How To Keep Customers Longer And Increase Retention

Reselling is simply selling them the same thing they bought before. 

Upselling is getting them to buy a better, more expensive, or more sophisticated product. 

Cross-selling is getting them to buy something else that’s related to the original product.

– Delivering higher-than-expected levels of service
– Communicating frequently with your clients to nurture them
– Offer no risk
– Make yourself very accessible 
– Loyalty programs 
– Events 
– Sell them the next step of value


How To Turn More Leads Into Paying Customers

– Use conversion triggers such as urgency, scarcity, testimonials, social proof, risk reversal, third party validation, etc
– Increasing sales skills levels of your staff
– Acquiring clients at breakeven upfront and make a profit on the back end
– Guaranteeing purchases through risk reversal
– Host-beneficiary relationships
– Direct Response Advertising


How To Increase Your Average Order Value

Focus On:
• Increasing your pricing and hence your margins
• Changing the profile of your products or services to be more “upmarket”
• Offering greater / larger units of purchase
• Improving your teams’ selling techniques to up-sell and cross-sell
• Using point-of-sale promotions
• Packaging complementary products and services


How To Get More Repeat Sales

Focus On:
• Running special events such as “closed-door sales,” limited pre-release and so on
• Have a subscription
• Price inducements for frequency
• Developing a back end of products that you can go back to your customers with
• Communicating personally with your customers (by telephone, letter) to maintain a positive relationship
• Endorsing other people’s products to your list


How To Get More Customers And Faster Sales

Strategy 1- Get customers at breakeven and make a profit on the back end with other products such as upsells, cross-sells and affiliate products

You offer a lower-priced product as your front end or offer your product at a discount in order to get customers into your funnel. 

Apple has $2,000 computers but they promote their lower-priced products such as phones, watches, and tablets first. 

They know that once they can get a customer into their ecosystem, it’s easier to upsell, cross-sell and resell more products and services. 

Many successful businesses make more on the backend than they do on the front end. 

Even if you don’t other products to sell, you can offer someone else’s products. 

For instance, shoe brands sometimes offer deals on socks to their customers. 
Cosmetic brands sometimes offer deals on skincare and haircare products to their customers. 
In B2B, an accounting firm offered investment services to its top clients. The investment services came from a partner.

Strategy 2- Get customers by offering to take the risk in the transaction.

Tactic 1: Pay for performance or your money back

You say ‘If my weight loss product does not make you lose 4 pounds in a day, return it or even keep the product and you will receive a full refund. ‘

Tactic 2: Try as many as you want
You say ‘You can buy as many of my shirts as you want. Try them on for a week, send back the ones you don’t love and we’ll only bill you for the ones you keep.’

Tactic 3: Long guarantee
You say ‘All our competitors only offer 30-day guarantees on their tires. We offer a 3-year guarantee.’

Tactic 4: I’ll give you your money back and pay you for wasting your time
You say ‘Try out our software for 30 days, if it doesn’t exceed all your demands, we’ll refund your payment and even give you another $1000 for wasting your time.’ (This is excellent for expensive items and high ticket B2B deals.

Tactic 5: We’ll charge you after 30 days if you haven’t returned the product
You say ‘Order this course today and we’ll not charge you for 30 days. If on day 31 you haven’t asked for a refund, we’ll know you are getting great value from it and only then will we charge you.’

Tactic 6: Extended Free Trials and Samples
You say ‘Our competitors only let you use the product for 14 days. We offer a 40-day free trial.’ or ‘Enter your information and we’ll send you a sample for free. Once you see the benefits, we are certain you will come back and buy.’

Strategy 3- Get Customers From Partners, Affiliates and Joint Ventures

Tactic 1: Basic Endorsement

‘A dentist recently opened a new office in a new neighborhood where no one had heard of him. He went to one of the most popular opticians in the city and said ‘I would like to invite you to an event I am hosting and I want you to endorse me to about 300 of your top clients. I want you to invite them to the event and I will pay you $10,000 for this referral.’

About 20 of the attendees ended up working with the dentist and over the next 12 months, each of them paid an average of $30,000. That is $600,000 from one endorsement.

Tactic 2: Advanced Endorsement
A client of mine with a car detailing business went to an auto dealership and said,

I want you to endorse me to every customer who buys a car from you and needs detailing or any repairs. I will give you $100 for every customer you send me. In addition to this, for the next 12 months, every time that customer pays me for anything be it maintenance or repairs, you will still receive a $100.

Strategy 4- Direct Response Advertising
Strategy 5- Using direct mail
Strategy 6- Using telemarketing/email marketing
Strategy 7- Running special events or information nights
Strategy 8- Acquiring qualified lists
Strategy 9– Develop a Unique Selling Proposition
Strategy 10– Increasing the perceived value of your product/service through better client education
Strategy 11– Using public relations
Strategy 12– Referral systems


How To Create Differentiation Through Your Messaging And Brand

If you were going to run a very important 100m race, would you wear Nike’s or Adidas or Puma shoes?

Most people I have asked this question quickly choose Nike because the brand has intentionally decided to own the idea that they are the champions of athleticism and athletes.

All of the above brands use foam, plastics, and fabrics to make their shoes.

The differentiation comes from the stories they tell and your perception in the market.

Today, most products are not remarkable enough to become market leaders without a story attached.

Your life today is the result of the words and images you have heard, believed and spoken.

This means you can have the best software in the market but if you don’t know how to use words, your competitors will get customers who should be yours.

What is a brand?

A brand is an idea, story, belief, opinion, a sentiment with a product wrapped around it.

Apple: innovation, outstanding design, thinking differently from other technology companies.

Chick-Fil-A: Being part of the community. Serving Great Food. Giving back.

I used to run a branding and design firm so I know the importance of visual identity such as logos and images but without the right words to back them, they are meaningless. (One of the most popular technology brands is named after a fruit.)

What if your brand is many things?
If simplifying your brand message is too difficult right now you can break it down into campaigns.

For the next three months, you can promote a message that is important and have the brand collateral to match it.

After the market has accepted that message, you can launch another campaign to educate them on what you stand for, what you are doing and who you are doing it for.

This will help you with positioning as well.


Sell people what they want and not what your product does

Today you will discover what a newspaper advertisement from 1923 has to do with an African Stem workshop and how startups offer demos to their prospects.

A few years ago I started a STEM and business workshop for young people in Africa.

Whenever I would speak with the parents who brought their children, I discovered the knowledge their children were receiving was not the only reason none of them complained about my fee.

Many of the parents realized that a child with knowledge of coding, marketing and entrepreneurship also offers them bragging rights.

Paying for my program gave them the ability to say things like “My kids know how to build their own website and they are even working on their own side business in their free time. They also know how to read a 300-page book in less than 2 hours with good retention.”

They weren’t just paying to educate their children. They were paying for the end results which were first, a mentally developed child and secondly, bragging rights that made the parent look good before family and friends.

The lesson here is to always find out ALL the things your prospect wants and tie it to the solution you provide.

In 1923, a newspaper advertisement had the following copy “

When you buy a razor, you buy a smooth chin — but you could wear a beard. When you buy a new suit, you buy an improved appearance — but you could make the old one do. When you buy an automobile, you buy speedy transportation — but you could walk. But when you buy plumbing, you buy cleanliness — for which there is no substitute!”

This is the precursor to the now-famous quote attributed to Theodore Levitt,

People don’t want quarter-inch drill bits. They want quarter-inch holes.

There’s another quote from a 1946 ad run by L. E. ‘Doc’ Hobbs who was the District Sales Manager of The Manhattan Mutual Life company. It says,

We don’t want to sell you Life Insurance . . we want you to know and have what life insurance will do. A 1/4 million drills were sold last year, no one wants a drill. What they want is the hole.

Your Own Local Life Insurance Company has only the sincere desire to furnish food, clothing and shelter to your loved ones if you die too soon . . .

In 1985, “Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale” included the saying: 9

You don’t sell what the product is — you always sell what the product does. Example: Each year over 5 million quarter-inch drills are sold, yet it’s safe to say that nobody wants a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.

What does this mean for startups?

When a prospect visits your site, don’t just offer them a ‘demo’ like everyone else.

Tell them what exactly, the demo will do for them.

No one really cates about your demo. (That being said, you should make it very easy to access your demo. Those 15 fields you require will lower your conversion rate for that opt-in form. Ask for name, company email and anything else that is absolutely necessary. )

Everyone wants to know what exactly your product will do for them. How it will help them. What solutions it will provide. What problems it will fix. How much time it will save them. How much money it will save the company. How much revenue, sales, profits, and market share it will deliver.

Many times a senior-level executive is looking for a software solution that will make her look good before the board or the press or their colleagues.

Smart commercial real estate developers factor this in their marketing and construction plans all the time.

They know that some companies say they care about the location so their employees can commute to the office cheaply and quickly.

What they don’t say publicly is that ‘by having an office in this neighborhood we also get prestige, proximity to the right investors and it signals to the market that we must be doing well if we can afford to be here.’

Back to the drill quote…

The drill provides the hole, the hole provides the ability to hold a bookshelf, the bookshelf provides easy access to the books your customer has been keeping in boxes for a while..the bookshelf also makes the room look well put together and that makes the owner of the house happy…I guess you could say the drill provides happiness in the end.

All of the above helps you write your copy, create your ads and have the right images on the site.

Understanding what human beings want is one of the greatest superpowers in business.

The less you think about what you want versus what they need to see or hear to make a decision, the more creative and successful you will be.


Book review:The Hero And The Outlaw

book review the hero and the outlaw

Purpose for reading-

To understand how to use archetypes to tell better stories. I’m working on a project that involves storytelling so I picked this up.

Content- 3 out of 5.

The quality is good but the book could have been written in 100 pages.

Highlights-the authors have invented a framework that lets you understand what your brand’s story is and how to augment it.

For eg Nike=hero, Oprah Winfrey=sage, Apple=the cool guy etc


My main contention is that if I didn’t need the insight i would have found the material a little too serious.

Secondly I think some of the justifications were a little too far fetched.

If you own a business and your responsibilities have to do with marketing, branding, advertising or film making, this book is useful.

Check out these book reviews as well.

1 Bloomberg on Bloomberg-Michael Bloomberg

2 Sam Walton-Made In America

3 Amancio Ortega-The Man From Zara


Words are an asset class

I was interviewed recently and the question was “what helped you grow your business?”

My response was —
I learnt how to use words to my advantage. To pack them with value and deliver it to prospects and customers.

You see, people don’t really buy products or services.They buy the words that they are told or the words they tell themselves.

Learning how to use words will pay any business owner more dividends than investing in any other asset class. Remember, words rule the world.

It’s not usually the best politician who wins the election or the best employee who gets the promotion. It’s the one who knows how to use words that wins.

Read more value packed words here


How Todd Combs Read His Way Into A Job With Warren Buffett

todd combs warren buffett read growingstartup books

He was among 165 students in a Columbia University investing class.

Combs didn’t meet Buffett that day but says, “I still remember it like it was yesterday.”

One of the students asked what he could do now to prepare for an investing career. Buffett thought for a few seconds and then reached for the stack of reports, trade publications and other papers he had brought with him.

“Read 500 pages like this every day,” said Buffett, or words to that effect. “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

Remarkably, Combs began doing just that, keeping track of how many pages and what he read each day. Eventually finding and reading productive material became second nature, a habit. As he began his investing career, he would read even more, hitting 600, 750, even 1,000 pages a day.

Combs discovered that Buffett’s formula worked, giving him more knowledge that helped him with what became his primary job — seeking the truth about potential investments.

After graduating, Combs worked as a bank regulator and in the pricing department of Progressive Insurance and, five years later, he began running Castle Point Capital, a private investment fund in Greenwich, Conn., where he lived.

His road to Omaha began when he met a money manager from Australia who was going to California to see Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire and a confidant of Buffett’s. Combs remembers thinking, “I’d like to meet Charlie some day.”

Not long afterward, Combs was headed to California and called Munger’s office, figuring it was “pretty unlikely” that he would get to see Munger.

To his surprise, Munger offered to meet him at the California Club for breakfast. “I was terrified,” Combs said. He had attended two of Berkshire’s annual shareholder meetings in Omaha and knew that Munger often gave blunt assessments of people and businesses.

“But we really hit it off,” Combs said. “He’s the most warm, gentle man.”

The two talked for hours, and Munger offered to get together again. Combs quickly arranged to return to California. Eventually, Munger told him, “I really think Warren would like to meet you.”

Combs, of course, needed no persuasion and, in the fall of 2010, he was invited to Buffett’s office. He arrived at 10 a.m., met people and talked, went with Buffett for a two-hour lunch at Piccolo’s restaurant and returned to the office.

“We just talked and talked and talked,” Combs said. “I’ll never forget it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know you’ve met someone very special. It’s really hard to describe.”

Eventually, Buffett began talking about his plan to hire a money manager. Combs — this is true, he insists — started thinking about another person he could recommend. But Buffett had another idea.

“He said, ‘Well, I think we’re kind of thinking of you.’ Flabbergasted would be an understatement,” Combs said.

As the stunned Combs listened, Buffett talked about compensation and suggested they both think about the offer. Combs returned home and talked with his wife, April, about the job and Omaha, then accepted Buffett’s offer.



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