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How to Market The Daylights Out of Just About Anything Using the Dollars for Dimes Principle

Marketing is either the easiest thing you'll ever do in your life, or it's the hardest.

If you're doing it the old, staid, traditional way, it can be pretty grueling. You offer the same product or service (more or less) with the same features at about the same price as everyone else. It's a tough way to make a living.

Fortunately, there's another way. I call it selling dollars for dimes. And once you understand this method, you'll find that selling becomes at least ten times easier.

Most people never think about it, but all business boils to value creation. In exchange for "X" sum of money, your customers purchase a package of benefits normally referred to as a product or service.

The formula is simple . . . Sell a dollar of value for a dime.

In this series, I'm going to share 4 techniques for dramatically altering the perception of value . . .

Dollars For Dimes Technique #1: Denominate a specific end result your product or service produces.

Most companies and salespeople don't articulate their benefits as clearly and powerfully and as they could. (Remember, a benefit is a package or unit of value.)

And because of that, their customers don't have a clear picture of the value they're receiving in exchange for their money.

How many times have you heard the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words? Yet we often don't paint vivid mental pictures of the benefits we offer our customers.

Look at it this way: Value is a picture in the mind, and through words we can alter the perception of value. Therefore, our ability to create value for our customers and prospects is virtually unlimited.

In spite of this, most companies throw out meaningless phrases like "best quality," "professional," or "good service." Can you picture quality or service? No you can't because these words are abstractions. Quality, service and professional are NOT benefits since they refer to what is being sold, not to the end result achieved for the customer.

And that means these words are not creating value in the mind of the customer.

Let me give a practical example you can relate to. In one of my seminars, a real estate agent explained how he offered better service than his competitors. I asked, "What specifically do you do better and how does that benefit your clients." After several rounds of questions, it boiled down to speed: he helps clients buy or sell homes faster than other real estate agents.

Here's where technique number one comes in. To turn an abstraction into a meaningful word picture, denominate the benefit or put a figure to it. In the above example, I'd want to know how much time on average the agent saves his clients. If I remember correctly, he said he moves his clients through the process 3 months faster than the average real estate agent.

Now, if you were looking to sell your home and you ran across ads in the newspaper with the following 2 headlines, which agent would you be more likely to call?

a. Real estate agent provides fantastic service!
b. Real estate agent gets your home sold 3 months faster!

Now, this agent may or may not be able to make that exact statement, depending on the rules governing real estate advertising. However, I think you see the power of translating vague terms such as quality or service into meaningful specifics.

In my seminars, when I have the audience practice writing benefits, I notice that most people write statements without enough impact.

For example, one guy was selling a kit that allows you to make wine at home. He wrote a headline for an ad that read, "How to save money on wine." That's okay, but it isn't particularly compelling.

After asking a few questions, we boiled down his benefit statement down to this: "How to get a $100 bottle of wine for $5." Can you see how this articulation tangibilizes the benefit of saving money?

What makes the difference is the word picture you paint of the end result. Just one simple change like this in the headline of an ad or sales letter can increase response by up to 21 times. So it's important that you grasp this technique.

Let me give you another example from a client who sells candles to churches around the world. The company has developed liquid candles that lasts 50% longer than wax products. For many churches, the savings translate into significant numbers.

I could write a headline that says, "How to slash your candle costs by 50%, save time and avoid the hassle of cleaning up wax drippings."

But would that sentence evoke a sizzling picture that makes pastors, ministers and priests burn with desire for my client's products? You never know for sure until you test the headline.

My instincts tell me this headline could be stronger. Here's why: Can you see what 50% savings looks like or the benefits you'll receive as a result?

Do the words "save time" ignite pictures of excitement in your brain? Do these words spell out the benefits you'll receive from saving time?

How can you change this scenario? (And this is exactly what you should do when you're writing your own advertising or sales presentations.) Ask yourself this question, "How can I turn this information into a word picture that arouses feelings and emotion in my prospects' brains.

As an illustrative example, here's another way to write the headline . . .

At the top of the letter is a picture of a priest or minister with a beaming smile. The headline reads:

How using X candles pays for our summer Bible school every year . . . and frees up an additional week and a half of time annually. (Time I spend meeting the needs of our congregation and taking a well-deserved vacation.)

Best of all, I never, ever, again have to hassle with cleaning up messy wax droppings!

In summary, the first technique in selling dollars for dimes is to increase the perceived value of your product or service by translating vague benefits into specific, meaningful word pictures your customers can relate to.

Stay tuned for Part Two of the series, where you will learn the fundamental principle that drives the whole method . . .

People do not buy value. They buy the perception of value.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you'd like an injection of other fresh marketing ideas, check out The Marlon Sanders Letter. For information, visit my web site at: or send an email to: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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