“We Wanted to Build a Machine that Sh*ts Dollars” — With Andrew Warner

Andrew Warner Mixergy.com Saber Blast Interview by Matt AckersonDo you know Andrew Warner?

Whether you’ve already heard his story and listen his entrepreneur interviews on Mixergy.com, this interview shows a fresh side of Andrew.

In our discussion, Andrew and I talk about the little known details of how in his 20′s he built up his internet business, Bradford and Reed, to over $35 million in revenue with no outside investment. Even if you’ve heard his story before, you’ll learn something new when you listen to Andrew explain how he and his brother tested ideas and iterated on their model. Their initial goal was to build a business that “eats quarters and sh*ts dollars.”

Andrew also talks about his low points and the how as an entrepreneur your “counter mind” can get you down and hold you back. Listen to the part of the interview where he talks about being almost acquired by a major greeting card company and the subsequent conversation he had with his co-founder.

Finally, for those of you who are Mixergy fans, Andrew talks briefly about what the future of Mixergy looks like.

Watch the video below or download it as an MP3 by clicking here.

Memorable quotes, questions answered, and lessons learned:

  • “We wanted to build a machine that eats quarters and sh*ts dollars.”
  • We looked around at other people in our space, like HotorNot.com, to see what they were doing. Then we built and tested our own versions of those products.
  • “After we received a check for $350,000 and powering through that low point, we felt like we could never go back to that.”
  • How do you have the confidence to get people to pay you when your finances are so little, and you can’t survive if they don’t pay you?
  • Q: “What happened to Bradford & Reed?” A: “What happened to Bradford & Reed is what happened inside my head.”
  • “I’ve learned to take time off.”
  • Does your counter mind sound like Andrew’s, and if so, how do you get past that noise? “I don’t give time to the negative thoughts [today]. I give time to the thoughts that are truth and empowering… I question those negative thoughts.”
  • How do you handle the feeling, that as an entrepreneur, everything can always feel like it’s falling apart? “The way that I think about it decides it.”
  • Find out what happened when Andrew almost sold his company to a well-known brand. “They were trying to buy us with our own cash.”
  • What’s the future of Mixergy?

Tired of Business Headaches? Automation Might Be the Cure — With Kelly Azevedo

Kelly Azevedo

Wouldn’t it be great to work less, but also have that piece of mind that comes from knowing that your business won’t fall apart if you step away to focus on something else? That’s where building process and systems comes in. If you do it well, it can free up an incredible amount of your time, allowing you to focus more on growing the business, working on tasks that you enjoy more, or just taking a well-earned break to relax.

Kelly Azevedo is the founder of Shes Got Systems, a consulting company that helps other companies create streamlined business systems and automate highly repetitive tasks. The end result is that they save time, make more money, and everyone is less stressed. In this interview, Kelly talks about the core reasons for creating systems, the real-world benefits that happen after they are implemented, tools to help you do it yourself, as well as a myriad of stories and practical anecdotes.

For the Q&A section in the interview, I appreciate the contribution of the following people:

Tools mentioned in this interview:

  • Notable – upload notes and videos to delegate tasks for virtual team
  • Asana – for project and task management
  • Infusionsoft – for social media, email, and sales funnel automation and tracking
  • Salesforce.com – A popular CRM to keep track of contacts and leads

 

How Do You Bootstrap & Build a $13 MM Business From Scratch? — With Chris Hurn

chris hurn entrepreneurs secret to creating wealth

Do you believe it’s almost impossible to start a large, growing business without outside investment? I used to think this way about bootstrapped businesses when I first started out, but amazing entrepreneurs like Chris Hurn have completely flipped my perspective on this. Listen to his story and learn how he did it.

Chris Hurn is the Founder and CEO of Mercantile Capital Corp. Last year the company provided over $400 million in financing to small businesses and entrepreneurs for commercial real estate. Chris recently published his book titled “The Entrepreneur’s Secret to Creating Wealth,” a best-seller on Amazon.com. In addition, as if that wasn’t impressive enough, Chris launched a franchise chain of “Barber Clubs” called Kennedy’s. You can follow Chris and his company on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Facebook.

In this video interview:

  • Pay attention to the part where Chris talks about the positive influences on him when he was growing up as a boy. Then ask yourself: I might be an adult now, but how can I surround myself with smart, business-minded people and increase the number of entrepreneurial experiences I have to help me learn how to succeed faster like Chris did?
  • Learn why there are a lot of “broke, brilliant people out there.” Chris’s answer on this is incredibly thought provoking.
  • Hear some of Chris’s marketing stories (particularly the “medicine bottle” story) to understand how creative, valuable content can be used as a vehicle to drive sales.
  • How do you deal with failure? Do you focus on it, or feel you get stuck with you think about how others will see your mistakes? Listen to Chris’s response to this topic and why he says “failure is a myth.”

Sponsor: This video is sponsored by Saber Blast. Have you ever wondered, “how do I get more relevant traffic to my blog or website without spending $1000s on an ad campaign or begging people to share my stuff on Twitter?” With Saber Blast, you can do exactly that. Just sign-up, select which categories your target market is in and you’re instantly teamed up with dozens of other entrepreneurs and marketers in your target market who can help you spread your content. Make sure to help others spread their content too because the more you do, the more exposure you get within the Saber Blast network. Check it out and sign-up right now for free at SaberBlast.com.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting More Traffic with Alliance Marketing

building alliances china big construction

Read Time: ~10 minutes

Want to know the secret of many big name and current upstart bloggers who are able to get boat-loads of traffic on day one?

When I was 19 years old I started my first business, Scrimple.com, an online
coupon resource for college students. That later spun off into TheSCard.com
and ultimately, BlueSkyLocal.com.

Through out all my ventures, my biggest problem was understanding, “how the heck
do I get more people coming back to this website consistently and in increasing
numbers over time?”

Doing It the “Wrong” Way

At first, I was a baby when it came to online marketing, so I used incredibly inefficient
means for generating traffic:

  • I took chalk and drew the Scrimple logo all over campus.
  • I flyered every dorm room that I could afford to print flyers for.
  • I got my startup featured in the school paper.
  • I spammed 2,000 students from the school’s email directory (I stopped at 2,000 because I got in trouble for it, but that’s a story for another day ;) )
  • I even ran some Facebook ads (this is when Facebook ads were ridiculously cheap and unpoliced. One of our ads was a picture of a girl’s butt in tight jeans with a coupon sticking out of the back… Unsurprisingly that ad got the highest click-through rate).

Dispite all this activity we never averaged over 100-200 visits a day. Even more
frustrating was that if we paused any or all of these activities, traffic
would begin to drop steadily.

What were we doing wrong?

I couldn’t figure it out at the time, but if I could build a time machine
and go back and talk to my younger self I would tell him this:

“If you want to grow, partner with people and organizations that have
more distribution that you and credibility within the community.”

Put another way, to get to scale you must leverage that which already has
scale. It’s like a principle of physics but in marketing.

What is Alliance Marketing?

If you’re a small business, a startup, or in general, you want a profitable
way to increase your distribution, Alliance Marketing is your best bet.

Here are a few examples:

  • Retweets, Facebook Shares, and more — Find people in your network or reach out to existing bloggers who will want the kind of content that you are producing. Ask them if they’d like to “team-up” to reshare your [super-awesome-high-quality] content with their social media audience. In exchange, you’ll do the same increasing each other’s overall exposure. This is the simplest and most effective way to get more people visiting your website.
  • Links, Blogging, & SEO — There’s a slight SEO benefit to getting more retweets on Twitter and the same goes for using Google Plus. Other than that though, it’s good to ask for permanent links on your allies’ websites. The idea is that they want to link to relevant, non-competitive partner sites which will provide additional resources or value for their visitors. Similarly, you should offer to participate in Q&A style blog posts or to write guest posts on your own. Again, the primary benefit in this alliance scenario is links pointing back to your website.
  • Direct Marketing — Forming a marketing alliance with people and brands who have a email list in your target market can be incredibly powerful. With this type of ally, you’ll want to offer to write an newsletter with some sort of free give-away or purchase call to action at the end. In exchange for them giving you access to their email list, you should give them a cut of whatever sales you make, 10-30% if it’s recurring or 30-50% if it’s non-recurring and you can still make a good profit. Plus, you’re building up awareness within the market.

How to Get Started

Start with your own network. Do you have any contacts in your email address book,
Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook who you know would be receptive to one of the above
types of alliance offers?

Specifically, it’s best to form marketing alliances with people and businesses who work in another around your industry. This way they content that they produce and share, and the content you produce and share will be relevant to each of your audiences.

Other criteria worth considering: how active is the person / business on twitter and Facebook? Do they regularly publish blog posts and articles? How many likes and followers do they have compared to you? Your answers to these questions indicate how strong of a potential ally he or she will be for you.

Reaching Out

When you’ve got a list of allies that match your criteria, you’ll want to begin reaching out to them individually.

Here’s how you can word the email message:

Subject line = [insert first name], alliance…

Body of Message =

Hey [insert first name],

I have an idea for how we can help one another grow our web traffic and
search engine rankings without much effort.

Let’s form a Marketing Alliance. This way, when you publish valuable content,
I’ll share it on my social media channels, and similarly you can do the same
for me when I publish content that’s relevant to your audience.

We both get more links and more traffic.

We can use [insert website link or service name] to keep our efforts organized
and bring in more people to our alliance in the future.

Sound good, [insert first name]?

[your first name]

Obviously you can experiment and reword the template above to your liking
but that should help you get started faster.

For example, in my email template, I might be a little more ridiculous to
get people’s attention. I might change the subject line to say: “nom nom
more traffic…”

What Tools Should You Use to Keep it All Organized?

If you don’t keep your alliance marketing efforts organized, you’re going to fail.

Why? It’s because people forget things that they aren’t regularly reminded
of. So, with something like a “formal” marketing alliance, you want to
continuously communicate with them as a reminder that “Hey, you’re part of this
thing, and remember that I’m helping you and you’re helping me, and we’re
both winning, so let’s keep investing into it!”

You can use almost any communication tool, but here are the top 3 I recommend:

  1. Your absolutely best bet is to go sign-up for an account on SaberBlast.com. Saber Blast is my product, so, although you could say I’m biased, the fact is that I custom designed and coded the product specifically to meet this need: to market alongside other people in a streamlined, formalized marketing alliance.saberblast_interface_screenshotThe key advantages of using this customized solution are (1) you can find already formed groups of marketing allies that are actively engaged in helping each other to grow for a particular industry, (2) you can create and blast out content while simultaneously notifying your allies that you want their help, (3) the process of helping your allies and having them help you is streamlined, so you don’t have to visit multiple websites, just click and the content is instantly reshared; (4) it keeps track of which of your allies are contributing most to your success (e.g. who is resharing the most for you); (5) finally, it’s scalable so whether you have 2 allies or 200, all the information and features are centralized so it’s a breeze to grow, blast, and track your marketing.
  2. If you’re looking for free alternatives, I know some entrepreneurs who’ve had early success by forming a Google Group (or create a private community on Google+). It works similar to Saber Blast in that you begin by adding group members, then each member of the group would post content they want help promoting.google_communities_exampleThe downside to this method is that although it is completely free, it requires more work and long-term maintenance on your part and there’s no way to track who contributes the most to you or the overall group’s marketing success. Saber Blast tracks the value each member on the service creates using “Vera Points” and automatically send daily or weekly emails (depending on preferences) to members showing who has valuable content to promote, help has helped you, and resharing requires only 1 click. Regardless, Google Groups is a solid beginner alternative if you’re not ready for a more custom, robust option like Saber Blast.
  3. The simplest way to start forming marketing alliances, other than Saber Blast and Google Groups, it to create an email list or a list serv on your own personal email account. This option is the fastest to get up and running. However it requires the most amount of work to maintain in the long run since you have to add and remove people manually, and work to keep all members engaged. Plus, any tracking will have to be done separately on your part (you can use a google spreadsheet doc for instance).

Remember Key Principles

As you go about implementing your Alliance Marketing strategy, don’t forget best practices and key principles highlighted in this article:

  • To get to scale, piggyback off of that which has scale (e.g. a network of allies and their distribution channels will get you easily 5 to 10x more distribution).
  • More power, together: leverage the power of a group and not just a 1 to 1 marketing alliance. This way, they are always people looking to promote fresh content and you don’t have to worry so much about “oh this person didn’t retweet me, but I retweeted him / her…” because you’ll have several other people who are available to help you out.
  • Givers Gain: helping other people grow their businesses will motivate those people to help you in turn.
  • Recognize top contributors: say thank you to people who give you the most value. People appreciate recognition, especially when it is public.
  • Don’t Kill The Golden Goose: If you ask your allies, and always the SAME, allies to promote you everyday or multiple times a day, even if you’re helping them out, they aren’t going to want to help you long term and they might start ignoring your requests. So, don’t overdue it.
  • No Guts, No Glory: Ultimately, success in Alliance Marketing, like any type of online marketing is that you have to get out there and execute. You have to take ACTION. So, start sending emails, go sign-up for Saber Blast–but just start doing it, today, right now!

What are some other tips or insights on Alliance Marketing you can offer from your own experiences?

What are some other marketing questions you’d like me to touch on in a future publication?

To your growth and relentless improvement,

Sincerely,

Matt Ackerson

8 Tips for FAQ Copywriting that Will Grow Your Sales

writing_FAQs_business_guy

If you’re in business to sell something, there’s strong chance you will notice patterns in the types of questions you get from potential customers.

“Why are you more expensive than X? How does the free trial work? What other websites and tools do you integrate with?”

To help you and your customer save time, it’s standard practice to bundle such common questions about our products and services into an FAQ page.

However, FAQ copywriting should be looked at as a marketing opportunity, and not simply as “just another task on our infinite business To-Do list.”

A well thought-out FAQ section shows that you understand the customer’s needs and that you speak their language. On the other hand a poorly written FAQ section will turn off potential customers with questions and answers they don’t find relevant or helpful.

So how do you do the former and not the latter?

#1 Talk to customers. Do it frequently, Do It Often.

Here’s a short story that other entrepreneurs might be able to relate to. When I started writing the copy for Saber Blast, I made a set of assumptions related to what the customer might have questions about. I looked at BasecampHQ.com and a few other sites. These questions looked good, I thought, so I’ll just model mine after these…

As it turns out, those questions would probably work perfectly if I was selling project management software (some of them I’ve kept over time). But the majority of them needed to be overhauled or replaced with more relevant questions.

You see, the more I spoke to my customers to more I learn what they really cared about. Each time I did this I would pay close attention every question they would ask, even if the answer seemed obvious to me. I would write down those questions, and if I kept hearing the same question multiple times, I would add it to my list of FAQ’s.

So, don’t forget. The first key step to writing a great FAQ section is first understanding what real-world customers have questions about. When you’re not sure, it’s fine to start with a template that’s similar to another website’s FAQ. However, this is a short term solution. Over time, you need to increase the relevance of the FAQ section for potential customers. It needs to specifically fit with what you’re selling.

#2 –  Keep a call to action close by

If you’re not doing this already, shame on you! Just kidding. But seriously, you need calls to action laced throughout your website copy, and not only near the FAQ section.

Think about it like this. You own a store that sells bicycles. A customer walks in and appears very interested in a specific bike you’re offering. You walk over to him and he proceeds to ask you a few questions about it, like: do you have a version of the same bike, but smaller, like for a twelve year old? Does it come in blue? Do you have two in stock?

These questions show that he is interested in making a purchase. So, at the end of the line of questions, is it better to walk back to your cash register and tell him to browse around a bit more? Or are you going to put the decision to him right there by saying something smart like “So you want me to ring it up for you, in the color blue, was it?”

The FAQ section on your website works the same way. If you do a great job of answering your customer’s objections, you should keep a “Get Started” or “Sign-up” button close by so that checkout is only a click away.

Below is an example of how Fresh Desk does this on their website:

 

As you can see, the green “Get Started” button is big and bold, contrasting strongly against the white background. Your call-to-action should be similar: big, noticeable, and convenient.

#3 – Nest valuable social proof next to or, even better, within the FAQ’s

Beanstalk (see screenshot below) provides us a great example of this.

Remember, as I said earlier, writing an FAQ section is NOT a chore. It’s a marketing opportunity. If you have social-proof-bling-bling, you want to flaunt it. People like to buy from companies who have people or brands as customers that they respect or admire.

Therefore, by using your social proof near your FAQ’s, you accomplish two objectives. First, you will answer a common question of new customers: who else is buying from you that I might care about? Second, you create a Jones Effect,

#4 – Make it easy for visitors to find their question via a well-spaced, outline layout

Check out Wufoo.com. Their FAQ page is killer because when you look at it, it’s easy for your to skim and scan it for information. You don’t feel like you reading a book. Rather, the spacing and the bullet points give the impression that if I have a pre-purchase question, I can quickly find it on this page or on a sub-page linked to from this page.

Unlike you, customers don’t wake up thinking about your business. People are busy, busy, busy. So make it quick and easy for them to find the information they’re searching for using this tactic.

#5 – Make the questions and answers personable.

Do you see how I’m writing this article? I’m writing it in the first person, because, well, it feels more natural and authentic. Second, I’m writing in my own voice. If you do this in writing your FAQ’s it will be noticeable, maybe memorable (that’s a good thing), but consider your branding goals before you do this. For instance, if you use slang, but you’re selling to 50+ year-old male doctors… it’s probably not a good fit in that context. You’d want to write in a more formal voice to convey respect. So, it all depends.

Saber Blast gives a good example of this, check out the wording I used in the example below. Although I used “we” in the answer, I begin my answer to the question with the informal word “Sure.”  In addition, I’m not too worried about being “100% correct” with my English as you can see from my capitalization of the word “you.”

Last, how I worded the question is worth noticing: “Why do I need you? Can’t I do this on my own?” This purposefully sounds informal. In fact, I took it almost word-for-word from what two different customers asked me.

 

saber_blast_personable_example

#6 – Place the FAQ on your pricing page, immediately prior to sign-up

Think of the situation I posed in tip #2, where a salesman in a bicycle store asks for the sale after answering the customer’s questions. It only makes practical sense to put the FAQ on your pricing page rather than keeping it separate since that way you can keep the customer focused on making a purchase decision (i.e. trading dollars for the value you promise to provide).

Check out this pricing and FAQ page layout from Harvest, which offers a pretty good invoicing and time tracking product that I’ve been a customer of for a few years now.

getharvest

FAQ on pricing page harvest app

harvest_faq_2

#7 – Choose Your Questions Wisely.

Just because something is obvious to you, does not mean that it is obvious and easily understood by your customer. As I alluded to in tip #1, if you talk to customers often you’ll frequently find yourself giving the same “obvious” answer. So make sure those apparently non-obvious answers are included in your FAQ list.

For instance, ScheduleOnce.com, an online scheduling app, includes in the their FAQs, a question about what happens when a customer wants to go higher than the advertised account limits (“I need more MeetMe pages or services, what shall I do?”).

Now, the obvious answer is to contact them and ask, but for Schedule Once, they’ve gotten this question often enough that it was worthy of being posted on their pricing and FAQ page to save everyone a bit of time, while giving their customer piece of mind.

#8 – Get Creative (YES!)

Finally, it helps to get creative with your FAQ section. Don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit and experiment with completely new layouts, visual ques, or doing something completely unexpected with your page’s design.

Highrise (from the same company that makes Basecamp) provides us a smart and stellar example of this. Check it out below.

 

Remember, in general, your FAQ section is a marketing and sales opportunity. So make sure to talk to your customers to find the best questions, ask for the sale with clear calls to action, give the page an easily skim-able layout, answer questions that are non-obvious to your customers, and finally, don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

What are some other tips for writing an excellent FAQ page that can help us to grow our businesses?

How Simple Conversations Lead to Better Copywriting & More Profit

an old design 02

Good copywriting and design creates specific ideas in the mind of your target customer.

But how important of a priority is the clear communication of these ideas in your business?

Are the ideas that you think are being conveyed, actually being correctly interpreted and received by your target audience as you intended?

If you’re like a lot of businesses, the copy on your website might sound something like this:

  • “We are your technology partner.”
  • “You can count on us for quality.”
  • “We deliver on time, everytime.”
  • “All-in-one.”

The problem is that ideas like these are cliche and often cause a cynical or “ho-hum” type of reaction from customers. We may think our copywriting is great(!) but the reality is that it may be hollow and completely unclear as to what we’re selling and why it is in the customer’s best interest to buy.

I can tell you this is true based on a recent a experience. In my mind, I thought it was completely clear about what our flagship product, Saber Blast, was to the world.

“It was a revolutionary marketing dashboard, with gamification bells and whistles, and a baked in marketing community–and overall the best darn thing since sliced bread… But don’t forget, it’s also an “all-in-one” marketing suite!” Or so I thought…

Needless to say this “all in one” description (pun intended) left prospects scratching their heads when they read the original copy on the website.

“It looks cool… but I don’t understand what you do,” was the most common reaction.

“Is it a tool?” was another response.

I was awe struck when I heard that last one. Even the fact that it was a product, a self-serve piece of software was not being clearly conveyed! My approach was completely wrong headed…

So, in  the spirit of what Dane Maxwell says about writing great copy (“It’s better to be clear, than to be clever“) I began a search find exactly what “clear” meant for the product…

Learn to Listen First, Resist the Temptation to Explain

These days, when I speak with my entrepreneur friends and other prospective clients on the phone, I hear genuine excitement in their voices about what the product is and how it works to grow their businesses.

To get to this point though where people instantly “get it,” I spoke to a wide variety of people one-on-one.

I asked people both within and outside of my target market to load up SaberBlast.com on their computers as I sat quietly and took notes.

“Think out loud for me as you read over the site…” I would say.

They would explain to me where their eyes would go to on the site, from one section of the site to another, usually looking at big words and images first, then digging in deeper to learn more.

Often, where there was more text they wouldn’t finish the entire section. They would jump to another section.

“This isn’t clear, what does this mean?”

I would answer the question, make a note, and they would continue on.

At the end I would ask them to explain the concept back to me in their own words to see how much of what I intended to convey was now clear in their minds.

From going through this process 10-15 times, I noticed I received the best insights and most actionable feedback the more I simply shut up and listened quietly (without judgement or interruption) to how the ideas on the page were being interpreted.

Micro A/B Testing: Implement Feedback Immediately and Keep Going!

For every 1-2 feedback sessions with different people I would tweak the design elements and copy. For example, I might make a button bigger, change a phrase, reword an entire section, switch one paragraph with another, and so on…

My goal was simply to decide if a piece of feedback was practical and then implement it.

If you’re familiar with A/B testing you will know that it’s a great way to get statistical data showing which design and copywriting variation has the most significant impact on your conversion goal (e.g. a purchase).

However, A/B testing is a good idea only for websites without tight deadlines and 10,000+ visitors per month. For early stage business websites with less traffic and less resources, we need something that will give us results faster.

To do this, I created the concept of Micro A/B testing. There’s nothing so scientific or even statistically correct about it. Rather, your “data points” come from seeing a progressive improvement on a case-by-case basis in the feedback prospects give.

You’re constantly comparing the ideas and pointers you heard in previous feedback sessions (version A) with feedback in the most recent testing sessions (version B).

For example, this is easy to see if you stop hearing the same questions being asked over and over.

  • Feedback session with person A: “I don’t understand, what is a Marketing Alliance?”
  • Action taken, copy changed: “Saber Blast is the world’s 1st Alliance Marketing Platform (AMP) for entrepreneurs and marketing professionals. It helps you attract new customers by formally teaming-up with other businesses to cross promote each other’s products, services, blog posts, newsletters, and more. Go viral instantly and stop begging for Retweets and Social Media Shares.”
  • Feedback session with person B: “Oh, ok, it helps you grow marketing relationships and get more customers.”

Notice how person B shows a clearer understanding of concept rather than confusion as voiced by person A.

Remember, when trying out Micro A/B testing for yourself, keep good notes. Implement the actionable feedback you receive quickly, and then test again with someone new. The end goal is for them to “get it” and for the benefits to be perceived as compelling. You’re looking for the “Oooh” type of reaction, when the idea “clicks” in someone’s mind and they’re able to easily explain it back to you.

Do It On the Phone, Not In Person

It’s important to note that Micro A/B Testing will not work via email or instant messenger.

Yes, boys and girls, throw away any fears of interacting with actual human-beings and pick up the phone or schedule a Skype call.

I would actually recommend against going to get coffee or lunch with someone and doing an in-person test for this kind of thing. The reason is because the more personal you make it, the less honest feedback you’re likely to get (overall).

People don’t want to hurt your feelings or tell you something really sucks if you’re being nice by buying them coffee. They’re more likely to tell you what you want to hear.

Phone calls and Skype are ideal because the feedback is real-time, less influenced and unfiltered–you’re listening in on a “fresh mind” as it reacts to what’s on the page.

In addition, another benefit to doing it on the phone instead of in person is that it feels less formal. You’re just a person who’s calling them to get some quick feedback on something, no big deal. Like the nice-guy-coffee-buyer scenario above, formality will ruin potentially useful feedback. You don’t want the people you speak to feel like they’re being tested because they’ll try to give the “right” answer (what they think you want to hear) rather than the answers you need (like how to make the copy more clear and compelling).

Ask the “Right” Questions

Here are examples of questions that I found myself asking repeatedly since they received the most useful responses:

  • How would you explain this to me?
  • What’s the product / service being offered?
  • Do you think it’s valuable? Why?
  • If you had to explain this to a family member, such as your mother, how would you describe it so she understood quickly?
  • Who will this product work best for?

There are multiple ways to ask these questions, and if you feel like you’re not getting good responses, don’t be afraid to ask them one of the variations in a follow-up question.

The Bottom Line

Since I’ve gotten much closer to perfecting the description of what Saber Blast is and why its valuable, sales have come much more easily.

When prospects understand something and they see the benefits that make it unique, they are more likely to want to buy or they can easily refer you to someone who will get value from it.

To use a famous example, which would you rather buy?

“Italian food that’s delicious on round bread with cheese and doesn’t cost too much”

Or…

“Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or it’s free” (Domino’s Pizza slogan from the 80′s)

I’d prefer the latter, because it’s clear and I get it instantly.

How can you apply these lessons to your own business? Please add your ideas in the comments.

Sincerely,

Matt Ackerson

Photo Credit: Hector Parayuelos via Compfight