Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What I Learned From Joel Roberts at The Power To Influence Seminar

First who is Joel Roberts?

I got this brief biography from

A former top-rated, syndicated radio show host whose show ran in the hottest markets in the country, Joel Roberts has trained the Chicken Soup for the Soul authors (i.e. Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield), and a host of other authors for the media. Considered one of the preeminent media trainers in the country, Joel’s techniques serve authors particularly well.

I had a chance to hear Joel speak at the Power of Influence Seminar I attended in San Diego, CA on 11/9/05 – 11/12/05.

I want to pass on to you several key points I learned from just one of the presentations that Joel did at that seminar. Those points are extremely relevant if you are in a sales position, needing to influence someone or even just writing copy for a sales letter.

Aren’t we all?

Any errors or omissions are my own.

Joel was talking about credibility.

Joel started by asking these questions. What moves you?  What moves all of us?  What moves people as a group but also what moves others about you? Impact and Influence: Where does it happen, how does it happen, why does it happen, and when does it happen? 

First, Credibility and Charisma are two key aspects of impact and influence. They often go hand in hand and separating them from each other is an artificial thing to do.

The CORE of credibility is a function of the LISTENER.  Credibility of a person is ASSIGNED by the LISTENER.  If YOU don’t think someone is credible then they are NOT.

Front loading your key selling propositions about yourself …your key credentials you walked into the room with are an important part of establishing your credibility.  But it is NOT sufficient.

How can you establish credibility in an area where you may not have expertise? Powerfully state the limits of your power. Tell people when you aren’t an expert in an area because the honesty of it makes people regard you as all that much more credible.

This is especially good news for people who have less experience than others. 

Enthusiasm plays a key role in impacting others.  People love people who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do.

What is the other side of the coin from expertise?  HUMANITY.

The power of your communication is a balance between your expertise and your humanity (especially in the public sphere).

Where does power reside in language?  Impact resides in concrete language.  This does not mean we are enemies of abstraction but power is in concrete language.

Having specific data and numbers help credibility. Also, having credible clients is a HUGE credibility booster as well. The truth is NOT enough to make you credible. You need to have PROOF.

Stories help any presentation.

Now here are some practical ideas you can use in your own life or business based on what I heard Joel say:

Make sure you have specific proof to backup what you say.  Use actual, detailed numbers from the real world. This might be in the form of customer testimonials, real account statements if you are making income claims or personal references from other people who are credible themselves.

If your product or service has a weakness or isn’t right for everybody, point that out up front.  People will thank you for it if its not the right product for them, you’ll get less returns and you’ll build your own credibility for having the honesty to point this out right up front.

Remember, that people aren’t looking for just a product or service.  They are looking for a solution to their problems.  They are looking at the whole package and that package includes YOU.  So make sure your presentations, sales literature and copy show your personality.  This is part of your humanity.  You are just like all the rest of the people looking at your product in some ways.  Make sure you identify with them.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Big Ticket Niche in Health Care

As I sit here, recovering from a severe flu, I can’t help feeling extremely grateful now that my health is returning once again.

We take for granted our ability to just get up and go do something until we get sick and have reduced energy and struggle to do even the simplest things.

But since I’m on the mend I did want to say thank you to my readers.  I appreciate you for reading and for any feedback and ideas you have shared.

Now, onto this interesting idea in a Big Ticket Niche…

I was catching up on my reading while resting up.  One article I read was from the Feb 2007 issue of Business 2.0 magazine.  The title of the article was “The New Skin Trade” by Elizabeth Esfahani.

Here are some points from the article:

  • “In 2005, Americans spent $12.5 billion on cosmetic procedures most of which were non-invasive, meaning no knife required.”
  • “The number of nonsurgical treatments has skyrocketed more than 764 percentage since 1997, far outpacing the growth of plastic surgery.”
  • “With baby boomers and more men looking for creative ways to slow the aging process, the ‘medical-aesthetic’ economy — including device sales and doctor’s fees — could easily surpass $20 billion by the end of 2006.”
  • “ ’Despite the large number of companies, this is very much a demand driven economy’, says Jose Haresco a Merriman Curhan Ford analyst who covers several medical-aesthetic firms. ‘It’s still very underpenetrated.’ ”

Basically the article says that we have an aging population who are now more and more concerned with how they look than in the past.

Those people want options to slow the aging process down without resorting to plastic surgery. 

It’s a very big business that’s just getting started.

If you want to know more about some of the procedures discussed, I’d suggest getting the original article. 

But just as a test I took some of the keywords from the article and type them into the Keyword Selector Took at http://inventory.overture.com.  Here are the results

Searches done in December 2005
CountSearch Term
 45226 botox
 11431 botox alternative
 6294 botox injection
 1701 botox cosmetic
 1148 botox side effects
 998 botox cost

Searches done in December 2005
CountSearch Term
 105795 laser hair removal
 4932 permanent laser hair removal
 4114 laser hair removal los angeles
 3771 laser hair removal new york
 3598 laser hair removal cost
 2680 laser hair removal prices

Searches done in December 2005
CountSearch Term
 694 wrinkle removal
 573 cream face removal wrinkle
 467 cream facial removal wrinkle
 385 cream eye removal wrinkle
 349 face removal treatment wrinkle
 343 face product removal wrinkle

Searches done in December 2005
CountSearch Term
 6554 chemical peel
 553 chemical facial peel
 478 home chemical peel
 445 chemical face peel
 383 cost of chemical peel
 321 chemical peel picture

So a lot of people have interest in those topics.

Ok, so what’s the opportunity here?

Well an obvious one is to start a business that provides some or multiple of these services.  And that is a growth area according to the article. 

In fact the article says that many doctors have migrated their regular practices to become centered around only the needs of this niche.

Or you could consult and help those health care providers market their business effectively.

How about becoming a joint venture broker between several of these services and setting up deals to provide similar services to each of the businesses client lists?

Another idea might be to write an e-book that clearly explains the options available for all types of these non-invasive procedures.

And you could also provide back-end sales for certain types of products that are related or enhance the treatment someone decides to get.  This happens today with many of the skin cream or other beauty products you see advertised.  They sign you up where you pay by credit card and then they just refill your order every month until you tell them to cancel. 

So it becomes an ongoing revenue stream (definitely a Big Ticket item especially the more people you sign up).

Now, you may not be able do this with Botox or some of the other treatments because they require someone with specialized training (like a doctor) to apply them.

But you could still get one or several joint venture partners who can do these procedures.  Then for every customer you bring them you get a share of the profits.  These profits can be substantial because the cost of these procedures is high.

Best in Health and Big Ticket Success,


P.S. I did run across one other book that looked really interesting in my research.  I can’t recommend it because I haven’t read it.  But it’s called “The Wellness Revolution : How to Make a Fortune in the Next Trillion Dollar Industry” by Paul Zane Pilzer Amazon

It might be worth looking at because of Paul’s brief bio which I’ve copied for you here:

Paul Zane Pilzer (Park City, UT) is a world-renowned economist, a multimillionaire software entrepreneur, a part-time rabbi, a college professor, and a bestselling author. As an entrepreneur, Pilzer earned his first $10 million before the age of thirty. A former commentator on National Public Radio and CNN, Pilzer has been a guest on Larry King Live! three times, and he has been on the cover of several national magazines. He speaks to nearly 500,000 people a year, and more than 10,000,000 video and audio copies of his speeches have been sold.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Return Rates - Should They Be High Or Low?

First, let me just wish all readers of this post a very Happy New Year.  I hope 2006 brings you all the happiness and prosperity you could wish for.

This is the first post of 2006 and I must apologize for not posting more often over the last month or so.  I’ve been traveling in Australia and back to Alberta, Canada where I grew up. 

I’m not complaining.  Alberta was actually reasonably warm for this time of year.  It’s usually 10 or 20 degrees below freezing! It was good to see family and friends and I got to watch 3 of my nephews play in a hockey tournament.  (Boy, I know I’m getting slower when I watch their games and compare them to my own :-)

And, Australia was absolutely beautiful. I can definitely see why people live there or want to move there.  And speaking of Australia, I’d like to thank Wayne George for clearing up the mystery surrounding the batcave from my last post. 

Here is what Wayne wrote in a comment to my last post:

With reference to Batman and Melbourne (my birth city)- Melbourne was originally discovered by a guy named John Batman and, set in the pavement of one of the main streets there, you will find a plaque stating that this was the spot John Batman stood when he announced "This will be the place for a village" - some village huh?. His name is pronounced Batmn with all the emphasis on the first syllable.

So I guess the real location of the batcave remains a secret.  If you know the location please comment on this blog.  Thanks.

Ok, now on to some marketing insights I got from reading Joe Sugarman’s “Marketing Secrets of a Mail Order Maverick”.

This one was a surprise to me.  See what you think.

In the book, Joe tells a story about a seminar where he was showing ads he had written for a particular product.  The president of the company whose product was featured in the ads was attending the seminar.

Joe asked the president how the product did.

The president said that they had sold thousands of the product and had a very low return rate of 3%.

A return rate is just the percentage of people who purchase an item, receive it and then decide to return it (for whatever reason).

Return rates of 20% usually mean that the product has either a defect or that the customers expectations are not met because the product wasn’t described properly.

So Joe asked the seminar attendees if they thought that a return rate of 3% was good and if so, why?

Most of the attendees responded that 3% was quite good. Obviously the quality of the product was high and customers were pleased with their purchase.

Joe on the other hand said that he thought that the 3% return rate was totally unacceptable!

And his reason?

Joe felt that the 3% return rate indicated that the product was not being sold hard enough. 

And he pointed out how many more items of the product might have been sold if the return rate was 10–12% which is more typical.

Joe also pointed out that you can’t please everybody all of the time.  You will get both positive and negative feedback on your products and services.

Looked at another way … even if you have a 10% return rate that still means that you are satisfying 90% of your customers and selling a lot more product.

I don’t know about you but when I read this story my first inclination was that the return rate should be as close to zero as possible.

But based on what Joe pointed out, this is not the case.

I’m not arguing for a higher return rate due to quality issues with a product.  You must always have high quality.

But this insight has big implications for using return rate as a feedback mechanism for how much harder you should be selling.

And for Big Ticket items the ramifications are much larger.

Look at this example:

Say you sell an e-book for $47.00.  In a month you sell 15 or about 1 every other day.  Total for the month is $47.00 * 15 = $705.00. If your return rate is 3% that’s about 1 book so you refund $47.00 and have sales for the month of $658.00.

Now let’s say you push the sales process a bit. Point out more benefits and really increase the conversion.  Say sales double for the month and the return rate moves up to 12%.

So now you have sales of $47.00 * 30 = $1410.00. With a return rate of 12%, that’s about 4 books.  So you refund $47.00 * 4 = $188.00.  Sales for the month end up at $1410.00 – $188.00 = $1222.00.

So even with a higher return rate you still ended up with almost double the profit because you sold harder and converted more.

Now let’s look at a Big Ticket example:

Say you sell an DVD/CD home study system including a manual for $547.  In a month you sell 10.  Total for the month is $547.00 * 10 = $5470.00. At a return rate of 3% you that’s about 1 home study system so you refund $547.00 and have sales for the month of $4923.00.

Ok, say you push sales hard again.  Conversion doubles to 20 home study systems per month.  Now sales are $547.00 * 20 = $10940.00. At a return rate of 12% you would have 3 home study systems returned for a refund of $547.00 *3 = $1641.00. So total sales for the month less refunds is $10940.00 – 1641.00 = $9299.00.

Again, profit for the month are nearly double, even with the higher return rate.

And yes, I know there are probably a few more costs associated with shipping a home study system instead of a digitally downloaded e-book.

My point is simply to show that in both cases we should be pushing sales hard even if the return rate ends up going up a bit.

But look at the dramatic difference in profits of a Big Ticket vs. a Small Ticket item!  Except for the creation of the product, the marketing steps to sell both are very similar and cost almost the same. I love it!

That’s why everyone should have one or more big ticket items in their product mix. 

That’s it for this week.  I hope you found this as interesting as I did. 

Best in Big Ticket Success,