Entries in Beckwith (1)

Sunday
Aug102008

The World's Oldest Profession Revisited

The world's oldest profession.

It has the word vice in it, but it's not what you think.

It's advice.  Ever since that snake whispered a few words of advice into Eve's ear, everything changed.  In fact, people have been reeling from that bit of advice for thousands of years.

Advice. Counsel. Wisdom.  No matter what you call it, it's the oldest form of persuasion and still the newest.  It's why investors and brokers log onto Bloomberg. It's why Dr. Phil is still rolling along smoothly after 6 years.  And it's why the Bible is the #1 best-selling book of all time. 

I'm an avowed advice junkie. I love getting it. I love sharing it.  Some of the best advice I've read recently is from Harry Beckwith, author of Selling the Invisible and What Clients Love. Harry would call it "firm conclusions" and would probably cast doubt on his use of t he adjective "firm."  The advice is on what motivates customers. here is a culling of that advice into 25 easy to digest bites.  The bold and italics are from Creativity Central.

1.   Your biggest competitor is not a competitor; it’s your prospect’s indifference.  What truly motivates them?  Keep asking, keep watching.

2. Your second-biggest competitor is not a competitor; it’s your prospect’s distrust.  How do you build trust?  

3. Your biggest obstacle is whatever stereotype your prospect has formed about you and your industry.

4. Prospects decide in the first five seconds.  If that.

5. Prospects don’t try to make the best choice. They try to make the most comfortable choice.  Why are you competing in a arena that has too many choices? Read Blue Ocean Strategy.

6. At heart, every prospect is risk-averse, and risks are always more vivid than rewards.  How do you help make their decision less risky?

7. Certainty is a trick your mind plays on you; keep yours open.  Certainty and confidence are often a clever disguise for fear.

8. Don’t create something that everyone likes; create something that many people love.

9. Never take seriously what people say they think, because people are never sure. Trust only action. 

10. Your most valuable salesperson is the person who answers your phones.  So why is it considered entry level?

11. People don’t care how good you are. They care how good you can make them.  

12. The best companies don’t make the fewest mistakes; they make the best corrections. 

13. You cannot convince someone you have a superior product at a low price. Make up your mind. Most marketers in my experience are afraid to make up their mind.

14. “Value” is not a compelling message or tenable marketing position, because every product that survives in a market has demonstrated it gives value for the price it commands.

15. Despite all the warnings, all people judge books by their covers. Read research on why taller people get hired and earn more -- even if they are underperforming.

15. People hear what they see; you must communicate visually.  It's why I love art directors, filmmakers and kids with crayons.

16. The more complex our society becomes, the more valuable your brand becomes.

17. When in doubt — which is almost always — people choose what feels familiar. Familiarity breeds content.

18. Brands do not just attract buyers; they improve customers’ satisfaction. Brands have placebo effects.

19. No intelligent person should be influenced by advertising, but every intelligent person is.

20. Simplify everything: your name, your message, your design. Strip away everything until only the essence remains.

21. If it takes 50 words to make your pitch, I will buy from the person who can do it in 20.

22. Communicate one important message and people will think three good things about you; communicate three messages and they will think nothing.

23. Ordinary names, ordinary words, and ordinary images warn us that you must be ordinary, too. Why do so many marketers rely on the ordinary.  Look through mass market magazines, then look through an advertising award annual like the One Show. See how many ads are in both. Not many.

24. Lincoln didn’t have slides at Gettysburg. 

25. The ultimate test of a communication: Does it make people stop what they are doing?

Thanks for the advice Harry.

For the full 40, just email me at inotivity@gmail.com.  Put the word "Advice" in Subject Line.