Sunday, March 13, 2011

I need help ... Theory of Constraints Mafia Marketing

We all want to increase sales, but getting new customers can be a challenge. In fact, this was the number 1 challenge readers of this newsletter listed (click here to sign up).

And it’s no wonder, according to a 2009 Marketing Sherpa study if you have 100 opportunities only 4 are likely to move from “sales ready lead” to “qualified prospect” to an actual customer.

And those numbers are based on “averages”. If you have a more technical sale (which many of you do) requiring a higher quantity of information transfer where the quality of that information, the timing of the delivery and the method/quality of that delivery can all cause your actual average to be lower.

But there is some good news. One proven way to increase conversion rates is to get the prospect to seek YOU out.

How much do you love it when a customer or prospect comes to you with what basically amounts to “I need help…”? If you’re like me, you LOVE it LOVE it LOVE it!

WHY do we love it?

* Because if they were willing to ask for our help:

* They know enough about what we do that they think we have the expertise to help; and

* That they, at some level, already trust us.

Which means the normal conversion rates don’t apply -- we have a much higher likelihood of winning this business.

If you didn’t trust someone, would you ask them for help?

If you didn’t think someone could help you, or thought they were an idiot, would you ask them for help?

No! So if someone does ask you for help. This is a really good thing.
So one of the key marketing questions (if you want more sales) is – how do I get more existing customers and new prospects to ask me for help on work I want to do and I’m qualified to do?

Here’s the formula we’ve been using to elicit the "I need help" response:

1. Shine a light on the problem. (there needs to be a message to market match)
2. Verify or validate the problem.
3. Show that it's even worse than that. (don’t exaggerate, be truthful in all of this)
4. Provide the light at the end of the tunnel.

And yes, for the Theory of Constraints fans out there you’ll notice that this is based partially on the TOC Buy-in process. Step one would be equivalent to “Agree on the Problem” and step four would be equivalent to “Agree on the Direction of the Solution”.

Let’s go through this with an example. Let’s say that I sell tooling for machine shops. And shops that use my tooling can reduce their setup times typically by 25%.

1. What problems do your customers or prospects have, that are significant, but that you can help solve?

They have long setup times. So long that a fair amount of their production capacity is spent setting up machines. Capacity that could be used for shipping more jobs.

2. How can you verify or validate this problem?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology ( reports that US manufacturers waste 25% to 65% of their capacity being “ineffective”[1]. That’s a large portion of US manufacturing capacity that is not productive.

[side note: I had to go find this statistic, but it wasn’t hard to do. And look at the power of having a government agency showing that what I’m writing about is important.]

3. How is it even worse than that for your particular target market?

And custom machine shops are undoubtedly at the highest end of that spectrum. Machine shops rarely have the luxury of staying in one setup for any length of time. The nature of a custom business is small runs that don’t often repeat.

4. What kind of hope is there for solving this problem?

But, a number of custom machine shops are turning these statistics around using tooling that’s designed for quick setups. This tooling costs the same as traditional tooling, the only catch is that you will need to do a little up front work with your tooling supplier.

Now, I do not sell tooling. But if I did, I could use this information in my marketing to get existing customers and prospects to respond and fairly quickly ask for help designing tooling that will reduce their setups. Will everyone? No, of course not. But the best ones will (the ones that really relate to the problem) and they are much more likely to turn into a sale.

The response you’re after could be to get them to download a report on using tooling to reduce setup times or to sign up for a webinar or to sign up for a consultation with you (depends on your sales process and what you’re selling).

We are closing over 67% of the people who contact us from this type of marketing. That means 67 sales out of 100 instead of 4. And selling Velocity Scheduling System and Mafia Offer Boot Camp is not only a technical sale, it’s a counter intuitive one. So before you go dismissing this technique, convinced it won’t work for you – I suggest you give it a try.

If YOU generated your marketing materials or wrote your newsletter and articles with the objective of getting prospects to ask for help – would you get a few more quality leads?  (that's Mafia Marketing)

If you wanted help applying this concept to your business -- getting more customers and prospects to contact YOU – wouldn’t you contact me? :-)

Let me know what you think, by leaving a comment on this post.  I read ALL your comments!

Wishing you success,

Dr Lisa
President, Science of Business

P.S. FOR CUSTOM JOB SHOPS ONLY: The next Velocity Scheduling System Coaching Program starts on March 28.

P.P.S. Ready to increase sales? Need a Mafia Offer? The ON-LINE Mafia Offer Boot Camp is open for registration!


Chris said...


The promotion method you are describing is pretty much what we do today at Argent. However, I never really looked at it like you described it. The products we produce are simply the end result of the service we provide. On the outside, most people would see Argent as a job shop, which in fact we are and aren't at the same time. We deem ourselves "solution providers" and not a Die Cutter. Even though a custom designed die cut part is the solution to most of our customers problems.

Our customers call us for help all the time and we're damn good at it. As a matter of fact, we can be downright firefighters at times, which makes us quite reactive and less proactive. With that said ... what I'd always envisioned, but never fully absorbed; was how to use proactive thinking to produce better reactive selling results.

Everyone wants to be proactive, and that's a good thing ... I just want to use a proactive approach to be better at being reactive.

Does this make any sense at all ?

Dr Lisa Lang said...

Hi Chris,
Makes perfect sense. You want prospects/customers to ask for help and then you want to be prepared when they do. Because if they ask for help and you can't be responsive, you've just wasted some of your marketing efforts.
Thanks for sharing,
Dr Lisa

Post a Comment