0

Your Barrier To Entry

barrier to entryWhat I've seen over the years here is people learn of an idea: the magic bullet (of the week). They put it into action ONCE and it doesn't work (for whatever reason...poor quality traffic; insufficient traffic--key issue, that one; lousy conversion tool; insufficient followup; poor target market definition; etc.)

And then they announce, "It DIDN'T WORK!!" to the world.

They really have convinced themselves that because they tried this thing one time, one way (imagine, trying only a single headline and then saying the whole project was a failure) it doesn't work. Ever. For anyone.

Then they jump on after the next shiny object...the new magic bullet of the week.

That's the silliness I'm fighting against here. It's rampant.

Many variables are involved in online marketing. Basic math is required to be good at online marketing. Based on the evidence I've seen, people want to remain ignorant of both and yet still be successful.

People: that ain't gonna happen.

Stick with something longer than three days. Test one variable change at a time. Yes, keep your eyes open for what works and what doesn't, and why.

Imagine there's a fence you have to jump.

That's the fence you need to get over to start making sales and being successful (BTW, did anyone ever tell you Making Sales is the RESULT, not the guts of, internet marketing? Kinda changes your perspective...there are all these things that need to be done and go right BEFORE you make a sale).

Now imagine all the wannapreneurs, here they are, running full tilt at that fence. Some of them don't even know the fence is there. Many underestimate how tall it is. But there they are, full of false and highly temporary enthusiasm based on some magic bullet they heard about and have awkwardly (how else are you gonna do it the first time) put into practice.

And WHAMMY!

Sure are a lot of broken bodies fallen at the foot of and atop that fence.

What Barrier To Entry Means For You

This is called, in professional marketing terminology, Barrier To Entry.

Most people lack the perspective, the stick-to-itiveness to pass that Barrier To Entry.

What does this mean for you, the individual?

Don't be like the herd. The herd is all beat up and broken in front of that fence.

If you can behave differently, and get over that fence, you'll be Inside.

And Inside is where the money is.

Once you figure it out...how to get over that fence, that Barrier To Entry...you keep that knowledge forever. You know what the process is.

Oh sure, some little techie this or that may change. A variable may need a dial or level adjustment. But you know what the variables are.

Stick with it. Measure and manage. Be intelligent.

Blindly and mindlessly following magic bullets is stupid. You'll end up crashed on the fence every time. Even if you do "succeed" you'll have no idea how to duplicate what you just did.

Barrier To Entry Today

This post was first published in 2016. Is there an update for 2021 / 2022?

My impression is that this concept is part of human nature. It is unchanging. We all know "the information is out there", often free of charge. Yet few people will knuckle down and do the research, personal learning and testing necessary to develop skill. They randomly try something once, and when it doesn't work everything related to it is a "scam".

Remember that this is a hurdle separating the wheat from the chaff, the successful from the wannapreneur. Those who expect success from magic beans, rather than developing skill through persistence, are welcome to their fate.

>> For business strategy that gets you past the barrier to entry, get the Sales On Fire program. <<

4

How To Find Pain Points

[Original 2014 Article:] How to find pain points is one of the basic sales questions we need to answer. We know what they are, and we know they are not features or benefits. But how do we get them?

The great thing about how to find pain points is that they are not difficult to find. We merely have to uncover them. Yes, they really are out there, like a good-for-you vegetable resting just under the surface.

Pain points are specific to their niche. Similarities and crossovers may exist from one niche to another, but terminology will change. Remain aware of this. You cannot simply carbon copy a pain point over to a new niche.

It's as simple as this: prospects will tell you the pain points. However, it takes time.

How To Find Pain Points the Easy Way

You have to be willing to begin badly. Realize that your first several days--probably the initial week if you're dialing an hour a day, and perhaps even two--will be purely for discovering pain points. Want faster results? Make more dials. This is the barrier of effectiveness: most people give up after a couple hours of calling. But the payoff if you commit is tremendous.

When you start, you'll begin with a "good enough" script. Your best guess for what may work. Pick a niche and stick with it. Some prospects won't want to talk, and that's fine; there are always people who don't want to or aren't able to talk. We know this from our industry standard stats:

- half the people you call won't be available

- half of the people who pick up the phone can't actually talk right now.

But of those who do pick up and can talk, some of them will want to help you with how to find pain points. Some people are just plain helpful. Others want to puff out their chests and be the expert. Either one is good for you.

You won't have to fight. Keep your ears open. Listen to what prospects are telling you. Eventually you're going to realize you've heard what this prospect just said before. Write that phrase down. Write it down exactly the way they said it. Notice the terminology. And over the next few days, you'll hear that same thing again and again. When you are told the same thing by three or more decision makers in that industry, you have the makings of a pain point.

"I'm sick and tired of metal fabrication subcontractors promising to meet our delivery dates to get the order, and then failing to do so. That screws up all the inspections and the schedule of all the trades that follow them in."

"Yeah, we gave a few jobs to a fab shop and their work is good, but they keep missing delivery dates. That really causes me a lot of trouble. I get penalized by the developer. The city inspectors and finishing carpeters hate my guts."

"I might consider trying you, but there's a question I have: can you deliver when you say you will?"

This is an example of a series of things you might here--and I did hear--when prospecting for a metal fabrication shop. You can see the common thread. You can also pick out some of the specific industry terms. The pain point is right there.

The No-Risk Way of How To Find Pain Points

Here is a way to uncover pain points without disturbing your target market:

Call the same niche, but in a different geographic area.

Yes, you may miss something that's different about your local area, but you'll get enough to start having good conversations.

Once you get the decision maker on the line, ask: "I'm not sure if you can help me, but I'm trying to find out about the experience (their niche) has had with (your type of company). Have you worked with one?"

Eg. "I'm trying to find out about the experience building contractors have had with metal fab shops. Have you worked with one?"

If they have a story to share, they will.

Then ask them what the worst experience they've had with one was. And then the best.

Yes, the best. Good experiences can be turned around into pain points. Just reverse the situation...if you can actually accomplish the end result.

An Example of How To Find Pain Points

I had a client in Florida who worked all day. He got out of the office at 5PM local time. Obviously we couldn't call locally, so we picked roofers in Colorado. Within a dozen dials, he had the marketing manager of a medium-sized roofing company on the line. Just out of niceness, she spent twenty minutes sharing with him the specifics of the roofing industry in Colorado. I pulled six pain points out of that conversation. It was easy. Now we had our way of starting great conversations with prospects.

Now this may sound simple. And it is. But when making sales calls, most people are concerned with what they are going to say rather than listening to what the other person is saying. I am asking you to keep listening in mind. What is the prospect actually saying?

The information is out there. You simply have to be willing to put in the time and effort, which is not massive and yet has a huge payoff, to uncover it.

2021 Update on How To Find Pain Points

If you want to find out what's really going on in your prospective customer's world, you still can in a world now used to remote meetings. All you need is for that prospect to have a good reason to talk with you. In a previous situation, we found that people who wanted further information on a financial product they had been educated about were more than willing to provide details about their investment and debt history. This was information they wouldn't feel comfortable sharing with their own mother—but in the right situation, they would happily share such details on a phone call within fewer than five minutes with an expert they were meeting for the very first time.

Consider: what do they want to get out of speaking with you? Make it about them and not you...and then you'll be able to get answers to whatever questions you wish.

>> Want more expertise like this on your side? Sign up for the free SALES ON FIRE video training series! <<

0

Sharing New Business Ideas, Trust and NDAs

Sharing new business ideas can be a scary proposition for the idea originator. Here are the kinds of worries people typically ask me about when it comes to sharing their 'baby' with someone else for feedback and possible implementation help.

Do you feel corporations are fair?

I have an idea that could be worth millions to a company. Should I drop it in their suggestion box and hope they pay me?

Should I build a business around it and help them indirectly?

How about getting legal agreements in place and then meeting with the company under an NDA?

How would you protect you business concept/idea? Non-competition agreement? Joint venture contract? Trademark or registration?

[Originally published March 1, 2016]

Ethics In Sharing New Business Ideas

My answer begins with the statement that business is business, and that is a different world than personal relationships. Loyalty stands for very little, unfortunately. If you find a business associate who values loyalty, try to stay in touch with them.

An NDA/non-compete and a licensing agreement should keep you protected, if you're going the road of giving the idea to someone else to execute.

Let's talk about execution.

This is how an idea's value can really be measured when you bring it to someone else.

How interested are they in executing it?

You have to know this before you meet and disclose the idea.

And then you still have another factor to consider: honestly (or morality). We can do this with a 2x2 grid demonstrating four possibilities in a sort of "Idea Sharing Risk Table":

sharing new business ideas

They are interested and honest.

They are interested and dishonest.

They are uninterested and honest.

They are uninterested and dishonest.

Four Quadrants of Sharing New Business Ideas

Are you starting to see why it's important to know how they rank on these two factors before you reveal your idea?

We're in negotiation now. Which, by the way, is selling. I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. What I am sharing is selling advice.

You had better have your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) figured out for each of these four possibilities.

Copyrights, trademarks, patents are all helpful, but they are not bulletproof protection.

Especially patents.

Utility patents, for something like a zipper on an article of clothing being termed as a "device pocket", are the kind of thing Mark Cuban goes berserk about the silliness of. They're the veneer of protection.

Regular patents only protect execution (see how we're back to that word again?) specifically the way you have explained it.

So 3M has a patent on Post-It (tm) Notes.

The patent is for a lightweight strip of glue running across the top of a small piece of paper.

If you can come up with another way of temporarily securing the note to other objects without using lightweight glue, 3M's patent is meaningless. You can just go do that.

That's why when you disclose your idea, the NDA is not really protection. If they can figure out another way of executing your idea, they're home free.

If they are interested and honest, they will tell you so. They are ready to get started, will play by the rules, and you can expect to be paid properly. [SAFE]

If they are interested and dishonest, they will tell you it's an airy-fairy idea, they don't like it, it won't work. But they were quick to agree to the meeting. And they kept asking you questions about how you planned to execute the idea. [DANGER]

If they are uninterested and honest, they again will tell you so. It may be hard to book the meeting. They keep bumping the date. This may be a good opportunity for a reality check, and possibly getting execution ideas from someone who knows how to do the work but isn't going to get involved in it. [SAFE]

If they are uninterested and dishonest, you are going to get the run-around. The meeting will take forever to get, or get booked and run so fast it's like poop through a goose. They may ask a lot of questions to "hedge their bets"...but they'll never execute. [SAFE]

As you can see, most of the time, you are safe when sharing new business ideas.

Risk and Execution When Sharing New Business Ideas

Remember, execution is rare.

You can be sharing new business ideas all you like. People are already busy with their own ideas, which they believe to be valuable. They are unlikely to remove resources from those to execute your new idea.

So overall, you are relatively safe from being ripped off...especially if you are careful who you share your idea with.

How long it takes you to book the meeting, the process they want to follow, how they ask and answer questions...all these will show you their level of honesty. Easy come, easy go. There should be some rigor involved in setting up an agreement like this. Honest people will probably want to see you put some skin in the game, too.

2021 Update On Sharing New Business Ideas

In the five years since this post was first published, I've continued to see a great deal of nervousness in sharing ideas between new connections. Especially with technical concepts, the new business owner or founder tends to believe someone is going to "steal their baby". But this is a sign of the founder being a newbie. It immediately shows the other party that you are inexperienced and they will probably avoid working with you.

On the other hand if you are experienced and really feel you have reason to be nervous in sharing your ideas with another person, that's a sign you shouldn't be doing business with them. Should you have to "lock things down" and try to protect your intellectual property in a relationship as you go into it, would you truly be surprised later on if the other party found a way to wriggle out of those terms? How things begin is likely how they're going to continue.

Remember that most of the time you're safe to share. In those cases where it feels unsafe, trust your impressions.

>>Jason Kanigan is a business strategist concentrating on operations improvement, entering new markets, and sales training. Book a consultation with Jason here to discuss your specific situation.<<