James Carville, a campaign strategist for Bill Clinton, famously coined the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid” as one of the key messages to focus on during the 1992 campaign. The current administration should take note, but I digress…
This summer and fall we delivered six Roadshow events, back-to-back, all packed with sponsors and attendees. If you’ve been, you know we sell sponsorships that include a two- to five-minute stage “pitch” as well as longer speaking spots for the vendors to sell. Sometimes the pitch is good and engaging, but all too often the vendor presentation is flat, with ZERO benefits. No sizzle AND no steak. Just cow. Sometimes just cow farts. But where they really fall apart is in the offer.
Most are lazy and simply offer a discount, and while a price drop CAN certainly be a component of a good offer, the best marketers make sure the offer is SO interesting, SO compelling, SO irresistible that it overcomes the natural tendency for prospects to do nothing, buy nothing.
All prospects are habitual procrastinators and are instinctively conditioned to hit the brakes and NOT part with their money.
They want to “think it over,” which is a lie – most don’t give it a second thought after they walk away from your presentation, booth, website, sales letter, call, etc., so if you are going to get them to move, you have to do it right then.
The other night, while I was watching Shark Tank, I saw Barbara make the mistake of making an offer but then actually encouraging the entrepreneurs (two women) to talk to the other Sharks. Lori was able to swoop in and close the deal because she made a compelling offer and then said, “Let’s do this!” – which they did.
Barbara sat there stunned at how she not only lost the deal but to an offer that wasn’t as good as hers. That’s because she invited the “Think it over, talk it over” objection. Unless your prospect is simply digging in their heels and insisting they won’t buy now, you should never accept – much less encourage – someone to think it over.
You also need to make sure your offer is SO good, they don’t hesitate but instantly want to say yes. You can get that done and close more MSP sales.
Here are 6 ways to get prospects to buy now.
1. Price drop. As I said above, most people lazily default to a discount when selling. So, I want to be very clear that while a discount is an effective offer and way to move people, it is ONLY effective if there is agreement 1) that they WANT what you’re offering, and 2) on the value of the offer (price) you are discounting from.
If you’ve watched my stump speech to sell the TMT core membership, you’ll see I sell the program at a higher price than list but then come in with what appears to be a giant discount at the end. But BEFORE I give the discount, I stack the value, the ROI, and the need. Absent that, the discount is irrelevant.
2. Impending price increase avoided by immediate purchase. Similar to the discount, for this to work you need to have established a want and the value; absent that, this is useless. However, the “Buy now before the price goes up” is a solid, effective, once-in-a-while promotion you can pull off to unconverted leads who you quoted or attempted to sell but who didn’t buy or people who are actively in the sales process.
Similarly, every quote you deliver to a prospect should have an “effective date” for the price with the understanding that you will ONLY guarantee and lock in the price of the quote for seven to 10 days. After that, you reserve the right to withdraw the quote and raise the fees. This should be done on ALL quotes delivered.
3. Easy payment terms and options. Sometimes that can be one dollar down or “Make no payment now.” You can defer the payment until a certain time (when happy, when installed, when using the services, etc.)
4. Piling on of bonuses and premiums. It’s the proverbial (or actual) free steak knives with order. At a previous event, long-term client and now TMT Expert in Residence Sitima Fowler told the story about how my giving away an iPod with over 100 recordings on it was the thing that had her rushing to the back of the room to buy the Toolkit when she first saw me speak at an event.
Similarly, I’ve had grown men leap from their seats and run – literally run – for a CD player. You can think it’s silly, but offering a premium of some kind, a gift with purchase, IS something that will get people to buy.
5. Make everything free. This is done by building and delivering a solid sales argument as to how the thing you’re selling actually pays for itself. It’s a tough argument to make, but it can be done. Years ago, door-to-door pots-and-pans salespeople (Like Zig Ziglar) would argue that the pots would lower the electric bill because they required less heat, thereby needing less gas/electricity to cook your food, and therefore, over time, they’re FREE.
Believe it or not, most people bought that idea, so if it can be done with pots and pans, you can find a way to do it too. Fair warning: IF you are going to use this approach, you cannot be half-baked or you will come off as a liar. You really DO need to think it through and have some logical basis upon which to make your argument.
6. Limited availability, scarcity. Only available until a certain date or until X number sign up. You see QVC doing this very effectively with their constant countdown of available products as they are pitching. The FOMO is strong if you’re on the fence. You see us doing that with content and videos – you must watch it now or it goes away (and it does). To make a convincing case for the urgency of action (buy now, respond now), you also need to make sure you give a reason why.
We’re only ABLE to make this available to X people due to the intensive staff and time required to deliver. We only have Y spots open, and are being sponsored and that sponsorship goes away on [date]. We only have X number of seats available in the room. We’re about to go into our busy season and you’d be helping us out to get the project done now (hence the discount) vs. waiting a month when we know we’re going to be really busy. You see retailers having the “Memorial Day” sale or “Fourth of July” special. Pick a holiday, doesn’t matter.
As a direct response marketer – which you are NOW if you’re here – you have to work on getting a fast, immediate response in all you do.
If you’re a growth-minded CEO or leader of an MSP, MSSP, or IT services company with an honest ambition to grow, profit and scale, then you need to look at attending The IT Sales And Marketing Boot Camp in 2023.