Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

The Death of The Bell Curve

Recently I have been listening to a lot of Seth Godin audiobooks whilst driving. They are packed with gold!

Today I was listening to Meatball Sundae, which discusses the way marketing has been turned on its head and how to thrive in the new world of marketing.

Traditional Bell Curve
The traditional bell curve looks just like the shape of a bell. Small at the start, peaking in the middle and then dropping down to become small again at the end. In the past only a few people would purchase the cheap (and crap) and a few people would pay for the best. Most people were in the middle paying average prices for average things (think Jeans West and Target)

The New Inverted Bell Curve
With the changes in the web the bell curve is now inverted with most people either buying the most expensive and the best or the cheapest.

If I want a new phone charger for my car I can get one for $1 posted…I wouldn’t pay an average price ($10-$20) we I can get almost the same quality for cheap.

If I don’t care about the brand then I am going to go for the cheapest.

Take the other side of the spectrum. A lot of people will pay in excess of $400 for a pair of Ksubi jeans. The style and brand of the jeans demand a premium and people are willing to pay for it.

What This Means For Me
For me it proves what I knew all along, no one wants average. People either want the best or the cheapest.

In sales this means I either need to be the cheapest (and let’s face it someone is always cheaper) or I need to find a way to be the best. I want to set the bar so high that other companies will fail to reach it.

If I drop my brand new iPhone in the toilet and then drive over it I can take it to the apple store and get a brand new only for a couple of hundred dollars. This is excellent service and it will take Samsung a long time to win my business back.

I am still not 100% sure how I can provide something so excellent that people would be happy to pay a premium, but I intend to spend this year figuring it out.

Maybe I could provide phenomenal service, or find a way to get pharmacies their products faster than ever before. Maybe I can find a way to become so integral in their business and leave such an aftertaste of satisfaction that they wouldn’t want to risk going elsewhere.

I don’t have all the answers, and in the regulated industry of pharmaceuticals it won’t be easy to find a clear way to win. But I believe it is something the market is lacking, and something I would love to provide to them.

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The Three Legged Walker Sales Close

I am currently in the process of formulating and finalising the two different membership types on my website (still can’t reveal the website yet). Basically I will be offering a monthly subscription service, but I don’t want people to sign up for one month and then get all of the data and leave, so I have been trying to work out ways to get people to sign up for a full year at a time.

I am going to employ what I call the three legged walker sales close. Odd name for a sales close but let me explain.

I work at a Chemist, and we also sell aged care products such as incontinence pads, beds, chairs and walkers. When you come in to choose your walker most people don’t want to spend a lot of money so they will look at the base model. The base model is a three legged walker with no seat. It is $189 and you have to buy the basket separately. The next model up from that is the base model four legged walker. This has a seat and a basket included and costs only $169. So why would anyone buy the three legged base model?

The answer is: They wouldn’t!

When someone comes in to buy a walker for their parents, or themselves, they are likely not going to want to spend a lot of money. To come to them and say this 4 legged walker costs $169 they could be shell shocked and refuse to pay $169 for a walker. But instead they come in and are first introduced to the three legged walker, without a seat or basket for $189. This seems expensive but then when you look at the 4 legged walker with a seat and a basket for only $169, all of a sudden this seems like a great deal.

You get all these added extras, that would be extremely helpful to that person’s life, and you are saving $20! So now, instead of simply focusing on the $169 and how much that costs, the customer is thinking about the added extras they will get and the $20 (or more) they will save if they buy the 4 legged walker.

I have not yet seen one 3 legged walker sold, nor have I even seen an elderly person walking around with a 3 legged walker. Elderly people who need a walker to get around want a seat, and they want a basket and they love the discount. I think the walker company would be shell shocked if someone ordered the 3 legged walker. They probably don’t even stock any because they know they will never sell them.

The 3 legged walker is not there to be sold, it is there merely to sell the 4 legged walker. It is to make the 4 legged walker look good in comparison to something else.

I am going to use this technique on my website (I think). Instead of only offering a yearly subscription fee and everything you get with that I will offer two options. I will first introduce them to the more expensive monthly fee, without any extras, and then I will introduce them to the cheaper one year alternative which has a whole bunch of added extras. The monthly subscription is not there to be sold, it is there to sell the yearly subscription.

Some may say that this is a nasty trick, but I don’t think it is. The yearly subscription is already great value, underpriced and will be an incredible asset to the customers’ lives. It is already worth every penny they would spend on it. But people freak out when they see big numbers and avoid making a decision that will benefit their lives. So you put something overpriced in there to ease the customers mind about spending money on the original product. You are, through an interesting method, helping the customer have a satisfying purchasing experience.

Let’s face it, old people need walkers so they would buy them anyway. But what is better for the customer? Them walking out angry and frustrated and depressed that they had to spend $169 on a walker, or walking out happy and overjoyed that they saved $20 AND got a bunch of bonus extras for only $169. One sales method adds to the customers life by giving them a good experience, one takes away from their live by giving them a bad experience. They end up with the same product, but different experiences.

So that is the Three Legged Walked Sales Close. I am almost certainly going to use this in my business.

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