Recently I had the chance to sit down with Ultimate Marketer winner at InfusionCon 2011 Jermaine Griggs. Here’s a list of some of my key takeaways from the interview.
Ask questions to get to know your prospects and customers
Jermaine is a master of this.
On every form I saw, there was 1 or 2 additional questions he added so he could get a little better insight into the type of prospect he had. Also, under each video that played, he had additional questions that he asked to gather more information, so by the time a prospect makes it through the front end of his funnel, he knows a ton about him/her.
A couple of keys to this are to ask questions that seem natural for you to be asking. For example, on his initial opt-in web form, he asks what kind of music they’re interested in, as well as their skill level.
Those 2 questions make perfect sense there. Later on he asks if the person has ever paid for piano lessons and if they’ve considered online courses. He can ask those questions later, because the prospect has had time to watch a couple of videos and get used to Jermaine.
If he were to ask those questions right off the bat, he’d scare people away because they’d think he was just trying to sell them. It’s important to consider context when asking questions to make sure you don’t scare off your prospects.
Get to know prospects without them knowing
Another cool thing Jermaine does is that with each set of questions on his videos, he sets up the form so that the prospect doesn’t have to enter his/her first name, last name, or email address. All he/she has to do is answer the questions, because Jermaine already knows who the person is and has hidden those fields on the form. It’s a great tactic and a great way to get addition insights into what your prospects or clients are interested in.
So, you’ve captured your prospects’ information. Now what?
The last key to this point is that you have to actually use the information you capture when you follow up. Jermaine has several points throughout his process where he makes an offer, but the offer each prospect gets depends on how the prospect has answered previous questions.
So the action items to take away from this are:
1. Identify which information would help you close more deals/sales. What stuff do you wish you knew about each prospect/customer?
2. Identify points in your sales/nurture process where you can gather that information
3. Identify where and how you can modify your current sales process or nurture process to utilize the information you’ll gather
4. Go do it 😉
Giving the prospect time to warm up before making an offer
Another thing that Jermaine does really well is to wait to make an offer until the prospect has warmed up as much as possible.
The easiest way to see how Jermaine does this is to take a look at the Gauntlet. Jermaine makes an offer for a free CD, but only if the person has watched the first two videos within a certain amount of time (5-6 days from signing up). And then, only after the person has taken the offer, does he push the upsell to pay for priority shipping at $2.97. He also as some offers later in the process, but only if the person is consuming the content; I think this is a great lesson we can all apply in our businesses.
Typically we create a follow-up sequence, and we make our sales pitch to everybody on the same day in our sequence. The problem with that is that not everybody is going to be ready for our offers at the same time.
By putting tracking measures in place (track-able links, video tracking, etc…) we can send offers out to each prospect at different times based on their readiness, instead of the schedule of our follow up sequence.
By scheduling our offers to be more closely aligned with the readiness of our prospects, we’re going to see much higher conversion rates. I should also point out here that when I say offer, I’m not only referring to offers to buy. I think this applies to any offer where you’re trying to get your prospects or customers to do something or take some action.
Discounting annual continuity to cover attrition
Jermaine has a CD of the month club that normally runs at $15.95/month. He has tracked his attrition rate and most of his cancellations happen between 6-8 months. So what he does to fight that, is to make a special offer on a teleseminar where people can pay for an annual subscription at $97 (or the equivalent of 7 months-worth of $15.95).
The benefit to the customer is that they get the entire program upfront, AND they get to save almost 50%. The benefit to Jermaine is that in one transaction, he has captured what he will most likely get over the course of a monthly subscription AND, if the person renews the following year, he has now DOUBLED what he would normally get from a monthly subscription. I think it’s a super creative way to counter attrition and cancellations.
This same idea got me thinking about another way to counter attrition and cancellations. It all has to do with knowing where you have most of your attrition.
If you don’t know when most of your subscribers cancel, you need to get on that ASAP. Also, I don’t think you just want to look at the average either. You need to look at your first year and identify which months (if you’re billing monthly) have the highest percentage drop off.
You could have massive cancellations at months 2 and 6 but get an average life cycle of 4 months. If you do a bunch of work to keep people past 4 months, you’ll be very successful because most people if they get to month 4, will stay to month 6.
What can be really insightful is to know that a ton of people leave at month 2, and then a ton more at month 6 so you can put measures in place to keep those people longer.
That leads me to the other idea that I had, which is to create “bridges” at those months with high cancel rates. If you have a lot of people that cancel at month 2, put together a 3-4 part teleseminar series where the first call is a week or so before the end of month 2 and then the other pieces spread into the following month. That way if the person wants to cancel, they have to give up on the additional content as well.
Don’t be afraid of Direct Mail
This is a big one for me. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been intimidated by direct mail. Don’t know if it’s because it sounds like you have to know a lot to pull it off, or I’ve just always assumed it’s crazy expensive, but I’ve always shied away from it. I know it sounds lame, but the real key is to be smart with your direct mail.
For example, in Jermaine’s system, if a person is willing to request a free CD AND pay $2.97 for priority shipping, chances are they are a lot more likely to spend money and it makes a lot more sense to send them stuff in the mail to really wow them.
On the other hand, if a prospect requests the free CD but won’t fork over a couple bucks to get the CD faster, it probably doesn’t make a ton of sense to start mailing them stuff. Also, if someone signs up into his CD of the month program, then Jermaine can afford to start rolling out some more impressive direct mail campaigns to really impress them.
Direct mail doesn’t always have to be boring letters. I think in the past I always shied away from direct mail because I associated it with all the junk mail I get. The funny thing is that if I get a letter from someone I know or do business with, I’m actually really excited to open it.
At the end of the day, people like getting cool stuff in the mail.
Sure, a letter or package will cost more than an email, but it will also have a greater impact. I’m going to be exploring this concept in more detail in the coming months because I’m fascinated by how direct mail can be used on all aspects of the business (marketing, selling, retention, collections, etc…).
Selling low end products to qualify prospects
I really like this concept. Typically when we’re analyzing a product or services, we’re trying to figure out how many units we can sell to pay all our bills.
Now, obviously, we all want to pay all our bills (and probably make enough money to have a few more bills…) but another thing I picked up from Jermaine is how you can use low end products to qualify prospects.
Take the priority shipping on the free CD offer. It’s not even a $3.00 product, but it does a lot to qualify prospects for offers on more expensive products. If you’re in a services business, do you offer a free consultation (which we all know is a free sales pitch)? Or do you find a couple of ways to create real value and then charge for it.
Each day I become more of a believer that people place much less value on things they don’t have to pay for. I don’t think that means you charge for everything (after all, it’s kind of hard to have a free report that isn’t free). Also, I’m sure if Jermaine charged for his 4 part video series, he would have much lower opt-in rates. But I really think that once you get past that initial free content, we should all be looking at how we can start to set a precedent that our stuff is worth paying money for.
We don’t want to train prospects to expect free stuff from us. We want them learning from the very beginning that we produce quality stuff, and if they want it they’ll have to pay for it. This is another concept that I plan to explore and test it more detail so keep an eye out for more on this topic.
The basic principle we should all be trying to apply is: how can I get my prospects to open their wallet sooner, even if it’s for small amounts of money? How can I create value earlier in the process and charge for it?
Anyway, there are only a handful of the takeaways I had from the interview with Jermaine. There are a ton of other lessons that we can all learn and apply. I hope this has been helpful for you. I would love suggestions or feedback on how I can make this content easier/better for you so feel free to drop me some feedback.