Hey everyone, Ken Courtright from Today’s Growth: Growing Business Today. I am coming to you through a podcast from a hotel room with my eight-year-old son sitting right behind me. I can see him in the mirror. He is very cute, a very good-looking kid.
This podcast is called “Sales Gold.” I decided this week, I am going to go through a lot of my old meeting notes, conference notes, and anywhere I found a nugget of some kind, a good tip or a good piece of information, that I remember specifically where I put it in play. I remember the results. And I wanted to talk about it. There is no theory here. These are just time-tested nuggets that I think you might hear a piece of a story and figure out how to adapt it to your company.
We Like Business Nuggets
This first nugget is called “Pay per click for nickels.” What I mean by this is pay per click is Google’s platform that they bought from Yahoo. A gentleman named Rory invented it for Yahoo. Many years ago, I had the honor of sitting next to him on an airplane once. Pay per click is when you can establish a budget inside of Google, and you can purchase phrases.
Let’s say you are an author and you have a best-selling book on cupcake recipes. If you want to sell more of those books, you might go to Google and say, “I want to buy the clicks centered around the best cupcake recipes, top cupcake recipes, good cupcake recipes.” What you can do with Google is put up a budget, say $100, and Google will say, “Okay. The average click cost might be 80 cents or 62 cents or $1.40.” You don’t have to pay the 80 cents or the $1.40. You can budget it any way you want. You can say that you only want to pay 25 cents or a nickel. If you put up a nickel or a quarter, they will not put you on page one of those clicks. However, if there is a lot of activity in that category, you might get away with a nickel or a quarter bid. You will be on page two, maybe even page three, of the bids for those phrases. You won’t get a lot of action or clicks. This is really good for testing, and it’s phenomenal if you have a small budget that you want to stretch out.
How does this work? Let’s pretend you have a budget for $100, and you’re living with the one dollar per click. Let’s say you are trying to figure out what the next 20-30 blog posts that you should do inside your site to get it to rank heavily and highly for cupcake recipes.
What I would do, and what we have done in the past, is go into Google and purchase ten different phrases. I would put a budget for each phrase of $10. They are a dollar each. Maybe I bought the phrase “top five cupcake recipes” or “cinnamon cupcake recipe” or “best-selling cupcake recipe.” I would buy ten different phrases, each given a $10 budget. I would put them under a test for 30 days. I am going to start all the budgets at the same time, and I will open the results every single day.
Maybe after just one day, there has been ten clicks on “cinnamon cupcake recipes.” On the rest of them, maybe only one or two. Right now, we know “cinnamon cupcake recipes” is a very sought-after phrase. We know it is because that budget got exhausted faster than any other phrase. I know right now that could either be my next book, my ten blog posts. I know the world is interested in it, to the point they even clicked on an ad to get more data and get recipes for those.
We have the first one. What we are really looking for are the top three. Let’s say two more days go by, and the phrase “top five cupcake recipes” had its tenth click. There is only $1 per click. That budget is exhausted. So now that phrase came in second place. Maybe the third one was “lemon cupcake recipes.” We know now that we tried ten different phrases, the world didn’t seem to want to touch the other seven. This is a test. But they were in love with those first three. We now know with evidence that the world wants these phrases.
We go into our blog roll and start writing ten posts on cinnamon cupcake recipes, ten on lemon, and ten on the top five. Top five recipes to go for dessert. Top five cupcake recipes for a picnic. Top five cupcake recipes to bring to school for your kids. We can come up with creative ways, but we want to keep that top five cupcake recipes in the title. We want to keep those lemon cupcakes and cinnamon cupcakes in the title of those posts.
Content Consistency Will Get Google To Notice
The reason this will work for every one of you in increasing the rankings of your website is that Google is looking for consistency. Above all, Google wants authoritative content that is unique and not found anywhere else. Right now, 85% of all content online is plagiarized. If you start giving Google the 15% of good, quality, unique content, and you are consistent, and you never stop, you are going to win.
The very first site we ever launched, we built from scratch. We did not do any marketing, and it began dominating. We were super consistent with the content.
The reason this will work for every one of you who applies this is because in 2009, this was brought to me by a person who is now our CIO. At the time, 2009, this gentleman Todd shared a story with me that he had years ago worked for a company that consulted on a spine website that was trying to compete with WebMD. WebMD last year made $560 million in ad revenue. This spine website knew that, and they wanted to compete also. They said, “If WebMD can make $500+ million, we can at least make a million.” They began, and they wrote 50 incredible pieces of content on spine surgery and spine therapy. They could not under any circumstances compete with WebMD. They were losing money.
So consultants were brought in. It became clear that what this spine website was lacking was consistency. They put 50 posts up one time, and they tried to do a lot of marketing and SEO, trying to get attention to those 50 pieces. They didn’t realize that what Google wants is if they launched with 10 pieces, and then 40 weeks in a row, they added one a week. Google wants to know that site has a life, a breath, a heartbeat, a pulse, and ethics, meaning unique content.
Shorten the story. WebMD had 200 pieces of content on spine and spine surgery. This spine site had 50. In and of itself, they can’t compete just on quantity. WebMD was also adding 20 pieces a year. This other site was adding none. After the consulting, this spine site started adding a piece of content a week, and then two, and then three a week. They went a year adding three pieces of content a week. 12 months later, you have 150 new pieces of content. Now they have 200, and WebMD is at 220. All of a sudden, this spine website started beating WebMD on every spine term. WebMD was 15 years older, much bigger, way more authority, but this little spine site started beating WebMD on every single term.
The reason is this. WebMD has less than 1/64 of 1% of their content on spine-related topics. Google saw that this smaller spine site had 100% of its content related to spine, and they were adding three pieces of content a week around spine surgery, spine therapy. Now this site makes millions of dollars a year. Where WebMD is still growing, this spine site is still growing, making great money.
What’s Your Niche, What’s Your Focus?
The question is: What is your niche? What is your focus? Is it cupcakes? Is it water? Is it cleaning carpets? You could do some testing with pay per click, find out very quickly what the world actually is clicking on, and that is what you want to write on because when you write on it, you end up showing up on the left side of the Google search results in the organic section. Those are the sections where you deserve to be there, you don’t pay to be there.
When you show up on the left, and it doesn’t show the word “Ad” in yellow in front of your results, the world knows the ones at the right and the ones at the top are advertisements. They know that. The world is not stupid. They also know the ones at the left earned the right to be there. There is less likelihood that they will get cookied or asked for their email or phone number. The world is looking for the results on the left, and the only way to get there is to consistently write and do some marketing so the world finds you in the beginning.
Second little nugget of sales gold is to ask yourself, Who has your exact audience? There is a tool out there called Quantcast. Quantcast does a really good job of showing you the exact demographics of who is watching, reading, listening to your website and blog rolls. Then what you want to do is go to SpyFu and you can hire them. They will run some scans and tell you what other websites and companies have the exact same audience profile. You want to ask yourself, What does that company need that you can help them with? When you find an exact match audience company, ask yourself what that company needs. Then you can make them a trade.
This is called you delivering to them with an unseen concern. They may not even know they need it. You know they need it, and you know you can help them, but they don’t know they need it. I have formed many incredible partnerships this way.
I am moving onto another one. What do turnaround experts do? Turnaround experts are people that come into a company that is ailing or failing and turn them around. They have a very specific vision of what can be done inside of a company. The number one goal of a turnaround specialist is not to fire people, not to close divisions down. The number one immediate goal is to free up capital. They are either going to look at the sales side, the people side—are there people that don’t want to be here anymore. A turnaround specialist looks at a balance sheet and asks if we can blow up sales or decrease expenses incredibly quickly.
Here is what I am going to ask you: Why don’t you pretend that you are a turnaround expert coming into your own company? If you had to reduce expenses, what would you do? If you had to blow up sales, what would you do? I personally think one of the coolest things you can do is add three different sales funnels to your product mix right now. Keep your products the same, but find three different drippings that can drip sales into your organization. Maybe it’s another company that you give a referral bonus to. Maybe it’s highway billboards or radio. If you focus on it for a month or two, adding three different sales funnels on top of your existing funnel, sometimes magic happens.
Link Building 101
I’m going to move on. This one I’m calling the Link Building 101 story. We met our Chief Marketing Officer Dave Conklin because our CIO found an infographic online. An infographic is a drawing or a picture or a cartoon that teaches or tells a story. Our CIO bumped into a graphic that was called “Link Building 101.” A company in 2007 was exploding their clients’ results. It was an Internet marketing company that clients would come to, and they would just explode.
This gentleman Dave was able to map out the 12 things they were doing on every one of their clients’ sites. If they did it, it worked 100% of the time. He put it in picture form so the world could know what he knew, and he knew it would help a lot of people.
Turns out about 3,100 companies, because of social media and the viral nature of this topic, found this infographic—we were one of them—many of which then ended up using Dave’s company for business. Dave created a graphic that taught the world incredible information, asking nothing in return. Dave knew the law of reciprocity says that if you add value to people, and you give and serve until it hurts asking nothing in return, the law of reciprocity says that somebody is going to stumble on that and hire the people who created this.
We then adapted this concept. We tried it internally. We came up with an inner energy infographic. It exploded. 400 people picked it up worldwide, including Japan, and we got a lot of business from that.
Another one I thought I would try was getting a backlink from the government because that is hard. If I could get the government to mention us, I could do it anywhere. We went 7/7 reaching out to the government because what we did is we gambled, but we built an app. We paid all the money up front, not knowing the government would actually use it. We built an app that could help governing bodies keep track of international shippers and intra-state shippers keeping their bylaws or good standing reports public. If a shipping company that had ten trucks could ship from Ohio to Illinois, a person that is moving wants to know they are using a reputable shipping company. We made this really cool tool and called some of the state governments, asking if they would find this valuable. They asked if they could use it, giving us credit. They then put that tool into their Tools and Resources section, and we got a backlink from the government.
The question for here is: What can you create that adds value to the world, asking nothing in return? Why don’t you try that, shipping out to the world and seeing what comes back?
I’m going to finish with what I call the skeleton of my perfect sales script, meaning if you are selling something, I recommend you don’t walk in blindly and transfer a good feeling. We have found in our 24 years that when we have presented things to boards, individuals, companies, and vendors, there is definitely a format or a structure that psychologically does certain things with the people in the room so they are listening. They care. They want to participate with us.
The first thing we have to understand in building a proper sales presentation is that value equals three times the price. If we want to sell something, we have to build the value of our product to where the people in the room think it’s worth three times more than we are charging. If we build the value to the price, that leaves room for them to shop us around. If we can prove that this thing is three times more valuable than what we are charting, we have noticed sometimes immediate sales can happen.
The second thing you want to remember is that in a direct selling situation, urgency is more valuable than value. When you can use scarcity or a time element or a legitimate running-out-of-stock, urgency, as proven by the jewelry industry, always more valuable than value.
For our 24 years on the firing line, helping companies sell more stuff, we have found there is a shell that can be followed and adopted for different industries. For the last 5-7 years, we have recommended that people start their sales presentations with a very short, either funny or very serious, story about why they started the company or that division or that product. The key here is emotion. Emotion is the only thing that can be remembered. Data and facts can’t be physically remembered. It’s proven.
In the beginning, we want to do a funny or deeply emotional story for a number of reasons. One of them is you need to buy some time because you want to lead with the end in mind: “Hey, if our company can achieve these sales goals we have for this division, if I move X number in six months, here is the impact we can make. In our company, 5% of gross, not of net or of proceeds, of our eight figures a year goes out and impacts six organizations that make people cry with our money. We have sent kids to Disney that don’t have long to live. We work with the CTO organization, parents with kids who have challenges, and our money helps them become great men.” And on and on and on. But we lead with a story that is emotional.
One of the reasons is because in the beginning, the story literally brings them into the room. Many people you are presenting to are sitting there, but they are still processing the last 30 minutes of the day. They are physically there, but you can see in your eyes that they are not mentally listening. They are not there yet. They are checking off their to-do list. They are processing the conversation they had with their wife. But when people hear the sincere story, it pulls them in to the point that it causes an emotional connection. Whether they believe in your cause or not, they respect you have a cause, and it emotionally brings them in the room because they respect you now. It’s not just about making a dollar; it’s about making a difference.
I often bring up the whole Toms Shoes situation because that guy is on fire. I think his name is Blake. Often you can’t even find shoes on the website. It’s just pictures, stories, social proof. It’s awesome.
Start With a Value Statement
You start with a story that physically roots everybody into the room. After the story, you get very serious about the structure. You lead with your first VBS, your value building statement. You lead with something that establishes the value, whether you are talking to somebody left-brained and numeric or right-brained and artistic. You speak everybody’s language, but you with a sledgehammer establish tremendous value that your product is awesome.
Then you go right into the first key benefit to them. Every audience you’re speaking with has a different benefit than your previous audience from the same product. You have to structure your presentation so that it’s a value-building statement first, some kind of nugget that establishes value, and then you go right into the key benefit for that company or person.
Then we recommend you go into the second value-building statement because you are building this value so it’s valued at three times what you are asking for. Then we recommend you go right into a referral seed. A referral seed is great salespeople understand the rule of 2%. Great salespeople understand that not everybody purchases from you, and that the people you are talking to that don’t purchase often know dozens of people that if the door was opened would purchase from you.
The rule of 2% says that when you are put in a room of 100 people, the odds of people in that room wanting to hear what you have to say, having the money to buy your product, or are in any capacity interested in what you have, is 2/100. 2/100.
What’s cool about all the people in your room is depending on their profession, their age, and what they do, they have a following, either on social media or just in their family of people that respect them, of 60 to 600 people. Great salespeople know that when they are talking to someone, everybody in that room has 50 people following them somewhere that 1/50 is 2%. You want to talk to these people, making sure you mention some kind of referral seed like, “This product isn’t for everybody. We personally think it’s a great fit for you, but if the timing is not right or the price isn’t right. As a side note, if you know anybody that can use this, here is what we do for referrals, people who help us out…” You come up with something.
Then you go right into your first piece of social proof. Social proof is defined by this: If you say it as a salesperson, not believing it. 50% of it gets thrown out the window, and people believe half of the other half. But if the world says it’s so, it must be so. If you and your website say it, that’s the company saying it, so I don’t know if I believe that. But if the world says it’s so, if testimonials and endorsements and the media says your product is awesome, all of a sudden that audience is going, “I don’t know about this dude, but if Forbes and TIME and all these journals and magazines say it’s awesome, we have to pay attention here.”
If you don’t have any social proof, you want to consider doing some quick trades. Maybe trade your product for a testimonial. Trade your product for an endorsement. Now you in the presentation go to your third value building statement. Then you slip into the second key benefit to them. After that, you go into the second piece of social proof, and then the third key benefit to them. That’s it.
There is more and more evidence today that social proof in your very first presentation to a new person may be more valuable than value. If anybody opens up our two main sites, incomestore.com or todaysgrowthconsultant.com, if you don’t know who we are or what we do, it would take you ten minutes to have a clue what we do. What you do know when you open our sites is that the world thinks we are awesome. We are Inc. 5000, we are literally in the media once a week sometimes. The world thinks we are awesome. That buys us the time for people to want to dig in to find out about our guaranteed revenue-generating websites.
If you say it’s so, you’re a salesperson. But if the world says it’s so, it must be so. There is no question about that.
I am Ken Courtright with Today’s Growth: Growing Business Today, signing off. If anything in this podcast hit ya, do me a favor. Jump onto iTunes onto a computer, subscribe, and drop me a review. If there is anything you want me to cover, or if you have any comments, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you guys soon. Take care.