I highly recommend a book by Mark Joyner titled “The Irresistible Offer: How to Sell Your Product or Service in 3 Seconds or Less.” This book was an easy read and at first blush, I thought well that’s an interesting idea. In retrospect, the book really started me thinking. The short version is as follows:
The Core imperative in business:
Make an offer. Quid Pro Quo. I will give you X in exchange for Y. Do this effectively and you can quickly weed out the players from the disinterested time wasters.
Addressing the unspoken dialog:
According to the author, when a person picks up a marketing piece, meets a new person or is on the receiving end of a sales call, there are 4 questions in their mind.
What are you trying to sell me?
Why should I believe you?
What’s in it for me?
We basically have a person’s attention for 3 seconds and must address these questions or we will lose them. The first three questions address the buyer’s logic, the last question is emotional.
The Irresistible Offer:
“The Irresistible Offer is an identity-building offer central to a product, service or company where the believable return on investment is communicated so clearly and efficiently that it’s immediately apparent you’d have to be a fool to pass it up.” – Mark Joyner
Mark’s 3 favorite Irresistible Offers:
Domino’s – “30 minutes or less . . . or it’s free.”
Federal Express – “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
Columbia House – “10 CDs for 1 Cent.”
All of these meet the criteria of an identity-building offer central to a product, service or company where the believable return on investment is communicated so clearly and efficiently that it’s immediately apparent you’d have to be a fool to pass it up.
There are three basic elements to the Irresistible Offer:
High Return on Investment (ROI)
If you have all 3, you have an outstanding offer. What you lack in one area must be made up in the other areas. For example, Domino’s pizza was not perceived as particularly good in the early days. So, their offer was low ROI but the touchstone, immediate pizza when you are hungry, was very compelling.
Let’s return to the Core Imperative. Make an offer. Without an offer, there is no business, simple as that. Customers need to perceive an ROI or there is no point. The ROI should be clear and real. I can get 10 CDs for 1-Cent. This implies high ROI even though the perspective customer knows they will have to buy more at a higher price . . . but in total they get cheap CDs.
The Touchstone is a brief statement of what you do, what’s in it for your customer, and what makes it believable. For example, Domino’s was selling fast pizza, you get it in 30 minutes or less because you are hungry. You can believe us because, if it’s late, you get it for free. Look at the touchstone breakdown for these offers.
Columbia House breakdown by 4 imperative questions:
What is Columbia House selling? - Cheap Compact Discs
How much will it cost? – 1 Penny
What’s in it for you? – cheap music, bragging rights
Why should you trust Columbia House? – Not much to lose. It’s low risk but customers are still skeptical.
Dominos breakdown by 4 imperative questions:
What is Domino’s selling? - Fast Pizza
How much will it cost? – Not stated
What’s in it for you? – Immediate gratification, Pizza now when you are hungry.
Why should you trust Dominos? – If they don’t deliver on their promise, it’s free - -strong risk reversal.
Federal Express breakdown by 4 imperative questions: What is Federal Express selling? – Overnight Delivery
How much will it cost? – Not stated - We believe this is so valuable; you may not care about price.
What’s in it for you? – Delivery is made overnight, your project can continue w/o delay. You have covered your bases.
Why should you trust Federal Express? – Trust worthiness is implied in the name Federal Express.
Let’s put this in context of what Mark describes as the Great Formula.
An irresistible offer
A thirsty market
A second glass.
In other words, identify your market and know who is thirsty for what you are offering, make them an irresistible offer and after they have made their purchase, reel them in for repeat business, sell them a second glass of water. If the ROI is real as well as perceived, the second glass is an easy sell.
Believability can be one or a combination of:
Proof – this can be social proof (we have satisfied customers), Technical proof (independent data validates our offer), Factual proof (presentation of facts that validate our offer)
Credibility – are we credible, do we have the substance to make the offer?
Endorsements – high profile or respected people they know that would attest to our solution.
High profile customers - who are the big dogs they respect that we do business with?
Qualifications – memberships, degrees, member organizations.
Awards and recognition – customers like to associate with winners.
Logic – rock solid logic to support an irresistible offer.