Goats And Selling In This Economy

by Sarah on January 11, 2011


The two goats we have in our barn are a goat farmer’s dream come true because . . .

§    They’ll eat anything – they munch on grass, hay, brussel sprout stalks and pricker bushes with gusto.

§    They’re pretty quiet.  Occasionally one will let out a plaintive maa if one of us steps within view.  But overall our farm with them on it is pretty peaceful.

§    And they’re big – when we bring them to the butcher we’ll probably get close to 120 pounds of the best meat in the world.

But I don’t think I’d feel so happy about these goats if we hadn’t experienced our first year with Maria’s goats.

See, last year we got goats from our neighbor Maria.  And in contrast to these two great guys, last year’s goats were a royal pain. 

Forget goats’ reputation for eating anything, these gourmets insisted on grain each day and turned up their nose at our luscious clover and grass. They only liked to nibble on the fruit trees and raspberry canes.

And if you didn’t give them their favorite molasses-spiked grain snack, one of them started caterwauling like a three-year old who lost his lollipop.  High-pitched and miserable.

And for the final insult, they were short and scrawny when butchering time rolled around.

As usual, there’s a marketing lesson here . . .

Right now, we’re facing a tough economy – and it’s going to get tougher before it gets better.

It’s not as easy to make a sale as it was 3 years ago.

Not only do people not have the money to spend, their attitudes towards purchasing has changed as well.

§    They’re more skeptical.  You have to work harder to gain their trust and convince them that you’re product is worth their investment.
§    They’re more conservative. They are less likely to switch brands, try something new, say, "What the heck, I’ll try it!"
§    They’re procrastinators.  Easy, flip decisions have now turned into long drawn-out deliberations and purchases deferred.

Selling to today’s consumers is not just about giving them a great deal.  You need specific tactics and techniques. 

So let’s go back to my goats . . .

Contrast to Convince

My appreciation of this year’s goats is due in a large part to the fact that we had such a terrible pair last year.  After that first disastrous duo, these two came out like shining models of goat behavior.

You can use this technique in a number of ways:
1.    Contrast a big expense that your prospect will have if they don’t go with your product.
2.    Contrast the misery they will experience without your product with what your product will bring them.
3.    Make an expensive offer first and then offer them a special deal that looks beautiful in contrast to the initial price.

Use the Magnetic Middle

In their great salesman book, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, authors Cialdini, Goldstein, and Martin talk about the magnetic middle.

The magnetic middle is the reason so many marketing materials have 3 options: A most expensive offer, a much less expensive option and a nice comfy offer in the middle.  For example, 6 bottles for $50, 3 bottles for $30 and 1 bottle for $15.

Test after test has shown that more people choose the middle offer – the 3 bottles/$30 in our example – than the others.

And to be clear, in tests where this exact same offer is made with only one other choice, the number of people who choose it are comparably dismal.

Why? Think about it . . . 

§    The first offer looks great – great savings.  But can you really afford to spend $50 today? 

§    The single bottle looks okay.  But ooh is it painful to pay full price.

§    So finally the middle offer wins out. It’s a nice compromise that makes people feel like they’re getting some savings – but not going over budget. It’s just right.

Two offers make people waffle between two not-so-ideal options.  Turn that upper offer into the middle one by offering an even bigger offer (i.e. 6 bottles for $50) and it becomes the most comfortable, enticing offer ever.

Make A Third Offer That Only A Fool Would Pass Up

The Economist recently reported on a somewhat similar test they ran along these lines – with a twist. 

On one landing page they had two offers: 1.) an online subscription for $59 or 2.) a combined online and print subscription for $125. 

Only 32% chose the second combo deal.

However, on the other landing page test they made the same two offers along with a third: 1.)  the $59 online subscription; 2.) the $125 combo subscription; and 3.) $125 for only the print subscription.

In this case a full 84% of subscribers chose the combo for $125.

Now who would choose offer #3 when you can get #2? And #1 just looks like such a non-bargain.

By presenting their ideal subscription level in the context of the two other options with one that looked particularly bad compared to their target offer, they created an offer that was truly hard to refuse.  Only a fool would pass it up.

Simply because they had a third offer that got you less for the same price as their ideal offer.

Keep Selling

Finally, you have to remember that more people are putting purchasing decisions off. They no longer have cash to burn and even if they did, careful, thoughtful spending is the rule of the day. 

So while your sales letter may truly pique their interest . . . And at another more wealthier time convinced them to buy . . . Now people are putting it in the to-deal-with-later pile.

Essentially you’ve lost them, because you know what happens to those things you file away to reconsider later . . . they’re forgotten.

So how do you bring them back to your offer?  Keep selling to them.

Because as marketer Bill Glazer points out in his book, Outrageous Advertising, the people who are in the "undecided" group (which is usually most of your prospects with a good list), are really very close to a "yes".  All they may need is a little nudging to remember you and decide they want to go ahead and buy from you.

You can keep your products and business in front of them in a number of ways:

1.    Create an autoresponder series full of juicy tidbits and reminders about your landing page.
2.    Create useful, intriguing content you send out as a newsletter that keeps you in front of them as a helpful resource.
3.    Use social media to keep them alerted to your content – and engage them.  Ask if they have questions. Solicit their opinions. Create a place where they can meet other people with similar concerns.

So there you have it – straight from the horse’s – ehem, I mean goat’s – mouth.

Try these tactics in your marketing and see how well you make out – despite the economy.

Leave your comments below.  I’d love to hear how you’ve applied these tactics or other approaches we can all add to the mix.



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