Tools Vs. Principles

by Tim Francis on December 21, 2012

Tools Don’t Make the (wo)Man

Buying a guitar wouldn’t make me Slash from Guns ‘N Roses, or Eddie Van Halen, or any of the greats.

That’s because the guitar is just a tool.  Tom Morello and I could own identical guitars, but the difference is the Operator… two people can pick up the same tool and get vastly different results.

Things like a website, Facebook, Twitter account, etc, are all just Tools… marketing tools.  Same with billboards, TV, print media, etc.  Those are all just tools too.

Think of them like a hammer or a drill, a curling iron or oven…. all just tools.

The problem is that Tools on their own don’t do anything.  They just sit there.  You can have a website, but if no one is looking at it, the site just collects digital dust.

You won’t get a hole in the wall by buying a drill.  You – the operator – needs to pick up the drill, know how to turn it on, where to plug it in, how to push the right buttons, and have the ability to reach the spot you need the hole.

Getting your desired result – a hole in the wall, new clients, more sales, etc – is a lot more than just buying a tool.  Gaining the skill to run the Tool is the difference-maker.

So where do those skills come from?  An understanding of Principles… those timeless truisms that have been true since the beginning of time… as I often tell people, “Princples are those lessons than have been true since two cavemen fought over one cavewoman.”

Marketing Princples

What I mean by “Marketing Principles”… here are some examples:

  • Scarcity: make your offer limited – by time, supply, or other – and buyers will act far more quickly.
  • Guarantees: if you refuse to take the risk, then you’re forcing them to.  Don’t you want to take away all possible objections and make a sale as no-brainer as possible?  Take the situation into your own hands – you’ll make a lot more money for it.
  • Follow-up: people buy when they want to buy, not when you want to sell.  So stay in touch.  Be prepared to have the tools and habits in place to easily stay in touch at least 7 times before they buy, possibly more.  Be prepared to stay in touch for 6 months or more before a prospect buys.
  • Build Your List / Database: you need to be capturing prospects and customer contact info at every possible opportunity.  Get it organized into a database.
  • Nurture Your Database: Send your database relevant, valuable, friendly, appreciated stuff – news, insider tips, insights, expertise, gifts, whatever – to ingratiate yourself with them to deeper and deeper levels as time goes on
  • Just ask / Periodically Sell to Your Database: if you aren’t making regular offers to your database, you’re leaving lotsa money on the table
  • Tracking and Measurement: you will scientifically track, test, and tweak your marketing over time.  The cold, hard data will separate the winners from the losers (not your intuition or gut feeling).
  • The Confused Mind Says No: make it too hard to make a decision, and they’ll say no every time.  Make your ads and emails too challenging to read and no one will.  Stick to Grade 4-level writing.
  • The Second Sale Can Make or Break Your Business: if every customer is a first-time, one-time customer, you are in for a slow, painful, not-profitable existence.  First-time buyers are the most expensive to acquire.  In fact, in highly competitive industries, businesses are literally forced to LOSE money on the entire first sale just to win the customer.  So marketing that systematically encourages repeat purchases can make or break a business.
  • Referrals from friends and family are the cheapest sale you’ll make: referrals cost nothing in advertising, and require the least sales time to close a deal with.  They are already partially convinced (by their friends) before they set foot in your business.  So they close more quickly, leaving you more time for you / your salespeople to get other money-making tasks completed, such as other sales appointments or building lead generation systems.
  • Up-Sells Create Easy Money, and the Point of Purchase is When They’ll Most Likely Say Yes: the classic “would you like fries with that” question.  And the moment that the buyer steps away from the cash register / purchase page, their likelihood of buying an upsell plummets.  So figure out something to upsell, and do it at the point of purchase / commitment!
  • Step into the Path of pre-existing Demand… don’t create it!  Pioneers had arrows in their backs cuz they got killed for venturing into new territory.   Satisfy a problem that already exists… find the stream of people and simply satisfy the demand that’s already there!
  • Must be easily understood: again, the confused mind says no.  If someone can’t understand your business enough in 30 seconds to say Yes or No, you have a problem on your hands.  Either your business is too unfocused, or you need to speak more plainly and obviously.
  • Recency – Frequency – Money: the more recently a customer has bought, the more likely they are to buy again; the more frequent a buyer buys, the ore likely they are to buy again; the bigger the transaction size, the more likelihood for another sale.
  • and many more.

Do you now see the difference between a marketing principle above?  And why it’s way more important than the tool itself (Facebook, Twitter, etc).

Tools will come and go, but Principles are enduring – they will last forever.

Hope that helps,

Tim :)

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