- by Tom "Big Al" Schreiter
What is the favorite cat food flavor that finicky felines recommend?
5. Liver & Kidney
Tough choice, isn't it?
Here's the problem.
We're trying to choose the best flavor based on our experience or limited observation. Quite honestly, we've never tasted any samples of these six delicious flavors. That means we're operating on guesswork.
Or, we could operate on observation. We can watch hungry cats choose which cat food flavor they eat first. But that creates a problem. We are limited to observing the six-flavor varieties above. What about other flavors? Would cats like to try something else?
Now we're getting somewhere.
Instead of guessing, we'll get the facts. We're going to interview a cat.
Interviewer: "Tell me about your daily cuisine. What type of foods do you like?"
Cat: "Meow, meow, meow." (Translation: "Every day it's the same canned garbage with six slightly different aromas. Yuck! Dogs love canned garbage, but not us discriminating felines. However, I must eat whatever my domesticated servants bring me from the grocery store. Unfortunately, they're not too bright. These I.Q. deficient humans must shop on instinct and continue to go to the same aisle and shelf every trip. Maybe I'll send them to obedience school or yeah . . . that's it. I'll send them to the vet!")
Interviewer: "Sounds like someone could make a fortune if they would market what cats want! So, if you had your choice, what flavor or type of food would you choose?"
Cat: "Meow, meow, meow." (Translation: "Mouse guts! Fresh mouse guts! They're the best. They're the 'cat's meow'! Awesome stuff! I mean, what can those mentally-challenged human shoppers be thinking? That cats stalk the wild for a tin can of flavored lard? No, we hunt for fresh mouse guts!")
Hmmm. Now we are getting somewhere. If we want to market food to cats, let's find out what they want!
But, that's only part of the equation.
However, let's first see how this part applies to multi-level marketing.
For our example, we're going to talk about selling some products. Of course, you can apply the same principles to selling your business opportunity.
Imagine that you sell the Wonderful Product. It's a high-energy multi-vitamin that improves common sense.
If we are amateur marketers, we'll just try to sell it to anybody. We won't even try to find out where our market lies. Our sole purpose is to push the product down the customers' throats, whether they want it or not. (Sounds a little bit like those mentally-challenged cat servants, in case you're not following this analogy.)
Without caring about our prospect's needs, the typical sales presentations goes something like this:
MLM salesperson: "Take this Wonderful Product. It will give you some common sense."
Highly-Paid Government Official: "What? And lose my job? Even brief moments of common sense will get you demoted around here! No way would I buy your job-killing garbage!"
Yes, we're selling what we want (the Wonderful Product). We are not selling what our prospect wants (less common sense).
What if we apply a bit more selling pressure or push the benefits of the Wonderful Product? Here's what happens:
MLM Salesperson: "Take this Wonderful Product. It will give you some common sense."Lesson #1
Lawyer: "That sounds like slander to me. But it wasn't me who did it, it was my partner or somebody who looked like me. And your accusation is probably an illegal medical claim subject to FDA rules of gas chamber executions. I'll see you in court! Your product costs too much. It's dangerous. What if everyone got some common sense? I'd be unemployed! And besides that, I'm from the ethically-challenged minority. I should receive special treatment. Just ask any liberal highly-paid government official."
MLM Salesperson (adding another benefit, just like they teach in those selling classes): "Besides giving you some common sense, the Wonderful Product will also enhance your cardiovascular system."
Lawyer: "Fool! Lawyers don't have or even need hearts. Hearts get in the way of our billing practices. Get an I.Q. and learn to sell what people want!"
Our enthusiasm for our product has nothing to do with what our prospects want. We're going about this all backwards.
First, just like the cats, we must find out what the prospects want. What did the highly-paid government official and the lawyer really want?
Yes, we could make a fortune by selling what these prospects wanted: Stupid Enhancers!
All we had to do was take a little survey first.
Sure that sounds great, but what if your MLM company doesn't carry Stupid Enhancers?
Then on to . . .
Before selling the Wonderful Product, do a survey to find the best market for Wonderful Product prospects.
Remember the cat? The cat didn't want canned garbage. However, during our interview the cat told us that dogs loved canned garbage. Now we have located a market to sell our canned garbage. All we have to do is call on some hungry dogs.
The same holds true for Wonderful Product that improves common sense. We need to survey and locate the nest of prospects who want more common sense.
Maybe we find a bunch of baseball owners and baseball players. They could take the Wonderful Product and realize that they earn money by actually playing baseball -- not from strike talks and endless negotiations.
Or, we locate a group meeting of the "Flat Earth Society." They'll be inspired when their newly-found common sense shows them that the earth is round.
As professional marketers we must spend our efforts locating prospects who want (not need) our products. This is ten times more effective than peddling sales presentations to every breathing organism that we encounter.
So if you sell water filters, don't try selling them to everyone. Focus your efforts on people who care about their health.
If you sell car alarms, locate prospects who own customized automobiles. Since the owners invested personal time and effort in the customizing, you can be sure they want to protect their car. Conversely, owners of Pacers and Gremlins may actually want people to steal their cars. Those prospects would be a waste of time.
If you want to reach sewing enthusiasts, advertise in the Sewing Circle, not Gun Trafficking Gazette. Your prospect, the sewing enthusiast, is looking for editorials, stories and ads about sewing and subscribes to the Sewing Circle.
If you want to reach network marketing enthusiasts, advertise in network marketing publications, not in Socialism Today.
Find out who does the buying. Even though your ultimate consumer wants a product, it is up to the person with the money to do the purchasing.
Back to our cat.
Our cat loved mouse guts, wanted mouse guts, and would be a great consumer of mouse guts. However, the cat didn't do the shopping.
If you listened to the cat survey, what would you have done?
Introduce a new cat food called "Tasty Mouse Guts", right?
Now, imagine how that will look on the supermarket shelf. There's "Tasty Liver Chunks", "Filet of Tuna", "Beef Wellington For Cats", and "Tasty Mouse Guts." Which one isn't going to be purchased?
"Tasty Mouse Guts." It's going to gather dust on the shelf because the people with the money won't buy it. They hate how the product looks, how the product sounds, and everything else about the product. "Tasty Mouse Guts" just isn't going to sell.
We interviewed the wrong person.
We have to market and sell to the people who do the buying.
For instance, let's say you interview some children, asking them, "What is your favorite food?"
They answer, "Sugar-coated caffeine-enhanced candy bars with ice cream centers."
Do you open a manufacturing plant that makes sugar-coated caffeine-enhanced candy bars with ice cream centers?
No. Because their parents won't buy them. The parents want to buy boring foods for their children such as bread, vegetables, fruit, etc. The parents don't want to buy foods that will turn their children into human pinballs.
It's the same situation when we look for a prospecting angle to attract new leaders into our MLM downlines.
Imagine we interview a bunch of readers from Socialism Today. They tell us they want an MLM program that requires no investment, no work, no recruiting, no selling, and no anything.
"Aha!", we think. Our survey has located what these prospects want.
Unfortunately, these aren't the people who want to become MLM leaders, and certainly aren't the ones who will invest in their own training and marketing expenses. They just want something with no effort.
Instead, we should have surveyed the readers of Capitalism Workaholics. They would tell us that they wanted a free enterprise situation where they would get paid for their efforts, and their results.
Now we could run an ad that attract leaders with our new information. We have to market to the people who do the actual buying.
What's the bottom line?
To market the right product, to the right people.
It's just common sense. Now, where is that Wonderful Product that increases common sense?