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Usage Stats Are Up!

usage stats amaretto coffeeUsage stats can be deceiving. I'm sitting here drinking amaretto-flavored coffee. A secondary flavor (almonds?) is supposedly flowing through its ground and dripped essence, but the amaretto is definitely coming through strong.

I didn't ask for amaretto coffee.
I would never buy amaretto coffee.
It was a gift, probably plucked off the clearinghouse shelves of TJ Maxx, and this morning I remembered it was hiding out in the trunk of my car.

The standard supply of Colombian had run out, and a trip to the store is a future not current event.

So I brought this strange bag inside and tried it.

The Misleading Nature of Usage Stats

Thus far I have not:

  • spat it out
  • recoiled in horror
  • said anything like, "OMG how AWFUL"
  • thrown the bag away
  • poured the decanter's contents down the drain and disinfected the container.

I am actually drinking the coffee.

It is not good.

It is not terrible.

It is coffee, and I wanted coffee.

The fact that this coffee has come along with amaretto and another mysterious flavor is secondary.

However—!

Let us imagine for a moment a survey company phones me up now.

"Sir!" begins the survey taker smartly. "Are you drinking an amaretto-flavored caffeinated beverage?"

And I would have to truthfully report, "Yes."

Yes, I am.

"Thank you sir, that is all I need today!" *click*

Ya-hum.

Usage Stats and Correct Measurement

Now can you see where this is going?

Our survey taker reports back to their marketing firm client.

My response is anonymously morphed into a total of many. Some of us are indeed drinking this specific flavor of beverage.

The marketing firm executive rubs their hands together with glee.

Usage stats are up!

Their efforts must be working.

And this, dear reader, is the extent to which most small and medium firms conduct their market research.

Not much depth, no correlation or causation testing, no deep inquiry into Why.

Let's look at what they did not find out.

They did not discover whether their product was actually wanted.

They did not determine if the user picked their product specifically, at random, or by default.

They did not find out if, as in my case, the user wanted something like that solution, and chose this one not because it was the best fit, or did exactly what they wanted, or provided the features they were looking for...but instead was an answer merely less painful to get than any other at the time.

And so on.

Yet the marketing departments will take the basic data they collected back to their offices, and congratulate themselves on providing precisely what the market wanted.

No...

Are you guilty of this?

How is your level of dialogue with your audience?

Do you know exactly why your target market buys from you, what they value from you?

If not, it's time to do some information interviews.

Sometimes it's not fun to hear that the most cherished feature of what you offer has, in reality, zero value and makes no difference in your customer's buying decision. But if you're willing to set that aside, and go after a deeper understanding of usage stats, you will learn priceless information.

>> Jason Kanigan is a creator of converting funnels, using high ticket copywriting and sales training skills. If you want what your products or services deliver to match exactly what your customers value and are looking for, get ahold of Jason. <<

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How To Decide On a Service [Business Newbie Guide Part 2]

How to decide on a service

How to decide on a serviceHow to decide on a service or product to offer with your new business is a question that creates panic in even the most confident mind. What if your choice is wrong? What if your market doesn't want that? What about all the lost time?

As we saw in Part 1, the first step in choosing a product or service is not running around asking everyone, "What's working? What's selling?" but rather to begin by making a list of things you like to talk about all day.

Two Key Questions On How To Decide On a Service to Offer

I'd like to address a couple questions you may have had about this. First, I said having a topic you enjoy discussing as the subject of your business automatically makes you enthusiastic. But haven't I, in the past, declared "Enthusiasm Is Your Enemy"?

Yes, enthusiasm is your enemy--false, oil slick enthusiasm that is the cloak of the unethical salesperson. But genuine enthusiasm? That's your friend. The root of the word enthusiasm means "in spirit", meaning you are in spirit...in the zone, time passes without you noticing because you love what you're doing, and that internal light switch is turned on. Now how does that sound as the core of your business? Pretty smart idea.

Second, what about your marketplace? What if they aren't interested in any of the things you are excited about?

Ah, now we have arrived at the crux of today's message. Take a look at this Venn diagram:

Passion vs Payment

Starting to get the picture?

The Next Step of How To Decide On a Service or Product

The next step in your journey is to find out what problems people have with the topic areas you're interested in that you can solve. These are called "pain points" and I have written about them many times on this site. Here in Part 2, it's time to invest some energy in exploring each of those subjects you've written down. You will be looking for things people say about each topic that confirm there is a problem for you to fix.

You could talk to people in each target market. Book and conduct some information interviews. This is a way to get instant feedback. However, you're also required to get on the phone, which is probably outside of your comfort zone.

Another option available to you for finding pain points is data mining of Amazon reviews. Yes, in reviews of Amazon/Kindle books are buried clear descriptions of what was wrong in the buyers' lives right before they bought--what induced them to go looking for help, and why they got this book...and perhaps even most critically, what they didn't find inside to satisfy their expectation of a solution. Here is the best explanation of how to search through Amazon reviews for pain points I've found.

Yes, this is going to take you some time. Several days, perhaps. Isn't the very foundation of your business worth it, though? Don't you want to get this right the first time?

Here's a video I made to discuss this process in a little more detail:

If you don't find any pain points, either you have an untapped opportunity or no opportunity. Likely you should cross this topic off the list. Start narrowing down the opportunities.

Next, we'll look at how to start getting in front of qualified prospects.

>> Get the latest critical info on unorthodox sales & marketing by subscribing to SalesTactics.org by email or Following us on Twitter. Want to talk to Jason? Click here <<

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How Do I Build a List

ListBuildHow Do I Build a List? I see this question frequently in business forums and on expert platforms. Business owners and salespeople are wondering how to generate a prospect list, and what to do with it. The process is much easier than people seem to want to make it, but a little thought at the beginning can give you big dividends moving forward.

The first question you need to answer when generating a prospect list is "Buy or Build?"

Options for Answering How Do I Build A List

1. Buy a list

Pros: Single data source, can usually sort by some variables, often cost-effective.

Cons: Costs money, imperfect targeting, will require more screening.

2. Build a list

Pros: Totally customized based on your specific requirements, reduces screening requirements going forward, completely under your control.

Cons: Potentially high cost of data gathering, time-consuming, easy to put off doing.

The costs of both options are business expenses and should be used to reduce your taxable revenue.

For either choice, pre-qualify beforehand. Do some Information Interviews. The kinds of things you want to discover are: What are typical features of customers who buy from you? What size are they? How long have they been in business? What growth stage are they at? Structure? Industry?

What typical problems do they have that make them aware they have a need for what you offer?

Find out these things and generating your list will be much easier. Whether you're buying or building, you can sort by these variables. Then you're only paying to get info on those organizations that fit the profile.

Step #2 of How Do I Build a List

The next step of list building is the calling stage.

Your job now is to SORT the profile-qualified prospects by whether they have the problems buyers usually choose to work with you to fix or not.

This is why information interviews beforehand are so helpful. Companies do not advertise their greatest weakness on their website. You won't find it in their annual report. You have to actually talk to them to uncover what these issues are and the terminology they use to discuss them.

If a prospect doesn't have a problem you can fix at this time, that doesn't mean they are dead. Circumstances change. Mark the prospect for a callback three to six months down the line to check.

The next question typically following How Do I Build a List? is what CRM to use to keep track of this data. The answer is just like in exercise: the one that you will make use of! I use a simple Google calendar plus conditionally-formatted spreadsheet...keeps me up to date and I actually use it, instead of the many white label and custom CRMs I've used in jobs over the years.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales trainer and business development expert. Was this information on How Do I Build a List useful to you? Please Like or Share to let another person who you believe would benefit from it know! Also, if you have a question about building a prospecting list, Comment below. <<