The ONLY Answer to THE Impossible Marketing Question…

Today I’d like to talk about the ONLY answer to THE  impossible marketing question we entrepreneurs face  on an almost daily basis…

But first, you need to understand where this answer comes from in the REAL world.  I find that whenever you’re faced with a marketing dilemma, it’s helpful to try and revert back to the world of RELATIONSHIPS, which is ultimately what marketing is about.

So let’s look at the only answer to impossible relationship questions first…

In the real world, the ONLY answer to an impossible question is I LOVE YOU…

Q: “Do these jeans make my butt look fat honey?”
A: “I love you”

Q: “Can my mother stay with us through the end of July?”
A: “I love you”

Q: “It’s not such a big deal that I leave my clothes all over the place, right honey?”
A: “I love you”…

See where I’m going?

ANY other answer leads to big trouble!

For example:

Q: “Do these jeans make my butt look fat honey?”
A: “Not at all ”  (She knows you’re lying and doesn’t trust anything else you say)

Q: “Do these jeans make my butt look fat honey?”
A: “Just a little, yes” …. (You’d better duck!)

Q: “Do these jeans make my butt look fat honey?”
A: “Humongous ” (Might as well call your divorce attorney)

Q: “Do these jeans make my butt look fat honey?”
A: “Not sure, what do you think? ”  (Functionally equivalent to “Humongous”)

No, the only answer to an impossible relationship question is I love you.

Now, let’s talk about the world’s most impossible marketing question which is…


Why is this an impossible question?

Because implicit in this question is the assumption that you are a commodity.

For example, suppose you’re a coach and you’re speaking with a new prospective client.  One of the first things they ask you is “How much do you charge?”

If you answer that question too soon, you’re buying into the prospects pre-existing comparative framework…

Let’s say you answer “$200 per session” or “$1,000 per month”…

The prospect will immediately compare that to other coaches they may have spoken with, rates listed on internet sites, what their friends, family, or co-workers might be paying, etc.

Because at this stage the prospect is thinking of coaches like light bulbs… you can go to the hardware store and pick another one up, any old time.  Take the old one out and put in another one just like it.  There’s NO reason to get attached to any particular light bulb.   NO reason to assign any emotional value to it…

Light bulbs (commodities) are “things” and gets treated as such…

If you allow your prospect to treat you like a light bulb, you’re gonna get screwed!

The trick is to forestall the pricing conversation until AFTER you’ve established your value.  More importantly, to forestall it until AFTER you’ve established a meaningful emotional bond.

With the coaching prospect scenario this might look something like this:

Q: How much do you charge?
A: Oh, I’ve got a variety of packages at different rates depending on exactly what you want to accomplish.  I can almost always work something out for clients when it’s really the right fit, and if for any reason I can’t, I know a lot of people with specific expertise to match most client’s problems.  Let’s talk for a few minutes and to see if I can understand why you’re calling and what you’re hoping to achieve with the coaching.  No charge for this.  So what are you looking for help with at this time?

See what I mean?

Several things usually ensue after such a conversation…

Usually, the prospect will launch right into a more detailed explanation of what their problem is, what they want help with, and why they called you in particular.  You ask a dozen pertinent questions, listen carefully, and demonstrate empathy.  By the time this is over with, the client FEELS ATTACHED to you in particular.  They don’t want to have to go through telling their whole story again.  They feel listened to.  They want to work with YOU… they do NOT want to screw you like a light bulb (because they’re less frightened of being screwed given your demonstration of empathy and interest)…

The pricing conversation then takes on a whole new  meaning.  It’s more about “how CAN we work together” than “how can I get the most from you while giving you the least”…

See what I mean?

The online analogy to this is the famous poaching vs. ranching analogy Perry Marshall put forth in 2004.  You can be a poacher and put up your commodities for sale with a clear price right away, or a rancher who gathers, tends to, and carefully protects his herd. (Acquire opt ins, phone numbers, and mailing addresses, then invest in proving value with free content before you present the offer with the pricing you require.  And you can also have multiple packages and options available to suit the differing needs of various prospects, along with relationships to other specialists/vendors to meet needs you can’t and shouldn’t be trying to solve)

The corollary to all this is that if you’re not making enough money from your market, they may not be feeling loved enough, and you may not have provided enough options and referrals to take care of them the way you need to in order to escape the commodity trap.

Everyone’s butt looks fat in those jeans…

It’s our job to figure out how to love them in spite of it!

All my best,

Dr. G 🙂

PS – For those of you saying “but I’m not a coach, this doesn’t apply to me”, well…go eat your vegetables, OK?

PPS – I’m very likely going to be taking the Million Dollar Coaching product out of my product catalog shortly. I’m revamping a product line to specifically serve the coaching market (including personal training and certification), and unfortunately my research strongly indicates this product is inconsistent with that market’s way of viewing the world.  That’s because the product itself is marketing focused, and contains several brutally honest and powerful coach-marketing secrets.  New coaches don’t want to know about this–(believe it or don’t Charlie Brown!)–and its presence in my systems will likely hinder sale of the full certifications.  Of course I’ll still TEACH the marketing in the certification courses themselves, because what’s the point of knowing how to coach if you don’t have any clients!?  But I’ve got to “sneak in” the marketing medicine they NEED under the radar of the certification and skills training they WANT.  To make a long story longer, if you want to buy the Million Dollar Coaching from me, now is the best time!

PPPS – I love you.