Where does inspiration come from? Sometimes it’s literally right in front of your nose (or your dog’s nose) as I learned last week.
My dog trainer suggested that instead of luring my boy Rollie with a treat in order to get a specific behavior, I reward him after he does that behavior.
She said “Susan, when you hold the treat in front of him, he’s following the treat. He may take the steps or do the behavior your lure is leading him to do, but he’s not learning that behavior. He’s learning to follow the treat.
With a reward, he learns the desired behavior and gets rewarded after he completes it.”
In just a few minutes of using my hands and body language to work on one specific new behavior, Rollie got it and the reward that followed. Then he offered me the behavior again!
This is how he earns ribbons when we compete. No treats allowed in the ring.
What This Means to Your Business
This made me think about the newsletter I wrote that discounts come back to bite you. That story was all about how the firm gets bitten and how to avoid that.
This experience of lure vs reward made me think about how discounts affect the behavior of the client or prospect.
See what you think.
Discounts or Stupendous Offers
If you hold out a lure, such as a discount or a too-good-to-be-true offer, many will accept because, hey, who doesn’t like a treat? “I’ll buy that $9775.00 package for only $97.00.”
And just like that, you’ve trained them to respond to the lure, not the actual value or impact you deliver.
When you effectively make an offer that will deliver life changing impact to the buyer, and give them a reward after they buy, you’ve shaped their behavior in two ways:
- To value and pay for the impact delivered
- To watch for additional opportunities to get more value and impact from you.
They come back for more because they know they will be rewarded.
These are NOT Rewards
Let’s debunk some stale ideas first.
- “Under promise and over deliver.”
- “Bonuses: buy X and get Y, Z, and A for the same price!”
- “Create a loyalty program. Get something free after X number of purchases.”
Under promise and over deliver.
In the worst possible way, this devalues all of your offers. You offer X and then deliver Y.
- How do you ever get fairly compensated for Y after you gave it away for the purchase of X?
- And from then on buyers will wonder what are they really getting when they purchase anything?
The other two are discounts in disguise
- Bonuses mean that the value you promised from the original purchase isn’t really earned. They say “well, the original offer isn’t worth what we priced it for, so we’ll offer more.”
- Loyalty programs reduce the fee for each of the required purchases.
- Buy 10, get one free means each of the purchases is really only worth 90% of the actual price charged. Once you devalue your offerings, you’re at risk of never being able to charge full price again.
These tactics are lures that teach your buyers to respond only to lures.
How do You Shape Behaviors to Prompt a Purchase?
You can shape buyer’s behavior with the most effective marketing, sales, and customer service techniques you already know.
Marketing is always about IMPACT to the buyer.
- How you deliver life changing IMPACT that gives the buyer what they need, want, and desire. Not inputs, features, or benefits, but visions of life after their purchase.
Your sales process needs to seamlessly follow marketing.
- Make it easy and enjoyable for people to get their questions answered. To learn more. Give them a taste of the experience of being your client with attentiveness, friendliness, and ample time.
Customer service or account management must be timely, generous, and caring.
- Make them feel important even before they’ve purchased.
Reward after Purchase
Once they’ve purchased, they have earned the reward.
- The primary reward is impeccable delivery on every aspect of your promise.
- Keep to the letter of whatever promise you made.
- Be gracious, thoughtful, generous with access, enthusiastic in response to the client’s behaviors.
Not only should a client believe they got what they paid for, they should feel great about the experience.
When you do things to shape behavior and give a reward after they do what you’ve asked, they have learned to respond to the shaping, not to the lure.
How Will YOU Reward Instead of Lure?
The first step is to examine your marketing, sales, and customer service practices. If you’ve relied on lures, that will be reflected in your content, articles, offers, and networking conversations.
All of these need to be reworked to focus on behaviors that shape responses, particularly generously giving value before a purchase.
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Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear from you.