How To Get More Clients For Your Service Based Business
(3 Important Marketing Lessons)
Author: Adam Erhart
Dog collars with spikes on the outside have been around since the days of ancient Greece.
Today, they're used by dog owners to portray the image that their dog is vicious, dangerous, and should be avoided at all costs.
Or, ironically, appearing on tiny dogs often weighing in under 10 pounds and being carried around in a bag, purse, or stroller.
But this wasn't always the case.
The spiked collar was originally created with utility, not fashion in mind.
You see dogs are an amazing animal. Loving. Loyal. Smart. And protective.
And if you're a shepherd who doesn't want to spend all night outside watching over your sheep, they truly are "man's best friend".
But as great as dogs are, they're also no match for the stronger and more aggressive wolf. Especially a hungry wolf intent on having himself a lamp chop dinner.
So, as a way to protect the neck of the dog (the ideal target spot for an attacking wolf) spikes were added to the collar in order to add protection.
Mostly used for identification today, spiked dog collars, or "Wolf collars" in the past were originally designed to protect livestock guardian dogs from attack by wolves and were fitted with elongated spikes to stop wolves from attacking the dogs neck.
Fast forward to today and spiked collars are still around.
But they're now used to tell a certain kind of story. A story of being a rebel, somewhat counter-culture, or anti-authority.
Or, like I mentioned before, a somewhat ironic story when placed on a small lap dog.
But like many of the things we have and do today, we are unaware of how they became so common?
Unsure of why we still do them?
And often fail to ask ourselves if maybe we should find a better way?
This is especially true in marketing where pushy and aggressive tactics are still being taught and promoted today.
But those tactics are not working like they used to. Clients are tired of them. And so a better way to do things is required.
And the best place to start is by understanding 3 important marketing lessons.
I'll tackle each of them below, but first, there's something important to understand on why this is more important today than ever before.
Most marketing "goes for the neck"
It preaches "make the sale at all costs", and treats people as commodities, assets, and a means to an end.
Unsurprisingly, the message this kind of marketing sends is aggressive. And it scares people off from miles away.
It's like putting spikes on everything you create. Cutting your chances of making a sale before you've even had a chance to open your mouth. And killing off a potentially valuable client relationship before it's even started.
Marketing today is about connection, trust, relationships, community, and acting as a trusted authority and advisor.
But do this you first need to understand a few important things.
1. The Marketing Brain
The way our clients make buying decisions today, hasn’t changed that much in tens of thousands of years.
While society has changed. Technology has changed. And everything around us has changed. Our brains, and our client’s brains, and how they work, really haven’t changed that much in the past tens of thousands of years.
When faced with specific triggers or inputs or situations, we all tend to react pretty predictably.
We seek pleasure. We avoid pain. We like people who are like us, or who we want to be like, and we look to them to help us make decisions.
We trust authority figures. And we act congruently with who we think, and feel we are as individuals.
We hate the thought of losing something, being rejected, or missing out on something. And we like “new” and exciting and we get a dopamine hit from novelty.
Most interestingly though from a marketing perspective, is that our brains are hardwired for stories, examples, and connection.
All of which lower a client’s defenses and make them more receptive to information and to your offer.
There’s a quote by psychologist and behavioral economist, Dan Ariely, that says,
Human beings are irrational, but also highly predictable
In other words, what we do as people, often doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. And yet we can predict what someone is going to do, or how they’re going to react to a certain stimulus with an almost frightening level of predictability and accuracy.
For example, most people would never normally pay:
- 76 dollars for a regular old shot glass
- 52 dollars for a standard kitchen oven mitt
- 50 dollars for a jar of marbles.
And yet, this is exactly what people did in an experiment designed to test whether stories and, well, good marketing, could transform insignificant and regular old objects into something more valuable and desirable.
Or in other words, the goal of the experiment was to figure out if you could take an object worth very little, or next to nothing, and make it worth a whole lot more just by giving it a story.
And the answer was yes.
The experiment was called "The Significant Objects Project"
And it was led by New York Times columnist Rob Walker and author Josh Glenn.
Here’s how it went down:
Walker and Glenn bought 100 unremarkable garage sale items like a shot glass, oven mitt, and jar of marbles and then had volunteer writers create fictional back stories for them which they thought, would wind up increasing the perceived value of the garage sale knickknacks and trinkets’.
They then listed these same cheap items on eBay and waited to see what happened. The results were irrational, but expected.
The shot glass which was originally purchased at the garage sale for 1 dollar sold for 76 dollars online when paired with a story.
The oven mitt, also purchased for 1 dollar sold online for 52 dollars thanks to its newly attached story.
And the jar of marbles, also originally purchased for only 1 dollar, now sold for 50 dollars.
What’s crazy is that a story, or a simple narrative about an object shouldn’t affect somethings value, and yet to our brains it does exactly that.
And this is why understanding how the brain works and the powerful psychological factors behind why clients buy, and why they sometimes don’t, is key to creating more effective marketing, and to attracting more, and better, clients so you can grow your business.
2. Marketing Is Broken
The current state of marketing is broken, and quickly losing its effectiveness with high-quality clients.
Here’s the deal with marketing in today.
Clients are tired of aggressive advertising, spam, and getting pummelled with a never-ending barrage of sales pitches.
They're skeptical, jaded, and even a little bit cynical. And they’ve become blind to uninspired, boring, or copycat messages with everyone saying and promising the same things.
Clients like to "buy", but they don't like being "sold".
And they will reward those that take the time to understand their pains and problems, meet them where they are, and then take them by the hand and guide them to where they want to go.
Clients want to be seen, heard, and understood. So building connection, trust, and a deeper relationship are crucial.
The reason why most high-pressure sales and marketing tactics don’t work anymore is that they trigger something called “Reactance” in the client.
Reactance according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, is:
An unpleasant motivational arousal that emerges when people experience a threat to or loss of their free behaviors.
Basically, nobody likes to be pressured or told what to do, and when they feel like their freedom of choice is being pressured, manipulated, or taken away, they push back. And they push back hard.
But it gets worse.
Traditional pushy sales and marketing tactics create distrust.
Clients know they’re being sold to, and again, while they like to buy, they hate being sold to.
So the clients starts to question the motives of the coach, consultant, or service professional, which leads to greater scrutiny of what’s being said, less acceptance of what’s being presented, and that all leads to a complete loss of inertia where the end result is the client not buying, not signing up, or not enrolling.
It’s the ultimate lose-lose situation.
Add to this mess a history of “Bro-Marketers” posing in front of rented Lamborghinis and Airbnb mansions. And overpromising and under delivering one unbelievable hyped-up claim after another.
This kind of overly aggressive, pushy, and often offensive style of marketing preys on greed, shame, and envy. And while admittedly it can actually work to attract clients, the fact is it rarely, if ever, attracts the RIGHT kind of clients. The kind of clients that you actually want to work with.
And looking at all of that, it’s easy to see why a new way of marketing is required. Which leads me perfectly to the next point.
3. Marketing That Works WITH Your Clients
The key to success is creating marketing that works WITH a client, not against them.
The key to making more sales, getting more clients, and scaling a business today has less to do with shouting, pushing, and hard-selling than ever before.
Yet for some strange reason these are the tactics still being touted as the “best way” if not the only way, to grow a business.
The solution though, and far more effective, and ethical, alternative is to understand and leverage the natural way the brain works in order to process, evaluate and make buying decisions.
When marketing is designed to work with a client, and not against them, there is an opportunity to lead, guide, and serve, instead of push, shout, and yell.
The result is a client who is interested, engaged, and curious and then actively sells themselves as they progress through the marketing journey. The entire process is more ethical, more enjoyable, and more profitable too.
When you understand how the brain works you can present the right message, in the right way, in the right sequence so buying from you becomes the clear and obvious choice.
The reason most marketing fails to attract and convert clients is because it's too focused on tactics, tools, and tricks and ignores the real causes behind why clients actually buy, and why they don’t.
Trust isn’t built in a single event. But rather, it takes a series of events.
A very strategic, strict, and structured series of events that establishes you as the expert, authority, and leader who can guide them from where they are now to where they want to go.
A few years ago a U.S. based advertising research study was done jointly by Adaptly, Facebook and Refinery29 in order to determine the differences in impact and effectiveness between presenting two different types of marketing messages across an advertising campaign.
One went for the “try to do everything at once approach”, and the other focused more on delivering marketing messages by leading a consumer down a marketing funnel or customer journey by sequencing the messages one after another, rather than delivering everything all at once.
You can probably already guess what happened by where I’m going with this, but the results were that the sequencing approach, and breaking things out and presenting them step by step and bit by bit was the winner.
By a lot.
If you’ve ever wondered why your advertising costs are so high, why your leads aren’t converting, and why your emails aren’t even being opened at all, it usually comes down to a lack of a relationship.
No connection means no trust which means no sale.
And this is why single touchpoint marketing is hard. Or trying to get everything you can out of a single engagement or interaction with an ad, email, or video. Expecting clients to just drop everything. Give you their full attention. And sign up on the spot.
It’s possible, but you need to get everything perfectly right at that exact micro-moment in time. The stars need to align. Right person, right place, right problem, right frame of mind, right everything.
Again, possible, but there’s a better, and even more effective alternative, which is to create a strategic, structured, sequence and series of messages that meets clients where they are. Takes them by the hand. And guides them to where they want to go.
When you lay these messages out one by one. Each one building on the last. Overcoming objections. Establishing authority. Guiding. Leading. And caring. Each and every single step of the way, client resistance is lowered, their curiosity is engaged, and a path to purchase is established.
Next Marketing Strategy Article: How To Sell Anything To Anyone
Next Success Article: When All Is Said And Done, More Is Said Than Done
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