes an impact, it cuts through the DISC/Meyers-Briggs/What Color Is Your Parachute clutter and is helping him make the sales he knew his product was worthy of.
If you’ve even had a baby or a high school sweetheart you know that love is blind. Having taken 6 babies home from the hospital with my wife of 17+ years (and I won’t say how many high school sweethearts I’ve had) I have plenty of newborn photos to reference when I say they are much cuter at the moment we hold them than when we look back on those photos! Now don’t get me wrong, they are all beautiful, they’re just not usually “pretty” with their smushed noses, cone heads and matted-down hair.
But they are PERFECT to us and we love them with every fiber of our being and NOBODY can tell us there is ANYTHING not perfect about them.
That’s how we all get with the product we are taking to market. It’s our baby. It’s the love our life. It’s perfect and we can’t figure out why everyone else can’t see that, too. Actually, anybody that can’t see that is just an idiot and we don’t want to do business with idiots anyway! So we go to market with this “beautiful, perfect thing” and are befuddled when the world doesn’t beat a path to our door.
You will walk away with a new perspective on your business, your offering, your sales presentation, your ad or anything else we work on together during the allotted time. As a matter of fact, I’ll promise you these 7 points if you follow my instructions to the T:
This is what I do and it’s what I’ve been preparing for my whole life and it’s what I’ve done since jumping into commission sales in 1997. I’m good at it and when we work together to unleash your marketing and entrepreneurial spirit your life, your business and everything else will never be the same.
I’m ready when you are because…
Life’s too short for follow-up calls,
Q: How do I know this will work?
A: Like a surgeon, I have trained for over two decades to perfect my training, consulting, sales and marketing skills. And while there are always inherent risks in anything and everything you do in life, continuing down the path you are on and hoping for a change for the better in your sales, growth and income is much riskier than this small investment with a professional like me.
Q: How much time will this take?
A: When you place your order you will receive a questionnaire that will take you between 30 minutes and three hours to complete. (The more time you take the better.) Once you return that questionnaire to us my assistant will schedule our time together. I will review the questionnaire and the samples you provide before we speak to prepare for our meeting. We will spend between 45-90 minutes on the phone and online together. The session will be recorded and you will receive a link to download the session in its entirety for future reference. You will then have two critique certificates you can utilize at any time during the following 30 days. These can be used for me to review a sales letter, landing page, presentation, etc. to make sure you are adroitly applying the messaging and the ideas we uncovered during our time together.
Q: What can we work on together?
A: Taglines, Slogans, Unique Selling Propositions (USPs), Speeches, Presentations, Pamphlets, Brochures, Sales Letters, Website Copy, PPC / Google AdWords Ads, Yellow Pages Ads, Trade Show Material, Phone Scripts, White Papers, Lead Magnets and/or any other written or verbal communication you use to grow your business.
Q: How quickly can we meet?
A: Once we have the completed questionnaire we can meet immediately. Paying clients take priority so you can be sure that we will fit you in as soon as possible. Unlike the myths of “The 4-Hour Work Week” I take meetings at 5 AM for my European clients and 7 PM for my Asian clients. So if you’re ready and willing to work, so am I!
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