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April 2018

Use The Relationship-First Formula to expand your mind and create more value


To stand out from your competition, attract the attention of more great prospects, and make more money, you need to come up with a BIG Idea, something new, better and different. But as we have seen, a product-first mindset can stop you from coming up with BIG Ideas because you can't think outside your product/service category. However, another mindset, called The Relationship-First Formula, enables you to come up with lots of BIG Ideas.

When you use the relationship-first model, you don't start your thinking with your product or service. You start your thinking with the intention of helping. You do not approach your prospects and customers with any particular product or service in mind. You approach them instead with the intention of helping them solve their problems and achieve their goals, in whatever way is necessary. In this way, your intention to help is more important than your desire to sell them something in particular. Your primary objective is simply to help them in what ever way you can.

This relationship-first mindset helps you develop BIG Ideas because you are no longer attached to any particular product, service, strategy, or technique. You are always open to new ways to help, even if you currently do not have the capabilities to provide that help. By having this open mind, you no longer limit yourself to what you currently provide, or what your industry provides. Anything is possible.

That is how Apple achieved success. Using a relationship-first model, they broke away from computer-only thinking. They no longer saw themselves as a "computer" company. They were a relationship-first "helping" company. As a result, they gave themselves permission to provide products and services that are not computers. That's how they came up with ideas for iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, while other computer companies never saw the opportunity. It is likely that Apple will continue to innovate and develop even more non-computer products and services. However, the irony is, by breaking away from computer-first thinking, and developing other products and services, they also sold more computers.

That's why we recommend you adopt this relationship-first model. It will open up your mind to an endless stream of possible BIG Ideas. These ideas will help you attract the attention of potential prospects. Secondly, these ideas will help you stand out from your competition. And thirdly, these ideas will help you make more money, and ironically, sell more of your original products.

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Use Psychology To Attract More Prospects

03 Psychology Image

Most entrepreneurs and salespeople make sales by knocking on doors. They make cold calls, they do networking, and they ask clients for referrals. These dynamic actions often scare off potential prospects because they don't like dealing with salespeople. Marketing on the other hand uses psychology to get prospects to call you, to approach you, because they are interested in what you are doing. You can imagine that a prospect that calls you is much better than one that you got by knocking on their door. So how do you use psychology to get prospects to come to you? There are five primary methods. Each one involves an action on your part that causes certain thoughts and feelings on the part of your prospects.

1. Create a Mystery (Curiosity): If you do something that is mysterious, people will get curious. They will approach you to find out the answer to the mystery.

2. Package A BIG Idea (Excitement): Get people interested and excited by presenting them with something new, better, and different. (That's why The BIG Idea is the most important element of any marketing plan.

3. Project An Image Of Popularity (Safety) and Scarcity (Fear): If people think your BIG Idea is very popular, they will want it because it is safe to join the crowd. As well, they will also worry that there is not enough to go around so they will be afraid that will not be able to get it. This fear of scarcity will compel them to buy your BIG Idea. This may sound manipulative, but it is only manipulative if you are trying to sell them something they don't need. If it is something they need, then you are doing them a favor by compelling them to make a commitment.

4. Provide Free Value (Desire): If you provide free value, people will approach you because they desire what you are offering. It is like you are giving prospects a piece of chocolate. Once they taste the free chocolate, they will want to buy the whole box.

5. Give people choices (Empowerment): When people have a choice, they feel empowered. They get to make the decisions. When they feel empowered, they buy more. So make sure you give your prospects three choices (small, regular and super-size). You will attract more prospects and sell more.



Stay out of The Product-First Trap

03.1 Product-First Image

Many companies are not able to grow in today's marketplace because they are stuck in The Product-First Trap. People and companies fall into this trap when they think first and talk first about their products and services. When asked what they do, they say: I am a dentist. I am a travel agent. Or we make tennis shoes. This seems like a natural thing to say. After all, that's what they do. But this product-first thinking is a trap for three primary reasons.

One, when you describe your business in this product-first manner, it is likely that hundreds, if not thousands of other companies are describing themselves in the same way. That means your company doesn't stand out because your prospects are hearing the same story from hundreds of your competitors.

Two, if you tell a product-first story, your prospects will think you are a salesperson. They will think you are trying sell them your product or service. This will make them turn away because they don't want to hear your sales pitch. This sales-aversion will make it harder for you to meet new prospects and develop relationships with them.

Thirdly, when you finally acknowledge the first and second problem, and try to come up with a new way to differentiate yourself, you can't do it because your thinking keeps going back to your core product or service. Your mindset doesn't allow you to think of new big ideas to differentiate yourself. That's why it is called a trap. Your product-first mindset doesn't enable you to break away from the other competitors in your industry.

For example, Apple was stuck in The Product-First Trap until 1999. Before that time, they were a small company that sold its computers to a small group of devoted customers. They thought of themselves as a computer company. But then in 1999, they changed their mindset, and broke out of product-first thinking. That's when they began inventing new big ideas such as the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone and the iPad. Today, as one of the most successful companies in the world, they are no longer just a computer company. They are in a category of their own. They achieved this distinction not because they are smarter or more creative than other companies, but because they changed their product-first mindset and adopted a new and better business model, what we call The Relationship-First Formula™ (see next concept).

Smart packaging can turn your fast food product into a premium gourmet meal

02 Packaging

When you determine your BIG Idea, you need to package it properly so people will be able to quickly appreciate the value of it. In many cases, the value you provide is intangible, so it is even more important to package it so that people can see it. Packaging has three elements: 1. Story 2. Graphic Design 3. Process Experience.

1. Story: Most of the selling you do is verbal. You sell by telling a story. To increase your sales, you need to tell a packaged story that gets attention, generates interest, and sets up a buying opportunity. To get attention, you have about three seconds. You then have 30 seconds to get someone interested. Then you have three minutes to explain in detail what you are selling. If they are still with you at that point, they will give you thirty minutes to make a proper presentation. You then have to close them. This story usually includes an Object to attract attention (3 seconds), an Elevator Speech (30 seconds), a Script (3 minutes) and a BIG Story (30 minutes). The story can also have a theme (such as Lobsters), and a signature story (such as The Lobster Contest). The theme and signature story will make you more memorable, and help you better explain the premise behind your BIG Idea.

2. Graphic Design: It is very important for you to invest in professional graphic design. People will judge you by the quality of your design package. Does it look amateurish or professional? Is it beautiful? We have learned that people will trust you and your BIG Idea more if if is packaged beautifully. So don't try to save money on do-it-yourself design. Note that graphic design extends to other tangible elements such as clothing, store/office design, and product packaging.

3. Process Experience: This is a neglected element of packaging. Most entrepreneurs provide their customers/clients with generally the same experience as their competitors. They use the standard approach practiced by 99% of the other companies in their industry. They call this best practices, but we call it boring and generic. To stand out, you need to take your customers through a process that is unique, and also works better than the standard approach in your industry. If you do this, your customers will have a more valuable and interesting experience. As a result, they will value it more, and likely talk about it with their friends and associates. In most cases, you only need to add or change your standard process by 10% to make it a unique experience.

By enhancing these three elements of packaging (Story, Graphic Design, and Process Experience), it will make it a lot easier for you to meet more great prospects and sell more.

Why you need a BIG Idea

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To stand out from your competition, attract more higher-quality customers, and make more money, you need to package a BIG Idea. something new, better, and different. Not just any idea, a really BIG Idea. It’s not enough to be different, you have to be a lot different.

Think about it this way. Let’s say the temperature in your room is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and someone turns up the heat to 73 degrees. That is a different temperature, but do you notice it? Probably not. There isn’t enough of a difference.

Many business people make this mistake. They may do something different, but it’s only a little bit different. They change the color of their product or they offer improved credit terms. But these additions and changes aren’t enough. To the untrained eye, they still look like the other companies. But what if someone increased the temperature to 90 degrees? Would you notice the difference? Of course you would. It would be a lot hotter! You’d start sweating, you’d take off your sweater and say: “Hey, who turned up the temperature? It’s boiling in here.”

So that’s what you need to do. If you want people to notice you, you need to turn up the heat, and do something really different. That’s what we call a BIG Idea.

To get you thinking big, it is helpful to imagine that you are charging ten times more than what you are charging now. When you do this, your mind starts coming up with new ideas, and breaks away from conventional thinking. That's what Starbucks did. Back in 1990, they envisioned charging $5.00 for a cup of coffee. But the people in their industry thought they were crazy. Coffee in those days was only 50 cents a cup. Why, they scoffed, would anyone pay $5.00? The key is to realize that at that time the people at Starbucks didn't know either. But they had a dream, and they set out to make it a reality. With their $5.00 vision in mind, they packaged a completely new coffee shop experience, and in the process, revolutionized their industry. So the question is: What BIG Idea would you need to package in order to get your customers to pay 10 times more?

Simplify your business by focusing on your #1 Customer Type

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Most companies are held back from greater success because they have too many different kinds of customers or clients. When they started their company, they did business with anybody who would buy their products or services. Over time they accumulated many different kinds of customers. While this may be seen as a good thing, it is also a problem because it is complicated to work with so many different kinds of customers. For each type of customer you need different marketing tools and activities, different products and services, and different processes. This fragmentation makes it hard to unify your business under a single brand, message, process and product line, and that inhibits growth.

To simplify your business, and make more money with less work, focus on one type of customer. For example, we only work with small and medium size companies. We don't work with large corporations or government agencies. This single focus has made us experts in the needs of these customers, has simplified our business, and has made our company much more profitable.

Using this model, you have one type of customer and an unlimited potential number of products and services geared to that single customer type. This is in stark contrast to a typical product-first company that has only one type of product and many different types of customers.

Many companies resist this strategy because they don't want to give up any potential customers. But that is not a problem. To implement this idea, you don't have to give up any customers. If a non-ideal prospect walks in the door, you can still work with them if you want. But you don't seek out any new customers that don't match your #1 customer profile.

As you get more and more customers that match your #1 customer type profile, you realize that you don't really want to have any other kinds of customers. You feel more focused, and your business is easier to run. It is then easier to let go of those other kinds of customers.

One key note: It is very important that you choose the right type of customer to focus on. Make your selection after considerable thought. It is the most important decision you will make in your business.


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