By Marlon Sanders
Marketing is either the easiest thing you'll ever do in your life, or it's the hardest.
If you're doing it the old, staid, traditional way, it can be pretty grueling. You offer the same product or service (more or less) with the same features at about the same price as everyone else. It's a tough way to make a living.
Fortunately, there's another way. I call it selling dollars for dimes. And once you understand this method, you'll find that selling becomes at least ten times easier.
Most people never think about it, but all business boils to value creation. In exchange for "X" sum of money, your customers purchase a package of benefits normally referred to as a product or service.
The formula is simple . . . Sell a dollar of value for a dime.
In this series, I'm going to share 4 techniques for dramatically altering the perception of value . . .
Dollars For Dimes Technique #1:
Denominate a specific end result your product or service produces.
Most companies and salespeople don't articulate their benefits as clearly and powerfully and as they could. (Remember, a benefit is a package or unit of value.)
And because of that, their customers don't have a clear picture of the value they're receiving in exchange for their money.
How many times have you heard the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words? Yet we often don't paint vivid mental pictures of the benefits we offer our customers.
Look at it this way: Value is a picture in the mind, and through words we can alter the perception of value. Therefore, our ability to create value for our customers and prospects is virtually unlimited.
In spite of this, most companies throw out meaningless phrases like "best quality," "professional," or "good service." Can you picture quality or service? No you can't because these words are abstractions. Quality, service and professional are NOT benefits since they refer to what is being sold, not to the end result achieved for the customer.
And that means these words are not creating value in the mind of the customer.
Let me give a practical example you can relate to. In one of my seminars, a real estate agent explained how he offered better service than his competitors. I asked, "What specifically do you do better and how does that benefit your clients." After several rounds of questions, it boiled down to speed: he helps clients buy or sell homes faster than other real estate agents.
Here's where technique number one comes in. To turn an abstraction into a meaningful word picture, denominate the benefit or put a figure to it. In the above example, I'd want to know how much time on average the agent saves his clients. If I remember correctly, he said he moves his clients through the process 3 months faster than the average real estate agent.
Now, if you were looking to sell your home and you ran across ads in the newspaper with the following 2 headlines, which agent would you be more likely to call?
Real estate agent provides fantastic service! b. Real estate agent gets your home sold 3 months faster!
Now, this agent may or may not be able to make that exact statement, depending on the rules governing real estate advertising. However, I think you see the power of translating vague terms such as quality or service into meaningful specifics.
In my seminars, when I have the audience practice writing benefits, I notice that most people write statements without enough impact.
For example, one guy was selling a kit that allows you to make wine at home. He wrote a headline for an ad that read, "How to save money on wine." That's okay, but it isn't particularly compelling.
After asking a few questions, we boiled down his benefit statement down to this: "How to get a $100 bottle of wine for $5." Can you see how this articulation tangibilizes the benefit of saving money?
What makes the difference is the word picture you paint of the end result. Just one simple change like this in the headline of an ad or sales letter can increase response by up to 21 times. So it's important that you grasp this technique.
Let me give you another example from a client who sells candles to churches around the world. The company has developed liquid candles that lasts 50% longer than wax products. For many churches, the savings translate into significant numbers.
I could write a headline that says, "How to slash your candle costs by 50%, save time and avoid the hassle of cleaning up wax drippings."
But would that sentence evoke a sizzling picture that makes pastors, ministers and priests burn with desire for my client's products? You never know for sure until you test the headline.
My instincts tell me this headline could be stronger. Here's why: Can you see what 50% savings looks like or the benefits you'll receive as a result?
Do the words "save time" ignite pictures of excitement in your brain? Do these words spell out the benefits you'll receive from saving time?
How can you change this scenario? (And this is exactly what you should do when you're writing your own advertising or sales presentations.) Ask yourself this question, "How can I turn this information into a word picture that arouses feelings and emotion in my prospects' brains.
As an illustrative example, here's another way to write the headline.
At the top of the letter is a picture of a priest or minister with a beaming smile. The headline reads:
How using X candles pays for our summer Bible school every year . . . and frees up an additional week and a half of time annually. (Time I spend meeting the needs of our congregation and taking a well-deserved vacation.)
Best of all, I never, ever, again have to hassle with cleaning up messy wax droppings!
In summary, the first technique in selling dollars for dimes is to increase the perceived value of your product or service by translating vague benefits into specific, meaningful word pictures your customers can relate to.
Dollars for Dimes Technique #2:
Add extra value to your products and services by packaging in low cost, high-perceived value information products. I love products such as audio tapes, videos, CD ROM's, software, special reports, newsletters and books. Why? Because the hard cost is low but the perceived value soars according to the content.
For example, the hard cost of a video tape is 2 or 3 bucks (including duplication, label, and box). The value, though, depends on the information on the tape. If it contains the phone numbers of 3 people who sell plutonium (or whatever that stuff is you make neutron bombs with) and you're customer is a third world country, it might be worth millions.
The point is, you can multiply the value of what you're selling. The way to multiply the value of what you're selling is by packaging in (or including) information products of high value to your customers.
Let me restate this point to make certain it's
crystal clear: Since people buy the perception of value, you can
make selling very easy by multiplying the value people perceive
in your product or service. And the easiest way to do that is
by tying in some form of information
Nearly any product can have an information tie-in.
Use extra bonuses to add value:
For example, I work out at a health club several times a week. What I know about health clubs is that most people join and then do what? They drop out, right? And that makes people afraid to join because they don't believe they have the discipline to go to the club.
So, if I were selling memberships in a health club, I might put together a 6-tape audio series called: Super Motivation: How to Stick With Your Workout Program and Get Incredible Results -- Faster Than You Think.
Then, I might have the tapes transcribed. Each tape would translate into 25-30 written pages for a total of 150-180 pages. So now I have 6 tapes and 150-page manual. The program would have a dollar value of $197.00 to $297.00 Yet the hard cost to produce it would be under $20.00. I'd give it as a FREE BONUS for joining immediately.
In addition, I could call audio tape duplicators and find out who they know that produced health and fitness albums once upon a time - but never reordered. In other words, I'd look for someone who produced an audio tape album but couldn't sell it.
Do you see the point? Increase the perceived value of your product or service by packaging in free bonuses in the form of information products. To come up with your own ideas, do some brainstorming. What are the problems your customers and prospects have? What annoys them? Causes them trouble? Costs them money or time? Which of these problems can you provide the solution to through some form of information product - video, audio, service, special report or manual?
Another way to look at it is this: What result do your customers and prospects want to obtain as a result of buying your product? Can you produce an information product that will help them get that result faster, simpler, easier? If you can, then you have a free bonus you can use to boost the perceived value of your product. This method has stood the test of time across a number of industries.
For example... Newsletter publishers apply this strategy to perfection. In exchange for subscribing right away, you receive 5 or 10 free reports on topics so tantalizing, you simply must send in your money.
They use multiple reports to increase the chances of hitting one of your hot buttons dead center.
One of my clients sells $2,000 marketing seminars to entrepreneurs. In order to sell dollars for dimes, I packaged in an information product.
Here's how . . .
The client had recently conducted (and audio taped) a $2,000.00 seminar for CEO's. It was the last time that particular seminar would be presented without major changes. So I recommended the client transcribe the audio tapes into a manuscript that could be used as a bonus.
It represents $2,000.00 of value to the consumer. Yet the hard cost is only $30.00 or so. If the prospective customers register for the marketing seminar within 10 days of receiving the mailing piece, they will receive the $2,000.00 bonus -- free! In short, they pay $2,000.00 and receive a seminar valued at $2,000.00 -- PLUS the transcript of another $2,000 seminar. Stated differently, for $2,000.00 they grab $4,000.00 of value.
It's an irresistible proposition. At worst, the customers ask for a refund and end up with a $2,000.00 bonus for their trouble. At best, they gain the marketing education of a lifetime. That's the power of the Dollars for Dimes method. By now, you're probably saying, "That sounds great Marlon, but how am I going to come up with information products I can use in my business without spending a fortune?"
Let's take a look and see…
How to Get Audio or Video Seminars as Bonuses:
Approach people who are conducting seminars but not recording them. Offer to professionally record the seminar and exchange a master copy for the rights to duplicate and use the tapes anyway you desire. If you need to sweeten the pot, you can barter your customer list, personal services, or products for the right to record and duplicate the program.
Of course, if you conduct seminars or workshops, you should record one on a hot topic and use it as a bonus. The higher the price of attendance, the better.
You will be better off having 10 people attend a $1,000 workshop than 50 people at a $150 one. Why? Because you create a lot more perceived value when you tell people they'll receive the audio tapes of a $1,000 workshop versus a $150 one. Is that clear?
By the way, even if you don't normally conduct seminars, you should consider hosting one just so you can use it as bonus. If you don't like public speaking, you can bring in other experts in your field to put on the event. Just be certain to have them sign a release.
How to Create A $1,000 to $2,000 Bonus Without Even Hosting A Seminar! You probably have several friends or acquaintances in your field who are highly regarded by their peers. Conduct telephone or in-person interviews with one or more of these individuals and package the recordings as a bonus. For a twist, you can turn the phone interview into a conference call where customers interact with the guest.
Suppose your expert charges $500.00 an hour for consulting with a minimum fee of $2,000.00. Can you see how this makes the perceived value of 2 hours of their interview time worth $1,000 to $2,000?
That's what makes this technique sizzle . . . and almost no one understands how to do it.
How to Access 12,000 Videos You Can Use As Bonuses, Upsells Or Added Value -- At Dirt Cheap Prices
Here's a hot trick on how to acquire videos to use as bonuses. There's a guide to videos called: Spencer's Complete Guide to Special Interest Videos:
More Than 12,000 Videos You've Never Seen by James R. Spencer
In it you will find videos on virtually every subject imaginable -- more than 9,000 in all! At bookstores, similar directories of audio cassettes and CD ROM's are available.
This guide is incredible. I found one video in it for $30 that a major catalog house sells to corporations for $600! And it's the same video!
Here's a sample of the topics you'll find. Say you're selling advertising to businesses. Do you think that any of the following topics might hit a hot button with your prospects? (Next to the title I've listed the suggested retail price. But again, you're the one who determines the value of the product for your particular market.)
Remember, you can get 40% off the retail prices by becoming a dealer for a nominal fee.
Can you see the value of these videos? As an example, let's take the one on advertising and promotion at $29.95. With your 40% discount, you only pay $18. That's a steal for a quality 45 minute product! The possibilities are endless.
I think this book may have changed its title recently. But you can search for it on
Amazon.com. I've also seen similar dealer programs advertised in business opportunity magazines. As a final resort, you can contact the companies that produce the videos you want to market directly.
How to Turn A $20 Book Into A $675 Bonus -- Without Breaking A Sweat!
Did you know you can purchase the reprint rights to out-of-print books for as little as $500 to $1,000?
It's true. And once you have the rights, you can reprint each chapter as a special report and put a value on each of $15 to $45, depending on the rarity and quality of the information. A book with 15 chapters could create perceived value from a low of $225.00 to as much as $675.00.
So what you've done is transformed a $15 or $20 book into incredible value. Conversely, you could record the book onto audio tapes and have a 20 to 30 cassette album with tremendous perceived value. And, of course, you could also do the same on video.
One Last Secret Gold Mine Of Knock-Your-Socks-Off Bonuses!
Finally, I have one last secret for creating bonuses... Call up newsletter publishers in your field and strike a deal to obtain the rights to their past bonuses. Almost every newsletter publisher uses reports to entice new subscribers.
Since these inactive bonuses are generating no revenue, you may be able to obtain reprint rights for a song and dance!
Dollars for Dimes Technique #3:
Create extra value by solving problems that go beyond the immediate scope of your product or service.
How can you help your potential customers get what they really want? That simple question will open more doors for you than you can imagine. I can best explain through an illustration . . .
A friend of mine is publisher for an entertainment weekly paper. She knows all the inside scoop on which advertisers are succeeding with what type of ads, promotions and special events.
Therefore, she's a pipeline of knowledge her clients need -- how to make advertising, marketing and promotion produce more results for each dollar expended.
The question becomes, what range of resources and activities could she provide to her clients that would help them become more
Let's brainstorm the possibilities...
Could she bring in an expert on window displays to conduct a seminar?
Could she record or video tape the seminar and give it as a bonus to new advertisers? Or give it as an incentive or premium for a larger purchase?
Could she hire local college journalism students to do free PR for her advertisers?
Could she orchestrate a conference call for free (or a nominal fee) with a well- known and respected public relations or marketing
Could she record the call and give it free to new prospects as an extra incentive to meet with a sales rep?
What if she retained an attorney or CPA her clients could gain access to, assuming they placed a certain amount of advertising?
While most of her advertisers wouldn't use the services, just by extending the offer, she raises the perception ovalue her paper
delivers far above the competition.
What I'm saying is this:
You can create perceived value for your clients many ways. Earlier I talked about using information products to create value. But that's only one way.
Start finding really creative ways to bring value
Another way is simply to dig, scratch and claw to find ways to solve problems for your prospects and customers.
What I've found is that ultra-high performing salespeople and marketers do this instinctively. And it's often the single greatest factor responsible for their success. In other words, they aren't a better salesperson than anyone else in terms of raw persuasive ability.
What they are is a superb "bringer" of value to the table. They find ways to bring value to the table that other salespeople don't. And THAT'S why they're super successful.
So if you don't feel you're a born salesperson, STOP beating yourself up for it and START finding really creative ways to bring more value to the table.
How to get more information on this technique
If you'd like to study this technique further, I have a fabulous book to recommend to you. It's called Networking With The Affluent And Their Advisors by Dr. Thomas Stanley.
Regardless of what you sell or who you sell to, you'll find a zillion ideas in this book to help you.
In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb. I'm going to tell you that if you're in sales or marketing or you own a business, you're insane if you don't read this book!
Thomas Stanley PROVES the point I've just made. He interviews salespeople who are in the top 5% of their profession and reveals for the first time in print anywhere exactly how they bring extra value to the table.
The methods and secrets are all laid out in the book:
All you have to do is tap into your creativity and apply the key ideas in the book to your field.
Which, coincidentally, brings us to the next Dimes for Dollars technique…
Dollars for Dimes Technique #4:
Borrow Dollars for Dimes ideas from other businesses and industries.
Now for the last strategy I'll leave you with in this chapter. I borrowed it from my client, Planned Marketing, where head Walter Hailey and Steve Anderson have a saying I like, "why create mediocrity when you can copy genius?" In other words, study and emulate from the successful efforts of others.
In the context of our discussion, that means you would investigate how other competitive and non-competitive businesses create unique packages of value to sell to their customers.
Look in the yellow pages for ideas. Read books by highly successful people in or outside of your industry. Browse the bookstore and make random associations. Interview other business owners you know and find out if they offer unique value to their customers and if they so, how.
(Don't be disappointed if they're clueless!)
When you do these activities, think laterally.
In other words, ask yourself what the technique is, then what principle underlies the technique, and finally how you can apply the same principle in your business.
What a chance meeting on a place taught me…
How A Chance Meeting On A Plane Taught Me The Secret Of Using Donuts To Build A Business And Gain A Competitive Advantage
Let me demonstrate by walking you through an offbeat example. When I was flying home the other day from a seminar in Seattle, I sat next to the owner of a funeral home. He explained to me how he incurred tremendous favor by delivering donuts to the home of the deceased early in the morning if a death occurred in the middle of the night.
He described how the families usually stayed up all night and seldom had time to eat, prepare or buy food. Why did he deliver the donuts early in the morning? Because by 10 a.m. a huge surge of food generally arrives from neighbors and friends. He wants to be the first to stand out in the mind of the customer.
People remember the donuts and almost always thank him later for his thoughtfulness. How can you apply this same principle to your business? Not by hunting down hearses in the middle of the night! No. No. No.
What's the method? Bringing donuts to someone when they're desperately needed. And bringing them before other people meet the same need.
What's the principle?
Find something universally appreciated you can deliver to your clients when they will truly appreciate it.
My Favorite Method for Creating Free Bonuses
My favorite method for creating free bonuses is to do it myself using the system I teach in How to Create Your Own Products In Two Hours.
To read more about "Create Your Own Products in a Flash!" just follow the link provided at the end of this article.
You can create your own information products even if your mind is a vast empty space! I’ll show you how in this product. What’s more, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
How This Works On The Internet!
The way I most often use the dollars for dimes principle is this: I create bonuses with perceived value much greater than the main product I’m selling. I offer these bonuses free if the prospect buys before a certain time limit. I typically use 10 days (or 72 hours online). For example, if I’m marketing a product for $30, I might offer $100 or $200 of free bonuses. Adding free bonuses to an offer can increase your response dramatically! But you have to find the right bonuses – ones that have very high-perceived value to your prospects. This comes from knowing and understanding your target market. You have to know what makes them tick. You have to know what information they would crawl over broken glass a mile to get!
If you need more help with target marketing or you want to understand the nuances of the dollars-for-dimes principle, I suggest you read my course, The 69 Laws of Twister Marketing: How to Suck Up Cash With A Vengeance!
Here’s what I want you to understand: Marketing is the ultimate mind game. And it deals not with flesh and blood products but with perceived value.
Just adding free bonuses could make a big difference for you.
Here are some ways to use free bonuses:
This has been known to increase response greatly.
If you put your mind to it, I’m sure you can think of a lot of other ways to use freebies and bonuses in your business. Another idea I want to cement in your mind and make certain you walk away with is this: Anytime you need someone to do ANYTHING for you, ask yourself, what do THEY need that you can supply?
As simple and stupid as that may sound, it’s extremely profound. When you read Marketing to the Affluent by Thomas Stanley, you’ll see how this is the exact method the top 5% of salespeople in the U.S. use. It helped a client of mine to sell a BILLION dollars of insurance in 8 years. Let me just give you an example from the online world. Say you want someone to give you a link from their web site. You first have to offer them something THEY want. You know they want more traffic to.
So what if you could offer them something to increase their traffic?
More on my favorite methods:
For example, if they give you a link, you’ll submit one of their pages to 600 search engines or whatever. Use your creativity. By the way, you can find cgi scripts that will submit your info to the search engines for you. You don’t need to pay for this. You’ll have to pay someone $30 or $40 for an hour or two of cgi programming to set it up for you.
Check out:www.cgi-world.com and www.cgi-resources.com for cgi scripts. Or just search in any engine for"free cgi scripts"
Or let me give you another example. Say you spend a little time and figure out how to install a clock or a counter on a web site. You could offer to put one on a site in exchange for a link. Do you see what I’m saying? Be creative.
Here’s another. You could buy Xara3D, which is a program that makes creating dazzling 3d headlines a piece of cake. Go to: www.xara.com to download a free demo. The program is very inexpensive. You can learn to do this in under 5 minutes! But most people don’t know that. Xara3D even lets you save your headline designs in a format optimized for web pages to load very quickly.
What you do, then, is offer to create a killer headline in exchange for a link.
Once you learn to use the program, it’ll take you a whole 60 seconds to make the graphic for them.
You’re going to love working with Xara3d. I promise you’ll be creating mouth-watering headlines and graphics you can use on your own site in no time flat. It’s one of the easiest programs to use and inexpensive as well.
Study how other businesses create perceived value!
A lot of sites don’t have banner ads. But there are actually a number of designers who create banners FREE or dirt cheap ($5-$30). If you find a really hot site you want to be linked to, offer to make a rockin’ banner for them! But you don’t do it yourself. Farm it out to one of these low-cost sources.
Listen: I’m just scratching the surface. I’m trying to jump start your brain. If you surf the net and keep your eyes open, you’ll find so many possibilities, it’ll blow your mind!
Here are a few steps to help you put these ideas into action. Begin denominating a specific end result to your customers. You should be able to state this in 15 seconds or less.
Acquire, create or locate at least one information product you can use as a bonus to increase the perceived value of your product or service. Find one problem you can solve for your customers that goes beyond the immediate scope of your product or service.
Study how other businesses create perceived value for their customers and see if you can apply the same method in your business. Spend time every day asking yourself this question, "How can I increase the perceived value I’m offering my customers and prospects without substantially increasing my costs?"
Review your ads, brochures and sales letters for vague words and phrases like quality, service, and professional.
Turn these abstractions into specific word pictures that explain how these features benefit your customers.
Buy and read the book Networking With The Affluent And Their Advisors by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley. You can find the book at http://www.amazon.com or check your local bookstore.
People do not buy value. They buy the perception of value
Marlon Sanders is the author of The Amazing Formula That Sells Like Crazy,
The Push Button Letters Software, How to Create Your Own Products in a
Flash, Gimme My Money Now, the Marlon Sanders' Marketing Dashboard 15
For an in-depth look at the formula presented in this report, visit Marlon's