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Marketing Top Tip Battle!

Downsell for the sale

You may be familiar with the two approaches to getting what you want. Ask for something small and gradually ask for more, the thin end of the wedge approach. Or ask for something big they say no to and follow up with something smaller (the original thing you wanted) and walk away with an agreement, the so called 'rejection and retreat' method.

Let's just look at the latter one for a moment. It's built on reciprocation, our inbuilt need to keep things fair. It's how we built society so it's a pretty big deal.

It's linked like this. If I ask for £10,000 for a project and you go "oh gosh, no, I couldn't possibly spend that much", you know you've disappointed me. Reciprocation guilt kicks in and we try to find a way to balance things up. So if I say "well, we have a lesser programme for £5,000", I'm giving a concession, and you are much more likely to go for it than if we'd had a straightforward conversation about the £5k project.

From Cialdini in 1975, so we may well have become more selfish since then, people stopped on the street who were asked to spend two hours a week for two years as a counsellor for troubled youths, of course everyone refused. If he then asked them to chaperone the group on a day trip to the zoo, 50% agreed. If he just straight asked about the zoo trip, only 17% said yes.

What's more, 85% of the reciprocation group showed up compared to 50% from the straight-up group, and 84% of the reciprocation group volunteered again against 43% from the straight-up group.

The Cialdini stuff is old now, but these are in-built biases on an evolutionary timescale. I googled for a moment for evidence that we've maybe become more selfish or wily and didn't immediately see anything to back that up. If I did, it would likely just be come content marketer trying to be controversial. So I'm going for use this, but with full awareness. It's not hypnosis, everyone's awake.

The details are important. The first offer has to be reasonable but beyond what people would normally agree to. If it's an outrageous offer it won't work. Then, the retreat offer has to be seen as fair.

Online, give something for free, no strings attached. If there are conditions, you're not giving. Free postage. Free postage on returns. Send a Christmas card or gift. Give away useful information.

It's OK to, for instance, provide the free information and then say "here's where you can buy .. ". In other words, you can suggest the reciprocal action without breaking the spell, so long as it's not conditional and stays collegiate.

This ties in with the idea of downselling. Always offer a downsell to people who turn you down. It could come immediately, or you might automate an email offer or retargeting ad to people who visit your sales page.

The other connection is with the 80/20 sales rule that says .. let's say your staple product costs £1.40. Out of every 1,000 people who take that up, 1 wants to spend £537 with you at that moment, you just have to offer something worth that. This is the coffee shop selling espresso machines example. Inbetween are people very willing to spend more than £1.40 if you have an offer.

So consider carefully what that high end offer is, because it could also form your upsell to regular customers, and because one day someone will say yes and you're going to have to deliver it (and the risk is high since you don't do it often and the price makes a big difference).

These upsells and downsells can double your business. >


DO NOT be the same

To stand out, we need to be different.

If I'm a general web developer, I'm always going to lose education gigs to a web developer who specialises in the education market. And maybe that general education web developer will lose the primary school gig to a specialist in websites for primary schools. Specialism always wins (unless you're Coca Cola).

I meet a huge amount of resistance to this.

It's the same when we design websites for mobile. Because mobile screens are small and the users distracted, we have to decide on the key value proposition and deliver just that.

I don't know if it's a recent thing, but people find it hard to close doors. If I decide to specialise in, say, websites for creative people, then I have to say 'no' to the website for the courier company even if they want to give me work. And that's hard to do.

However, another thing that came through really strongly from the usability tests I just did was that two of the users wanted The Right Client. They didn't want website traffic. They just wanted the website as a showcase of what they do so they could point the right people to it. So for some (50% of my test subjects), it's not that their business is specialist (for instance a designer thrives on project variety), it's that they only want to serve clients who 'get it', they specialise in serving only particular kinds of customer.

Frank Kern would sell and then say "for this to work, you have to .. " and have clients qualify themselves to him, explicitly, in an online form.

Specialise. See if this helps https://strategyzer.com/canvas/value-proposition-canvas (I've not tried it myself).


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